1000 Days Without Booze: A Case for Counting Days

by Rebecca A. Watson on December 22, 2015

in habits, health, life, Recovery

Saturday marked my 1000th day as a non-drinker. A teetotaler, I guess folks like me are sometimes called.

I hadn’t really thought too much about how many days it had been since I quit drinking until I saw a few other bloggers (Amy at Soberbia is one of my favs) mark their 1000th day. That got me thinking, I wonder when mine would be?, and after a quick check, Dec 19 sat in front of me as an occasion to mark.

It's getting easier to find pics of people celebrating without alcohol! Hooray!

It’s getting easier to find pics of people celebrating without alcohol! Hooray!

There are a lot of schools of thought on how one should quit drinking and how people can stay sober. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do it, although I’ve had my fair share of strong feelings about certain things.

Counting days was one of those things.

At first it served to help me through the hard times (Oh god today sucks. Well that’s probably because I’ve only gone 4 days without alcohol and I’m still detoxing.).

But then it became an annoying reminder: Happy day 72! wasn’t something to celebrate. It was something to lament. I was being deprived. Ugh, I’ve gone 72 days without alcohol.

Counting days reminded me that I was an alcoholic. I couldn’t handle my booze. I was broken, and each day sober was, for the most part, better than the one before, but still I wasn’t normal.

Not that I've ever really been called normal ...

Not that I’ve ever really been called normal …

After awhile though, I got over that. And then counting days to me felt silly. When I hit a year, I was happy to be done with the day counting. In my mind I was a year sober until I was two years sober.

And that’s kind of how I’ve felt through my second year of lucid living as well. It wasn’t until the thought of 1000 days came up that I really considered day counting again.

I feel a bit like a grown-up looking back at some of my teenaged angst: embarrassed and wishing I knew better then. But that’s how we grow right? So while I’m not going to be writing my days on a calendar or scratching them into a wall, I do think there is a very good reason to keep track of how long you’ve been sober:

1. It Gives You Something to Celebrate

There are all sorts of opportunities to drink. It seems like every time you turn around someone is planning a happy hour, a pub crawl, a wine, erm … I mean book club, a football game, yada yada yada. And right now, especially, the holidays are a recipe for boozing.

xmas drink1

Ugly sweater parties are the perfect opportunities for wine “tasting.”

Us non-drinkers need something to celebrate as well. Maybe it’s been a tough month, and you need some encouragement. Invite a couple of close friends to a nice dinner to celebrate your 412th day without booze.

Why not? It can be a fun way to spend your time celebrating something that doesn’t to revolve around alcohol.

2. Yes, It’s a Reminder

Not a reminder that we’re broken. (We’re not.) Not a reminder we’re abnormal. (What’s normal anyway?) These days we count remind us that we have a mission, a underlying purpose, on this planet. And sometimes that can be difficult.

I also have jewelry as a reminder. Thanks to Loverope.net for the Lucid Living bracelet!

I also have jewelry as a reminder. Thanks to Loverope.net for the Lucid Living bracelet!

These days can remind us we need to nurture ourselves. Counting days can remind us that we’re worth more, that we respect ourselves, that we love ourselves.

Getting and staying sober is an act of self-love. Having the days to remind us will make it easier to stay on the self-love track.

3. Your Days Are Inspiration

Believe it or not, you are an inspiration to someone. People are watching to see how you handle this whole sober thing. Some might be curious. Others might think it can’t be done. Still others are your biggest cheerleaders. You are inspiring all of them with your days.

You’re also inspiring those of us who are on the same journey. A friend on Facebook posted awhile back that he had his 10,000th day. Holy shit, I thought. That right there is seriously impressive.

I also thought, that can be me one day. Maybe I’ll keep re-upping year after year until I hit that point. (Who am I kidding? This lucid thing is so great, the “maybe” in that last sentence is pretty unnecessary.)

4. They Keep You Accountable

While many of us have an awesome support system of sober pen pals, sponsors, support groups and blogs, it’s still important to have your own inner sense of accountability. Something that’s all your own to protect and nurture. Of course you have that. That is what your sobriety, your lucid life, is.

