This week's Sober Story comes from Kelly, a 52-year-old living in California.
Mrs D: How long have you been in recovery?
Kelly: I quit drinking alcohol 6 years ago on June 8, 2013.
Mrs D: What can you tell us about the last months/years of your drinking before you gave up?
Kelly: I’ve been “partying” since my teen years. Here I was, a mom in my 40’s, still “partying” and still waking up with regret and remorse. I eventually got tired of feeling that way.
Mrs D: I can relate. What was the final straw that led you to get sober?
Kelly: I was making decisions that just weren’t cool. I was being careless and reckless and not thinking about consequences. My mom died from alcoholism at her age of 46. I always knew I had to quit someday otherwise, I’d end up like her. I was 46 when I quit.
Mrs D: How was it for you in the early days? What was most difficult?
Kelly: In the early days, I would still go out to bars and parties. I’d order non-alcoholic drinks to stay in the “flow” with the rest of the people. I even had a couple of “scripts” memorized so when people asked me why I didn’t drink or tried to pressure me into drinking, I’d have a calm and cool, unwavering answer. That was the easy part. The difficult part was socializing in a whole new way. I felt awkward and alone. Sometimes, I wouldn’t even know what to do with my hands; empty without a drink. Funny but true.
Mrs D: What reaction did you get from family & friends when you started getting sober?
Kelly: I’ve always had immense support from friends and family. Now, people want to hang out with me because I don’t drink. I think they like to take a break from the social pressures of drinking.
Mrs D: Have you ever experienced a relapse?
Kelly: I have not experienced a relapse but I have had dreams about them; nightmares I should say. One time, I unknowingly ate some cake that had rum drizzled on it. I immediately felt that familiar feeling of having ingested liquor. I was incredibly upset about it. It made me cry out of fear of relapsing. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
Mrs D: How long did it take for things to start to calm down for you emotionally & physically?
Kelly: I think about a year. I am still learning to live this new way of life and am enjoying the self discoveries daily. It’s challenging, it’s work, and it’s worth it!
Mrs D: How hard was it getting used to socialising sober?
Kelly: In the beginning, I felt very isolated and alone. I wanted to socialize but felt awkward doing it. It didn’t take long to realize that not everyone drinks like I did. There are so many interesting and unique people who live life fully without getting drunk. I now gravitate towards that kind of lifestyle; one that’s healing and nurturing and creative. I’d like to think that I’m blossoming into the ME I’ve always wanted to be. I also know that the relationships I have are now stronger and deeper than before.
Mrs D: Was there anything surprising that you learned about yourself when you stopped drinking?
Kelly: Yes, that I AM lovable. I AM still fun, I AM still funny, I’m a good friend, I’m a good mother, I’m a good daughter and I really like me. I also make mistakes, I can be bossy, I can be controlling, I can be wrong. Fortunately, I’m interested and willing to do the work to become a better self; a clear and loving self.
Mrs D: I love this! How else did your life change?
Kelly: Immediately, I felt more in control. I stopped making bad decisions and started the healing process. This started my ability to love myself and feel worthy. I set boundaries which created less drama. I gained inner strength and confidence in my creativity. Patience and the Joy of Missing Out (JOMO) followed. I saved a lot of money by not drinking. Everything just got better.
Mrs D: What are the main benefits that emerged for you from getting sober?
Kelly: Learning that I’m worthy and setting an example for my daughter.
Mrs D: Would you do anything differently given the chance to go through the process again?
Kelly: I suppose I wish it would have happened sooner in my life but I’m ever so grateful that I am here, now, 6 years sober.
Mrs D: What advice or tips would you have for those who are just starting on this journey?
Kelly: Be gentle to yourself. Be nurturing. Believe that you’re worth it. One day at a time. Know that it gets better - life gets a lot better.
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to share?
Kelly: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are loved.