Today, October 10th, marks two years that I’ve been sober. A milestone, to be sure, but I don’t always view my sobriety as a source of pride. Although it grows smaller by the day, there is still a part of me that’s ashamed by the fact that I decided to quit drinking; a voice that tells me it’s a character flaw or an indication that I cannot successfully manage a life in which I drink. As time has passed and I’ve become more accepting of my own struggles, I’ve grown to recognize that my own relationship with alcohol is not isolated to a story of addiction but part of a larger battle with anxiety and depression. And while I’ve fought these battles for most of my life, I’ve felt alone in those attempts until only recently. The associated shame and guilt that I carried on a daily basis could feel impossible to overcome at times, and it’s not hard for me to understand the thoughts of those who become hopeless in a state of desperation. I have lost friends and family to suicide, some very recently. There is frequently a stigma associated with mental illness, addiction and suicide and we can too often project a moral judgment on those who are suffering. The hardest thing for me has always been the desire to be truly seen by others; to find people who can relate to what I have been through and continue to go through on a daily basis; to understand that I am not alone. It has been difficult for me to overcome both the stigma that surrounds these struggles and my own fear of what those that I care about most will think of me as a result of them. However, I have found comfort and gained a deeper understanding of my own journey through the experiences of others, and want to share my story of why I quit drinking in the hopes that it may provide similar comfort and understanding to others.