Mrs D: How long have you been in recovery?
Kailey: I have been in recovery for 4 years, thanks to the support from my family, friends, and higher power.
Mrs D: What can you tell us about the last months/years of your drinking before you gave up?
Kailey: During the last months of my drinking, I had become a totally different person. I had adjusted all of my morals in order to stay in denial about the fact that I had a drinking problem. I lied, stole money from family and friends, and completely gave up on all of my aspirations. I drank away all of my emotions and basically became the shell of a human being. I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror anymore.
Mrs D: What was the final straw that led you to get sober?
Kailey: I was in an abusive relationship and finally had enough of the alcohol-fueled fights. My abuser had threatened to kill me or himself if I left him. When he did that, I began to reflect on how I could have allowed the situation to become so toxic without leaving. I realised that my drinking had numbed my feelings and standards in regard to that relationship.
Mrs D: How was it for you in the early days? What was most difficult?
Kailey: For me, the early days were emotionally easier than the later stages of my recovery. My early recovery consisted of treatment, where I just had to take direction. However, the most difficult part was dealing with the withdrawals from alcohol and swallowing my pride during therapy. Luckily, I participated in medication-assisted treatment to help lessen my withdrawal symptoms in the beginning.
Mrs D: What reaction did you get from family & friends when you started getting sober?
Kailey: Luckily, I have family members who have gotten sober themselves. That being said, I had a lot of much-needed support. In regards to my friends, most of them were active alcoholics and addicts so I had to create space between us.
Mrs D: Have you ever experienced a relapse?
Kailey: I have not. However, if I were to stop doing the things that help to maintain my sobriety, I would most likely relapse.
Mrs D: How long did it take for things to start to calm down for you emotionally & physically?
Kailey: I don't think there was a specific point where I calmed down emotionally. My emotions tend to ebb and flow from normalcy to insanity if I'm being honest. Physically, I began to feel normal again after about 6 months.
Mrs D: How hard was it getting used to socialising sober?
Kailey: Very difficult. I have social anxiety, so being sober only intensified that for a while without the help of "liquid courage". I am just now beginning to work on my social anxiety and feel some relief.
Mrs D: Was there anything surprising that you learned about yourself when you stopped drinking?
Kailey: There were many surprising things that I learned about myself. One worth mentioning, though, was discovering that I had an addiction to Xanax - which I was prescribed to for my social anxiety. I ended up finding a non-narcotic anti-anxiety medication that helps when coupled with stress-management techniques that I learned in therapy.
Mrs D: How did your life change?
Kailey: My life turned around completely. I went from being unable to have any meaningful relationships, to having a tight-knit group of friends that I now consider family. I am learning new things about myself every day, for example, what I need emotionally, who I truly am, and what my dreams and aspirations are.
Mrs D: What are the main benefits that emerged for you from getting sober?
Kailey: Two main benefits stand out the most to me. First, my ability to face hard times without a substance all while learning valuable lessons. Second, the lasting relationships I have built due to my sobriety.
Mrs D: Would you do anything differently given the chance to go through the process again?
Kailey: I don't think I would. I have made plenty of mistakes, but those mistakes have gotten me to the place I am at today. I wouldn't trade my current life and headspace for the world.
Mrs D: What advice or tips would you have for those who are just starting on this journey?
Kailey: Be patient, willing to learn, and try not to be too hard on yourself. Recovery is not linear. You will make mistakes, but they are a part of the learning process.
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to share?