Lucky Number Seven

Today is 7 years since I decided to try a life without alcohol. I never expected it to be for good. I really thought at that time that I just needed a break to get myself under control. After all, I was a smart, educated woman.

I laugh now, but at the time it was not funny. I was scared by my own behaviour. Swearing I wouldn’t drink and then drinking. Trying different drinks, mixed drinks, more exercise, diets, cleanses.trying to be ok with drinking and not so hard on myself.

None of this worked. I was compulsive. If there was alcohol around I wanted it. I snuck drinks. I had started being later and later on mondays because I was always hungover and ill. My body couldn’t handle it at all.

At the same time I was starving myself and exercising excessively. I was fit and looked good…if you didn’t look to close. My hair was falling out a bit and I hadn’t had a period in a couple years.

I was the picture of an anxiety disorder. Brittle, stressed, overcompensating, depressed and often suicidal. I wished many days that I would just not wake up. Life was overwhelming me.

I couldn’t really understand this then. I had a lovely family, a good job, money. I had friends. People though to was ok. Inside I was screaming. I hated myself and couldn’t trust myself and was oh, so disappointed in me.

December 1, 2013 I finally just said enough. Although at the time I wasn’t sure alcohol was the only problem, it was definitely a problem. So I decided that as an early birthday present I would give myself a year of sobriety.

I had done stints of not drinking before, as cleanses, etc. And I had read Allen Carr’s book the easy way to control alcohol and it really spoke to me. Maybe there was an ok life without booze. I don’t really believe it, but I was desperate.

It was both exhilarating and impossible. Giving up the booze meant my anxiety became intense, crippling and unmanageable. I was also quite paranoid and scared.

But I still did it. I called a therapist. She eventually convinced me to see my doctor. I became willing to address my lifelong anxiety and depression. I stared medication. I read quit lit. I started going to yoga.

It seems long ago, but I still remember the distress. I also remember waking up on Monday’s to go to work and feeling proud of myself that I wasn’t hungover. it seems like a small thing, but I had so little self confidence at the time. The lying and denial of alcohol abuse truly had worn me done.

Most of my story from then on appears in this blog. I remember one day walking outside and feeling with perfect, crystals clarity that the world was exactly as it was supposed to be and that I would be ok. For me, that is enlightenment. Those moments.

It took me a while to embrace the idea that I was in recovery. I considered this a habit, a lifestyle change, self medicating. I wondered what that meant. I questioned a lot and read a lot and eventually realized that no matter what I think, my life is so much better without alcohol and that embracing recovery is the same as embracing life. I get to do this every day.

Seven years ago I hoped sobriety would mean that I could be zen all the time, able to manage anything. ha. I have encountered many hardships and joys and I have been knocked off my zen more times than I can say. I hate it, I don’t want it, but I have come to believe that from suffering comes grace. And so when find acceptance in my suffering I am able to grow. Yes, it’s bullshit. It is still true.

Looking ahead I can’t say what will come. I know that sobriety is a vital part of my life and that it is the foundation for my mental and physical health and contentment. I acknowledge this every day, and every day I get the opportunity to find joy. I am happy and I love my sober self. This, more than anything, has been worth it.

Thank you all for sharing the journey with me. This community is powerful.

Stillness and peace

Anne

Anne -happy for today

30 thoughts on “Lucky Number Seven

  1. Firstly, what a gorgeous photo Anne. Radiant in sobriety. Congratulations on 7 years. I connected with so much of your story and those Mondays, man they were horrendous. I forget sometimes how a Monday was just a day to be survived. Now it’s my favourite day of the week and I need to remember to be grateful for that. Sobriety doesn’t solve all of life’s problems or stop the bad times happening that is so true. But as you say, we learn and grow stronger. Drinking just made me weaker and yep, brittle and stressed out …. ALL the time. Great post and you are an inspiration to so many of us in this wonderful community 😘💕

  2. Congratulations, Anne! Like Claire said, what a beautiful and radiant photo. Sobriety makes you glow! Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences. I know it helps so many. You made me think back about how low my self-esteem was when I first quit drinking… Alcohol robs us of so much. That’s one of the big gifts of sobriety…it helps us find ourselves and learn to love and appreciate who we are, all on our own, but stronger and more sure of our path. I hope you do something special for yourself today. You truly deserve it! Love and light, Collette Xx

  3. Happy anniversary. Loved reading this update. Thank you for your honesty and all that you’ve given and continue to give to this lovely little community. ♡♡♡
    Ps your hair is gorgeous…. what’s your secret ♡♡♡

    1. Lol thank you.
      I get it blow dried every week. Between that I leave it alone. I go all week without washing it. This picture is a day 4 or 5.

      My hair is very coarse, curly and thick. It never gets greasy, even with yoga, etc. And it would be fairly grey as I turn 49 next week!

      I have to say in all my life this is the prettiest it has ever been.

  4. Happy Anniversary. I am jealous—you look 7 years younger! Your journey is an inspiration to any reader. You wear your recovery with eloquence. Blessings as you step into another year of your “enlightenment.” ♥ lisa

  5. Anne, you truly are an inspiration. When I was first starting out, your blog was one of the first that helped me get past the shame that I was feeling. I thought, if she’s willing to admit this, and with humor even, then maybe I can to. This community is powerful, you are so right.

    Big love, and congratulations!

    Shawna

  6. Congratulations Anne!!! 7 years! Wow! I am sooo proud of you and sooo happy for you! You are an inspiration to many…keep being your beautiful self! We are all applauding you!

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