Sober Story: Andrea

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

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Mrs D: How long have you been in recovery?

Andrea: I have been in recovery for over 10 years, however I now have 8 years and 2 months of continued sobriety.

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

Andrea: Life was one big party from when I was about 15, I could drink with the best of them, however everyone I knew grew up and I was not ready. I started frequenting bars in my mid 20’s where other heavy drinkers hung out. I married and had my children, and although I stayed sober during my pregnancies I was very keen to start again when the kids were born. This was the time things really began to spiral out of control, I was an at home mum who had a lot of time to drink and a lot of time to meet other bored housewives. My marriage ended, and rather than stepping up for my kids (then 3 and 5) I stepped down. No one was around anymore to monitor my situation anymore, and can honestly say that I put them in danger on occasion. I received my first DIC and decided to try a local outpatients program to keep my family happy. But I was not ready yet, on no, much more had to go wrong over the next 2 years until I was ready to get serious, and get real. By then I had enough AA in my head to know I was an alcoholic, but I could not imagine a world without wine!! In the end my kids were living with their dad, I had lost my job, had an accident that left me nearly crippled and another DIC for my efforts. My hair was falling out, I was thin and not eating. I was hallucinating regularly and burning every bridge possible in the quickest amount of time. I was a shell of myself. I had nothing. You get that when the breakfast menu is a wine to get started.

Mrs D: So what was the straw that finally led you to get sober?

Andrea: Everything and nothing, it was a culmination of not having the kids and a lot of people telling me to get it sorted out – even the mums I drank with had enough of my antics. I was mixing painkillers with booze and knew it was death or insanity if I did not sort my life out. I was not ready to throw in the towel on life and I knew I had a life that could be worth living. Booze bought me to my knees.

Mrs D: So great that you quit. How did you find it it in the early days? What was most difficult?

Andrea: I did it hard in the beginning, I was pretty much alone by then. I had even managed to run the cat over. Loneliness and emotions where what I struggled with mentally. Physically I was really bad, I had very little strength and recall sleeping a lot.

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

Andrea: My family did not really believe I had it in me, I had let them down before, and left their hopes dashed. Friends were mainly good although the same as family. Some friends were actually disappointed once they knew I was serious as I was one less drinking buddy – I stopped getting invited places. Some even turned up with bottles of wine trying to convince me I just needed one or two…

Mrs D: Have you ever experienced a relapse?

Andrea: As above, 2 years – a series of relapses – before these 8 years.

Mrs D: How long until things started calming down for you emotionally & physically?

Andrea: It was a full two years before I felt like I could really cope emotionally and physically again on a daily basis. I was not a ‘mess’ before then, but at 2 I really felt like it had all started falling into place.

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

Andrea: Initially I was a hermit, I painted and cleaned and read every book I could. I immersed myself in the kids school, the PTA etc so I could avoid social events. Family events could not be avoided, but I took along my own car so I could leave when I wanted. I took my drinks and a ready excuse to go home.

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

Andrea: I was creative! I could make things with a bit of imagination. I learnt that I was stronger than I thought possible. I have discovered that there is ONLY ONE thing I cannot do – and that is drink. I can do anything else I set my mind to.

Mrs D:  I love that! How else did your life change?

Andrea: I became a citizen, not someone just along for the ride. I had opinions sober that were founded in compassion, not anger. Everything changed, I eventually got a new job, got my kids back full time, and learned that being me was ok.

Mrs D: Yay! So many great things.. can you pinpoint any main  benefits that emerged for you from getting sober?

Andrea: My kids have their mum back. My sister has her sister, my mum has her daughter and my nieces have their aunty. I can now give back, and understand addiction and all it’s tricks so intimatly. This has meant I have held few hands along the way, and I hope have given other people enough hope to stay sober.

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

Andrea: No, I think I had to do it the way I did it to end up here. I had to feel every itch and bit of heartache to appreciate that did not want to go back. I knew that I did not have another recovery in me.

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

Andrea: Get professional help – not ‘harm reduction’ help but total abstinence help. Residential rehab did not help me – I got kicked out in the first week. But an intensive outpatients program locally was perfect for me. I still had to live in the world while learning to maintain a good healthy sobriety. Rehab in all its forms will teach you how to get sober – AA and support groups will help you stay sober.

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

Andrea: This is not our fault, we are good people who make bad decisions drinking. It can, and does get better.

14 Comments
  1. Layla 3 years ago

    Beatuselfup Oh I can relate.
    It’s hard to drink it’s hard not to !
    I’ve been sober for nearly 7 months after 5 years of trying to get sober I hope this time it works.
    I get ya too , don’t drink on weekends for me that just wasn’t an option I thought about drinking pretty much all day My partner didn’t understand I didn’t have a choice when to drink….
    I got done drink driving in February and the probation and councilling I got helped make me see things differently this time.
    I thought I already knew it all the ego of drinking ae.
    As your name suggests I decided to stop beating myself up.
    It’s a journey Much love to you hope you are doing better today

  2. behind-the-sofa 3 years ago

    I might have another recovery in me but I don’t want to find out, the early days are so tough… you really have to strip everything away from your life before you can build it back up……. great story….. thanks : )

  3. BEATUSELFUP 3 years ago

    Hi thanks for telling your story. I’m lying here hungover feeling shit. After over a year I am drinking again.
    My husband loves his drinking buddy and thinks I should just not drink during the week. Ha
    It feels like every doubt is back again how will hold and Xmas be without the precious oh and my bulimia is back in full swing. Sorry I’m struggling

  4. Kerris 3 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and how wonderful you got your life back xxx

  5. Ducky 3 years ago

    Thanks so much Andrea. There is so much of your story i can relate to. Im thrilled for you that you got your life back!

  6. soylent 3 years ago

    “I had opinions sober that were founded in compassion, not anger.” +1

  7. SueK 3 years ago

    What an amazing story… you’re one strong and brave woman.

  8. Gilbert 3 years ago

    I think lots of us don’t have another recovery in us.I like that saying a lot.It keeps me sober too.Thanks for sharing it’s a valuable tool for us here. What a great job you’re doing for your family and yourself.

  9. ChrisA 3 years ago

    Wow congratulations on your new life. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. LibraryLady 3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me hope.

  11. StarGirl 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. You are very inspiring!

  12. Chloe 3 years ago

    LOVED this. Thank you.

  13. Trace 3 years ago

    So inspiring – thanks for the share xx

  14. Seizetheday 3 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m the same age and relate to loads of what you said. I’m in my 3rd year and still finding my feet! I also know “I don’t not have another recovery in me”. Going back there is not an option.
    Very inspirational. Thank you xo

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