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Sober Story: Sheri

July 16th, 2023 Interviews

Today’s Sober Story is from Sheri, a 60-year-old living in Florida, USA.

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Mrs D: How long have you been in recovery?

Sheri: 3 years, my sober date is July 10, 2020.

Mrs D: What can you tell us about the last months/years of your drinking before you gave up?

Sheri: Over a 15 year period my drinking gradually went from problematic to dangerous. My health was in decline with high cholesterol, fatty liver, vitamin deficiency and I was grossly overweight. I tried to explain it away with age but deep down I knew my drinking was to blame.  I was making very bad decisions that put myself and others in danger. My relationships were rocky and my life revolved around drinking. 

Mrs D: What was the final straw that led you to get sober?

Sheri: I started to keep track of all the reasons I needed to quit drinking and the list was getting very long! Physical health, mental health, physical appearance. And yet I drank every single day and then woke up at 2am with dread and feeling sick. One day I decided to write myself a letter, as though I was talking to a friend. It was eye opening! I think I may have used that as one of my first posts on this site. That was July of 2020 and I haven’t had a drink since. 

Mrs D: How was it for you in the early days? What was most difficult?

Sheri: The early days were rough. Each day I focused on sobriety and my only goal was to get in bed sober. It was the beginning of lockdowns which allowed me to stay home and focus on my sobriety without the added pressures of social gatherings. I hid from the world while I worked on finding my sober legs. I read, and reread, a lot of quit lit hanging on every word of those that had found sobriety. I used a lot of distraction to keep myself away from my old routines and that horrible voice in my head.  I didn’t have faith that I could get sober, it just didn’t seem possible. But one day led to two days. By day 100 I started to believe I might be able to stay sober. 

Mrs D: What tool or tools did you use to help you?

Sheri: I found quit lit to be inspirational, my favorites are ‘The Long Way Home’ and ‘Dry’, Understanding the disease of addiction was helpful, especially ‘Lying Minds’ by David Horry and This Naked Mind. Sober podcasts were played daily. Anything I could find that gave me information and hope.  The real turning point for me was the real interactions I found here in the safe space of Living Sober. 

Mrs D: What reaction did you get from family & friends when you started getting sober?

Sheri: This question is very difficult for me. I have never admitted how bad my drinking was to anyone in my “real” life.  After about a month I mentioned quitting and downplayed it. Maybe I was afraid of the judgement, or the pressure? I’m not sure.  At first friends were surprised and would question me. I kept my answers simple without making a big deal or declaration. Everyone now knows me as a non drinker.

Mrs D: Have you ever experienced a relapse?

Sheri: Before July 2020 I tried to quit many, many times so I understand the risk. I am diligent about keeping my sobriety at the top of my priorities. 

Mrs D: How long did it take for things to start to calm down for you emotionally & physically?

Sheri: I saw the benefits physically within 3 months. My lab work was significantly improved and I felt so much better. I didn’t lose weight initially because I allowed myself any food that kept me away from booze! Lots of junk foods for sure but that was temporary. Emotionally it was rocky for about 18 months while I learned to feel again. My drinking had escalated after the death of my daughter and now I had to feel my way through that and the other normal emotions. No more numbing. Learning to allow feelings to naturally flow was not easy, and yet once I got past the flood of pent up feelings it’s much easier now. 

Mrs D: How hard was it getting used to socialising sober?

Sheri: Socializing sober was very difficult for me. I’ve used alcohol to shield my social anxiety. So I started very slowly attending the safest possible events. I learned early that entering the room with a drink in hand eliminated the need to make a decision or answer questions. When I felt too much temptation I would use a pre planned exit. I slowly expanded my exposure to people and places based on those I felt I could safely navigate. My sobriety was more important to me than others expectations of me. That alone was a massive mind shift!

Mrs D: Was there anything surprising that you learned about yourself when you stopped drinking?

Sheri: I learned that the real me is pretty cool! I have found new activities that I love and through that found friends that are not tied to drinking. I’ve learned to trust my gut and stop looking externally for validation. I am worthy. I am enough. 

Mrs D: How did your life change?

Sheri: While my life has completely changed, my family is still challenging and messy. I now choose how I participate and for the most part I stay out of the chaos. If they want to be angry that’s their business, I’m not joining that party. When they are calm I’ll happily join in. It’s about boundaries. Lol I never had those before!

Mrs D: What are the main benefits that emerged for you from getting sober?

Sheri: My sense of self has been truly surprising. I didn’t realize how much I had hidden my true self, abdicated responsibility for my life to others, and didn’t know much about what I needed. 

Mrs D: Would you do anything differently given the chance to go through the process again?

Sheri: I wish I had found sobriety sooner. But I’m not sure I could have achieved it without all the learnings along  the way. I know that moderation is not an option for me. So no, I guess I wouldn’t change anything because I’ve walked through fire and re-emerged stronger. 

Mrs D: What advice or tips would you have for those who are just starting on this journey?

Sheri: My advice is to read a lot of quit lit, find a support network, and focus only on today. Tell yourself you are worth the work. Have you ever heard a sober person say they wished they hadn’t quit? It’s because sobriety is that great! Make the commitment that today will be a sober day. 

Mrs D: Anything else you’d like to share?  

Sheri: My favorite quote “I used to think I was drinking because I was miserable, turns out I was miserable because I drank”.   Find your mantra.

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