Sober Story: Diane

This week’s Sober Story comes from Diane (@soberstylist), a 60-year-old living in Palmerston North.


Mrs D: How long have you been in recovery?

Diane: Just over 3 years. 9th of August 2014 is my sober date.

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

Diane: I was drinking all day, from morning through to night. I needed a drink in the morning to stop the shakes and get my head around going to work, then in the evenings I would drink more. Probably about 2 bottles of wine a day minimum. More in the weekend. The last months was total frustration – lots of lying and deceit – knowing I was stuck in a rut but I could see no way out of at all. I didn’t know how to go about it, what to do. I’d tried rehab and I’d relapsed. I stopped going to AA meetings. I was lying all the time and feeling ill … destroying my life and my body but I didn’t know how to escape from it. It had it’s claws in very, very deeply and my marriage was really shocking anyway so it just made that worse.

Mrs D: So what happened that you finally quit?

Diane: I actually self-harmed and stabbed myself. I didn’t want to kill myself, I was just screaming for help. Because I’d had help in the past and it didn’t work I thought there was no hope and I was going to die from drinking real soon. The self harm didn’t even hurt and I wasn’t drunk when I did it – I’d only had two glasses. I was just so numb and desperate. The horrible thing about it was it actually worked, it gave me that much of a fright about how low and desperate I’d become that I vowed I’d never go back. That was it. I ended up in hospital then I went to a Salvation Army thing for 2 weeks afterwards. I was already going to a counsellor at that stage and she was starting to try and help me work through it but I self harmed before she had a chance to work out what we were going to do about it.

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

Diane: The early days were actually good because I gave myself such a fright by stabbing myself that I was just majorly into not ever having a drink again. It got harder as time went on…

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

Diane: Relief. Absolutely sheer relief, they were just so happy because they were so aware – more aware than I realised – at how bad my drinking was and how much it was affecting me. My friends and family were also very aware that I wasn’t in good environment relationship wise and that wasn’t helping.

Mrs D: Have you ever experienced a relapse?

Diane: Not since the last time I quit. And this is it, definitely.

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

Diane: Probably initially I would say 6 months after I quit, going to counselling and actually working out why things got as bad as they did and working through that. I separated from my husband after that things took a bit turn for the better. I think I was a bit on Cloud Nine for a while – doing things my way with my own life, making my own decisions, realising I was good at that. I started getting myself back a little. After two years I sorted out my work situation and got out of owning my own business which was stressful and wasn’t going well and started working for somebody else – it all just improved slowly.

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

Diane: I still struggle with that. In a family environment it’s really good but being out I still feel a bit lost. Not angry that I can’t drink at all.. I’m not worried about that .. I just struggle to last the distance. I’ll go out then go home early because I’ve had enough. I can’t sit there enjoying watching other people get drunk , that’s not me. One of the reasons I’ve avoided socialising so much is that’s what made me relapse on previous occasions – not changing habits. I was very much a dry drunk the first time I stopped drinking. I was angry that I couldn’t drink. But this time I’m relieved. Those situations are too dangerous, and they’re not fun and I don’t enjoy them. I’ve been too busy on my house to socialise much. I’ve found other things that are more important than socialising.

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

Diane: That I am totally capable of looking after myself, paying my bills, keeping on top of life in general and actually organising my own finances and living well and making good decisions.

Mrs D: That’s so great! How else has your life changed?

Diane: Amazingly. People and clients are blown away by just how well I look and how happy and positive I am. They’re  just so impressed and are in awe of what I’ve been able to do. I think I didn’t realise that I was a strong person, I always thought I was quite weak, but I’ve proved otherwise. I still think I’m a bit weak but other people would laugh and say “you’re so not, you’re one of the strongest people I know”.

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

Diane: Finding myself I suppose. Not having that guilt and stress and anxiety of thinking “what have I done? Who have I upset?” The total fear of illnesses that would be the side effects of drinking.

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

Diane: I’d do it sooner. I would have liked to see the signs and not self harmed, and been a bit more aware of my own brain. It still now blows me away that I actually did that. But then again it got me to where I am now so maybe it’s a gift. I couldn’t imagine counselling would have got me to the stage I’m at so quickly.

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

Diane:  Grab onto anything that helps towards sobriety. Living Sober (this site), AA, friends, counselling – anything that is a positive reinforcement on sobriety. Also look very carefully at what you were doing in the past and try and change. Like don’t do what I did when I first quit and try to carry on with nightclubbing or pubbing and thinking you can do it without alcohol because if you’re an alcoholic you can’t.

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

Diane: Just that life is awesome without alcohol. It is incredibly good but it still takes work. No matter how far into recovery you are it is not something you can pretend didn’t happen. You’ve always got to remember you’re an addict. I’m an addict and will always be an addict. Never let your guard down with it.

