The one question that stopped me drinking, forever (Guest Post)

This guest post comes from Anna, a writer who lives in Christchurch. She shared her Sober Story with us, here.


Anna: I know, an alcoholic can’t say it’s forever. One day at a time. But, that is my daily choice. My promise. Never drinking again is a gift to myself that I will never let go of.

I haven’t had any alcohol for seven years. The closest thing to it was laughing gas during a stint in hospital and, I’m not going to say I didn’t like it. I drank a lot from age 18 to 35. I worked, I had a family, and I drank. For the last 10 years of that, I wanted to and tried firstly to cut down, and then to give up. I didn’t do either for any length of time. I couldn’t.

I was only able to stop drinking for good when I asked myself this question:

Can I continue to drink AND have a happy life?

The answer was no. Had always been no. The guilt, the anxiety, the constant bargaining and rationalising made me hollow. I could not experience anything sober or drunk with any authenticity because of the addictive soundtrack that played on loop; loudly interrupting every thought with its poisoned agenda.

And there were the people who got hurt, or who worried for me.

And my health.

The wording of the question is important.

I did not ask if it’s possible to drink and have a happy life. It probably is for some people. I asked whether it’s possible for ME.

And the only reason I knew the answer is because I had tried all the things. I knew I couldn’t cut down. I knew I couldn’t just drink on the weekends. I knew I couldn’t hide it, and I knew I couldn’t accept that was who I was.

I acknowledge that asking that question was not the only thing that made it possible to make the change. I had all of these things available to me:

  • The unwavering support of my partner that came without pressure
  • Access to AA meetings and the time to attend
  • Enough money to pay for counselling, books, and other tools to help me
  • A network of friends and family that did not resist the change

Those things had always been there but asking the question and knowing the answer gave me the desire to take advantage of those resources and enlist the help of my family.

So I stopped. It wasn’t a rock bottom morning. I’d had so many sickening, anxiety-ridden, life-is-not-worth-living, self indulgent day afters; but this wasn’t one of them. It was a Tuesday and I just stopped.

I went to AA every day for the first few weeks and I sat in that cold church meeting room and cried. Nobody dared ask me to tell my story. Those were tears of regret, and of relief.

Now, I am happy to talk about it if someone asks. When I am out and the subject comes up I say “I don’t drink, I haven’t for a long time.” There is always, without fail, at least one person who says “Wow, I need to do that.” Often there is more than one. Drinking causes pain and it gets the better of so many of us.

Stopping drinking did not fix everything — but it gave me a fighting chance.

I am not always happy. Hard things still happen. There have been times of heartbreak when my addictive brain tapped me on the shoulder and whispered: “You know this situation is pretty bad, you could have a drink now and people would understand”.

And I say: “I don’t drink — because if I do I can never be happy.”

  1. anne Scaife 5 years ago

    Anna is my daughter-in-law and she is inspirational she really is. I have enormous respect for her especially knowing as I do, the very hard times she and my son have been through and that she has made it without the crutch of alcohol. We all think she is top dog in our family, and we are very proud of her, she leads a full, happy, busy life as wife, mother and writer.

  2. Pat 5 years ago

    Hi I like this page I like to stop for ever pls help me out some one there I water to stop drinking from very long time but it’s hard

  3. Eri 5 years ago

    Hello, After so many painful moral and physical hangovers; after loosing several partners and hurting my beloved ones; after even hurting myself while wasted; I decided to stop forever; so I did some research online -“how to quit forever”- I found your blog and it is of great help and relief to know there are some other women facing and dealing with this challenge forever. Thanks, I’ll be reading all of your blog.

  4. Poppy88 6 years ago

    Awesome I love reading these. Your last sentence is so true. Being sober waking up sober seeing the day through sober, just has a real happiness about it. I can’t get enough of it! I suspect I’m pink clouding but I don’t have a problem with that as long as I have my sober tools daily imma go with these candy floss vibes 🙂 happy beautiful day out there and thank you for sharing!

  5. Rach 6 years ago

    Hi Anna thanks for the post Well today is my Thursday to stop and this resonates so much with me for the past 10 years I have been trying to moderate control manage my drinking and today I am finally admitting I can’t. I have had plenty of hangovers where I can hardly move vomitting sweraring i will never do it again. today I only have a minor hangover but i feel something has clicked in my head i don’t want to be this person anymore. Today is day 1 of the rest of my life.wish me luck

  6. hadenough 6 years ago

    I totally understand your position. I am poised to quit. Last day planned to be 11 August. I know it’s going to be a challenge. I love all the addictive elements of drinking. But I so want to do this.

  7. DeeDee64 6 years ago

    Thank you Anna. I am on day 5 and working hard to grasp the idea of “quitting forever”. Your question resonates with me because I’ve been unhappy for quite a while now. I believe the root of that unhappiness is the wine I drink on a daily basis. I’ve slowly isolated myself from life and drinking doesn’t make me happy at all. It is so helpful in this early stage of recovery to know there are folks like you that have tamed this addiction. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with those of us just starting this journey.

  8. Cinderella 6 years ago

    Lovely and thanking you for sharing Anna. The answer was there all along just waiting for the right question to take effect 🙂

  9. Anonymous 6 years ago

    When someone chooses to quit drinking it demonstrates the true adoration that person has for living. This generally happens whenever you a person is ready to add a fresh power supply to their body, which will run a life without any health hazards. The only approach to give up the drinking is for you to decide to go through with it, and never let any third person intervene. The path forward lies in your mind, and will eventually change your destiny from lethal drinking

  10. JM 6 years ago

    Great post – and so great you really listened to yourself. I found getting sober is a dialogue with myself. I had to get very clear that it was undoubtedly destroying my life and would continue to, so I dug myself out of that hole. Thanks Anna for sharing!! : )

  11. morgan 6 years ago

    Very clear and succinct. Love it. Thank you and well done!

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