Learnings from 10 years of sobriety

Lotta smiling

Today I am 10 years sober! Here's what I have learned during all the years of my hard fought sobriety.

1. I am a very watery person. Tears come easily and feeling sad or tender is a common go-to reaction for me. It's a tendancy I think I spent years trying to squash (with my disfunctional 'friend' booze) but after years of not numbing or avoiding my true self with wine I've grown to accept and even (dare I say it) love that part of myself.

2. Adopting a 'go slow' attitude when strong emotions hit is really helpful. For so many years my instant reaction when I felt something uncomfortable was to immediately take a drink (or 5). Since quitting I've had no option but to go slow and just let things sit. The longer I've done this the more I've realised how beneficial it is. Allowing time and space around gritty feelings makes them easier to deal with.

3. All the things that matter the most are inside me. How I see myself is more important than worrying about how others see me. Understanding my own feelings is more important than trying to figure out how others might be feeling. Feeling kindly towards myself keeps me strong and helps me maintain kindness to others without resentment.

4. Tiny, subtle self-care actions are incredibly powerful and lovely. I never underestimate the positive impact of stopping tasks to make myself a cup of tea (using fancy teabags I ordered online), or the deliciousness of taking a sneaky hour or two on the sofa to watch TV on a weekday afternoon. I have no guilt for prioritising my own needs, and no shame about what activities or consumables work best to relax me.

5. Speaking of shame, I have learned that despite there being a huge amount of stigma around addiction, everyone admires and respects people who admit their struggles. Tell someone you're in recovery and you go up in their estimation, not down! Also, sharing your truth - whether it be with thousands of people or three - helps to build inner strength and resilience.

6. We can do whatever we want with our lives. Literally anything. If we want to change, we can. If we want to stay the same, we can. Whatever we choose, we can do. But finding the right people, tools and resources to support us in doing what we want is vital.

7. We are living in a time of utter madness with society's approach to alcohol. The fact that this toxic, addictive, cancer-causing drug has become so normalised, accepted, prevalent and glorified is gobsmacking. I have no doubt that around the world governments will slowly tighten regulations to  disempower the liquor industry and stop them being allowed to carry out their predatory and aggressive sales tactics. And people in the future will look back at this time of alcohol saturation and widespread harm and shake their heads at the madness of it all.

8. No glass of alcohol has ever tasted as good as sobriety feels. No stumbly drunken dance feels as enjoyable as a wild, clear-headed boogie. No sloppy, boozy cry has ever cleansed as much as pure, raw tears. No tipsy giggle has ever produced as much joy as a deep, lucid belly laugh. And no blurry sense of affection impacts as deeply as a burst of whole-hearted, authentic love.

9. I love living sober. I love that I have forged my way through 3650 days without drinking. I love every single one of those days. Some have been rewarding, fun, joyful, exciting, gentle, stimulating, productive or calm. And some have been messy, gritty, boring, emotional, fraught, dramatic, painful or grief-stricken. But every single one has been a gift. And for that, I am immensly grateful.

10. Just when you think you've learned it all, more is revealed. I can't wait for the next ten years to unfold.

Mrs D xxx

  1. John 1 year ago

    Great life so far and you must be proud of your achievement! I look and feel younger after 10 years sober on 31st December 2022. Will be celebrating with alchohol free champagne. No shame, no guilt and living life!

  2. Anonymous 2 years ago

    We’re friends even though you don’t know it. You’ve done so well, I agree with every word. You helped me so much, thank you for sharing a parallel journey 💗

  3. Recovered 2 years ago

    Excellent article and good on you. Just if I may say: “recovery” is quite a polarising word as many of us find it offensive. I’ve been sober of 10 years and “recovered” for about 8! I think safer to say “recovery/recovered”.

  4. sober@60 2 years ago

    Belated congrats on 10 years from a newbie on day 2 . Only finding my way around the site now and saw this post . Fantastic. I’m going to print it off to help me on my journey . The only reason I’m here , becoming sober is because of your book. Thanks again and congrats on a literally life changing achievement.

