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.