[ Skip to main content ]
Articles

Sober Story: Wendy

October 29th, 2023 Interviews

This week’s Sober Story comes fro Wendy, a 70-year-old living in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, in the US.

===========

Mrs D: How long have you been in recovery?

Wendy: September 4, 2014 is my recovery date, so I just passed my 9 year mark!!

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

Wendy: In the last few years of my drinking I was driving drunk, hiding small bottles from my husband, sneaking drinks, running to the bar after work then lying to hubs about it, arguing with hubs, running away to a hotel at night. In short, I was a mess.

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

Wendy: It was a public humiliation, at my yoga studio. I showed up drunk for a massage, so drunk I found out later I had driven there blacked out. They took away my car keys, and called my husband to come get me. It was horrible. I had to go back and tell everyone I was sorry the next day, my husband was furious, and I was full of shame and guilt.

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

Wendy: At first I had horrible physical urges, and almost went on antibuse. Then one day they got much better. The hardest part for me was untangling the thread of romance from wine. I never thought I could go out to dinner with husband and be romantic and not drink. Small dinner parties with good friends were also very hard. They still all drank, and I felt sorry for myself.

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

Wendy: I was lucky, in the fact that I received overwhelimg love and support. I found many people in the yoga community who were in recovery, and in fact one of my yoga teachers helped me a lot. My husband decided to stop drinking to support me, and he didn’t need to!

Mrs D: Wow that’s pretty cool. Have you ever relapsed?

Wendy: 3 years before I finally got sober, I was drinking all day with friends, and blacked out, and had to be taken to ER. I put myself into treatment, but relapsed about 7 months after treatment. Then it took me 3 years to finally make it for a long time.

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

Wendy: I’m not really sure, as I also lost my hearing and got a cochler implant, as well as retired at the same time, so it was very mixed up. It took longer than I thought, so maybe up to a year.

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

Wendy: It depends on the situation. In a big party, I have no problem, but it’s still the small parties that make me anxious. Most of the time, going out to dinner is not a problem, as hubs and I focus on food, and fun, and holding hands.

Mrs D: Awww, he sounds like a keeper. Was there anything surprising that you learned about yourself when you stopped drinking?

Wendy: I learned that I had way more social anxiety than I knew, and realized I used drinking to help with that at times. I learned I am stronger than I think. I learned I still carried some of my childhood scars with me.

Mrs D: How did your life change?

Wendy: I found that I had to find something to deal with the losses of drinking, co-wokers, and hearing, so at first I was very isolated. But I looked around for AA meetings as well as starting a sober blog, and I found so much joy in those circles! I finally found a place to volunteer, at a Foundation that helps people with opioid addiction, and that has made a world of difference.

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

Wendy: I have to say, freedom and peace of mind. I no longer lie, no longer hide, no longer worry about the police stopping me, no longer run away. Pure freedom and peace.

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

Wendy: I wish I had some mind-boggling tips, but the things that helped me the most was support and never giving up. I found on-line support as well as real life support, and I realized there are so many people in recovery! I could tell my story, and no one flinched. They all understood me. Time was my friend. Writing helped me heal as well.

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

Wendy: There is joy in recovery. My recovery friends are funny. My marriage is stronger than ever. I am so much happier now, than I was when I was drinking.

Share this post

Continue reading

Sober Story: Shirley

Interviews

This week’s Sober Story comes from Shirley, a 43-year-old living in London.

March 27, 2019

Sober Story: Alex

Interviews

"I have had the odd time when I’ve thought it would be nice to have a drink but it quickly disappears because I prefer ‘sober me’."

September 30, 2023

Ginger, Basil & Grapefruit Spritzer

Drink of the Week

Lovely subtle flavours in this drink.

March 18, 2024

Sobriety Chat: Ninakaye

Interviews

Listen to mentor and music manager Ninakaye (Ngāti Maniapoto) talk about the chaos of her early drinking years, the powerful conversation that led to her quitting, the impact alcohol has had on Māori in Aotearoa, and the importance of connecting with your culture.

March 3, 2023