Today's Sober Story comes from Molly, a 61-year-old living in the USA.
Mrs D: How long have you been sober?
Molly: My recovery date is April 6, 2014.
Mrs D: What was your life like before you quit?
Molly: On April 5, 2013 I worked my usual 12 hour hospital shift, never dreaming that it would be the last day of my career. I should have appreciated more, listened more carefully. It was my very last day of hearing most sounds. My granddaughter’s babble, my husband’s heartbeat would all soon be just a memory. I was not scheduled to work the next few days so I most likely had a few glasses of wine that night, which was the usual, drink to relax at the end of the work week. I came from a family riddled with alcoholics and I was always very careful, very aware of the risks. I used alcohol moderately to relax and to help overcome crippling social shyness. On April 6, 2013 I awoke and could not hear. It is impossible to describe the terror, the anguish. My hero Helen Keller describes it best, “Blindness separates people from things; Deafness separates people from people”. The next weeks brought visits with specialists near and far, painful treatments which gained no improvement. Fitted for hearing aids to help regain balance, some sounds get through, pots and pan noises only, no voices, no music, no tinkles of laughter. Isolation quickly set in, my world became smaller and smaller. My alcohol moderation function completely quit. Drink, drink, drink, hiding it all quietly in my home alone days. I was shocked to see a calendar and realise twelve horrible months had passed. I had pushed the pause button on my life. Shaky, red faced, exhausted, unhealthy, I had built myself a very dark place. I knew in my heart I would never learn to really live again if I continued to drink.
Mrs D: So you just stopped?
Molly: On April 6, 2014 I stopped drinking. I saw the calendar that morning and realised a full year had passed. I was stuck in a boozy hell. Frightened, guilty, and confused. How had I let this happen?
Mrs D: That's so strong and admirable of you to just act like that. Bravo. How did it go?
Molly: I confessed all to my husband, no judgement, my champion showed only love and concern. He so wanted to fix this for me but of course couldn’t. Each day seemed to last a lifetime. Searching for help, praying, knowing that I couldn’t communicate face to face, so no possibility of AA, or face to face meetings. I miraculously came upon some on-line sober blogs. Like a healing rain, their words drowned me in hope, adding a salve and clean white bandage to my wounded soul. They were my lifeline, my salvation, their words saved me. Within a few months a new site Living Sober was created by the brave and kind Mrs. D/Lotta Dann. This group has become my circle of strength, they get it, they understand. I suddenly was not alone.
Mrs D: So glad you found us! How did your friends and families respond to you quitting?
Molly: Not much of a reaction at all. I had been way too successful in hiding my drinking. I still get the odd comment or two..."still not drinking???" I always try to respond positively, "nope, quite happy without it".
Mrs D: Have you ever relapsed?
Molly: No relapse.
Mrs D: How long did it take for you to feel recovered both physically and emotionally?
Molly: Physically, I feel that I was healed by about nine months. Just slowly felt better and began to look and feel healthier. Emotionally it's still a bit of a process for me. Mostly due to the deafness, it really mucks up the healing process.
Mrs D: I bet. What about going out and socialising when not drinking, how is this for you?
Molly: Again, this is a bit of a challenge for me, I used to drink prior to socialising due to being very, very, shy. Deafness has made this a much bigger handicap. Being sober is better for me. I can concentrate on speech reading in a quiet corner of a party, I have found that I am now a magnet to other introverts!
Mrs D: Oh that's rather lovely. Was there anything surprising you discovered about yourself after quitting drinking?
Molly: Two main finds, the first, I still love to learn! My husband and I have learned sign language and I am learning speech/lip reading
(although the words naked and bacon still look the same to me…funny story there!). I have also found that although I am no longer healing people with my medical skills, I can still help to heal with kindness. Encouraging others who are getting sober is a great source of comfort to me!
Mrs D: How has your life changed?
