Four Years

On my fourth year of sober, my buddy gave to me a tail pulling monnnkey.


I’m sorry if I got a Christmas song stuck in your head. Welcome to my world! I love the monkey in this clip. I relate to the dog. I want to borrow a monkey like this, but only for about a week so I can remember (and maybe buy it shoes and ice cream cones). I had a mischievous monkey for a long time and it never occurred to me that I could give it back, though it had long ago ceased being fun.

It has been 1,464 days since my last drink. I still remember June 2011 like it was yesterday or a decade ago. I still remember sitting in a hard folding chair and listening to a put-together woman talk about how sober life was better than anything she could have imagined. It wasn’t just her clothes or makeup that convinced, but maybe more the steady calm she radiated. I knew she couldn’t have it all figured out, but this didn’t seem to bother her.

This is my secret to happiness: learning to love what I already have. And I don’t just mean the warm and fuzzy, hallmark moments where I cross the finish line in personal best but also the high hilly part where a startled skunk waddles across the road. If I’d told myself that four years ago, my monkey and me might have picked up a folding chair and started swinging. The thought of it makes me smile.

Thank you to everyone who still reads and for your kind words over the years. I am eternally grateful for sobriety and the beautiful community that helped me and so many others get there. And if you’re starting out and struggling? Hang in there. The view is totally worth it.

23 thoughts on “Four Years

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  1. Happy Anniversary! I just love you. I’m not blogging as much, or reading as much, but my love for you runs deep. You are one of my early followers and somehow that never leaves my mind. I have watched you grow, grow, grow, and grow. I see you helping countless others with your eloquent words. You find life in the smallest of details and you see beauty in the biggest of messes. You are an amazing writer,a beautiful woman. You wear your journey well. Blessings for a beautiful day. Lisa Neumann

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations Kristen!
    4 years is amazing..i know, having just passed it myself
    But then every moment without that damned monkey on our backs, in our heads, chasing us down the road…is better that we could have imagined, no?
    So happy for you and all of us that you are here!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Congrats Kristen! Just passed 2 years myself and loving life more than I expected. Learning to love what I already have is great advise. You cannot be disappointed if you live that way. Keep writing Kristen. Love your blog! Trish

    Liked by 1 person

  4. congratulations on your four years! I still have fond memories of your octopus – what with that and the monkey you have quite the menagerie going, there. enjoy the whole zooful of ’em and keep that smile on your face, too. you’ve earnt it and it is always wonderful to hear from you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Way to go. Very happy for you.
    I accidentally swigged from a bottle of Bud Lime the other day, thinking it was my non-alc drink. I spit it out like there was a wasp in it. Or poison. Which makes me reassess my notions of fear, sobriety and crazy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I would have done the same thing. Poison may not be the exact word, but I was dying inside and feeling that way physically some days, and I’m not anymore. Plus all that sober time and then having to grapple with an accidental swig and swallow? Some fear is healthy. I’m proud of you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congratulations on the Big Four!!! Some really amazing people got sober four years ago. 😉 ( i I still have about 75 days to go but I’m confident I’ll make it.

    Thank you for reinforcing my own thoughts that I had yesterday. I had to remind myself to keep being grateful, to quit wrinkling my nose and cussing at those skunks crossing my road and instead be grateful that I am still on the road.

    Love and adore you!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You know what’s the kicker in that monkey video? How the dog let its guard down immediately after its half-hearted attempt to catch the monkey, and so the monkey swung right back in and grabbed the dog’s leg, like “haha sucker!”
    Those monkeys are cute, but man you can’t ever forget what they’re capable of.
    Whoever sent you that monnnnnnkey video must really really REALLY love you, even if she doesn’t remind you of it enough lately. Like that Jim Croce song, “So I’ll have to say I love you, with a monkey…”
    So glad to be sober with you, congrats on FOUR! years. 🙂


    1. Likewise my friend. Cannot believe it’s been four years (nearly) since we met. Time flies. And I believe the dog was licking his wounds when the monkey struck again. And I still find the monkey cute. Everything I needed to know about drinking was in a gif 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It really wasn’t hard though. It isn’t now, I mean. It feels like the easiest hardest thing I ever did. It feels like I got away with something. Anyway, thank you.


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