This week’s Sober Story comes from Fiona, a 67-year-old living in Dunedin.
Mrs D: How long have you been in recovery?
Fiona: I have been in recovery for 33 years and am now enjoying retired life to the full.
Mrs D: What can you tell us about the last months/years of your drinking before you gave up?
Fiona: I was going through a messy divorce when I started drinking – bourbon and coke was my tipple. I started with a little bourbon and a lot of coke and slowly the mix turned into more bourbon than coke. My divorce came about as I knew I was transgender and my ex-wife could not accept that I was dressing as a female. Alcohol did become a crutch and so did gambling but I gave up both cold turkey. It was hard for a while but I came through it in the end. It was a lot to go through emotionally when changing gender but I did have and still do have supportive friends.
Mrs D: What was the final straw that led you to get sober?
Fiona: The final straw that made me get sober was when I was driving drunk and almost had a crash. Fortunately there was no one else involved. I did know booze was a problem before I almost crashed but I didn’t crash fortunately.
Mrs D: How was it for you in the early days? What was most difficult?
Fiona: It was about one and a half years before things started to calm down. I did have cravings but Praise the Lord I don’t have those cravings anymore. Life was full on as I was coming out as transgender and trying to give up the booze, but I didn’t self medicate with drugs or any other stuff. It would have been much harder for me to become who I am if I had kept drinking.
Mrs D: What reaction did you get from family & friends when you started getting sober?
Fiona: My friends were really great to me when I gave up the alcohol.
Mrs D: Experts say relapse is often a part of recovery, was it a feature of yours?
Fiona: I was fortunate that I didn’t relapse as I had my Christian faith to keep me going but some days it was really hard.
Mrs D: How long did it take for things to start to calm down for you emotionally & physically?
Fiona: It was about one and a half years before things started to calm down.
Mrs D: How hard was it getting used to socialising sober?
Fiona: It wasn’t hard to socialise after I became sober as I started fishing again and which I am doing now but not in the depths of winter here in Dunedin.
Mrs D: Was there anything surprising that you learned about yourself when you stopped drinking?
Fiona: I learned you don’t need alcohol to have fun. I still do mad (but legal) things when I am sober.
Mrs D: How did your life change?
Fiona: After the divorce it was hard but I did have supportive friends in the North Island when I was living there. I am back home in Dunedin now and enjoying life to the full. I stick to ginger beer or sparkling red grape juice these days.
Mrs D: What are the main benefits that emerged for you from getting sober?
Fiona: My penchant for writing poetry came back although I haven’t written anything for a while.
Mrs D: Would you do anything differently given the chance to go through the process again?
Fiona: I would probably have asked for help sooner as alcoholics don’t recognise their problem.
Mrs D: What advice or tips would you have for those who are just starting on this journey?
Fiona: For people who are starting their journey to becoming sober I would ask them to get their sober friends to help them and get them to Alcoholics Anonymous sooner rather than later.
Wow 33 years, what an incredible path your life has taken. Thanks for sharing your story Fiona.
Hi Fiona! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story – you are so brave! So great that you are enjoying your retirement to the fullest without the booze. Happy days ahead! Thanks @mrs-d for posting it!
Congratulations! One more year and you’ll have spent half your life sober : ) No poem for us then? ; )