How long does it take to become successful? Ten years, twenty years, a lifetime? I have not had a drink of alcohol in over 28 years. Many would say I am a successfully recovered alcoholic. The truth is that I am one drink away from failing. I will know if I succeeded at the end of my life. My goal, by the way, is 70 years of sobriety. I live with my alcoholism the way I live with my success, vigilantly on a daily basis. I take neither for granted and I understand that I have had some success in both areas, but I won’t know the final outcome until the day I die.