I love charts. Good charts tell a story. I love making charts, too. I could make charts and dashboards all day. And that's what I do at work most of the time. Aren't I lucky to be enjoying my work so much?!!
So, as a data/charting person, I will of course collect data about my sobriety and will make it into charts. Here's one.
In March this year I started logging my alcohol free days. I have had many, many, many attempts to give up alcohol before that date, but it always felt like that: I was giving something up. Not drinking alcohol was a sacrifice. It was not what I really wanted. So, small wonder that my attempts never lasted very long.
If I were to chart my last three years, it would look very much like the fist half of the chart above: I start Day 1 vowing to my self to give up alcohol and I stick with it for a few days. The line is going up. I'm growing a tooth. I make it to Day 5, maybe to Day 10, but the wine witch/beast/wolfie gets the better of me and I fall back down. Sometimes I immediately try again, but I only last a couple of days, and the teeth I grow are getting smaller and weaker. Then there will be long stretches where I'm toothless, chewing on my gums.
Alcohol has taken all the bite out of me (Sorry, but I couldn't let that one pass without using it) and my sobriety flatlines. I'm depressed and keep drinking every day until I can muster up the resolve to try again.
But can you see the big change?
Six weeks ago today I started growing a tooth that is still healthy and strong. I'm six weeks sober today. I no longer feel that I'm "giving up" alcohol, because it has no appeal to me anymore. The bigger and stronger that tooth grows, the more confidence I have to bare my teeth, give an awful, angry snarl and scare the wine witch away if she dares to come and whisper in my ear.
Another thing this chart reminds me of is a see saw. It goes up and down. Thing is, a real see saw will have the same angle going down as it has going up, whereas the alcohol see saw brings you down with a crash. And it hurts!
I have left my see-saw behind and climbed into a rocket. See my vapor trail.
The only way is up.
(Do you want to chart your rocket trail? If I get enough comments from people, I'll upload an Excel file.)