    • Newstart1962 6 months ago

      Good advice loved reading this congratulations on 10 big ones
      day 23

  5. Rosieoutlook 2 years ago

    A belated congratulations on your 10th anniversary. It’s a very special date to celebrate. Xx

  6. IslandOne 2 years ago

    Congratulations! Ten years is such a milestone. I agree with everything that you’ve written there!

  7. JMB62 2 years ago

    Just checked in to see how many days sober I am. A few…92…but 10 years Mrs D? Outstanding and inspirational. Warmest congratulations.

  8. elliott 2 years ago

    Congratulations to a Lovely Lady who way back in July 2014 inspired me to get sober. I have managed it but with a few hiccups on the journey! Now sober I can relate to all of your ten points. So Thanks MrsD and Good Luck for the next ten years which I know will be a breeze for you!

  9. Anonymous 2 years ago


  10. Maggie73 2 years ago

    Congratulations on 10 years of sobriety! That’s an awesome achievement. I needed to read this. I’m 127 days in and have been fantasizing about having a few drinks on Christmas day. I know that is not an option but there you have it. Just in the midst of a wee struggle. I was listening to the radio this morning as they were discussing the best gin with some expert. Pissed me off having to gear that at 8.15am on a popular station. I hope you are right and in years to come society looks back on these times in disbelief. Thanks Mrs D. ❤

  11. boomersandie 2 years ago

    A great read & loved #8. giving me resolve. My journey just starting and have had to reset my date again as a a one day a relapse, on a father’s day lunch!

  12. Esmeralda 2 years ago

    I logged in today because I was having a very frustrated moment and I knew that if I had 1 or realistically 5 drinks it would take the edge off. So I logged in here in instead.
    Your #2–really is what I needed to hear. Rather than being frustrated I am going to slow down, and let things sit.

    Going for a walk and then going to read or watch TV. I do not need to be frustrated that I am not accomplishing more.

  13. Anonymous 2 years ago

    Wow thanks for these words. I am having a very frustrated moment and thought about how a drink (or 5 lol!) would take the edge off, so I logged in here and read this. #2—was especially helpful.

    thanks sharing

  14. Dudu73 2 years ago

    What a timely post. I’m 20 months AF and I’m trying to get use to the real me. It’s been a revelation how much I masked my emotions with alcohol and I look back and realise I was flatlining. I lacked real emotion and I could let people come and go without feeling much of anything. Now I feel every emotion and it takes some getting use to! Initially I felt a little like I was losing my marbles, but now I realise that this is what makes me human! I’m learning to love me.

  15. Redlufbra75 2 years ago

    Very insightful and well timed to read. I’m over a year sober now and for the first time am feeling a bit flat. Its not that I’m yearning to drink, I’m just kind of at ‘what next?’ I like to keep myself challenged and have goals. It’s good to know you’re still learning after 10 years, wow!

    Been listening to your book on Audible this week. Love, love, loving it 🙂

    Congrats on your 10 years. Bloody fantastic x

    • LH 2 years ago

      Hello! I just read your comment and remember so well that ‘flat’ feeling at 1 year sober. I am now 3+ years sober and just want to say hang in there. You’re doing great. It took the COVID pandemic (at 16 months sober) to jerk me out of that flat feeling of wondering what was next, and to realize there was a whole lot more going on in the world than just me. It was an incredible turning point in my sobriety. I hope you’ve reached that point too. If not, hang in there- it’s coming. And things look so much better.

  16. mountaingirl1 2 years ago

    Congratulations Mrs D! So grateful for your generosity. It’s so helpful to have access to sober voices like yours!

  17. Chris53 2 years ago

    Everything that everyone has said, l second. Thank you for changing my world.

  18. womackm 2 years ago

    Ohmygosh. what a beautiful and inspiring post. Honestly- i just loved that. Thank you for your strength and vulnerability. You have made so much difference for so many.