  1. hummingbird 7 years ago

    omg thats awesome Dianne, thanks for telling your story x

  2. Prudence 7 years ago

    Proud to know you Styley. You are a breath of fresh air. Always breezing in with your positive energy and wishing us all a happy day. It’s been such a pleasure to know you and meet you early on and to watch you go from strength to strength in your sober life. Huge hurdles you have overcome. So very proud that you have now got your freedom and success in the workplace, in your lovely new home, and in your heart and in your life. Legend!!! xoxo Hope to see you down here soon xo

  3. Andie 7 years ago

    Wow thanks for sharing – you’re an inspiration!

  4. IslandOne 7 years ago

    That’s an amazing story of transformation.

  5. Liberty 7 years ago

    Thank you dear Diane for your story, it’s raw and real and wow, what a change it’s been. You’re amazing. xx

  6. Michael 7 years ago

    Well done, Diane! An inspiring story. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Anonymous 7 years ago

    I need advice on how to help my husband. He drinks heavily every day but changes the subject or brushes it off if I try to talk to him about his drinking. He’s always drunk a lot but it is getting worse and worse. I’m scared he’s going to get very sick. He already has high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Any advice/ideas/help would be much appreciated!

    • soberstylist 7 years ago

      Hi @anonymous , that’s a hard one . Have you suggested he reads MrsD s book. As you know of you personally aren’t ready to stop, no one else’s influence will make you &often it creates major friction. Hopefully leading by example will help xXxX

    • Anonymous 7 years ago

      Sorry… I’ve posted this in the wrong place! I didn’t realize I was commenting in Diana’s story! Can I move it?

  8. QuietlyDone 7 years ago

    My dear Stylie, I am so proud to know you. Your journey has been inspiring. Thank you so much for showing us the beauty of inner determination. Love you!

  9. Mari135 7 years ago

    Diane, your story was so very raw and touching, thank you for sharing it all!

    I’ve read your story three times since it was published here, and each time I had a good cry at the part where you talked about the stabbing. I get it. I used to slap myself so very hard in the face until it hurt, punch my stomach, hit my head with a brush until it was bleeding. And the worst part was thinking that I was crazy, alone, and it would never get better and was all my fault.


    You are courageous and strong, and so very inspiring.
    Just over three years…look at you go!!!!

    I am so glad you are here


  10. Scared 7 years ago

    Oh Stylie, I will never forget the first meet up, I was terrified of it but you were so…quietly strong and welcoming. You shared your story and I was blown away by how far you had come. Lots of love to you xoxo

  11. Nina 7 years ago

    Congratulations Diane on achieving so much. It is making me think of those words about learning to love ourselves.
    I’m happy to hear that socialising with your family now is mostly an easy thing to do. Wow, I am hearing about the fallout from people,s struggles with alcohol and other drugs, just now, and feeling very grateful that we have this forum.
    (At least one of them is family).
    If we can do it so can they and I hope people i know who struggle with it realise that there is someone out there whose greatest wish is that those close to them who suffer through addiction will accept the help that is there and believe in themselves enough to overcome addiction, one day at a time.
    At the same time as I wish this wholeheartedly for others, I have to acknowledge that it has taken me until my sixties to get here and I am being overly fond of sugar just now (and that’s not my mate!!).
    Have a great weekend.

  12. TallGlassOfWater 7 years ago

    Thank you for your Sober Story Diane.
    You summed up how I am feeling with now without alcohol…RELIEF.
    What a bloody relief it is to be sober.
    I am at day 34 and loving it.
    I will not drink today.

  13. hetiheti 7 years ago

    So good to read about your strength – I certainly saw that when I first met you and heard your story – that wine witch is capable of robbing us of so much – and we are suddenly amazed when we refind them in our sobriety – but find them we do – and this is what helps us hold onto our hard earned sobriety xx well done xx

  14. Ange 7 years ago

    You, Stylie, are simply awesome. Never forget it. Soooo worth it! xxx

  15. pearl 7 years ago

    Lots of love to you Stylie xxx
    You are amazing.

  16. JM 7 years ago

    Diane, there is such strength and positivity in your story, thank-you for sharing! You have really rebuilt your life, amazing. I appreciate your cautionary words at the end of the story, true. Onwards + upwards, xo

  17. HappyNess 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story Diane. Where you mention feeling relief at not having to drink rather than anger at not being able to drink is just so relevant, and I think key to succeeding. I was just thinking this morning how thankful I was that I no longer had to worry about drinking anymore. It IS such a relief as you say. Thanks again for sharing and congratulations on being free. 🙂

  18. Seizetheday 7 years ago

    Oh Diane I am so so proud of you and what you have changed for your life.
    So many times I would log in and there you were, helpful and supportive.
    You are a trooper and no doubt your life will only get better and better as time goes by and you learn how much more you are capable of. Big hugs to you xo

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