CONGRATS to Kags on six months sober! Kags has been with me since the early days. She's got a new life, and a new puppy (see Dogs: A Sober Girl's Best Friend), and she rocks.
I don't regret many of the things I did in the drinking years.
For a start, a lot of it was - at the time - a great deal of fun. It was only the last two or three years that became dark.
I met some great people. I had some wonderful times. I got it all out of my system. Now I feel able to say "Been there. Done that. Time to move on."
I think - I hope - that I quit before I did too much damage. To myself, or to anyone else. I know that was in the post. Had I carried on the way I was I'd have a lot more mess to clear up now.
Plus, crucially, if I hadn't lived through the darkest of the drinking years, then I wouldn't be here now.
I would have totally skipped over the need to do any self analysis (I would have carried on assuming that only Americans did that kind of stuff!). I'd still be viewing the world, and myself, from my narrow little box.
BUT, what I have realised is that it's not the things you do that you regret, it's the things you didn't do.
And this is the one that punches me in the stomach on a regular basis. I never, ever considered the missed opportunities while I was drinking, but now they haunt me.
What might I have done with my life if I hadn't lived so much of it anaesthetised?
I loved my years at University. But one moment still bugs me. It was the end of my first year. I had Part One exams coming up. I was loitering in the quad, probably with a cigarette in one hand (I was always smoking in those days), and plastic cup in the other (ditto, dinking).
A couple of my fellow students turned to me and said "Hey SM, it's all kicking off in Berlin. They're tearing the wall down - piece by piece. We've found cheap tickets and we're going to join in. You coming?"
I was tempted, but I was broke. I had work to do. I said no. I missed the chance to take part in a seminal moment of history.
I swore after that day, when I watched the television footage of the people destroying that hated monument, that I would never again fail to seize the day. And yet I've done it over and over and over again.
The days just slipped though my fingers like gains of sand.
When you're drinking, you don't realise that you're missing all the opportunities, because it's usually not big things you're turning down, they don't even come knocking. The issue is the endless procrastination.
It's the myriad of small things that you put off doing today in favour of having a drink instead. They wake you up again in the night, taunting you, but by the next day it's so easy to delay again.
Then, one day, you realise that all those little things put off have added up to whole years of life wasted. Procrastination really is the thief of time.
Here's a quote from Wayne Dyer: Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases, and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.
So, as of yesterday all the children are back at school - yay! No more excuses.
Every day I am going to write a list of things I have to get done. The List will include some easy stuff (like planning and preparing the meals for the day), some horrible, annoying stuff (like paying some bills), some BIG stuff (like editing the first 3 chapters of the novel), and something for someone else (like sending a present to a friend who's unwell).
By the end of my first year sober I really want to get a publishing contract, I want to have #1's bedroom re-decorated and the cellar cleared, and I want to have helped #2 get up to speed with his school work.
Then who knows what I can do with Year 2......
I'll leave you with a Craig Brown (the Private Eye satirist, not the footballer) quote:
There's nothing wrong with procrastination. Or is there? I'll leave it to you to decide, but only if you have time...