I’m on the Wagon for #14Days
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I’m on the Wagon for #14Days


Yesterday marked day one of the #14days on the wagon challenge presented by CBSNews.com. It’s led by a young and beautiful reporter, Parvati Shallow, who acts as a tour guide into a sobriety flash mob of sorts. In her video about the cause, Shallow asks people to join her in putting down the bottle for two weeks in an effort to create awareness about addiction and show support for people in recovery (although it should be noted that she doesn’t say anything about not smoking weed so boom—there’s your loophole).

Of course, I am thrilled about this campaign—as I would be with anything that supports addiction recovery—but as an alcoholic who has been on the roller coaster of sobriety for nearly 11 years, it’s a little tough to watch the fresh-faced and clear-eyed Shallow look into the camera and say that by cutting alcohol out of her life for the next 14 days, she—and everyone who follows suit—will experience “the real effects of healthier living” and “feel a little bit of what life is like for those on the path to recovery.” Ugh.

I know she means well—and truthfully, the inaccuracy of that statement shouldn’t matter at all—but it bothers me. My alcoholic ego (which is we all know is not my amigo) wants to stop her right there and say, “Actually, Parvati—may I call you Parvati?—two weeks without booze doesn’t begin to teach you what it means to be in recovery. If you are a not an alcoholic, at best it might teach you what it mans to be inconvenienced. If you are a problem drinker, it might teach you what it means to be restless and irritable—but let’s face it—a problem drinker won’t likely be able to stay on the wagon for 14 days, unless they are trying to prove something.”

And that’s the real issue with #14Days; it’s simply not enough time to prove anything to anyone. At the height of my drinking I am sure I could have gone two weeks without a drink if the purpose was to show people I didn’t have a problem. I was willing to go to any length to protect my drinking and my ego.

Now that I’ve got the negative Nancys out, I would like to commend such a corporate and mainstream outfit as CBSNews.com for launching this awareness campaign (although if I had been on the marketing team I might have suggested something closer to the ice bucket challenge). I would also like to express my gratitude to the influential cast of people who got on board—like the ever-amazing Dr. Drew, self-help author Gabrielle Bernstein, Yogi Nikki Meyers, The Daily Love’s Mastin Kipp, Nick Ortner (CEO of The Tapping Solution) and Tommy Rosen of Recovery 2.0all of whom are accomplished figures in their respective fields and join to invite their following to hop on the wagon with us.

Rosen offers some tips to drinkers who decide to take the challenge—like watch your caffeine and sugar intake. (It’s fantastic advice but I have yet to meet someone who gave up booze and didn’t double up on coffee and cake.)

Shallow encourages people to get involved and to tweet and Instagram quips and photos of their experience with the hashtag #14Days. Let’s hope she’s not inviting a group of people in alcohol withdrawal to basically have tweet Tourettes at CBSNews.com’s expense. Back in the day, I would have posted photos of me drinking water and giving her the middle finger. OMG, thank God I am sober.

So while it might be second nature for me at this point to be to not pick up a drink for the next 14 days, I still think it’s important to make myself a part of it—to sign the proverbial petition, if you will, and make a sign showing that I am an advocate and a participant of #14Days and tweet it to world. Won’t you join me?

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.