I celebrated my 3rd sober anniversary on the 23rd of July. At every milestone I hit, I’m amazed by how far I’ve come and the growth I’ve experienced in this time. What amazes me even more is that I got sober in the height of summer. I think behind Christmas the summer is one of the times people struggle with their drinking the most. I was certainly no exception!
Celebrating a sober anniversary is always so special. They are the perfect time for self-reflection and practicing gratitude. I always feel incredibly grateful to those who have supported my journey. Without them I know I wouldn’t be where I am now.
I got sober on the 23rd of July 2020
There was no ‘rock bottom’ moment that brought me to walking up on the 23rd of July 2020 and deciding I was DONE with alcohol. The night before had panned out as most evenings did when I drank. It started off with the best intentions to moderate and ended with blackout.
It was a hot summer’s day, rather than meeting a friend for our intended walk we instead went to the pub. My friend and I had a lovely evening talking and catching up. I intended to moderate my drinking that night but instead drank more than I intended. Nothing bad happened, no drama. I did however wake up the following morning not remembering how the night had ended. Another black out. The usual terrible dread and anxiety was back too.
The turning point
I remember lying in bed and thinking that I couldn’t do this anymore. I knew I wanted to stop drinking for good. Repeating the same cycle every time I drank was something I could no longer go on doing. Having been sober curious before this point, I had had several attempts at sobriety in the few years preceding A friends cancer diagnosis and her raising awareness of some of the causes of cancer really had me looking at my own health and spurred my previous attempts to go sober.
It had been apparent to me for some time that my drinking wasn’t healthy. Every bad decision, every low moment in my adult life had been linked to my drinking. It goes without saying that I’ve had more than my fair share of rock bottom moments but even they hadn’t been the catalyst for any meaningful change. But this time did feel different. You could say I was ready.
I had been following a few sobriety accounts prior to this from my personal Instagram account. I had been impressed by how open they were with their journeys and the way they used their accounts for accountability. That day I set my up my own sobriety account on Instagram. I only followed other sober accounts and blocked all friends and family so they wouldn’t stumble across my account. I wasn’t ready to let everyone know what I was doing in case I failed.
On day 3 of my sobriety journey, I learnt the sad news that my friend Sarah, who had inspired me to take a long hard look at the way I was living, lost her battle with cancer. Its these moments that can either make us or break us. I chose to honour her memory by living a life I know she would have wanted. I remember being round a friend’s house when I read the news, I was shocked and sickened. My beautiful friend who was pure light had been removed from this earth far too young leaving behind 4 children.
We spend our lives thinking we have all the time in the world to live the life we want. We often know the things we are doing to ourselves that have a negative impact on our health and happiness. Sadly, we don’t have unlimited opportunities at life. We must cherish the life we have and strive to make it the best life possible.
What I’ve learnt
Hitting 3 year’s sober is a blessing. I have learnt so much about myself in this time after so long of not knowing who I was or the life I wanted to live. But I’m not complacent. Life can be hard, and sobriety doesn’t magically make us immune to life struggles (although they are by far less than when drinking!). I’m mindful that not drinking is a choice, one I make every day. That doesn’t mean my sober life is hard, most of the time I don’t even think about alcohol, it just doesn’t have the same hold over me. But it is a choice, and you are always one decision away from drinking again.
My life is unlike anything I could have imagined for myself, and I keep being surprised and amazed by the incredible experiences I get to live after stepping away from alcohol. if you’re reading this and are thinking about starting your own sobriety journey then DO IT! Do it, there is absolutely nothing you will lose but so much you will gain.
And I will end up by saying thank you. Thank you for following my journey.