My Sober Diary : Day 51 : Day 43

Schalk Neethling
4 min readDec 4, 2021
Photo by shay cohen on Unsplash

It’s been a while hasn’t it? 😁

I have not posted because honestly, I did not have much to say. Life has been good, nothing out of the ordinary. The days have been a mixed bag, but mostly positive.

Forty three days though?! That is quite something. This is not the longest I have been without alcohol, but it definitely is getting there. When I was in my early twenties I also quit alcohol for about three months I believe. Why did a start again? Again, to be honest, peer pressure.

The constant questioning from friends and acquaintances about why I quit. Going to pubs and restaurants where everyone was partaking in alcohol except me got to me in the end. My general social awkwardness also did not help and so, I took up the liquid courage again. Partly to feel more comfortable in social situations and partly to get everyone to shut up.

Neither of those are good reasons by the way. If you find yourself in this situation I would like to provide you with two suggestions.

  1. Those people asking questions and being judgemental. They are not your friends. They are hurt people with their own issues who desperately want you to join them in their misery. Remember the old saying, “misery loves company”.
  2. Instead of “treating” your social anxiety with alcohol, take a step back and learn something about yourself. What is the root of the anxiety? How can you face it, and grow? How can you rise above it? This, in the long term, is much healthier, cheaper, and more sustainable.

Thankfully I am at an age now where peer pressure is not a thing anymore. I have also grown enough personally to know that I need to do what is right for me, and the people I love. The rest can think and say whatever the heck they want. My happiness, and the happiness of my family is what is important. If someone tries to sabotage this, or is not supportive, it might just be time to move on.

Highways and byways

On the mental health front I am also doing much, much better. I know the fact that I have quit alcohol has a big role to play here. I am not naive though. The new medication that has been added by my psychiatrist has definitely played a large role in my general feeling of contentment.

I do have some work to do still. The highway to my amygdala is still open for business and maintained well but, I am starting to build a new highway. A highway that connects to my prefrontal cortex, my logical reasoning brain.

I have learned that when I am having a difficult day. A day where it feels like anxiety is going to swallow me whole. I should not be asking myself why? Why am I anxious? Where does this come from? Why me? Why now?

Instead, this is the time to sit still. Be quiet, and go inward. To tell the anxiety and fear, “I see you, and I know you very well.” You are not at the helm though. I am taking control. You can sit there, but I do not want to hear a peep out of you. I am safe. I am OK. I got this.

The longer I can sit with these emotions and not give in. The longer I do not let them control me and take over. The more decrepit the original highway becomes, the more expansive and better surfaced the new one becomes.

It is not easy, but I know it is achievable. With patience, self love, and a believe in the process, I know there is a brighter, less anxious future on the horizon for me.

If you find yourself in a dark place, and anxious place, a place where you feel like giving up. Do not give in to these emotions. Do not believe your thoughts. You can do this. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to those that love and depend on you. You owe it to all of us.

You are not alone. If it feels like to much, please, please reach out for help. The stigma around mental health and addiction is slowly but surely being broken down. Tell your story. Walk your path. Seize the day, make your life extraordinary. We all deserve happiness, to love, and to be loved.

“Be original. Be yourself. To be anything else is to be a coward. Don’t let the opinion of cowards influence what you think or do. The future depends on it.” (from “Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favours the Brave” by Ryan Holiday)

Stay strong, and be safe. Until next time. Namasté ✌️

They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” ~ The Greek poet, Dinos Christianopoulos



Schalk Neethling

I write about mental health, addiction, sober living, living your best life through an active lifestyle and a whole food plant-based diet. Psychedelic curios :)