I Haven’t Had A Hangover In Five Years

yayformoiLast Friday marked five whole years since I stopped drinking.

I guess that’s kind-of a big deal. It was also the first year I decided not to send out my yearly family-friends-and-just-about-everyone-I-know massive group email with the, er, update.

The “Hey I’ve Been Sober For Another Year” email was my version of the annual xmas letter, where I’d detail how grateful I was to have quit drinking, how everyone receiving the email had helped me do that, and general updates on how my year was. Snooze? Maybe. I think that’s why I didn’t do it anyway.

Er, actually, now that I’m really starting to think about it, there are other reasons. One might be that one of my cousins is really losing his battle with addiction. As in, he’s only 17 years old and has been kicked out of two schools, spent time in Juvenille Detention, stolen my late-grandmother’s car, and, most recently, stolen some of the jewelry my grandma willed to my sisters and I, as well as his mother’s wedding ring.

To fund, of course, his disease.

It’s confusing and heartbreaking. I want to help, but just as every good-intentioned person who feels the same, including his loving parents, I learned the hard way that you just cannot make a person with addiction better.

Any self-realized co-dependent eventually learns this. And it’s fucking frustrating as hell.

But I think what’s even more frustrating is trying to explain this to people who haven’t dealt with it. And some people, understandably, never get it. My grandmother was one.

“If you could just talk to him.”

“But what have his parents done? Have they done enough?

It is sad, but fruitless, and just one of the many, many crazy things about this particular disease.

So, I guess I just didn’t feel like celebrating this year. My life has become so normal (and fun, and exciting, and better than ever) without alcohol. And, even though many AA groups recognize and give applause and sometimes little coins that say “5 Years”, etc…it really is about the day, and not about how much time you’ve racked up.

I hope my cousin finds a safe place for himself, and his suffering finds an end as soon as possible, and that he has a chance to experience something like the life I get to see now.


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5 Responses to “I Haven’t Had A Hangover In Five Years”

  1. Miss Lis Says:


    Aside from a nagging addiction to niccotine, I have never struggled with addiction, but have several friends and relatives who have, and in some cases, continue to. I too hope your cousin finds his way, it’s a tough road ahead but well worth the journey.

    All the best for your next clear headed year!

  2. Joy Says:

    Felicitations, Holden.

  3. Man Alive Says:

    Outstanding achievement!

    I have just over 3 years myself and every day is a new gift: no booze, no hangover, no regret.

    Congratulations and happy 24 hours.

    Man Alive

  4. Miguel Says:

    You are a star. Kristen.


  5. Nancy Says:

    We often say we have 2 Dads: Sober Dad and Drunk Dad. And I often thought I have 2 Big Sisters: Sober Sis and Drunk Sis. While the first still holds true (probably due to length of addiction) I do have to tell you that I am sincerely proud of you and that “Drunk Sis” is a dark dark shadow wayyyyyy in the back of my head. I takes awhile to stir up memories and bring her back to life. Don’t worry she is happy being in the back of the bus. I no longer have to look at my phone and think “ehnnn should I answer?” Among many other things I no longer have to do there are MANY that I love to do with Sober Sis! Like Sell Seashells and Lemonade (oh wait oops! no baby shampoo and lotion:)
    I just thought it was weird to think wow 5 years – I have been stuck on telling everyone 3. Of course maybe that is me just wishing I was younger. But Congratulations! I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
    Nancy (your younger sis forever and always)

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