I’m a lawyer and teacher from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, running, and more.

Ironically, it was also the only way I knew to relax.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Mubariz Mehdizadeh on Unsplash

One of the ways I used to justify my addiction to alcohol was by telling myself I needed it to relax. When I got home each evening, nothing felt better than unwinding with a six pack (or two).

Generally speaking, I was an incredibly stressed and anxious person. For years, I truly believed that the only way I could ever feel relaxed was by getting drunk.

Ironically though, alcohol was actually the source of most of my stress. I thought it was the cure, when it had really been the cause all along.

How Alcohol Caused My Stress

Most of the stress that I experienced was an indirect result of alcohol. Since I was drinking so much and so often, I had developed a strong physical dependence on alcohol. There’s no doubt that I was addicted, and that addiction had stretched on for years. …

Quitting drinking helped me achieve my goals, but the connection isn’t always straightforward.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash

Yesterday, I hit one of my major running goals for the year: running a combined 1,000 miles. It’s an achievement that I’ve been considering for a few years, but didn’t attempt until this one. I’m thrilled to have followed through and actually reached it.

1,000 miles is also a goal that I don’t think I could have possibly achieved five years ago. Back then, I was in the midst of a severe dependence on alcohol, getting drunk daily. Although I occasionally ran, I had no consistency whatsoever. …

Above all else, achieving this goal required consistency.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Laurine Bailly on Unsplash

Today, I achieved a goal I had been steadily working on since January: running 1,000 miles in a single calendar year.

Although I’ve been running on-and-off for years, I was never good at staying consistent with it. I would often run 20 or 30 miles a week for a few months, only to go the next few months without a single run at all. My long-term running progress wasn’t great because I was so frequently starting over.

This year, I made a commitment to stick with running no matter what. …

My attempts to moderate my drinking never seemed to go as planned.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Michał Mancewicz on Unsplash

I was an excessive, daily drinker for over ten years, and nearly the entire time was punctuated with failed attempts to cut back.

I knew I was drinking too much, but I had no interest in getting sober. My goal was to transform into what I thought of as a normal drinker. I wanted to learn the ability to drink in moderation, indulging occasionally without letting alcohol control my life.

The trouble was that no matter how hard I tried to reduce my drinking, the changes never lasted long. …

Why quitting alcohol was one of the greatest life changes I ever made.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

When I think of the most impactful decisions I’ve ever made, quitting drinking tops the list. Getting sober has improved my life more than I ever expected, and I’m forever grateful that I made this important change.

I knew that quitting drinking would help save me money, improve my health, and remove a significant distraction from my day. What I didn’t see coming was that it would lay the foundation for many additional life changes.

For example, I quit smoking about fourteen months ago, which makes this the longest I’ve gone without nicotine since I was a kid. I never could have done this when I was still drinking. …

My honest thoughts after two years of membership.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

One of the first things that new Medium readers probably notice is that tons of the articles on this site are behind a paywall. You get access to three freebies a month, but beyond that, you need a paid membership to access them.

The paid membership is priced fairly low, at $5 per month or $50 per year. Despite that, a lot of new readers are reluctant to pay the fee.

When I first came to Medium, I was hesitant myself. …

Getting sober opened many more doors than it closed.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

It’s hard to make the decision to get sober, no matter how bad your addiction is. After years of drinking daily and watching alcohol start to ruin my life, I knew that I had a drinking problem. Despite that, I still felt reluctant to quit.

I expected sobriety to impose a massive and burdensome limitation on me. I’d not only be giving up my daily drinking, but I’d be giving up all of the roles that alcohol played in my life: my method of relaxing, my social lubricant, and my emotional crutch.

I thought of sobriety strictly in terms of what I couldn’t do. Sobriety would be a self-imposed restriction. …

The importance of getting outside your head.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

I’m the type of person who spends too much time inside my head. When something goes wrong or bothers me, I tend to dwell on it for hours, if not days.

I often find myself caught in thought loops, thinking about the same problems again and again. I’ll debate with myself and worry, but I won’t get any closer to actually solving the issue that I’m thinking about.

In fact, instead of solving my problems, I have a way of talking myself into making them even worse.

When I was trying to quit smoking last year, I’d think about how to resist my cravings for days on end. Dwelling on the cravings just made them even worse. I’d debate with myself over whether to buy a pack of cigarettes constantly until I finally gave in. I went back to smoking many times before finally quitting the habit for good. …

I thought I couldn’t function without alcohol, but I was just out of practice.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

When I quit drinking, I found my new sober life far more difficult than I had anticipated.

I don’t just mean the withdrawal symptoms. They were hard, but expected. I had tried to quit before and was well aware of what symptoms to expect.

What I was most surprised by was how difficult sobriety continued to be even after I was past this acute withdrawal phase. My entire first year of sobriety was rough, with a few small exceptions like my time in the “pink cloud.”

What made the first year so hard was that I had to constantly relearn how to do things now that I was sober. As an alcoholic, I had relied on drinking to get through all kinds of problems in life. …

Running is about much more than just fitness.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Marc Rafanell López on Unsplash

With Thanksgiving approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m grateful for this year. Running certainly ranks near the top of my list.

In a year that’s been quite rough, both globally and personally, running has gone a long way in keeping me grounded. Like many runners, I rely on the hobby for a lot more than just physical fitness. It is truly at the core of my mental health maintenance.

Running From Depression

I was first diagnosed with depression in high school, and I’ve experienced frequent depressive episodes ever since. …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store