Today's Sober Story comes from Em, a 41-year-old living in Lower Hutt.
Mrs D: How long have you been sober for?
Em: 15 years
Mrs D: What was life like for you just prior to quitting?
Em: Volatile. Out of control. Wasted time, energy. A circle of despair, depression, darkness. So so black. Angry. Angry. Violent. Self destructive. Jesus, I was evil.
Mrs D: Sounds full on. What happened that got you to quit?
Em: It was work drinks and I knew I was on my last warning. Suddenly, I sat bolt upright at 3am. No recollection of the 'fun'. I had blacked-out and been violent. Probably vomited. A year before hand, my best friend had said "can the real Em still come out and not drink?" My partner said to me, "you can choose booze or me." I had hurt too many people. I chose him.
Mrs D: Yay! How was it for you in the early days? What was most difficult?
Em: It was sobering (Ha!) in the early days. I had to face all my problems by not getting wasted. I had to deal with so many emotions. I took each day as it came. Each hour sometimes. I just had to get through each moment. Slowly, time ticked away as it has a habit of doing. Most difficult thing was remaining true to myself.
Mrs D: What about your friends and family, how did they react?
Em: Some of them were so accepting. Some of them still ask me if I'd like a drink at dinner...
Mrs D: Some people will never get it. Have you ever experienced a relapse?
Em: No but doesn't mean the craving still isn't there. Somedays I feel like I'd love to get wasted. Ugh, then I just think of the consequences.
Mrs D: Yeah, so not worth it. How long did it take for things to start to calm down for you emotionally & physically?
Em: I'm still fat!! I replaced drink with sugar. Recently I decided I really needed to overhaul my diet. I thought if I can give up alcohol, surely I can give up unhealthy options. I had a quick inspiring read of Living Sober and thought "I got this". Emotionally I felt like a child at the start. I had to learn social skills. I'm still learning.
Mrs D: How hard was it getting used to socialising sober?
Em: I had some great advice from others who had been there. A wise sage told me to buy lemon lime and bitters in a brown bottle because it looks like beer. It took me at least a month, maybe more before I went out. Have a back up person at the party who has your back. Everyone starts talking shit around 10.30pm so it's always a good time to leave then.
Mrs D: Oh god yes. Unless you can find another person who is not boozing to squirrel away with in the corner. Was there anything surprising that you learned about yourself when you stopped drinking?
Em: The real Em can still come out and not drink.
Mrs D: How did your life change?
Em: I think you live twice the life because you gain so many hours. You gain respect for yourself and from others.
Mrs D: What are the main benefits that emerged for you from getting sober?
Em: I saved some money. I have no wasted moments. That awful hangover feeling of guilt and general seediness never has to happen again.
Mrs D: Would you do anything differently given the chance to go through the process again?
Em: Ha, sooner? But we got to go through it to learn, right?
Mrs D: What advice or tips would you have for those who are just starting on this journey?
Em: In the beginning, it is all consuming. Drinking was my life. Getting wasted, my coping mechanism. Slowly, the new day dawned and I felt like I could see through the haze. Gradually life became so much clearer. The dullness evaporated. Now, drinking doesn't even factor into my life. I used to be obsessed as to the logistics of getting to the party/pub with the most alchohol and how the hell was I going to get home again. Now I'm organised and sorted for getting anywhere. Sobriety is second nature and I never thought it would be. One day at a time. This is your journey. Ain't no body else going to do it for you but there will be people out there who will help you. Especially if you're honest. Be Honest. I get so much respect when I tell people why. Some people will try to hinder you. They can fuck off to the far side of fuck and stay there. Apologies for the language but I haven't got time for negativity anymore.
Mrs D: So true, and great to have that attitude about anyone who tries to sabotage your sobriety. Anything else to share?
Em: I am so happy that I am in control of my actions and my life. My children and partner are safe because of my choice. Living Sober has my back if any doubts creep in. If anyone ever needs me, I can be there, no questions asked, even at 2.30am on a Monday, you can rely on me to help. That means the world.
Great words at a much needed time!
So much truth and honesty in your post . Thanks for sharing!
“They can fuck off to the far side of fuck and stay there!”
Well said!!!! Well done on your success!!
Great!!! thank you for sharing. Live twice the life. I like that.
Thank you for your honesty Em. You make it sound much easier than it no doubt was. Love “ that general feeling of seediness” went away! I think that’s my favorite part of being sober! Yes! And being available at any time. A blessing to be sure. God bless! Mara
So good and so relatable! Thank you for sharing. You speak my language. I say all the time, “they can go fuck right the fuck off”. You’re an inspiration Em.
Thank you for your honesty. I’ve seen life on the other side and I’m going to chase it.
Thanks for sharing, I bet you are inspiring slot of people in your life even if they don’t say it.
Thanks for sharing Em, your story is very relatable and the feeling of being sober is amazing. I say it with such pride now – “no thanks, I don’t drink anymore” xoxo
Thank you for sharing your story, Em. Relatable and inspiring. Congratulations on 15 years!
Kia ora Em,
Thank you for sharing your story. I’m a few days off one year of living sober and can relate to your experience. Especially what I’ve gained. There is more hours to enjoy life without time wasted, being wasted. No more thinking about, planning how to get more and then regrets around booze. Life is calmer and I’m more relaxed and in control. I also totally hear you the Living Sober has my back when I’m not feeling so strong. Kia kaha, and thank you Living Sober community!
You should feel really proud that you got a grip at such a young age. Wish I had done the same. Now at 52 I’m trying not to look back. The past is gone. But today is something I can control. I choose sober.
Thank you for sharing your experiences. It helps to hear about success. I feel so much better in myself AF. It’s still early days (78 and counting) but I know this is forever.
“They can fuck off to the far side of fuck and stay there!” I love it! So true though, there are always people who either don’t get it or who take some perverse pleasure in trying to sabotage your efforts. Thanks for sharing your story. I love reading about others journeys and successes.
Wow, Em, what a tale to tell! Thank you for sharing your story, really appreciate it!