If you’re looking to break the cycle and get on (then stay on) the path of sobriety – check out this episode, where I discuss how to get sober for good.
Two Years Sober
It’s neither something I’ve gotten used to nor is it something I take for granted.
For those struggling with addiction, I’m going to show what life without the vice has been like these past two years and talk about insights I’ve had along the way, which may help you choose to address the anchors in your life.
I received a gift from my wife today.
Of everyone who’s benefited from my sobriety, Jackie has gotten the most.
Of everyone who has supported me, Jackie has given the most.
Strong marriages require two strong individuals who build each-other and themselves for life. pic.twitter.com/vsqvOiZHWb
— Zac Small (@ZacSmall_) July 9, 2022
2 Years of Sobriety from Alcohol
I wrote my one-year post quite recently (link below) as I had difficulty finding the words when I originally hit the milestone. I’m 2 years, 4 months, and 10 days sober as of today, so this piece is not being written on the actual milestone. I’ve committed to dropping year #3 on the day (July 7th 2023).
Something happened in my mind concerning sobriety; it was almost as if I didn’t want to talk about it or write about it in long form for some reason. I don’t know why, but I guess it was a combination of the personal nature, lingering shame, and happiness that comes with not wanting anyone to mess it up that played a role.
With that all said, I’m back to writing about my journey, and I’m pleased to share my story, so let’s get into the details.
One Year Sober – A Man, Husband, and Father’s Journey Through Sobriety
Positive Changes After 2 Years of Sobriety
(In no particular order)
- My memory is returning in full force, not just short-term in what’s happening now, but I remember things from childhood I’d forgotten/blocked out. It’s nice to have someone ask a question and to remember the answer or what you were talking about.
- Weight loss has been easier, my body is less inflamed, and it’s operating more efficiently, actually, recovering during sleep is nice.
- I’m dreaming again (sometimes nightmares), but I have dreams most nights, and that’s something I’d not realized I’d lost until they returned.
- According to the ‘I AM Sober‘ App, I’ve saved $17,260.00 and 2,589 hours of my life.
- There has not been a single instance of, “What did I say?“, “What did I do?“, “Is everything okay?“, “Did we get in a fight?“, “Were we good to drive?“, or “Was I impatient?” I know how all of my night’s end – what I said, who I was with, and I noticed how other people were doing; not a single night in over 2 years have I worried if I was capable of handling anything or if I was acting unprofessional.
- My kids are older; below you’ll see a conversation we recently had, but my kids are now old enough and stay awake late enough that they’d be suffering the consequences of having to see Jackie and I less than our very “uninfluenced” selves. Ultimately this would either make them want to drink like us, or it would cause resentment and drive a wedge in our relationship. Either way, the bond we have now would be weaker if we were still drinking, and there is nothing in my life that I will allow to come between me and my children’s connection. Side Note: Every parent should love their children enough to face any addiction/toxic behavior.
- Jackie and I are better than ever; our marriage has always been strong, and even when going through life’s bullshit, we’ve found. way to make it work and removing alcohol took nothing from us. Removing alcohol has improved every aspect of our life: We’re better. Personally, we’re better independently, we stay up later, talk more, argue less, sex life is fantastic, and our bodies are more optimized to live day in and day out.
- I did not lose my voice. If you remember, one of my fears with sobriety is that I was going to both lose my ability to be creative, as well as losing the ability to silence the volume in my head. Neither happened, and both improved; I’m at more peace with myself than ever before, I had many inner demons to face, and instead of numbing them away like a coward, I faced my feelings and trauma like a man, and it led to me evolving as a person to one who is both more capable and immovable as I’m on a stronger foundation. My art remained as well, the tune has changed, but I’d say that’s an evolutionary byproduct of maturity, focus, and clarity of mind.
- I’ve grown my network of “Sober Friends“: I have men within the Fraternity of Excellence who are sober and others who join us weekly; I run my group 365 to Sobriety which is open to men and women, this private Telegram has both Jackie and I with 20+ others inside working together daily, and lastly, I frequently read (I don’t post enough) on R/StopDrinking on the Reddit website. Each of these has me connected to a larger group of folks working to do what I’m doing, live life without the mass acceptance of addiction to alcohol.
- I’m happy. It sounds trite and cliche, but I’m happy and proud of myself for sticking to this and pushing forward where so many times I fell short.
Where I’m At Now
Two things happened within the past 24 hours which are quite relevant to this post:
- I asked my children if they had noticed a change in the family since Jackie and I got Sober.
