23 March, 2019
In January I decided, once again that it might be time to try and quit drinking. A few weeks before I actually quit, I found an audio-book to listen to that I hoped would give me inspiration. 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, 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 it sunk in that I honestly did not want alcohol to own me anymore. I got myself together and got through my work day, then listened again on my way home. I continued listening as I drove to the bottle shop / liquor store, where 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, feeling annoyed for wasting my day off, feeling horrible, I went back to bed and slept until almost 11:30am (I hated this, I used to be such a morning person). I felt dazed for most of the day but I managed get it together enough to drive my girlfriend and I to visit my parents, briefly, and to get some groceries. After being home again for a short time I headed out on my own. I bought some treats, non-alcoholic drinks and chocolate. Then drove around listening to my new sober inspiring audio-book. I knew then I wasn’t going to drink that night, and I didn’t. That night I told myself, more honestly than I ever had before that I didn’t want to drink at all anymore, that I felt better sober and that i was a better person, sober! 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, I didn’t want to go to AA and declare myself an alcoholic in front of a bunch of people I didn’t know. Again, if this is your thing and it works for you, amazing! I decided, for me, there had to be another way. This is what I did, it might work for others too. 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 it’s worth a shot. Other people’s stories of their journey to sobriety have provided, and continue to provide me with some real light bulb moments that help me to stay sober and make me appreciate being sober more each day.