There are times in my life that are worthy of celebration and today I am unabashedly celebrating the fact that I am 8 years sober!!
Look at that girl right there…she looks strong, happy and fierce am I right?
Looks can often be deceiving but these days I do indeed have a deep sense of serenity, courage and wisdom that are not my own. Each and every day I borrow these warrior traits from God and each and every day I learn how to accept life for what it is. If you’re reading this, perhaps you’re wondering what my life looked like before recovery and for 8 years now I’ve been trying to nail that down. Please feel free to head to the article I wrote titled “My Story – Alcoholism Isn’t Easy to Face” to get a glimpse into this outwardly high functioning alcoholic’s story to have a baseline to get to know me.
It’s not easy to face the fallout of addiction…which is exactly why so many of us take a LONG time to do it. We are so ashamed of our behaviours, we so DEEPLY hate the things we do and ultimately our addiction whispers lies to us, telling us to numb out and continue using the crutch which causes most of the devastation in our lives.
Thankfully on February 6th, 2010 I woke and my world shifted. I realized that I had written a suicide note while in a black-out drunk and a cold, dark knowing hit my soul. I knew that I didn’t know myself anymore. I knew that the control I had been fighting for was lost. The alcohol I had relied upon was now putting my life and others in danger. I couldn’t predict my behaviours…I was on the edge of a cliff and I believed I would die if I didn’t get help.
I sought out a 12 Step program, I stopped sweeping my own shit under a rug and in the cold, harsh light of day I whispered the words “I am an alcoholic” to myself.
There isn’t enough space here to write out what the past 8 years has been like but in a nutshell, I re-entered the world with battle scars and began to learn. I learned how to process and cope with my emotions which I hadn’t felt fully since I was a child. I began to see who I am and how very un-unique I am. I now see my place in the world is one where we are all interconnected…and I began to be willing to share that space. I have sought strength and wisdom from other humans, gobbling it up as it was graciously given.
Sober life isn’t easy…I fall often into feeling less-than, allowing my ego to take over. Thankfully each and every time I’ve been able to recover myself and turn back to being “awake” to the joys that life has to offer amidst the challenges.
If you are someone who is facing an addiction or have someone in your life who is…remember to be kind to yourself. None of us is perfect and we need to seek personal progress rather than perfection. In our culture, we are often taught to strive to be the BEST….never to admit weakness and continue on with a stiff upper lip. Well I say to hell with all of that!
We are beautifully made with our flaws; we fall down; we weep in misery….and then we bloody well get up! These scars of mine are freaking beautiful. They have afforded me the perspective which has me grateful in each and every day.
There is freedom in that my friends.
Today I am celebrating my sober life. I celebrate God’s grace and the gifts he gives me. I celebrate you ALL here who support me. I celebrate my family and friends who have held me up. I celebrate the addict who is reading this and will now know a glimmer of hope…..today I celebrate LIFE.
Linda G says
Doris Calvert says
Way to go! It’s 25 years for my hubby, I know it’s a huge accomplishment
Cindy B says
Congratulations! We have a family member who has been struggling with addictions for many years. She often forgets how much we love her so we try to tell her often. We pray every day that those “awake” days she has will take over so she can love herself as much as we do. Thanks for sharing your story and that of others. It truly helps to know that she and our family are not alone in this.
I came here just to read but I had to comment on your post. Yours and your family’s treatment of your loved one struggling with addiction is beautiful. As an addict myself (4 years sober), I would have appreciated that kind of support whilst I came to terms with what I am and what I had to do. Hopefully your loved one will come the same conclusion soon.
Esther Nagle says
8 years is no mean feat, and you’re right, it is so far from easy, but every sober day is another battle won, and another day the demons have been beaten. The ego will always try to fight for dominance, but you are so much more than your ego, and you can always win as long as you battle with tenacity, resilience and self compassion. I take off my hat to you (and I love your coat!)
best of luck ♥
The Last House says
Congrats!.. 8 years is a big deal… did you hear the pop at 5? lol
I sincerely hope to accomplish what you have one day. Congratulations!
Ava P. says
I really thought this was helpful for the understanding of what drugs/alcohol can do to people. You are very strong for pushing yourself to get better every day. This is a great message to show everyone that even when you are at your lowest point, there is always a way to get better.
Michael Syrduka says
Congratulations for freeing yourself from your addiction and keeping your sobriety for eight years so far. After reading everything you suffered I really think you are a strong individual. Other people become weak and fall after having gone through as much as you did. But you didn’t. You took control of your life and free yourself. As a former addict myself, I respect your effort with all my heart and I hope more and more people could use your example as an incentive to change their lives as well.
Todd Francis says
That’s amazing Julie! Congratulations on staying strong for so long. It always comes down to being aware of your problem and realizing you don’t want to go to rehab but, that you need it. Great article and website!
Anna Post says
I want to sober up but I just can´t find the strength to do do it. and I dont really want to hit rock bottom. I feel so lost
Congratulations!!! What an amazing achievement!! We are a “recovery” family with my partner with 27yrs. in AA, My daughter 32years in N/A and our son-in-law with 17yrs N/A….I am the “dreaded” Alanon for 32years as well…what fantastic guidelines for living….we are all proud of you and our world wide family…..odat with love!!