UFC 272: A Dry Affair

The tension in the living room was palpable as UFC 272 played on the large flat-screen TV. My brother and I sat on the edge of our seats, the familiar ritual now missing a key component – alcohol. It was the first time we’d ever watched a fight together without the comforting presence of at least three six-packs in the fridge, and I could feel the anxiety coursing through my veins. As we ordered the PPV and took our positions, an awkward silence hung in the air. For the past 15 years, any reason was a good reason to have a drink with my brother. But tonight was different. I had made a promise to myself – and to him – that I would not drink. And he, ever supportive, chose to abstain as well, even though he didn’t share my struggle with alcohol. The first few fights of the night were a blur as I battled the voices in my head, urging me to just have one beer, to revel in the familiar buzz and camaraderie it brought. Instead, I clenched my fist, puffing on my weed pen and sipping my Pepsi, trying to focus on the screen. When the main event, Jorge Masvidal vs. Colby Covington, finally arrived, something in me shifted. As the two fighters exchanged blows, the adrenaline surged through me, and I found myself yelling at the TV, just as I had so many times before. “Come on, Masvidal! You’ve got this!” I bellowed, my voice booming through the room. My brother joined in support of Covington, our shouts melding together as we cheered and jeered, the tension between us dissipating as the fight raged on. At that moment, I realized that I didn’t need alcohol to have a good time – I simply needed to be present, embrace the intensity of the fight, and share the experience with my brother. As the final bell sounded and we snapped a photo of ourselves wearing V For Vendetta masks, I couldn’t help but feel like I had entered a new level in my journey. I had made it through the night without a drop of alcohol, and not only had I survived, but I had enjoyed myself. The night came to an end, and I headed home with a stronger sense of hope. I knew that the road to long-term sobriety wouldn’t be easy, but having conquered this challenge, I was more determined than ever to face the next one. “I’m not drinking today, or tomorrow”, I whispered to myself as I climbed into bed. And for the first time in a long time, I truly believed it.

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