The Fear

person on beach at sunset

The biggest thing I always want to say when asked about my sobriety is that living alcohol-free is not the boring-ass disaster I feared it would be. I was terrified at the prospect of never drinking again! Utterly terrified. And I know a lot of us drinkers are.

We know we've got a problem, we know we probably need to stop drinking, we know it's making us feel emotionally miserable and physically terrible ... yet we are still shit scared to give up.

Shit scared to take the leap into living sober.

I could simply not imagine a happy life without booze. I was deeply conditioned to see alcohol as the magical elixir that made everything better. My brain was hard-wired to believe that alcohol was the best way to relax, that it was vital for fun, that it helped me to bond with my friends, that it proved I was a good hostess, that it was my friend in times of loneliness or boredom. I thought drinking made me cool.

(OMG writing that now makes me sad. How deluded I was.)

But now I'm over nine years past my last drink I know that all my past beliefs about alcohol were hollow lies, and the truth is living sober is anything but a boring-ass disaster.

Yes, it takes a big transition to shift from living boozily to living sober. Yes, it takes quite a bit of work early on to shift thinking and break ingrained habits. Yes, we need to work on other factors in our lives that cause pain (such as current unsatisfactory circumstances or past hurts & grievances), and yes, there may be some shuffling of relationships or activities. But it can be done. If you really attack your sobriety head on and focus on all the good things not drinking delivers you ... Slowly over time you just start living and not thinking about reaching for a drink constantly.

And you start to feel great! You no longer suffer terrible hangovers or extreme guilt! You feed all the things in your life that are lovely and make you feel good, and you starve all the things that bring you down or make you suffer.

And you just live. You get up.. you live and breath all day... and you go to bed. Repeat. Alcohol doesn't enter the picture. Sorrows do - because life is like that - but so do triumphs and joys.

You just live! Alcohol free. Compulsion free. Addiction free.

I get the fear. I understand it. I've felt it too.

But seriously, you've got to feel the fear and do it anyway. Take the leap. Know that you will get to a happy place. Know that the lies you believe about alcohol's supposedly positive benefits are all bullshit. Know that you will become a person who just moves through their life without struggling with addiction.

And then pass the message on. Tell others them you understand what it's like to be locked in a boozy hell, but reassure them that sobriety is not the ticket to a boring, miserable life. Far from it. It is the gateway to finding your true, authentic self and ultimately (hopefully) a lovely feeling of tranquility and inner calm.

Love, Mrs D xxx

  1. Neil 2 years ago

    Such a wonderful way of putting it into words, thank you. I should share this with people I know going through this hell. The mind is a powerful thing and that hard wiring is hard to tackle, but with support and encouragement it can be done.

  2. Hitman 3 years ago

    I know that fear only too well. But, I faced it head on after a couple of attempts (lets call them warm ups) and here I am with 238 consecutive days of sobriety, largely thanks to this site I might add. Most days I visit and read and comment and cant imagine how it would be without it.
    Currently reading Mrs D Goes Without and loving it. Thank you 🙂

  3. Overdue 3 years ago

    I am reading your book right now and on the beginning of my journey which is going to be a long road but I can and I must your story is my story. I laughed I went out and bought energy drinks before I came to that in your book LOL my drug of choice Chardonnay it’s almost A Love affair which is sad…day two. Thank you Mrs D is going without ❤️

  4. Mrs MK 3 years ago

    You’ve inspired me to start my own blog – thank you!

  5. Anna 3 years ago

    Today I was lucky enough to hear your story with a group of supportive wahine, learning about Addictions. Your story brought awareness to my own journey and how my history of alcoholic behaviours were still deeply engrained into my way of life. Breathe.
    I felt safe to acknowledge I had a problem in your presence and with your story as a guide. So my many months of thinking about making changes has shifted somewhat and I’m keen to start doing something. Day 1.
    Thankyou Mrs D x

  6. JR 3 years ago

    @Mrs-D @freedom1025 spot on what you both shared here.

