This feels big! And important! Where is my Hollywood perfect celebration with confetti, cake and a silly skit?
I’ve been looking forward to this day, the little voice in my head cheering me along as it drew closer saying, “YAY! You graduate on Day 28! You will be cured! It will be easy from here on out.”
Let me be clear, I did not go to an inpatient program. I’ve been on my own 28 day journey, listening to TNM or The Alcohol Experiment daily and writing in my journal. I’ve also been communicating here and in other online groups. Each day I learn something new and discover more about what drinking wine every night did to me and how I can change my life – for the better – SO much better!
So there’s no physical gathering of people cheering me as I walk out the door into my new alcohol free life. Today is really just another day. I’m headed to church where I’ll sing my heart out and prayerfully thank God for protecting me during my years of secret drinking.
No, there’s no celebration of my healing, but that’s Ok because the reality is I didn’t need to be “cured”. I was not, and am not sick! I did not have a disease. I am not broken. I was hooked to a highly addictive liquid poison that for some reason society glorifies and encourages people to ingest!
Do you know why most rehab programs are 28 days? Not because that’s the perfect amount of time to break the cycle, it’s because that’s what the insurance industry agreed to pay for, many years ago! It was an arbitrary number. Picture a 1960’s insurance company conference room, a table filled with men smoking cigarettes, discussing how much rehab time they should cover for alcoholics. I know you can see it!
“Four weeks, 28 days, that should be enough” “I could never go 4 weeks without a drink!” “or a cigarette!” Haha! “Let’s approve four weeks.”
While 28 Days may have been chosen as an arbitrary number, I can see the value in it. During a four week timeframe, we are likely to bump into one of the many Hallmark Holidays or Religious Days we all gather to celebrate during the year with food, family, friends and booze! There’s likely to be an important sporting event that we attend, or watch from our couch, where we are bombarded with cat calls from the Beer Man or multi-million dollar beer commercials celebrated the next morning on the TV Tabloids posing as news. We are also likely to have had a few difficult days at work, as well as days where the 24Hour News Cycle was filled with heavy stories that make us want to move to a mountain cabin forever.
Over the course of four weeks we’ve likely had a disagreement with a partner, or nursed a sick child or elderly parent. What I’m trying to say is that during those 28 days we’ve lived life. We’ve faced the triggers that led many of us to drink in the first place and we’ve handled them much better sober than we ever did with a hangover. We’ve seen that we can celebrate and have fun without a drink, discovering along the way that it’s actually more fun without the fog.
So while no cake and confetti greets me as I walk out my front door this morning, I celebrate inside. My head is clear, the air is crisp, my heart is light and I’m already 8 hours into day 29.
Let’s hear if for Day29! Maybe I should throw a party.