Sober Story: Annie

This week’s Sober Story comes from Annie (@grannie), a 60-year-old living in Invercargill.


Mrs D: How long have you been in recovery?

Annie: I have been in recovery since September 2nd 2014 – my grandsons 5th birthday.

Mrs D: What can you tell us about the end of your drinking days?

Annie: The last months/years of my drinking had escalated to where I knew I would have to either stop drinking or I would be dead. I had lost all contact with my two daughters because I had verbally abused them both while drunk. They decided they needed to protect themselves and have nothing more to do with me until I was sober. I had stopped drinking for a year once before but it didn’t take much for me to start again.

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

Annie: My fourth marriage was an absolute sham and I was in a cycle of going home on a Friday and staying in bed with a cask of wine under the bed and another in the fridge. I saw the programme on TV about Lotta  and then heard she was talking at an event in Wellington where I was living at the time. I decided I wanted my daughters back, my ‘husband’ gone and this I could only do if I stopped drinking.

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

Annie: I struggled with not drinking while everyone else around me was drinking. I never drank again after I decided to stop. I bought a red wine bottle and a red glass and boxes of diet lemon lime and bitters. I would go home from work and fill the red bottle with the diet drink and sit and drink it. I had a lot of anger in me and to a certain extent I still do feel angry. Angry that I had a problem. Angry that I wasn’t a normal drinker and angry that people looked at me like I was a freak for not drinking.

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

Annie: My family were really pleased I was giving up but they were also suspicious because I had given up before. They all thought I would only give up for a short time or drink on the sly

Mrs D: Have you ever experienced a relapse?

Annie: I have not had a relapse this time though I did accidentally taste wine when someone swapped glasses at a party. My reaction was swift and I never swallowed, spat it out and had a real panic attack. It was a lesson to always have my glass in my hand. I have often thought I could have a drink but I know it would never just be one and my life is under control now and I never want to go back to where I was over three years ago.

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

Annie: I can’t say that things have calmed down completely emotionally and physically. I know physically I am a lot better off having stopped shaking and having headaches. It took me a few months for that to happened. Emotionally it is going to be on going probably for the rest of my life. I still to this day beat myself up about not being able to control my drinking.

Mrs D: Don’t beat yourself up. There are many of us in the same boat. What about going out and socialising.. how do you find doing that without drinking?

Annie: For me it is still a work in progress socialising sober as I still feel people look at me and are judging me. I feel better if I have water or whatever else I drink out of a wine glass. That way I don’t feel so different.

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

Annie: Yes, I thought I needed alcohol to be funny and be able to perform on stage but I didn’t.

Mrs D: How did your life change?

Annie: I could drive to work in the morning without worrying about drink driving. I had a lot more money at the end of the week. I had the clear head I needed to put my life back together.

Mrs D: Any main benefits you can pinpoint that have emerged for you since getting sober?

Annie: I have put my relationships with my daughters together again and in a much more healthier way. This means I am an active grandmother as well.

Mrs D: Oh that’s so great. Would you do anything differently given the chance to go through the process again?

Annie: Yes I would have stopped a lot sooner and chosen my ‘friends’ differently

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

Annie: Don’t think past today. You only have to get through today. I use this thought a lot in other areas of my life as well now. I get depressed a lot but tell myself I only have to get through now.

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

Annie: I have used alcohol to dull the pain I have felt since I can’t remember when. There has been a movie made which describes my adult life: Four weddings and a Funeral. This has given a lot of people whom I have met a lot of opportunities to take the piss out of me. They don’t know how or why my life has been the way it has but like to judge me anyway. I have refused to go into the foetal position and give up on life. Now instead of drinking I sing at home until I no longer feel worthless.

Mrs D: Sing?

Annie: I have replaced on addiction for another. My new addiction of singing though will not hurt anyone else unless they have sensitive ears.

  1. Anonymous 6 years ago

    Hi Annie
    It’s crazy how I can relate to you. I’m a alcoholic, and tried to quit so many times just to end up relapsing. It can be really hard! But to hear stories like this makes me feel like there’s hope for me. Thank YOU for sharing your story! Keep staying strong

    • grannie 6 years ago

      Don’t give up trying one hour sober can lead to two hours don’t beat yourself up one small step at a time

  2. Singanewsong 6 years ago

    Hi Annie, thanks for sharing your story, you have come such a long way and your determination to stay sober shines through. I am also a granny, I love singing, and find it a good antidote when I notice myself thinking angry thoughts ! stay well and keep on singing xoxox

  3. Joni 6 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing, Annie. Stories like yours inspire me to keep going. It’s early days for me @ 5 weeks. I’m glad everything worked out with your family. I’m in my 60s also and a grandma. I never want my grandkids to remember seeing me drunk. God bless!

  4. jo14 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing…sing away! 🙂

  5. JM 6 years ago

    Hi @grannie! Your last sentence made me smile, you must be much happier. I sing a lot more too now. : ) Thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

  6. mullycatNZ 6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing, I love your new addiction of singing, how fabulous! xx

  7. reena 6 years ago

    I related to being angry and still do of course, everyone gets AF in their own way and you are no different. I like your raw honesty about it all. Life isn’t always easy but it’s a lot easier without making it worse I guess. Thanks for sharing that we can all do it, and I relate to doing a lot in my life right now, just for today.

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