Yesterday I launched a new page on Sober Julie Doing Life, the Sober doesn’t Suck! page. My intention is to allow people to submit articles about their own addictions and recovery in a safe environment in hopes of reaching people who are still suffering.
As soon as I announced the page was open yesterday I began receiving emails.
Today I’m bringing you a post from one of the people who has generously offered to share her journey through addiction, recovery and learning to live . Thank you so much to Shannon for sharing her story with us all, please comment freely and check out her company at Sexy and Sober.
Sober doesn’t suck – but I didn’t believe that before October 12, 2006. My story is much like others I’ve heard. Born into an alcoholic family, I swore I would not drink like my father. And I didn’t. I drank only once before my 21st birthday. Alcoholism crept up on me. Slowly. I worked in an office environment all through my twenties and it became normal for all of us to go out for drinks after work. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, my drinking was beyond social. I hung out with “real” alcoholics. I wasn’t one of them because I didn’t drink like them. Yet.
I moved to Massachusetts in 2001. I decided that I was done with corporate life and went to bartending school. Brilliant, right? Over the next 5 years my drinking was out of control. Drinking in the morning before going to my bartending job, drinking on the job and of course, drinking after work with the customers. I honestly don’t remember much of those 5 years. I drove drunk to and from work every day. I could have killed someone every single day. I never got into an accident and I never got a DUI. I have no idea why. I used to drive home drunk, crying, praying to be pulled over because I knew that I needed someone to make me stop.
I pulled a “geographic” and came back to my home state of California in June of 2006. I ran into an old drinking buddy and within six weeks was getting married in Vegas. Oh, drunkapades. He was also an alcoholic and it didn’t take long for all hell to break loose. Doors being slammed, walls being punched, things being thrown on the lawn. On October 12, 2006 I had a talk with my then husband, “Me or the booze.” He chose me and I said I would quit as well.
I had no idea about AA (except from the movies), I had no idea about rehab. I was in total shock as I detoxed on my couch wondering why I felt like I was going crazy. Finally, after a few weeks my husband took me to an AA meeting. It was awful. I hated AA and everyone in it. Swore never to go back again. Another 2 weeks of mental hell and I went back. I never shared and I sat with my arms crossed with a “back off” sign on my head. I stayed like that for about 9 months. Slowing I started to get the message.
The odd part is that I LOVED sobriety. Rather, my body loved sobriety. I was one of those blackout, hung over, vomiting drinkers. A real blast. Around 3 weeks of sobriety, I had a dream I was wearing a black t-shirt and in hot pink on the front it read, “Sexy and Sober.” Now, I didn’t consider myself “sexy,” but I couldn’t shake that dream. Weeks went by and I finally got some printed up. The minimum the guy would do – 12 (odd, now that I think about it). As I showed them to my friends, everyone bought one! I sold out in a days. I thought, “People really love this!” Sexy and Sober the company was born.
That was over 5 years ago and I’m still riding my pink cloud of sobriety. I love AA meetings because they are filled with my people. I now have an instant bond with millions of people. I know that I can tell these people horrible things about my past and it is ok. I can talk to them about the big stuff – Divorce, God, Sobriety and they will listen and help in any way they know how. Oddly enough, I do the same thing. I LOVE to talk to people about sobriety and living life sober. Even though I feel I know nothing about staying sober, I have been through some things in sobriety that give inspiration to others to know that they can too. My father being diagnosed with Colon Cancer and then Parkinson’s, starting a business, getting a job, losing a job, moving, losing a dog, watching my grandmother die in hospice, dealing with my still active alcoholic parents, finding new love in sobriety, starting another business, and on and on.
Life goes on when you are sober. It’s not worse – you are just present. Feelings are just feelings. They aren’t real. I know when I hear the voice to drink – I don’t want to actually DRINK. I want to change how I FEEL. As long as I use my tools to ride out how I feel, I will stay sober one day at a time.