Ok I don’t like to brag but….that’s a lie, I absolutely like to brag – especially about this.
Today marks my 500th day sober from booze and drugs. That comes out to 1 year, 4 months and 12 days without using life altering substances that were ruining my life. It’s a milestone.
February 19, 2019 I made the decision to stop the shenanigans before it was too late. I had my final “close call” and decided that if I didn’t make some big changes, I was going to die.
I believe sobriety has helped prepare me for 2020, cuz if there were ever a year to drink myself silly, it’s this one lol. Luckily I got sober at the right place and the right time in my life where I was able to get well under better circumstances so that I would walk into this hellhole of a year without risking my life leading the dangerous life I was living before.
I’m more responsible. I show up. I have more control over my life. I got this beautiful apartment in a beach city. I’m self employed. I have an incredible boyfriend. The list goes on and on. These are things I lost or ruined when I was a drinker. Responsible was not even in the list of terms used to describe me then.
So how did I do it? People ask me this a lot. How did you quit drinking? How do you stay sober? The most important answer I can give you is that I CHOOSE every single day to stay sober. It’s an active choice I make every single morning. Today, I will not drink or do drugs. Then I go about my day sticking to my word.
I didn’t go the traditional route of recovery that most people go*.
- Rehab – I wanted rehab on day 1 of sobriety when my world was falling apart and I was lucky to be alive but couldn’t afford it because I made too much for assistance (even though I was broke af) and not enough to pay for any sort of treatment.
- AA Meetings/Support Groups – I initially started with AA meetings. I went to a few horrible meetings, a few great ones and never felt comfortable. I was yelled at by a lady at my very first meeting. She shoved the book in my hand and embarrassed me publicly in ways she’ll never understand. I continued to go to meetings here and there ands till occasionally catch one.
- Sponsorship – I never had a sponsor. I raised my hand in a few meetings but no one offered to help and I was too chicken shit to just ask a stranger. I felt no connection to anyone in any meetings or a higher power. My trust issues run deep.
*I am in no way saying that there is anything wrong with traditional avenues or that they don’t work.
Instead my path to sobriety looked more like this:
- Travel. I read a quote that you can’t heal in the same place that made you sick. So I left. I traveled Europe for 3 months. I was away from everything I knew and had to acclimate in a completely new environment and experience things I had never experience.
- Therapy. As soon as I returned home I got myself a therapist. The reasons for my alcoholism and drug use was to escape. I wasn’t really physically dependent on anything – but mentally 100% addicted and I actively choose booze over lots of things. So I knew I had to get to the bottom of the reasons why I wanted to escape and learn healthier ways of coping.
- Writing/Blog. I started this blog. I started it 30 days after I decided to get sober in order to tell my story. Not only that, but to publicly hold myself accountable. I knew that if I admitted to the world, to my family and friends that I was an alcoholic and was trying to change that – then I would have to do it this time.
- Support System. I am fortunate to have friends and family who have stuck by me through thick and thin. They support me in all the ways they can, even if it’s just a text message to see how I’m doing. Without them, I don’t know how I would have done it. Loneliness is a real thing and I’ve never once felt lonely with the team I have on my side.
My path to sobriety may not look like what you might expect, but it was the route I took and it has worked for me. I am still in therapy and I am still writing about my experiences even 500 days later.
The goal in all of this hasn’t been just to quit drinking and quit doing drugs – it’s been about healing the parts of myself that led to my escapism. It’s also been about finding better coping mechanisms so that I can face each day without falling apart. It’s been about finding out who I am, learning to accept her and discovering what makes me happy and leaning into those things more.
Denial was my curse for a long time. However, recovery has been a gift. My life has been a gift. Not everything that has happened to me in my life has been a gift, but I am so lucky that I was able to finally accept my affliction and then work to change it.
To those in recovery, keep going. To those still struggling, you are not alone. Ask for help and then accept it. It will be a difficult road, but it’ll be the best decision you ever made. No one ever regrets quitting, but there are plenty of people filled with regret for not doing something sooner or worse having that decision stripped away from you if the grim reaper comes calling.
Make the decision, ask for help and then accept it.
“In my recovery I’m a soldier at war. I have broken down walls. I defined, I designed my recovery. In the salt of the seas, in the oceans of me I defined, I designed my recovery. “