  7. Anonymous 3 years ago

    I just finished your first book “Mrs. D is Going Without.” As I know many of your readers have said, it has been life changing. I can relate to all you have shared and there is so much more I have to face.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am hopeful I can be sober starting now.

  8. JillyMonty 3 years ago

    Thanks for the reminder! I’m new here to this blog and it’ s great to be here. Thank you one and all…. You have (Mrs D), such an honest way of facing ‘head on’ the battle we’ve all been fighting with this addictive substance that promises so much yet actually delivers so little. I love your positive framing of the sober life. Ii’s now just over a year since my last drink – and yes – I’m still alive – actually MORE ALIVE…. there is so much more of a newness and awakeness about life now….. that captivating ‘drink’ could not deliver the calmness I was looking for…… and the profound peace of living without that craving brings….

  9. MsLil 3 years ago

    I still think about the years I drank. It was awful. Every night I would kid myself into thinking I would have just a glass. I wrote a short story about my struggles and I can honestly say it has helped me enormously. When I read it I am reminded of the place I was in – it was real. It keeps it close as a reminder of the miserable hours, days, weeks, months, years that I endured when my drinking escalated. I lived to drink and drank to live.
    Now I have hangover free mornings and go out for a run and enjoy a delicious coffee every morning. I eat well and I am mostly happy every day despite the fact I came over to visit my father in NZ almost a year ago with one suitcase and a backpack for a 2 week visit but haven’t been able to get back to see my family and friends in Australia due to Covid restrictions and caring for my elderly father here in NZ.
    I am so grateful to be sober and conscious of what is happening.
    If I had been guzzling wine every afternoon like I used to do I really don’t know how it would look as my family are all close by and no one really knew of my struggles.
    So here’s to living sober and helping others do the same 🙂

  10. lillatina 3 years ago

    Ugh, it’s my first day here. I’m about a week in (again) to sober/lessen. I just want to be NORMAL and enjoy a cocktail with people or alone and not binge! I’m not the everyday drink type or the one that craves it all the time it’s just sometimes I get, bored, or stressed or even feel really happy and think, hey! you know what would be fun rn? A drink! But then it turns into this 3 day binge or something. Not always but often. So I’m like OK I’m a binge drinker not an alcoholic so it’s not that bad. But dude it’s BS! I’ve totaled a car (my friend was a cop so I got let off) – I crashed into a bus stop btw. Luckily no one was waiting there -_- I’ve lost multiple jobs, lost multiple hours of my life in blackouts, etc etc. So yeah, still a problem. Come from family of addicts. Maybe I could take up pot instead? That’s legal -_-

    • Kim 3 years ago

      My first day here too. Im sipping a wine ffs. I have read Mrs D’s books and I am trying to lessen my drinking. Lockdown last year just took my drinking to a whole new level and I am over it but here I am still sipping wine! Weed isn’t legal here – thank goodness or I would probably cross addict and end up wanting that!

  11. freedom1025 3 years ago

    When I gave up drinking, I felt I was mourning the loss of a friend. Who would greet me at the end of the day, console me, comfort me, laugh with me? And then I started reading blogs and books by people like you who were further along on the recovery path and you all emphasized booze is no friend. You challenged us to question the beliefs we hold onto about alcohol. And once I did that, it was a game changer. My eyes were opened to all the lies. Pretty cool stuff. Thanks for opening our eyes and showing us the way. xoxo

  12. RB2019 3 years ago

    Great message! Really captures it all doesn’t it. Thanks!

  13. Winner 3 years ago

    Love this so much, deciding on forever alcohol free is so liberating! Finally taking the moderation possibility which we all know is not , out of the equation , bliss .

  14. Raventayler 3 years ago

    Thank you for such a positive message. I’m trying to figure out how to do this and your message reminds me of what it was like before I drank.

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