I don’t intend on getting poetic and fluffy today.

But, there’s always this incredible deception between my hands and intentions – so there’s still a good chance this post will go rogue, like a drunken mouse in a brand new maze. Stay tuned, and we’ll see.

I want to celebrate a small success, today.

No, a huge success.

Today will mark 2 weeks sober, armed with nothing but logic and understanding, and sweet, beautiful clarity for a change.

It’s so much easier to see things as they are, once you’re no longer seeing double.

Some Things I’ve Learned:

  • Waking up knowing my name and where I am is a pretty good start to the day
  • 3 Litres of wine a day is not recommended by the Surgeon General
  • Pomegranate juice is expensive, but cheaper than regret and self-loathing
  • Anticipation is more of a drug than actual drugs
  • Time moves more quickly when your senses aren’t completely numbed
  • Blacking out every evening is probably the least attractive thing ever
  • Leaving the house (and being able to drive myself) to places other than the liquor store is a pretty sweet perk of being a grown man. Who knew?
  • My brain has some pretty cool thoughts when it isn’t drowning in wine and dopamine
  • Being able to remember those cool thoughts are akin to having them twice
  • Annie Grace deserves Sainthood

Now, that’s just the short list.

It’s the best I can do sober on a Saturday morning at 5am – which is so much better than still being drunk at this hour almost every other Saturday morning for the last two decades.

Okay, I’ll be honest. 

EVERY morning for the last two decades.

Today is a check-point for me. As humans we love landmarks and flags; markers to tell us how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go. We are plotters who find comfort in seeing the big picture. 

We love countdowns and diaries.

We are always looking forward and looking back; it’s the human condition that once we know where we are, we immediately want to see where we’re headed and be able to look back to where we’ve come from, too.

That’s the struggle: allowing where we are right now, to be enough.

But it’s in these small (huge) victories that we arrive at along the way which make the rest of the journey seem manageable and exciting.

If I can do 14 days, I can do 400. And if I can do 400 days, I can do 40 years.



I think when we relate where we are right now, to where we think we need to be (1 year sober, 10 years, 40…) that we not only get intimidated and overwhelmed, but we miss the opportunity to celebrate our win today. It also diminishes the success we should be celebrating right now.

Because, let’s be honest: there is no finish line in this marathon.

There is no race. There is only right now.

And right now, this needs to be enough.

It goes without saying that we need goals – having something to work towards and look forward to is what gives us momentum. But what fuels our drive to get there?

Feeling good right now.

I can’t possibly emphasize that enough.

Because, I know when I feel like a pile of shit within and without, I could care less to take any steps towards anything other than my bed. You can’t find strength in looking at yesterday’s failures, or last years, or even tomorrow’s intimidating uncertainty.

You can only draw strength from right now.

It is quite literally the only chance you have to make a decision. You can’t re-decide what you chose yesterday, or plan how you’ll choose tomorrow.

It’s only in this magical, immeasurable and limitless “now” that we have any power at all.

We can’t change our past choices, but we can choose better right now.

We can’t predict our future choices, but we can choose better right now, so our future choices will be easier.

We can celebrate today, because it’s our first day sober or our fifth year dry. Both will have the same effect: feeling good right now.

And if you’re feeling good right now – why would you want to dilute it with a drink or twelve? I’m (re)discovering that being mindful is the only drug I need.

Screen Shot 2018-02-17 at 6.46.07 AM

Well, so much for not getting fluffy and poetic.

But I got excited.

Today, right now, is enough.

I’ll worry about tomorrow when it gets here.

Written by SJ VanDee

Recovery Blogger. Sober AF. Photographer. Storyteller. Writer.


  1. I am only starting to practice mindfulness and it’s actually quite magical! These days I burn incense and wash the dishes mindfully it’s like a trip!

    The counting of the sober days drives me nuts because I’ve relapsed so many times. I happy to be sober today and my aim is to have a sober life going forward. For me the one day at a time thing isn’t so much a white-knuckling mantra as it is a mindfulness mantra reminding us that we really only have the present moment. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOVE IT!! And exactly…I am getting to the point where I need/want/have to stop the counting. Because it doesn’t matter. If I can get through this moment and the next one, and the ones after that, as they appear – then I’m winning!


  2. “We never keep to the present. We recall the past; we anticipate the future as if we found it too slow in coming and were trying to hurry it up, or we recall the past as if to stay its too rapid flight. We are so unwise that we wander about in times that do not belong to us, and do not think of the only one that does; so vain that we dream of time that are not and blindly flee the only one that is. The fact is that the present usually hurts. We thrust it out of sight because it distresses us, and if we find it enjoyable, we are sorry to see it slip away. We try to give it the support of the future, and think how we are going to arrange things over which we have no control for a time we can never be sure of reaching. Let each of us examine his thoughts; he will find them wholly concerned with the past or the future. We almost never think of the present, and if we do think of it, it is only to see what light it throws on our plans for the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means, the future alone our end. Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so.” [1] -Blaise Pascal

    I also so agree Sainthood for Annie Grace. She’s right up there with my other favorite, Anne Lamont !

    Liked by 2 people

      1. “If I can do 14 days, I can do 400. And if I can do 400 days, I can do 40 years.” Sober up a horse thief, you still have a horse thief. Drinking like we do is just a symptom of a much bigger problem. Two weeks is awesome, don’t get me wrong, but getting sober is more than not drinking.


      2. Oh I absolutely agree. Being an alcoholic is a symptom – I get it. But I don’t subscribe to the 12 Step propaganda that we’re inherently bad people…seems like a horrible waste of an existence believing you’re doomed and forever defined by something a 100 year old book tells you. There’s multiple routes to the same destination. It gets dangerous when you start believing your route is the only “right” one…


      3. First, you didn’t read the book because what you wrote in your comment has nothing to do with what’s written in it. Second, of course the Twelve Steps aren’t the only way, when have I ever suggested that?! Third, the Twelve Steps are simply the easiest way to comprehensive recovery. Finally, you may very well be the very first alcoholic in history who wasn’t a tornado to your loved ones, so you have nothing to fix. I wasn’t so fortunate, so fixing what needed to be fixed was beneficial.

        It’s all good, though. No worries.


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