- I had a nightmare that I was drinking at an FoE Event, and I woke up with what can only be described as a “Phantom Hangover“.
Jackie joined me the night I decided to be sober.
I didn't ask her to be a part of this as she didn't have the problem, I did.
I told her it was for good; she said, "I believe you, and I'll quit too".
That was 860 days ago for both of us.
— Zac Small (@ZacSmall_) November 14, 2022
Children and Sober Changes
As I said, we had a family meeting last night where Jackie and I asked the kids if they’d noticed a change in us or the family since we dropped alcohol. Asking them this question was inspired by one of my men within the Fraternity of Excellence who’d said he’d asked his children a similar question on a different topic, and the insights were valuable. I liked his suggestion/experience, and so I went for it.
Now, these types of conversations fall into the hot seat category, similar to when Jackie and I ask the kids, “How are we doing as a mother/father?” or “What can we do better for you/the family?” it has us, the adults, in the hot seat as we’re going to get critique and nobody, anywhere, likes being told where they’re slipping, still it’s essential to self-development and personal connection. I talk to Jackie about where we’re at in our relationship daily; why would the kids not be afforded that same level of respect and prioritization?
Our kids know these are real questions, and so we don’t want them sparing feelings or in any way thinking there is something wrong with critique; our children are the “customers” of our parenting product, so how can we improve if we don’t know where we’re failing?
Their direct and honest feedback showed how they saw our drinking habit.
Bottom Line Up Front: Jackie and I quit before real damage was done to their psyches.
The memories they have and complaints given were things we knew and worked on; there were a few uncomfortable points, primarily directed towards me, and I took it to the chest. My children were sharing the truth, and it was my actions, so I owned them while nothing terrible was shared; I have a high standard, so for the kids to say something like, “I’m glad you wake up earlier and with more energy” is a gut punch because it means I was showing the fatigue more than I thought.
What’s done is done;
While the conversation wasn’t the greatest to be a part of, we are all better off because of it, and it was crucial to better connection and understanding around the removal of booze. Our children showed us that they notice everything, and they take mental notes on those who do not live up to our family’s commitment to being our best selves – including those within the family unit itself.
When I first got sober, I was an insomniac for 3 days.
Literally, I could not sleep for 72 hours, I remember power napping when I could because I couldn’t sleep at night, so it sucked, but I pushed through. Now, I have dreams again, which I mentioned above, but nightmares are dreams too, and all of my nightmares center around not death or pain but drinking.
I have had a few nightmares over these past two years where I’ve drank at a party, with friends, with family, and I always wake up in a weird panic, and my head is spinning; it’s like my brain can replicate a hangover and buzz so when I wake up I do suffering a literal “Phantom Hangover“.
I’m sick to my stomach, I have that pit of “hangxiety” which comes with excess drinking, and my head is pounding/spinning, and on top of it all is the crippling guilt and shame…
Then, I slowly integrate back into reality, and the pain, fear, and chaos within all subside, and I’m left there in bed, thanking God that I am still sober.
These usually happen when I spend time thinking about where I came from, the “drinking days” and it’s as if my subconscious needs to kick my ass to ensure I remember what drinking used to do to me. The mind is a powerful thing, and my mind is working to keep me on the right path.
I’m going to trust it.
There’s no going back for me, ever.
To those who’ve been a part of the ride, I appreciate you and will continue to address this subject as topics arise and milestones are hit.
Stay well, and if you are struggling, tap into the shared resources or hit me on Twitter; I keep my DMs open for a reason.
– Zachary Small
PS: For those looking to add a 100% organic Pre-Workout into the mix to offset the fatigue of fatherhood, grab some from Epic Dad Co. >>HERE<< and use code ZACSMALL for 15% off.
- Fraternity of Excellence – This is my private men’s community dedicated to helping you become a better man, husband, father, and leader; FoE is a community that can help you improve your finances, relationships, physique and ultimately get you living the life you want to live.
- Consultation Call – Let’s work one-on-one for a half hour, a full hour, or through one of the bundle deals. This is where you and I work together to ensure you get an individualized program and game plan to get where you want to go.
- The SOBER Self (Private Telegram) – This is for those looking to have a sober private community where you can drop in, read others’ stories, see their milestones, and share a video or asks a question to people who “get it” because they’ve been there.
- Fatherhood for Modern Times – This course will evolve as I provide new videos on how fathers can best be prepared for parenting in 2023 and beyond. What worked in the 1990s doesn’t apply anymore.