This week's Sober Story comes from Lisa Boucher (pronounced boo-shay), a 58-year-old living in Ohio, USA. She is the author of the Multi-Award Winning book, Raising the Bottom: Making Mindful Choices in a Drinking Culture.
Mrs D: How long have you been in recovery?
Lisa: I got sober in 1989 so 30 years!
Mrs D: Fantastic! What can you tell us about the last months/years of your drinking before you gave up?
Lisa: I had known for a few years that my drinking was escalating. The disease progresses and I saw the progression. My mother had hit a low bottom and I didn't want that to happen to me. My mom got sober seven years before I did and I saw her transform from a wreck of a woman into an amazing recovery advocate who helped so many. Sobriety started to look pretty good, but of course, I wasn't ready to take the plunge yet.
Mrs D: What was the final straw that led you to get sober?
Lisa: It was the way someone said to me, "You have a problem." It was the tone of their voice. They were Matter of fact. I knew what I had to do.
Mrs D: How was it for you in the early days? What was most difficult?
Lisa: It was most difficult to be a high-bottom drunk! There were so many things that had not happened: I had zero legal issues. My husband thought I had "emotional problems" but didn't think I was an alcoholic. I was only in my late 20's...I had few consequences other than I had hit an emotional bottom. The only person who thought I should get sober was my sober mom. I'm glad I listened to her and the still small voice within. The hardest part was to stay in recovery.
Mrs D: What reaction did you get from family & friends when you started getting sober?
Lisa: They were surprised. Most didn't think I had a problem.
Mrs D: Have you ever experienced a relapse?
Lisa: Yes, I had a one day relapse after my first three months of sobriety. After that one day relapse, I've never looked back.
Mrs D: How long did it take for things to start to calm down for you emotionally & physically?
Lisa: It took a good year for me to ACCEPT that I was an alcoholic. We can know that we are, but to accept that I was...that took time. I kept comparing myself to others and always came up with well, I was not that bad. It's a dangerous thing to do--comparing ourselves.
Mrs D: How hard was it getting used to socialising sober?
Lisa: It was difficult because my husband drank (and still does) and I was usually the only sober person. I found that I cut a lot of evenings short and I got to where I'd much rather be home with my kids & a good book than to be out with people who were drinking.
Mrs D: Was there anything surprising that you learned about yourself when you stopped drinking?
Lisa: Yes, that I'm more of an introvert. I started writing books in recovery. Hence, "Raising the Bottom," my 5th book happened because of recovery. I learned I like animals better than most people. I like nature.
Mrs D: How did your life change?
Lisa: As I mentioned above, when I got sober, I started writing, I went back to school and became a RN. I was a sober mom to twins.
Mrs D: What are the main benefits that emerged for you from getting sober?
Lisa: SOBER PARENT! The best gift any parent can give their child is to be the best version of themselves. We can't be our best selves when drinking.
Mrs D: Would you do anything differently given the chance to go through the process again?
Lisa: Looking back, I think things unfolded as they were supposed to be. My first 3 years of recovery was quite structured. I went back to school, had 6 month old twins and I went to meetings. That was my life for 3 years, but looking back I needed that structure to keep me focused on what was important. My recovery, my kids, finishing my education...
Mrs D: What advice or tips would you have for those who are just starting on this journey?
Lisa: Make the commitment that if you are seriously done with drinking you will do what it takes to stay sober. It's a huge life change but when you break it down to changing small habits and doing it just for today, what seems like a mountain that can't be climbed actually can be conquered.
Mrs D: Anything else you'd like to share?
Lisa: Yes, if you think you have a drinking problem--you probably do. Address it now. Things will only get worse. I had a high bottom and saved myself and my family from untold amounts of heartache and drama. I have a wonderful relationship with my sons that would have been impossible to have had I kept drinking.
So wise of you to listen and quit while you were so young. You look so youthful in your picture. Like you I was high bottom an thought I had serious emotional issues. I drank through my children’s childhoods. I know I was not present. I was not happy and hated everything about myself. What I believed were emotional issues lifted. I quit at 60. I have days where I feel deep regret and my mind tells me I left it too late. I remind myself that I don’t want to die alone and disabled by drink.
Thanks for sharing your story. People would have told me I had a problem – I used to think they were trying to control me. For those who don’t really listen and I was one, start hearing what people say. It’s always inspiring to hear about long-term successes. Well done and take care.
“Be serious about your commitment” says it all! Thank you for sharing your personal sober journey.❤
Beautiful story and so young when you quit, it must have been have been hard knowing that is what “all young people do.” You hit it for me when you said your husband thought you had emotional problems. I believe my husband did too. He just saw the angry, or sadness, or withdraw….all these crazy emotions from drinking. Glad to be off that roller coaster. I am much calmer with my teens. Life is good. Thank you for sharing.