Seven years of sobriety…

Many people have the perception that alcoholics are bums living on the street, drinking alcohol from a paper bag, begging for money at robots, aimlessly walking around with no purpose. This is so far off the mark…

Alcoholics thrive in families, working environments, social gatherings, homes, isolated or otherwise. They are normal people; there is nothing bad about them except an obsessive nature to have a drink or thinking of consuming more alcohol. They were once social drinkers; could have fun without getting drunk but due to having perfected the art of drinking, they excelled to a level of compulsive and addictive drinking.

Family genes play a substantial role in addiction. Many vow never to drink like their alcoholic mom or dad, yet they are unable to prevent it from happening as they believe they have it under control or can stop at any point. Willpower does not exist in addiction, it may work for other people, but it certainly doesn’t work for those with addictive personalities and obsessive disorders.

I learnt this the hard way through my own drinking. I wished to be one of those ladies who nursed a glass of wine the entire evening, chatting and looking chic. Sadly, I passed that stage a long time ago, having progressed to a master’s degree in drinking. I would consume the entire bottle and calculate how to get the next. Brendan Behan said, “One drink is too many and a thousand not enough,” is how I summed my addiction.

Alcoholics can go for days without drinking. This was me. I was a binge drinker. I waited the entire week for Friday to roll around for the party to start. Once lit, I continued until Sunday morning when my body was soaked in alcohol, too sick to get out of bed. I sustained many blackouts, unable to piece together the events of the weekend, too afraid to ask others to fill in the blanks for fear of the worse. Shame and remorse, my constant companions. I promised God countless times that if He could just get me through the pain and discomfort, that I’d stop drinking. But these were empty promises because when the weekend arrived, I was cracking open a bottle; and the cycle commenced.

Heavy drinkers know they have a problem, people convey it to them, yet they deny they are alcoholics. I knew my drinking was out of control, yet couldn’t contain it through sheer willpower, cutting back or wishing it away. I tried everything possible to get rid of the addiction, but nothing worked. I researched the AA, called them anonymously, wanting to find out how they managed to keep members sober. The lady replied, “Meetings and living life one day at a time,” and still I wasn’t close to the answer.

They say the most courageous act for an alcoholic is to own up to their addiction. As much as I couldn’t fathom that I was an alcoholic, I couldn’t deny I had a severe drinking problem. I built up the courage to go to my first AA meeting, fearful of what to expect, unsure if I would survive one. Yet the group was friendly, warm and put me at ease. They said “keep coming back” at the end of the meeting and though I had no intention of returning, I found myself going back and haven’t stopped attending meetings.

In addiction one needs to surrender before rehabilitation takes place. I couldn’t admit that I was an alcoholic even when I was sitting in meetings. Only once I was able to take off the mask, learnt to let go of the shame, got down on my knees and asked God to take the obsession of alcohol away, was when the miracle happened. I was able to admit I was an alcoholic for the first time and a mountain lifted off me. No longer was I held captive by alcohol, I felt alive for the first time in my life and there was a glimmer of hope I was going to make it.

AA is not a religious program, but members forge a belief in a power greater than themselves. I was never close to my religion and still don’t feel a connection to it. When I joined the AA, I learnt through fellow members and my sponsor that I needed to put my trust in a Higher Power. I battled with this as I didn’t have a relationship with God. He was only called upon when I was in trouble, so how was I going to befriend Him now? But I had no alternative, only He could quiet the fears and cravings I felt during my first year. The more I asked, the more I received, the more I prayed, the more serenity flowed. I found I was becoming spiritual, that I had a belief that anything was possible because I was staying sober, building confidence and positive changes were transpiring.

A recovered alcoholic prospers in a supportive and loving environment. My husband and children accepted that I needed to attend meetings to maintain sobriety. They afforded me the space to find myself, to make the necessary changes to live a balanced life. They loved me unconditionally and continue to support me every step of the way. My sponsor was instrumental in my recovery. She listened to my fears, freely gave advice, taught me how to place trust in God. I have many AA friends who have turned into an extended family due to the close bond we share. A small circle of friends keep me grounded and make me smile.

