I struggled for years with the question am I an alcoholic. I tried and tried again to control my drinking but would find myself reaching for the “reward” of a glass or two of wine night after night. Those two glasses led to a bottle, a bottle and a half, or more, and I couldn’t stop the cycle. I’d wake up at 3 in the morning sweating off the alcohol, once again bewildered that I hadn’t stopped.
I knew that I COULD stop drinking.
I HAD stopped when I was pregnant with my daughter and again with my son. I would often stop for a week of detox here and there just to prove that I could. But those week long detoxes usually lasted no more than 5 days. I would decide that I had proven I could control my drinking and the wheel started turning once again.
Night after night when the alcohol hit my brain it was like a monster woke up … craving craving craving… oblivion… I just wanted to feel NOTHING. And the small part of me that WASN’T afraid of my binge drinking actually looked forward to my upcoming retirement where I could start drinking earlier in the day and feel NOTHING more often.
I finally hit a series of “Last Rock Bottoms” that were as deep as I was willing to sink. I didn’t total my car, show up late to work, or embarrass myself in public, but I simply could not stop getting drunk. After years of trying to get the drinking under control, and months of trying to get the blackout drinking under control, I accepted that I was at a crisis point. I had always seen sobriety as a punishment and couldn’t imagine life without drinking, but blackout drunk is a dangerous place to be and I was terrified to be finding myself there several times a week.
I’d been reading stories on Stephanie Wilder Taylor’s Booze Free Brigade for years thinking
” please not me… don’t let it get that bad”.
I’d read Alan Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Drinking and started to think a bit differently about booze but still …still I couldn’t stop.
And then at my absolute lowest point, depressed, hopeless, feeling ashamed and overwhelmed,
I stumbled over the Documentary Paul Williams Still Alive.
I was inspired knowing that this man was not ashamed of being an alcoholic.
He wasn’t controlled by his addiction!
He was empowered by his recovery!
He was strong and free and generous and open and LIVING with vitality and purpose and joy. WITHOUT ALCOHOL.
Knowing Paul William’s story did not cure me but it got the ball rolling toward my last day one. I started reading and found Lucy Rocha, Anne Dowsett Johnston, Sacha Scoblic, Tammy Roth, Sarah Hepola and Caroline Knapp. I found women who told my story with a happy ending. Women who were NOT ashamed of their drinking days but empowered by their sobriety.
And then I found sobriety blogs where I learned that while reading other people’s stories helped me to understand that I could do it, writing my own story was the key.
My last day one was March 6, 2015 . The day that I published my first blog post on a web platform called Hello Sunday Morning and a nurse from England who called herself Zoo popped into my comment stream and said
you’re gonna be fine… you’re just like me
When I joined HSM in early March of 2015 I had no idea how powerful the experience would be.
Blogging anonymously in a community of supportive people working toward a similar goal can be the ultimate journey to self-discovery.
If you are hoping to get your drinking habits under control or stop altogether I hope that my experience will help you see that it is not only possible but worth it.
Taking a break from alcohol is the best gift you can give yourself.
Although I was never one to spend much time on social media networks before I started blogging my way sober, my Hello Sunday Morning avatar, @wingedvictory, has become as much a part of my identity as my own name.
I saw this powerful beauty in Paris during my third alcohol-free week and “Winged Victory of Samothrace” became my sober identity.
I do not call myself an alcoholic.
I call myself free!
A question a Day for 31 Days to help you Quit Drinking from our Dry January Archive
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us.
Start where you are right now
Whether with determination or overwhelming fear
Or everything in between
Tell us your story if you’d like to
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To say what you need to here
It’s helpful to leave self blame at the door
If its not serving you anymore
From a heavy and maybe weary heart
To a fresh start
You could find out soon
Life could bloom with BOOM
Be proud because you’re taking the first steps
Just do the next right thing
And then the next
You could say it’s like having friends in your pocket
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We’ll be your safety net
You don’t need to do this alone 🙂
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Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”