Give yourself a pat on the back

Whether you are newly sober right now or have been living without alcohol for some months (or years) you deserve a big humungous pat on the back. Because every day that you choose to face in the raw – without numbing or avoiding – is a day that you prove yourself to be brave and amazing.

It’s not just the first action of removing alcohol from your life that makes you brave and amazing. It’s continuing to take action day after day to not drink and deal with all that life throws at you that is truly incredible.

Sometimes taking the booze away uncovers a whole bunch of other issues that need to be dealt with.

Sometimes taking the booze away isn’t the fast-train to blissful happiness.

The only absolute truth is that the booze isn’t going to help at all with the underlying issues. So taking the booze away is THE most important first step.. but maybe it leads to some other hard work or tough decisions. Gritty things that need to be dealt with, tricky situations that need to be managed.

We still have to manage our lives, we still have to manage our finances and manage our health and manage other people. We still have to help our family members and support our friends and navigate our way through the tricky waters of life. But because we are choosing to do it while staying raw, real and recovered, that makes us brave and amazing. So give yourself a pat on the back.

I say big bloody kudos to anyone who chooses sobriety. Big bloody kudos to anyone who chooses to put themselves first in the midst of the messy maelstrom of life. Big bloody kudos to those who fight cravings, beat back hard-wired (bullshit) beliefs about alcohol’s benefits, and reshape themselves as a sober person.

And big bloody kudos to anyone who commits to living as a fully emotional sober human being.

Big Bloody Kudos to you all.

Go pat yourself on the back.

You deserve it.

  1. Kelly McMahon 5 years ago

    Hi Shannon, Well done for reaching out!

    I never thought my drinking was that bad….after all, I had never had a ticket for driving while intoxicated (though I did drive while inebriated -with the kids in car many times-to my shame)….I never had a blackout….I had also not lost my job or had any trauma because of alcohol. From the outside, all looked well.

    But there is a saying …You can get off the elevator anytime…you don’t have to go all the way to the bottom!

    The “not yets” were only a matter of time.

    I got sober after my husband told me he couldn’t take living with me anymore.. see the drinking was affecting me inside and it was affecting my family–sometime booze would make me feel light and care less attitude and fun (or so I thought), but it could also make me angry, aggressive, irritable and oh so tired….

    I said and did things I would not have under the influence.

    I thought I could keep it under control but alcoholism is progressive, baffling and powerful ….when I tried to stop, I realized that I couldn’t –I had panic attacks and was a mess–I couldn’t cope with life without my “fix”–

    I had to reach out to the community–I went to an AA meeting and found the strength I needed and a new way of living WITHOUT any fix for my disturbed emotions. I was able to break the habit, but I had to want it above everything and be prepared to put sobriety above all else.

    It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I know that feeling of “this is impossible” –the jumping off place where you feel you can’t live with it, but you also can’t live without it!

    I realise now you have to really want it

    I did get sober/abstinent for 4 months, then drank again. I told my husband that I needed a separation as I was feeling like I could n’t continue living in the relationship the way it was. As I stopped drinking, the dynamics of our marriage changed and he didn’t like it.

    When I asked for a divorce eventually, he called social services and took the kids away from me. claiming I was an abusive alcoholic. !!

    We had to go to court and I nearly lost my kids! I thought I had hit rock bottom!

    The consequences of my drinking affected my esteem, pocketbook, marriage , kids …and ….

    It’s been 18 months now and we share custody but I drank again and now we are back to fighting custody–he is saying I am a liar and an alcoholic.

    I didn’t think my drinking was too bad…..

    But the best thing I can tell myself now is that my drinking was bad enough and seriously, I am so much happier now. I am free!! I am empowered! I am able to cope with all kinds of feelings–good and bad without needing or even wanting a drink.

    AA taught me that alcoholism is an illness of the mind and body!

    The cravings are so strong in the beginning!! but they diminish over time…

    Both the mind and body needed healing with the help of the medicine of the community.

    One day at a time…One moment at a time, I choose to say no to the thought that a drink will be nice….and it works…

    Whatever happens with the custody of my kids, I know I will not have alcohol in my life again….It simply isn’t worth it.

    I am a stronger better mom,–person–employee etc now and I love living sober and free.

  2. Shannon Bailey 5 years ago

    So nice to read about other people that feel the same as I.
    I am drinking as I write this.
    I have been a functioning alcoholic for 30 years. Functioning I say.. cuz I still have my job I’ve had for 17 years. I haven’t ever been arrested. And that’s all I keep going on. My brother whom is a recovering alcoholic once told me…
    You haven’t been arrested… yet
    You haven’t lost your job.. yet….

    And. Still. I drink … my 30+ beers a week.

    I feel as if it is IMPOSSIBLE . To stop. To change a 30 year habit..
    Even harder. When your husband if 15 years is right along side…..

