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  1. #1

    Default One Year Sober: This Mother's Day vs. Last Mother's Day

    Two years ago, I was drinking 6-10 drinks a day, every day. I was self-medicating my anxiety, and though I had a faint idea that this was probably not the best method, I was a slave. I thought I had no choice but to obey the cravings and get through the day. My family suffered, my work suffered, and most importantly, my mental health suffered more than ever–reality was a far cry from the "medicated peace" I had been trying to create in the beginning.

    I tried to "cut down" on my own in January of 2015. After the initial withdrawal period, I was able to go a few days or sometimes even a few weeks without a drink. But I thought about it all the time. I planned all of my business trips and family vacations around drinking. I felt sorry for myself every time I denied myself a drink, and my addictive voice continued to tell me lies about how I really could not even try to live my life without alcohol. What I really needed was to find a way to sneak it all the time again--that's what the voice said. I hadn't gotten back to that point yet, but I had some weeks of constant drinking on business trips, and then the occasional binge (which I called a "treat") back home.

    Last year on Mother's Day, I did what I usually did back then and convinced my husband take me to a restaurant where I could order drinks for myself and for him, and then drink all of his too. That's what I did, right in front of my kids. Back then, I was still riding a bike for transportation, but my addiction to alcohol had taken away my joy, including the joy I found in riding long distances. I just wasn't doing it anymore. I rode home from the restaurant, and as soon as I got home, I started feeling myself start to "crash." I wanted to go back for more. I wanted to leave my family alone on Mother's Day and ride back to the restaurant. I had the thought: "This is all I need in life." And then I realized this back-and-forth, this "cutting down" was not working for me. It had a bigger grip on me than I had wanted to admit.

    Last year, Mother's Day was May 8. That was Day 0, Day 1, whatever you want to call it. It was the day I decided that I had to actually put down the bottle, and leave it down. I cried and cried, both because I was hungover and because I was grieving my "best friend" booze. I didn't get out of bed for three days, and I told everyone I was sick.

    Then, on Day 4, I logged onto SMART, and went to my very first SMART Recovery meeting online. I felt like I was barely hanging on by a thread, and now that there was no planned "next time," I couldn't stop thinking about drinking all the time. But I just kept going to meetings. I went to Freeman's Intro Meeting, and then I joined TwoPutts' Tool Time Meeting. And my thinking began to change. I wasn't happy, but I was changing. I worked the tools. I bought the handbook on Kindle (and it downloaded quickly, even in a developing country, which was a miracle.) I started journaling. I called my therapist, whom I had only met with twice, and told him everything. He didn't know before about the drinking. He was supportive of my journey, and of SMART.

    The last 12 months, I have experienced: intense fear, a sense of loss that both embarrassed me and devastated me, times of feeling hopeless, and the most amazing transformation of the way I see myself and the world around me, alcohol-free.

    It was hard work. It still is. I still sometimes feel sorry for myself that I can't have "just one." But SMART taught me that I can–it's my choice. But I choose not to. I choose to be 100% free from the grip of my addiction.

    This Mother's Day, I went to brunch and drank a soda water with fresh lime, and it felt very special. My kids had a mom who was engaged in conversation with them, not becoming more distant with every sip. And then, my husband, who now trusts me not to drink even though we are back in the city with all "my" old bars, suggested I go for a bike ride, all by myself. So I did. I rode 19 miles, which is nothing in comparison with what I used to be able to do, but it was amazing and freeing and it felt SO GOOD to be doing it sober. I could breathe easily as I cycled up hills. I didn't have a sense of paranoia that everyone knew I was drunk. The bright traffic lights weren't blaring. I was awake, alert, and absolutely loving life!

    Did I let out a little sigh as I rode by a couple of my old watering holes? Sure. But I didn't even think twice about riding on by. I still miss the taste of beer especially. But giving that up for all of the freedom I have found? Absolutely worth it. 100% worth it.

    Last year on Mother's Day, I was languishing. This year, I was thriving. We can do this. It takes work. But it is OH SO WORTH IT.
    Every warrior has her kryptonite. Alcohol is mine.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
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    Vancouver, Canada
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    Such an honest and inspiring post. Congratulations on your year, James
    I can't always make it better but I don't have to make it any worse.

  3. #3
    HeidiM's Avatar
    HeidiM is online now SMART Online Facilitator
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    Wonderful post! It's been such a pleasure to watch you as you've progressed in your recovery this past year! WOO HOO!
    "I dwell in possibility" Emily Dickinson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Upstate, NY
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    Excellent work, Joan! You have come so far. What an inspiring story. Congrats on one year!
    "You will be what you 'will' to be." - James Allen

  5. #5

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    Congrats!! Don"t know how I missed this awesome post. Enjoy the journey.

  6. #6
    HughK's Avatar
    HughK is offline SMART Online Facilitator
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    Wonderful JoanofArc! Simply wonderful

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