João Franco has reached a milestone in his sobriety journey.
The Below Deck Mediterranean star, 29, revealed Tuesday on Instagram that he has gone nearly three months without alcohol — marking the occasion with a smiling selfie.
"Not waking up a single day in almost 3 months with a hangover has been AWESOME!" he captioned the photo, taken from his home in South Africa. "Why do we do it??"
He went on to admit that the experience hasn't been easy. "I have been in near impossible situations where I thought I'd crack but nada!" he said.
The hardest part has been the separation from his fiancée Michelle Dicu, who is social distancing "miles away" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We'll get through it though! I hope all those separated from their loved ones realize that it's hard to be apart but it is temporary and would be harder to not have each other at all," Franco said, adding that the two are still in close contact. "We play backgammon and do yoga together online! She kicks my a– at both! (I let her)."
As for his sobriety, he's kept on track by focusing on other things, like his fitness and diet. "It's harder than not drinking, I tell you!!!" he said, shouting out his trainer.
And for the money he's saving on booze? Franco put that towards a good cause.
"I decided to build a car with the amount I think I would have saved in not drinking as a test and for something to keep my mind occupied," he said.
Franco first announced on Feb. 29 that he decided to give up drinking ahead of his 30th birthday, writing on Instagram that he was "done" partying.
In an emotional post, he said he came to the decision after a streak of celebrations with family led to a hangover that "lasted 3 days."
"Demons… Alcohol," Franco wrote. "I've decided I hate this feeling! I seriously hate it! I should be the happiest I have ever been, and yet I feel insecure, questioning my purpose, or more so, what I'm doing with my time that is important and how much of my time on this earth I am spending on unimportant things."
The yachtie also admitted that he has "no off switch" when it comes to drinking and "no way of controlling" himself.
"I'm literally a steam train firing at full taps on both cylinders and on the verge of derailing!" he said.
A day later, in a post on March 1, Franco opened up further, explaining that he had long been aware of examples that his alcohol intake was a problem but chose to ignore them.
"I have certainly been given my fair share of signs," he wrote. "They come to me in different ways. Some are a blatant smack in my face, like getting in trouble with the law or waking up with torn clothes, blood and gashes all over my body, some blood stains not my own. Broken knuckles and no idea of how it happened. Or watching my actions on a TV show, knowing very well that I would have handled situations very differently if I was sober."
One wake-up call was when Sandy Yawn — his captain on Below Deck Mediterranean — got candid with him about why she decided to quit alcohol herself, while pointing out that he had "so much potential to be great."
But even after that, Franco would fall back into his bad habits, he said.
"I go through waves," he said. "I reflect and calm down for a few months and then something gets me on the road to inevitable doom again. I SOMEHOW miss a date with the devil and come back to my senses, all to start the process again."
Now, Franco seems determined to make a change.
"There is only one thing that I have had the power to control and have failed in most cases to do so and have still been lucky enough to tell the tales of my misfortunes and near misses afterwards," he wrote in a post on March 2. "I am so thankful that nothing has been tragically irreversible. But one day it will be. So, I cut out what is pulling me down. Alcohol."
"Alcohol is THE ONLY thing that makes me lose faith in myself and question my actions," he added. "I hope to change lives as I change my own. Not through telling people it can be done but showing them. Maybe save a life or two. Maybe hundreds! This is at least one of the reasons I believe I'm still here. And it's certainly a reason worth living!"
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
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