I’ve been holding off on posting anything alcohol-related, waiting for something worth saying about it, and here it is: 184 days.

The story of stopping began earlier this year (check out the Booze tag). Lots of those first posts were foundation stones; some laid carefully, placed with precision, some just tipped out and left where they landed. There’s a bit of biography, a fair bit of working through ideas about process and motivation. I spent a month or so writing my way out of something and into something. Finding myself inhabiting a different kind of mindset, kind of one I always had in mind but maybe didn’t feel set on, was where a need to write about it all so much fell away.

Perhaps my motivations altered.

“…distressing memories succumb especially easily to motivated forgetting”

– Freud

There have been a lot of associations with drinking bubbling up. I have been intending to document them (a richly-stocked draft folder attests)… but it all felt a bit too personal. As the above quotation suggests, it’s quite easy to ignore “that stuff”, seal closed a door and move on. That stuff beyond the symptoms (a constant sense of inability; feeling bloated in a vast, round number of ways; impoverishment (same); self-negation…)

While I have got on pretty well with being a sober person – lots of exercise, and diary, and making music, and reading a lot, and leaving my old job, and all that stuff – what all that clear-eyed thinkery reveals also is that, even with the dampers off, one’s head still works in certain ways, and that one of the reasons for applying the dampers is because those ways of working can be pretty fucking annoying.

Stopping seemed easy because I was ready to do so. Talking about the things that had me doing it in the first place… the walled-in rooms, the crumbled ruins discovered beneath the lake, are where the interesting stories are, of course.

Today, though! Strike up the anniversary waltz. It’s officially just over six months since I stopped drinking alcoholic drinks. Halfway to my target of a year off drinking, feeling good about it, break out the cake.

“Anniversaries”, though. As discussed in one of those early pieces, how to signify short-term dates of significance is unclear. Checking back through the booze tag from earlier in the year, I think a week was pebbles. Rocks tend to appear later in the anniversary stakes. Six months being a semiannual return, it’s better than pebbles. Something concrete, perhaps?

There’s a lot of valuable writing about drinking, and not drinking. Today I discovered soberpunks, which had a lot of resonance for me, geographically, musically, ethically… and with regard to alcohol, of course.

Tip 3 on an early post of theirs – 7 tips to quit the booze – is to ‘Read and read and read’.

They recommend a book that actually I picked up in a library sale last year, Kick the drink… easily! by Jason Vale. I had decided to not drink about two months before that, so it was a sort of synchronicitous find. It’s maybe a bit overlong, but I entertained myself by having Jason Statham do the narration in my head as I read, so that was fun. There’s a lot I agreed with in it, and I agree it’s definitely worth a look.

Also, reading stuff that’s nothing to do with drinking is a mighty strong idea. I would like to commend to you  The Shatner Chatner if you don’t know about it. Daniel Mallory Ortberg is a total genius. Halfway through “You There! Swordsmith! Can We Count On You?”, when it got to the band of companions… reader, I near bust a girdleband.