When I first shared about getting sober, Danielle, kindly reached out to me and offered support. She offered advice of what had worked for her. Checked in with me. She let me know the struggles I had been feeling were all normal. I have been blown away with the kindness and support I have received. The sober community has welcomed me with open arms.
I am inspired by others sobriety and their strength. I asked Danielle if she would be interested in sharing her story of sobriety. She kindly agreed. I am so damn proud of this lady and I am thankful for her friendship. Sober people helping people get sober is a beautiful thing. This is someone’s story of success. Recovery is possible. I am honored to share this with you. Thank you Danielle! YOU ARE AMAZING.
My name is Danielle… and I’m an alcoholic.
My sobriety date is January 28th, 2012.
I was asked to share my experience, strength, and hope with you. Bear with me because sharing your story in an AA room is much different than writing it all out for people to read. What comes out, comes out when you speak your truth in a room.. but when you write it, you get to reread it…. over and over and over again. So… deep breath… here goes nothing.
I was 19 the first time I walked in to an AA room. I hated it. I was 19 and as you can understand, I HAAAAATED it. I knew I needed to be there but I definitely wasn’t going back. I had known I was an alcoholic for a long time, didn’t need a therapist or anyone else to tell me that. When I drank, I drank to get drunk. But I was also 19, who at 19 wasn’t drinking to get drunk? And I certainly wasn’t ready to give that up…
After that though, I did try and stop drinking here and there every few months. I would usually try different things to reduce my alcoholic tendencies when I went back to it. Like for example, I would only drink on holidays, or would just to stick to beer or wouldn’t mix weed and booze or wouldn’t drink on nights when I had to work the next day. But it never failed, and it didn’t take long before I was sad, depressed, remorseful, anxious, and hungover vomiting for hours on end. You see though, what I didn’t understand at the time was that the who, what, where and when of my drinking wasn’t the problem. Not even the alcohol was the problem (I know shocker, right?) and what I have come to know and understand since then is that alcohol is only a symptom of the disease. Plot twist. The problem was ME. The problem IS me. The problem has always been me. GASP!
Ok, now that we’ve cleared that up, lets rewind and take it back a bit. I grew up “mostly” normal. I emphasize the mostly there because I had a roof over my head, family who loved me, did well in school, danced several days a week, and had food in my belly. At the same time, I have several family members who are alcoholic, parents who are divorced and had some things happen to me when I was little that aren’t supposed to happen to you when you are little. BUT to be clear, NONE of those things make me an alcoholic. What makes me an alcoholic is this two part disease I have called alcoholism. (Oh, and maybe my serious lack of coping skills, but mostly the first one.) So, let me explain this two part disease a tad more. One part controls my mind and is constantly triggering me and telling me that it is ok to drink. The second part affects my body. Once I take a drink, my body absolutely CRAVES it. Plain and simply said.. when I start drinking, I C.A.N.N.O.T stop. My body craves it and wants more regardless of how much I’ve already had or what it takes to get more. I went through years and years of my mind saying “I don’t want to drink” and my disease saying “yes you do”. My body saying “please no more alcohol” and my disease saying “but I need it”.
Towards the end, I really, really did not want to drink anymore. On top of that, a friend that had recently gotten sober was reintroduced in to my life and was able to throw some words of wisdom my way. I listened here and there but was still drinking quite a bit and was still ruining relationships left and right. The guilt and shame eventually started to become unbearable. I truly, truly wanted it to stop. I would wake up out of a dead sleep unable to catch my breath and having straight up anxiety attacks. I finally remember thinking… THIS.IS.NOT.MY.LIFE.
The next day I found an AA meeting online and showed up ready to give it a shot. I picked up a 24 hour chip that I still have to this day. I surrounded myself with women who were doing the damn thing. I got a sponsor and read through every line of the first 164 pages of the Big Book with her. I worked the steps with her and listened when she talked. I called her before I made decisions (because clearly I wasn’t very good at decision making on my own) and I prayed a lot. I have been sober ever since. It’s not easy and to be honest no one told me it would be. As a matter of fact, pretty much every one spoke of how hard it is…they definitely weren’t kidding. Alcohol is very much a part of the world we live in. We have alcohol at weddings, birthday parties, holidays, promotions, breakups, sports events, dinners… because it’s Tuesday. I mean it is literally all over the place. The thing is though, that AA didn’t teach me how not to drink, AA taught me how to cope with life on life’s terms. It taught me to trust God, clean house and help others. In times of uncertainty, I now turn to God. But a new God, not the Catholic God I was raised by. Although that God certainly did keep me safe all those years; kept me out of jail, kept me from being pulled over drunk, kept me from being raped, all things that were real possibilities when I was drinking. My new God though.. my new God is love and He lives in my heart. He helps remind me to take responsibility when I have done wrong; suit up, shut up and apologize. He helps me reach out to others, help when possible and find gratitude throughout it all.
A lot people always say, “I never would have thought” or “how is that possible” when they hear that I am an alcoholic. I have a Masters degree, owned my house and car, had a career the whole deal. I was never found out on the street homeless or institutionalized. I never went to work drunk or woke up and had to take a drink. I never killed someone. I am what you would call a high bottom drunk. I still had all of the things people lose when they hit “rock bottom”. But the thing is, those are all yet factors for me. None of those things have happened to me YET and if I ever go back to drinking, those are the things that will happen to me. I am lucky enough to have made it to the rooms without having to have hit rock bottom yet. If I were to ever decide to go back out now, I have so much more to lose. So, I stay connected with people I know who support me, I meditate when I start feeling crazy and every so often I apologize to my husband because lets be honest I am right most of the time.
Thanks for letting me share and being a part of my journey. 🙂
Do you have a sober story to share? Want to connect about sobriety?? Share your struggles? Share advice? What works? What doesn’t? I would love to share ;). Contact me email@example.com
I would love to share and celebrate YOU!!!!