Tom from Chicago - on sticking with my plan

Day 271, or 9 months and 1 day. Conflicted feelings about writing a post for 271 days, but thanks if you choose to read it, as it’s a bit long. This is a very special milestone for me & likely bigger than my year will be. It’s officially the longest I’ve abstained from alcohol consecutively since age 16. But unlike all my other periods of not drinking, it’s the first time I’m committed to long term (forever) sobriety.

About 16 years ago, I ran the Chicago marathon. I trained hard for exactly 9 months and was physically and mentally prepared for the challenge. I quit drinking for exactly 270 days. I had a solid and well thought out training plan, which I followed daily. On race day, carried by the adrenaline of 45,000 runners and a million fans lining the streets, I set out. I ran the first several miles way faster than I had planned, and I felt incredible - and quite overconfident. At mile 8, I was on pace to run so much faster than any training run I had done prior. But by mile 15, the feelings of doubt and exhaustion started, and at mile 20, I sprained a tendon in my right leg so badly that I slowed to a hobble. I ran too fast and was injured & spent, even though I had easily run 20+ miles several times already in my training. I limped along the last 6 miles to the finish, and I felt defeated. I felt like I lost. I felt like I failed myself and my plan. I finished way more than an hour slower than the pace that I had prepared for in training, and badly injured.

My other goal at that time was also to learn how to “moderate” my drinking by using the race and training as a springboard. I drank a 12 pack of beer and a bottle of wine or more that very night of the race - something ONLY an alcoholic does after not drinking for 9 months to train for a marathon. Boy did I feel like shit the next few days. And I justified the drinking in my head as a result of my feeling of failure in the race - a predictable pattern & outcome for me. My plan had been to ‘reset’ my alcoholism after 9 months, and be a normal drinker. So I failed myself twice in one day. And I drank almost every night since until my forever quit last November 29th, 16 years later.

At 271 days sober, and drawing on this experience, I need to constantly remember that having a plan is not enough for me. I need to execute the plan every single day; exactly as I have done every day thus far.

This sobriety journey has had some very high highs and some very low lows, but I’ve stuck with my plan so far, & I am proud of that. Lately I have had to dig deep in the tool box, like maybe I’m ahead of my pace again. I need to slow down and take it day by day. Because this journey isn’t a sprint. It’s not even a marathon. And there is no finish line. It’s a daily training run - nothing more or less. And the last 9 months mean nothing to me, unless I stick with my plan today. :grinning:


Congratulations, Tom. It is such a pleasure to read your posts and watch your huge growth through these last nine months. Thank you for all you give of yourself in our little family here.


Congrats Tom! You have been doing some outstanding work! Any plans on treating your self? Perhaps some cherry cheese pie? :blush:

1 Like

Thanks for sharing this Tom :pray: such an inspirational read indeed. Reading this has helped me today, as I’m sure it will others! Thank you and we’ll done on your 271 days! Many, many more to come :blush:


You kick ass Tom!! Congratulations on your nine months and a day. I’m truly happy to see you keeping at it and improving. You always have great things to read!
Could have possibly been the milestone that has had you digging deep lately, but thankfully you’ve got that toolbox filled up. As a mechanic I know there’s always more tools out there to get the job done so don’t ever stop adding tools to your toolbox buddy!!


That was a pleasure to read. Thank you for taking the time to let us in on this particular aspect to this milestone.
Thank you for being you!

1 Like

Loved reading this post… You are very inspirational Tom, I’m really happy you shared this


Way to go brother! You’ve made your way through a lot. It’s been a real blessing being able to share this with you. And now, this time, you keep on going to what’s beyond, how exciting is that?

Some very good reflections here. Here’s to pacing yourself, keeping on the plan, and executing it daily! :smiley:


“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven”
Well done on the determination to get to the finish line, also well done on changing the race my friend. Good luck and continued success on this path T.


Congratulations Tom! I really like you metaphore about running a marathon and being sober :heart:


Tom, you are truly awesome. It’s been a real honour being allowed to share your journey with you my friend. For realz bud.:grinning:


I love this metaphor, your such an inspiration friend :blush: (and just so you know hobbling over the finish line sounds like a massive win in my book, I dont even have the guts to dream about doing a marathon)


Man, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being a part of your journey and look forward to continuing. When your home flooded you could have done the same thing you did following that marathon, but you didn’t. A LOT of people would have. You are strong and determined my friend. An inspiration to me and to many others.

I too have declared this journey “forever”. I know it’s not for everyone to look that far or even think about it, but that fact has saved my ass and my life more times than I can count. Without knowing that this is forever I wouldn’t have the strength, serenity, acceptance or courage to fight this battle everyday. It also wouldn’t be as “easy(ish)” as it is. By no means is it actually easy, but it’s much easier knowing that all I have to do is fight through today (if today is bad, which doesn’t happen very often anymore as far as sobriety and recovery goes) and tomorrow I will still be killing it.

Congrats on your 9 months +2 now!


Hey Tom,
Wow, had it been 9 months (and a day) already?!!? It’s not coincidence that I read your post first thing after a training run this morning!

That’s how sobriety is, you pick 'em up and lay 'em down until it’s bedtime, and that’s another day towards forever. The thing is, on my run today I could have focused on how chilly it is and how stiff my legs are feeling and how I’m not familiar with part of the course and how much work I have yet to do today. Or I could see the glory in the fog rising off the river while an egret fishes for breakfast, and the welcome feel of my legs warming up and loosening, and the smiles on the faces of the joggers and bicyclists and the roller bladers. Watching the sun come up fully into the sky. And having no hangover and no obsessive thoughts about how to drink enough today.

Thank you, brother. It’s a pleasure and an honor to watch a fella get sober.


Tom, you inspire me. Thank you for sharing this. I love following your journey. :tulip:


Tom!!! I love this post so much. You are amazing, my friend. For me, things started to get real after I passed my previous longest length (for me, it was 37 days). And like you, that was just meant as a “reset” with the intention of moderating after. Once I passed that, it felt like I was in uncharted territory - like I had no idea what was going to happen next. It was scary, but now that feeling is amazing - we have no idea what will happen next! But if we stick to the plan and just don’t drink TODAY and keep putting one foot in front of the other, we will be sober and things will be ok.
Keep doing what you are doing, Tom, it clearly is working!
Thanks for being sober and being here and sharing your journey!

7 Likes @MoCatt @Dejavu @emc2018 @Jante76 @sprinkles @Lionfish @ifs @funnydad @SoberWalker
I guess I can only tag 10 at a time? Never knew that!

Thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. I am starting to believe in this HP thing. And I’m starting to believe that my own personal HP is the collective wisdom, support, and love of this group. You guys, and all the other folks on TS, are amazing and I wish I could meet each and every one of you in person. Have a great day everyone!


@anon12657779 @Frantasticooo @Meggers @SinceIAwoke @Rose14 @aircircle @anon30771928

see above lol…


Congratulations Tom and very inspirational, well done :blush::ok_hand:

1 Like


1 Like