Today marks ten years since I’ve had a drink,* and that is a very important moment in my mind. This 10 year anniversary has become something of a magical number that, if ever achieved, would mark an almost irrefutable victory over my struggle with alcohol. That said, I know it’s not, and the struggle will continue until I am dead. But, when I stopped drinking on April 10, 2023 it was because I was at risk of losing everything that mattered to me: my wife and kids.
10 years later I am still married and I’m not an estranged dad. What’s more, I even added a few awesome pets along the way 🙂 It’s funny because at OER23 there was a lot of talk of 10 year anniversaries: GO-GN turns 10; Rikke Toft Nørgård, finished her PH.D 10 years ago; Reclaim Hosting turns ten this July; and now I, also, have been off the sauce for a solid decade.
My life remains far from perfect. I still have a temper; I still piss the people closest to me off regularly; I’m still a royal pain in the ass at times; but if I hadn’t stopped drinking it would have all been that much worse. I owe so much of my happiness over the last 10 years to finally making the decision to quit drinking, and all the inner peace that followed stems from that decision. It has resulted in a level of personal and professional success I might have only dreamed of otherwise. I have more than a few people to thank that helped me get sober, and two who helped me almost immediately were Tim Owens and Andy Rush, they where there for me when I was at my absolute lowest, and I will never forget how much their support during those dark days meant. My dad, who also struggled with alcohol, was a surprising source of support. But more than anyone, I would not be writing this or even doing a ten year victory lap if Antonella had not forgiven me and let me continue on the road of life with her
Here is to 10 years on the wagon, and all the irreparable joy and redemption it has given me.
*Although that is not entirely true because I did have one beer in Barcelona given there were historical conditions beyond my control, ask me about that story if we ever sit down and have “a drink.”
10 years is an incredible accomplishment! I’ll toast a coke in your honor and here’s to many more!
I’ll be there for that Coke in June, and your faith in me despite everything has always meant the world to me.
10 Hoorays and a hundred “keep goings!” Tons of love and sincere admiration! A thank you for the hard work and to many more of all of those!
It’s ds106 that brought it all to a head, in fact I blame the other Doctor Oblivion 🙂
10 years is a real milestone Jim. I’ve no wish to patronise, but I’ll toast your strength and fortitude and hopefully many more years of joy and success with a good cup of tea.
Tea, who drinks tea? 🙂 It gets easy to con tinue the run when you have such cool friends that just don’t care what you do, as long as you rock at karaoke!
Although it wasn’t affecting my life in the way it sounds like it was affecting yours, your story was one that stuck in my head and eventually led me to conclude alcohol wasn’t a net positive in my life and I’d be better off without it. So thanks!
Well, the fact I anything I did could influence you means a lot, because you continue to show me the way on so many fronts, Jon, so thanks for this comment, but also for basically writing my talk at OER23 🙂
Have you tried Mango Pepsi? It is sooooo good.
All seriousness aside, I too applaud your accomplishment – seriously. I know the struggle remains, but it’s obvious that you have the support of a good woman and wonderful family. As always I look forward to reminiscing about the mostly good times we’ve had, and sharing our current stories of our “golden age”. Non-alcoholic cheers to you!
Fruity Pepsi was not the road I imagined for myself 🙂 More kicks than pricks for sure and I am looking forward to some 10 year celebrations at UMW and the arcade in person here soon.
Wow, ten years! Congrats! I’m glad to still have the Reverend around preaching the good word. The work you’ve accomplished over the past decade personally and professionally has been amazing (major shout out to Tim too for making Reclaim Hosting a thing and for putting up with you 😉 ). Here’s to ten more years, and ten more after that!
Tim putting up with me? I MADE HIM AND YOU AND ANDY AND…..
Jim, this is huge. I am so proud of you in so many ways. I too recently faced that fork in the road — keep drinking and lose the things that mattered most or put it down once and for all. I remember talking to you when I was living in Chicago and you were talking about coming to the States and I said something to the effect of, “I can’t wait to get a drink with you.” I remember how crazy it sounded to me that you said you had given it up. It blew my mind. As a matter of fact I couldn’t fathom my life without drinking in one way or another. Fast forward to today and I am alcohol free — and like you, it has been transformative. I have no idea if I will make it to ten years and I am not holding myself to the perfect standard of never having another drink, but I am holding myself to hitting my first milestone and to not ever go back. As always, you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this post, it made my day and my own journey feel more attainable.
Cole fucking Camplese! Yeah! Man, I am really happy for you, perfection is an illusion, but if it is working for you, hat’s enough. I mean once I stopped all the shit remained, kinda like quitting smoking, but 10+ years of not doing both, i have to say I am without regret. I did have a moment in Scotland last week at OER23, that was full blown party mode and someone put a big glass of Irish Whiskey in front of me, and I was like, hmmm, what is the true cost of that drink 🙂 I demurred gracefully, and I also found people don’t really give a shit if you don’t drink, for me it was always like will I be fun? And turns out I am more fun sober, and my karaoke is even better, so I am #4life 🙂
I also like that it can be a test of how much you do or don’t need it, many in my family have quit for 10-20 years then came back to it healthily, which is mind blowing to me, but it is true. I just know for myself that it is a chance I am not interested in taking, I have too many video game cabinets to collect!