In January 2019 I decided it was time to try and quit drinking once and for all. A few weeks before I managed to quit, I found an audio-book to listen to that I hoped would inspire me. I listened, somewhat obsessively to Jane Lynch’s “Happy Accidents”. Mostly I listened when I was in my car alone and occasionally as I drifted off to sleep. The alcohol part of her story was only a sub plot and I enjoyed that. I don’t think I would’ve been ready to jump straight into a story that slapped me in the face with addiction. “Happy Accidents” was serious and funny and I was able to get from it what I wanted, a reminder that there are successful, fun and funny people who don’t drink. That it’s OK to choose not to drink. All the while I continued to drink.
On February 6 2019, I bought the audio-book “The unexpected joy of being sober”, by Catherine Gray. I started listening on my way to work, crying a little and fighting back tears as the depth of my drinking sunk in and the realisation that I honestly didn’t want alcohol to own me anymore took hold. I got myself together, got through my work day, then listened again on my way home. I continued listening as I drove to the bottle shop. I bought Sangria and wine, knowing that I wasn’t going to stop drinking that night.
The next day, Feb 7 2019, I woke up hungover and hating myself for causing the splitting headache I was experiencing. I lay on the couch, head pounding, frustrated about wasting my day off, I eventually conceded and went back to bed, sleeping until almost 11:30am (I hated this, I used to be such a morning person). I felt dazed for most of the day but managed to get it together enough to drive my girlfriend and I to visit my parents, briefly, then to get some groceries. After being home again for a short time I headed out on my own, bought some non-alcoholic drinks and chocolate then drove around listening to my new sobriety fuelled inspiration, Catherine Gray’s audio-book. Something within me was changing and I knew then I wasn’t going to drink that night. Feeling a certain strength, I told myself more convincingly than I ever that I no longer wanted alcohol to control my life. I haven’t had a drink since.
Leaving alcohol behind and tackling sobriety isn’t easy. There are plenty of services out there to assist if you need help. I haven’t been to AA, or seen any psychologists, though I’m sure for some people these are great options and there are people who will find these to be crucial steps to sobriety but if you’re ready to admit to yourself that you have a problem and that you can genuinely say you want to do something about it, there’s a good chance you already have the strength to make that change. In spite of the fact that I haven’t had any organised assistance I certainly haven’t done it completely alone.
I needed help but AA didn’t seem like the right fit. The idea of standing up in front of strangers and declaring myself an alcoholic scared the hell out of me, if that was the only way I could quit, I would probably never have quit. I chose instead to put faith in myself and the knowledge that if I wanted something, I would fight with everything in me to find a way to make it happen. Again, if AA is your thing and it works for you, amazing! I decided there had to be another way, so I submerged myself in sober stories. “The unexpected joy of being sober” got me through my first week and a bit of sobriety. I listened to it morning and night as I headed to and from work. It’s a weird thing but it felt like I was driving with a friend listening to her tell me stories. Once I finished that audio-book I sought out other books, audio-books, podcasts, websites, social media sites. Anything I could find to fill myself with knowledge and inspiration. These stories helped me understand what it is to be addicted, they offered real insight into my addiction and made me realise things about myself I wasn’t even aware of.
If you’re looking to change your drinking habits, or tackle sobriety head on, do it! Seek out stories, a good place to start is to scroll through the 1000’s of inspiring people who are sharing their sober journey’s on instagram – Search sobriety hashtags (eg. #sober #soberlife #soberliving #sobriety #soberwarrior #sobercommunity). Other people’s stories of their journey to sobriety have provided, and continue to provide me with so much inspiration in getting and staying sober.
March 23, 2019