    • Emj0101 5 years ago

      Hi Shannon, I feel your frustration. I used to read this while drinking all the time! Beer! And my husband was my drinking buddy, too. Have you thought about giving it up? Do you get resistance from your husband when you talk about sobriety?

    • SummerCruise 5 years ago

      Good for you for reaching out and being here! I can completely relate. I’ve been drinking since I was 15 and now I’m 46. I thought being sober was IMPOSSIBLE too but here I am on day 3. Please stayed connected even if you’re still drinking. Be gentle with yourself. Love yourself. Believe in yourself. Don’t believe the booze bullshit. It’s all lies and deception. Please don’t ever give up. Remember, it’s not “how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up” that counts. Sending you much love and encouragement.

  3. Kelly 5 years ago

    Dear Mrs D

    Just wanted to say thank you for ur books and blogs ; only discovered u a few weeks ago; really enjoy laughing and identifying with your stories about alcohol addiction and recovery: I’ve been trying to get away from alcohol for about 3 years now, my longest stint of abstinence was 8 months and today I am sober 7weeks

    I read a bit of ur books every chance i get

    U r so right — alcohol only takes; never gives and is poison for me

    Thank u for sharing ur journey for being real and honest

    This is my very first time i have ever blogged

    Very best wishes x

  4. Clare 5 years ago

    Yes absolutely agree with this post,brilliant.

  5. Maus 5 years ago

    Hey there, I need help. Each day I drink, I always intend to have 1 or 2 glasses and guess where it ends, – when the bottle is empty and if there is another in the house I will go looking for that as well. I don’t want to be like this any more. Too much of my life is coloured by alcohol but it needs to stop. Over the years I have attended all sorts of counselling, group sessions and 1:1’s, some of which have been really useful, some not so much. Now I want to have a month totally sober and to hopefully develop from there. I’m hoping I can find someone who can mentor me and help me walk this path. More than anything, I want to be in control again of what I drink.

    • barnmomma 5 years ago

      @Maus, Believe me, pretty much everybody on here can relate to your intention of only having one or two glasses and then not stopping till the bottle(s) are empty. It’s called not having an “off switch.” We all share that, so you are not alone. Good for you in realizing that you want a different and better life. One that does not involve alcohol clouding it all up. I would suggest that you either post in the community area on here and ask if anybody would like to join you in being Day 1 buddies, and then check in with that person or persons every day and share what you’re going through and how it’s going. Also, there are three of us who are very early in collecting sober days on here who have been doing just that, and you are more than welcome to join in with us. The more the merrier. It is myself, Cheshirecat, lulud and timetobesober. So, if you post and tag all four of us in it, you’ll be in a conversation with us. We can do this. Hugs to you. XXX

      • TinaJeanne 5 years ago

        Hi, I am just reading this today and would love to join in with a group for accountability and like minded people. I have tried quitting for years it seems, but always seem to cave around a month or so. I need to get past that hurdle. I am on day 5 as of today. How do I get started in your group?

  6. maddie1969 5 years ago

    I’m newly sober, am at the end of my fourth day and looking forward to waking up knowing I am 100% wine-free! Thanks for these amazing words, Mrs D, kudos to each and every one of us changing our lives for the better.

    I’m wondering what other supports people have found useful outside of this and similar sites? As I’ve tried to quit and failed before, I want to enlist some outside support to prevent me backsliding. I’m not ready to talk to friends about this yet, and while I love my husband to bits, he isn’t going to be any help in this situation. I am thinking of talking to my doctor about it, and maybe finding some support group IRL, like through CADS. Has anyone used them and what was your experience like?

    • Nick b 5 years ago

      Hi maddie1969. Well done for making such a good life choice. I hear you about trying before and am currently day 2 and worrying about the weekend ahead. Other people will have great suggestions for you on here but I just wanted to say well done you brave person :-).

      • maddie1969 5 years ago

        Thank you so much! I am grateful and amazed at how supportive everyone is here. It really helps. I want to say good luck for the weekend but it’s not about luck, is it. Stay strong, Kia kaha!

    • JM 5 years ago

      Hi @maddie1969! Congrats on your 4th day, maybe 5th when you read this! These are the sites that helped and still do help me: (you can sign up to be a penpal of Belle’s, accountability is key; she does sell different products on her site, I bought her audios initially, very helpful),,, hip and Lots of great reading and support out there! And good idea to speak to your doctor to help w cravings. You can do this! : )

      • maddie1969 5 years ago

        Wow, fantastic thanks! I’ll check these out. Guess it’s all about finding what works for each of us. I’ve booked my doctor visit and weirdly am looking forward to telling her my grand plan for my future.

  7. Christina 5 years ago

    Day 16

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