One day at a time turned into seven years and I am immensely grateful to have been afforded a second chance to get it right. I no longer live in fear or shame. I’ve blossomed in sobriety, fell in love with exercising, developed an assurance about myself and am passionate about the life I lead. God has become the best friend I always longed for,  opened countless doors, believes in me when I forget to and only wants the best for me.

Impossible doesn’t exist in my vocabulary, for I know I am capable of so much more than I thought possible.

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Family and Friends at my Thanksgiving 🙂

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21 thoughts on “Seven years of sobriety…

  1. The first word that comes to mind..(and I’ve read this story a few times, and getting goosebumps..) is Courage. I almost feel at lost for words to describe my emotions..I’m in awe, I feel hope, I feel faith, and most importantly you’re setting a precedent to those that’s walking the same road. You give hope to the “skeleton” addicts. You’re telling us, the families of addicts to have faith, to trust in God that nothing is impossible. It takes courage to be on a podium or any platform for that matter and to tell a story of this nature. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Coming out of the “addiction closet” is never easy. If addicts cannot admit their problem, haven’t hit rock-bottom or only get help to please others, then rehabilitation won’t work. Even in recovery, one is in constant battle with yourself, your past, breaking long-serving habits, dealing with life without “medicating”. One has no choice but to find a Higher Power to pull you through. God is and was my lifeline.

      It took me a number of years to be comfortable to speak about my sobriety. As much as I wanted to share it with others, people don’t want to hear about the dangers of excessive drinking, as it spoils their “fun”. The time felt right to make it public now considering where I am in my journey. I feel I have a duty to share my story in the hope of just one person reading it who wishes to change the trajectory of their life.

      As much as it was risky, I’m glad I did. It’s set me free. Thank you for getting it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s risks in so many things in life and the minute you’re free of what society might think or if you’re afraid they going to put you’re in a “bracket” & that you’re not good enough is already a game changer. We’re there for others to learn from, like you’ve said it’s our duty and I truly share your sentiment. You an epic example of it. You’ve said it..” there’s no face to an alcoholic..” & not many people want to accept that. Thanks again

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Baashni says:

    Well done Sis. I am so proud of you changing your life around and becoming this amazing woman. I hope that you continue to inspire many people battling this addiction. Love you baby sis xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • To have my Sister’s best wishes always warms my heart ❤ Thank you for always caring, knowing instinctively when things weren't right in my life, but still giving me the space and love to find my way in my own time. I love you immensely ❤

      Like

  3. Neil says:

    Congratulations Luv. I am so proud of you. It took a lot of courage and you are inspiring so many with your story. Not only have you changed your life, but you changed ours as a family as well and I am sure that so many more will feel that they too can take that step and make that change. Thank you babes, you are a huge inspiration in so many lives. Love you 😘😘😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • God has blessed me with a beautiful husband, one who walks this journey with me, who guides me in every single way. As much as I abhor your objectivity, you always see things from every angle and I cannot help but trust your good judgement. Thank you for being my “lighthouse” through the storms of life and a mist of uncertainty.

      I am me because you believed in me ❤ love you always and forever Sweetheart ❤

      Like

  4. Bruce Knipe says:

    This is such a wonderful “Share” which you can be proud of. Your committment and example to others is an attractive beacon so that ‘others may want what you have’ Thanks for your Shining example Sumi!! – Bruce

    Liked by 1 person

  5. seiler says:

    Thank you for this honesty words of your story…you can be very proud of yourself..seven years of sobriety are a big step into the right direction to live your life joyous,happy and free…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Full kudos to your courage and authenticity! Thanks for sharing your story. I have just started a poetry blog here on WordPress in case you have time to have a look? Wishing you a sunny afternoon, Sam 🙂

    Like

  7. I just did a post on what the perseption of alcoholism and how society views it. You are very courageous to share this post and it inspires me to keep on my journey to sobriety one day at a time. It’s a wild ride, but its worth it.

    Like

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