Molly: I am again laughing each day, finding delight in expanding my world. Looking back at my wasted year with Kindsight instead of Hindsight, instead of saying "what was I thinking?", change it instead to, "what was I learning"? I have learned that you can’t recover or grieve while drunk. By not drinking you create a life where alcohol does not appeal. My world is still quiet, but no longer dark.
Mrs D: Would you do anything differently given the chance to go over it again?
Molly: I think my drinking was a mask. A mask to hide severe pain and anxiety. I do wish I had stopped sooner, but I think that is almost universal amongst us!
Mrs D: Any advice for the newly sober?
Molly: If you have recently stopped drinking or are thinking about becoming alcohol free, please check in the Members Feed section of Living Sober each day. There is a member here dealing with the same hope, fear, longing, dread, or joy. Together we can help each other build a brighter, healthier, happier future. One last note, a favourite quote from St. Francis, "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
Thank you for sharing Molly. I would have been so frightened to wake up one morning to find I couldn’t hear anything. Your year of drinking, confusion and depression is understandable. I’m so happy that you turned it around and are sober free today and helping people. I love your writing. I would love to hear about the bacon and naked story – 😝
Hi Moly, thank you for sharing your incredible story, you have a fabulous way with words and I really felt your journey 🥰 I resonate with using alcohol to deal with those pesky emotions of shyness and anxiety as well 💕 here’s to being booze-free and continuing to learn
Thank you Molly. I found it an enlightening read. I have so much respect for your journey.
Is this our wonderful long-term member, by chance? I won’t name who in case you didn’t want that.
Anyway, I love this post & your hard-won, gentle wisdom.
Thank you for sharing your painful story. I admire your courage.
Absolutely love this:
“Looking back at my wasted year with Kindsight instead of Hindsight, instead of saying “what was I thinking?”, change it instead to, “what was I learning”? “
Molly – I think you are definitely still healing others through your optimism and strength. ‘Kindsight instead of Hindsight, instead of saying “what was I thinking?”, change it instead to, “what was I learning”? I have learned that you can’t recover or grieve while drunk’. What a wise woman you are. Thank you for sharing your story.
Oh my. I love this: “Looking back at my wasted year with Kindsight instead of Hindsight . . .” So good. Thank you for your story.
Thanks for sharing here Molly. Such an inspiration. Love your perspective on what was I learning rather than what was I thinking. I’ll definitely remember that one.
Thank you Molly. Day 2 for me, and the cravings are so loud I can’t hear myself think… but I’m hanging on, and with any luck something better lies ahead. Strength and peace to us all 🙂
Molly, this is a wonderful story. Your optimism oozes through every word. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you. At 62 I have extremely loud tinnitus and need hearing aids, I so love your story , it gives me hope. The idea of what was l learning rather than what was I thinking really resonated.
That was a very nice quote you left and well done to you being strong:)
That is a really wonderful story and you are obviously a very strong lady. I am so in awe of your optimism and capacity to learn new things. I think shyness and lack of social confidence leads lots of people to drink too much and to stop alcohol as well as deal with such a devastating blow shows you are a powerful person indeed. I am so impressed. Thank you so much for sharing. xxxxxx
You have such a beautiful, touching story. Thank you for sharing. Your kindness has made a huge difference in my life. You were one of the first people to welcome me when I joined this site almost 6 years ago and I am happily sober to this day. If I had been met with no responses it could have been a completely different outcome. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing. You are a beautiful writer. Have you thought about writing a book on the above? I love your ‘Kindsight’ looking back and thinking what was I learning. A brave courageous path you have taken. Am in total awe and admiration ❤️
I enjoyed this so much. You are very lucky to have a loving and supportive spouse, I know mine has helped me in my sobriety. Thanks for sharing your story it will help so many members.
Molly, wow, thanks for sharing your story! It is strong and inspiring, and beautifully-written. I love that: look back with Kindsight rather than Hindsight. I’ll think of that next time some old shame pops up. xo
Wow Molly thanks for sharing your journey and my what a journey. You really have done exceptionally well. I love your favourite quote “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” I think I’ll use that in my daily life. Thank you