Today is March 21, 2022… or at least it is the day that I write this article. It probably doesn’t mean much to most people, but it’s one day after my eighth anniversary from being free of pornography. Sweet sobriety! In 11 days, I’ll also hit that mark with alcohol. Sweet sobriety on the rocks! Instead of having some grand ceremony to celebrate both, and because I don’t do the 12 step groups and will not be collecting any anniversary chip, I simply wanted to explain what the biggest changes have been.
I’m still learning lessons and I’m still having a-ha moments, even this late into the game. An article I wrote not too long ago talks about one such moment of clarity that should have come a long time ago when it comes to the way women dress. Now more than ever, while I feel like I can say I have conquered the ongoing pornography and alcohol addictions, recovery is a life-long journey.
That’s because I’m recovering from being a broken person. I’m not recovering from too much porn or booze. They were a huge symptom of the problem of being broken. They were a huge result of not addressing my issues. And they ruled my life for too long. But it’s not like when they left, it was all roses and tambourines. Sobriety was just part of the answer.
What’s Different Eight Years Later?
First is that I remember the last eight years. I have a natural tendency to dissociate, which is getting stronger as I get older, but the alcohol and porn caused so much of those last eight to be a blur. It was a time when I was on top of the professional world, but I barely remember it. I’m glad I wrote that first book so I can always remember just how things went downhill because a lot of it is gone. But 38 to 46 has been great. I feel younger and healthier than I have probably at any part of my life. I still lament all of the lost time. Imagine this feeling good AND not looking a long-time roadie for Def Leppard?
Second is that I’ve learned so many new tools to handle my stressors, anxieties and triggers. While some of them went away, the reality is, most of the things that sent me to the laptop for porn or bar for alcohol are still there. I’d love to pretend they weren’t. But they are. Stress is part of life. Trauma, like grief, doesn’t ever fully go away, I think. Or at least it hasn’t for me. But, I manage it so much better than before. And for the other things, like my claustrophobia, I have new ways to handle them instead of drinking until I stop realizing I’m in a crowd.
Third is that I’ve learned my worth, or at least I’m getting closer. Those who have read my articles since I started this site in late 2017 know that I’ve had to grow into accepting money for my services. At first, I thought it was exploiting myself for profit. That made me sad. Then I thought if I did it, I’d look like a money whore for profiting off my situation. Slowly, I’ve evolved to recognize I have a mix of knowledge and experience, along with a willingness to share my knowledge openly that almost doesn’t exist. Still, I always want to charge less for my books and coaching sessions. I’m working on it!
The Next Milestone
I usually write more than this on my anniversary, but since I’m already a day late, cut me some slack. I’m actually more impressed that 3,000 days is only a couple months away. I’ll make a bigger deal out of that. TikTok will get a kick out of that sobriety story. Follow me on there if you have an account and are not yet. I update almost daily.
I just want anyone who regularly reads my work, or someone to whom this is the first time you’ve read something of mine to remember that you can always recover. Always. There is a lot you can’t control in this life, and for 20+ years, I thought my addictions were two of those things. They are not. And if I can quit and be here 8 years later, trust me, you can.