  19. Mattie 2 years ago

    Wonderful Wonderful as the song goes … an absolute joy to read, sincerest congratulations on 10 years of Living Sober your words and living example have inspired so many ..for me I will be eternally grateful for the part you have played in finding a very lost me .. I love person I’ve become and who you unknowingly help me find. 💖💖

  20. JessieA 2 years ago

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this list of 10 and all the work you do selflessly for us and our families.

  21. Bluzooma 2 years ago

    Humbling and inspiring. You are doing a very important thing here and are truly making a difference.

  22. newstart100 2 years ago

    This is absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for your wisdom and guidance and showing us all the way to live a beautiful sober life. Your vision for this community has been such a gift in my life. Huge congratulations to you on your 10th anniversary! Xo

  23. Liberty 2 years ago

    Glorious post Mrs D and so much wisdom there. Ngā mihi nui.

  24. Tica74 2 years ago

    Thank you Mrs D, you have opened my eyes!! Your book has literally kicked my butt in a good way. Congratulations on yr 10 yrs. Day 1 here, a little freaked out

  25. katiesmithnz 2 years ago

    I LOVE all of these. I’ve been sober for 6 years and you’re so right, nothing compares to feeling REAL emotions which aren’t blurred or blunted by alcohol. The good and the bad. There is no problem that won’t be made worse by throwing booze at it. I spent 25 years having my life ruled by alcohol and the last 6 with a clear heart and a clear mind have been the biggest gift of all. There is something to be said for always being able to remember what you said and did the night before!

  26. Frog 2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your life with people you’ve never physically met. You’ve helped so many.

  27. Nanci 2 years ago

    Thank you, I needed to hear that x

  28. LauraLi 2 years ago

    This is just so beautifully thought out and written. 💚
    I copied #8 & saved it my journal. Words to read often!

  29. gatorgal117 2 years ago

    So awesome and inspiring!! I am only 77 days sober, but can’t wait to say I’m 1 year, 5 years, 10 years sober. One day at a time, but your story and books are very inspiring to me and have helped me make my daily commitment to living sober. Thank you for sharing your story to help others find and keep their sobriety!

  30. Runner 2 years ago

    Congratulations!!so much love and respect for you x

  31. Starlight 2 years ago

    Congratulations on 10 years! 🥳
    Thank you very much for this inspiring and truthful post. I really relate to numbers 5 & 8. Truer words have never been spoken. I’m so delighted that I found you and this amazing community @mrsd 🤗

  32. Daisy70 2 years ago

    Thank you so much and Congratulations. Your really are an inspiration. What you did and continue to do means so much because it is real. You are right there with all of us in this journey. Your commitment is sincere and this is very supportive. Thank you and enjoy every second of this beautiful day.

  33. SugarBelly 2 years ago

    365 – 0 ! What a great post and what great introspection. Congratulations.

  34. sober.curious 2 years ago

    Congrats on your outstanding sober milestone. I particularly enjoyed your #8 insight. I lurk here often…might change my user name to turkey lurky! Only day 36 for me. Thanks for the inspiration. Arohanui

  35. Aimless 2 years ago

    Woohoo Mrs D congrats. You are a legend!

  36. hummingbird 2 years ago

    wow thats so cool Mrs D. Congratulations :-)) Thanks for all you do. Your words made a difference to me when I was starting out xxxxx

  37. reena 2 years ago

    Congrats Mrs-D, Thank you for this wonderful spot in the universe !

  38. Winner 2 years ago

    Congrats super legend and here’s to many more ! ❤️❤️😜

  39. disastertomiracle 2 years ago

    You touch a cord with me on so many of those issues………………… may I get to your daily total is all I ask .. one day at a time……….

    some superheros don’t wear cloaks

  40. Pollyrue 2 years ago

    Love this and congratulations!

  41. Kiwi 2 years ago

    Many true words of wisdom. Your an inspiration..

  42. crazycat 2 years ago

    Beautifully written—thanks so much for sharing!

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