But how can you envision it? Do you think of it as a baby? Or as a helpless lamb? Maybe. Or maybe you can just use your numbers as your inner-accountability.

Embrace Them!

Embrace Them!

While I don’t think you need to visit your numbers everyday, you do need to have some idea of what they’re doing, where they are.

When I have a craving (which holy crap! I had a monster one a few weeks ago sitting on the tram with a bunch of drunk football fans!), having that number approach so quickly was a nice soft thing to hold in my mind.

I don’t want to throw this away. Because 977 is only one drink away from turning into 0.

And while this isn’t the only thing stopping me from picking up a drink (steady mental health, clear headed mornings, remembering everything, increased confidence to name a few), it certainly doesn’t hurt to have another fighter in my corner.

Alcohol plays by some pretty slippery rules, so the more support and accountability I have, the better.

So maybe you’re one of those people who hate counting days, who are annoyed by the constant reminder. I get it. I’m not saying we all need a counter we check every morning.

I’m simply saying don’t discount the value of counting your days. Your sobriety, your lucid life, will thank you for it. I know mine has.

If you like this post and are interested in reading more, I suggest starting with my 100 day post, or just check out all my posts about not drinking and recovery. Thinking about quitting alcohol? Check out my classes here.

Photo Credit: Unsplash, Ashley Renee, Gerd Altman

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

amy January 5, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Hi!!!! I love figuring out what day I’m on when I think of it, but I don’t think of it nearly as often. Congrats on your 1000 days! That is an awesome thing. It makes me want to put 1000 jelly beans in a jar to see what it would look like. I used to try to save rocks as days- I would write the number on the rock and then put it in a vase by my bed. I found them recently and I only got up to the number 3, so 1000 seems hugely massive compared to that. 🙂 xoxo amy

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Rebecca A. Watson January 31, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Thanks so much girlie!! I can’t even imagine 1000 rocks by your bed 😉 I like the idea of jelly beans because, well then you can eat them later! Thanks for stopping by and saying hi 🙂

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Furtheron January 19, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Apologies I’ve been missing in action for a while and it is remiss of me to miss this celebration. Huge congrats on passing into four figures. I still every now and then go to one of the counter apps and just think to myself – how many days?

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Rebecca A. Watson January 31, 2016 at 1:21 pm

No worries…I’ve been a bit MIA as well. Thanks for the kind words. It is nice to have a peak at your days occasionally if nothing else to just say, “nice job me” 🙂

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Marc January 20, 2016 at 4:51 am

I am really enjoying your blog posts. I am at 128 days (had to look) clean and sober and I look forward to reading about your journey as it continues!

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Rebecca A. Watson January 31, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Hey Marc, Thanks so much for stopping and congrats on the 128+ days! That is awesome. I will continue to write. I’m glad you enjoy it and I’m happy to share 🙂

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Lynsey February 7, 2016 at 8:57 am

Hi Rebecca, so sorry I missed your 1000 days what a celebration and landmark.

I haven’t stopped by for a while so just catching up on a few of your posts.

Glad to hear your keeping well…wishing you a gorgeous spring in Deutschland.

Day 505 over here. And 35week pregnant and waiting for the little one to arrive. Sorry have been MIA too but always checking in once in a while x

Lynsey (nearly birthday twin) xxx

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Rebecca A. Watson February 7, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Giiiirrrrl! No worries at all! Life is full and that’s a good thing 🙂 I’m glad you stopped by. Thanks for the kind words and congrats on more than 500 days! That is SO rad. I love to hear you’re doing well. And congrats on the little one <3 How special!

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Daniel March 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Hello, my name is Daniel I’m from São Paulo, Brazil. I want to thank you for your writing, its been reallu helpfull I’m now on my 52nd day of my 100 days challenge. I thought i would not have the strength to go thru with it. Are people like you that sets the example for people like me. Thank you.

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Rebecca Watson August 22, 2017 at 9:40 am

Hi Daniel! I am super happy to hear you are giving the 100 day challenge a go. That is so rad. Stay strong and enjoy that sober sleep!

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