I stopped drinking 5 months ago. Hold your applause.

There wasn’t a “drinking” reason for me to stop drinking when I did. And it wasn’t really difficult for me. I don’t announce this in a sobriety count kind of way. I don’t compare myself to those struggling with alcoholism. I simply think I need to mark the distance I’ve gone.

In May and June, I’d been in Nashville and parts east with my family and having a beer or glass of wine (or two) every day or so. And I’ve been going through some medical stuff. That’s prompted me to try to remove some less healthy things from my life. After a month of drinking with friends and family, I just stopped.

At first, I decided to go a month, then the summer, then 3 months, then 6 months. So here I am at the 5 month mark because of something I realized Wednesday night.

There were times when I missed it. Mostly, when I’ve been in one of my favorite Greek restaurants and seen a refrigerator of Mythos in the corner. Or when I go to BevMo to pick up some ginger beer and walk down the beer aisle and think, “that one looks cool.” I’ve always figured that around the 6 month mark I’d casually start drinking alcohol again. Just in time for Christmas, I figured.

Many times through these months, I’ve wondered why there needs to be a date of expiration on my sobriety. If I don’t really feel like I want a drink, then why bother? And then Wednesday night, I had this calm feeling that I’m okay not drinking and I’m happy to make ginger beer my substitute for alcohol. I didn’t experience an epiphany or anything significant. Just the humdrum okay-ness with not drinking. Like Brad Warner said in Hardcore Zen, “Eating a tangerine is real enlightenment.”

So is drinking a ginger beer. (Provided it’s a Bundaberg.)