One day of not drinking…times 365.

18Oct09

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These days if you’re a writer who wants to get published, here’s one surefire way: choose an activity (the more off-the-wall, the better) and do it for one whole year. Write a blog about it, and then turn that blog into a book — maybe even into a movie.

Recently there’s been a spate of writers chronicling their yearlong endeavors, which include:

Cooking all the recipes in a famous cookbook.

Reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica cover to cover.

Living strictly by the rules put forth in the Bible.

Reading a different novel each day.

Learning to play the apparently very challenging French horn.

Eating only locally grown or produced foods.

Buying nothing but absolute necessities.

Following conventional wisdom on how to be happy.

Attempting to live without making a net impact on the environment.

Reading the Oxford English Dictionary cover to cover.

Following only the advice of self-help gurus.

Giving up one habit a month.

I haven’t read any of these, though I did just see “Julie & Julia,” the film that resulted from the cooking blog/book.

And as most of you know, as of Friday I completed one year of not drinking — and blogging about it.

I’m not expecting a book or movie deal, though. Mainly because what I’ve accomplished, while groundbreaking in its importance to me, isn’t really that unusual. Millions of people in the Alcoholics Anonymous program have done it, and continue to do it, on a daily basis. What’s more, they don’t just do it for a year – they do it for multiple years and decades.

When you think about that, it’s pretty amazing. In AA, we don’t have an ending date in sight – there’s no final day of our great endeavor that we’re working toward. That might be enough to drive some crazy with frustration, as they contemplate giving up drinking for all of the foreseeable future. I know it drove me to distraction at first. I just couldn’t fathom living without this thing that had been part of my everyday life for nearly 30 years.

That’s why AA encourages us to take it “one day at a time.” For the next 24 hours, I will not drink. If I need to think consciously about not drinking, it works best to concentrate only on that period of time. Or, if need be, I can break it down into even smaller bits. An afternoon. An evening. An hour. A moment of not drinking.

I have now accumulated 365 days of not drinking.

8,760 hours.

525,600 minutes.

31,536,00 seconds.

If my experience were made into a book, you might call it…The Sobriety Project.

or…

My Year of Living Non-Alcoholically.

or…

The Great UndertAAking.

All in all, I’m proud and happy about what I’ve done. It’s made a world of difference in my life. And of course it doesn’t end here, with a year.

To anyone reading this who may be thinking they might want to give AA a shot, I highly recommend it. It’s not easy, but so much easier than you might think.

And to everyone who’s been along for this journey, whether you hopped on board at the beginning or somewhere along the way, thank you. Your comments and support and encouragement have helped immensely.

As we say at the end of every AA meeting, keep coming back.

C.

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11 Responses to “One day of not drinking…times 365.”

  1. My vote is for ‘The Great UndertAAking’! Great post!

  2. Congratulations, traveler. May your journey continue well.

  3. I like The Great UndertAAking.

    Congratulations dear girl. So, are you going to the International Convention in 2010?

  4. 4 Sharon

    I will 🙂

  5. congrats, this is quite an accomplishment. I often think I could write a book about my experiences. Most of us could! Ah, the craziness we put ourselves through!

  6. 6 Man Alive

    oustanding! this is a great milestone in sobriety and i wish you another day of success. thanks also for sharing your experience.

  7. 7 Mary W

    I was following two blogs, yours and another lady. She stopped before her year, which saddened me. But then, we have to want this for today, which is the whole point in
    doing this.

    And, if you write a book, you won’t be anonymous anymore and that would defeat the purpose of our program. We aren’t here for the glory, but for the humility of being unknown.

    Keep doing this and maybe you will get to the double digits. But again, only a day at a time can any of us do this.

    Congratulations on another day of sober living.

  8. I was JUST thinking that you should write a book about your experience. Mainly because you’ve said a few things to me that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about, concerning drinking, and it would be wonderful if you could put that into print for others to mull over. Anyway…I like The Sobriety Project, for a title. It also sounds like a film title, so there’s that.

    Congrats again on your wonderful year. I just did one week without drinking and I feel amazing. I can only imagine what a year feels like.

  9. 9 C

    Thank you. I hadn’t heard about the convention, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I’m investigating. Are you going?

  10. 10 Sharon

    A “share”…

    What would happen if security were not the point of our existence?
    That we find freedom, aliveness, and power not from what contains, locates, or protects us
    but from what dissolves, reveals, and expands us.
    ~Eve Ensler

  11. 11 C

    Wow — I really love this. It’s particularly meaningful to me right this moment.

    I’m always looking for security. I’m full of fear.

    Maybe I shouldn’t be…


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