Friday, December 6, 2013

Dare to Be




It's really, really odd to be sitting here knowing that on this day last year I drank for the last time. That a year ago tonight I opened bottles of wine and smoked and drank and crushed myself with abandon.

I got wasted.

I don't even recognize that woman anymore.

I don't miss drinking. Not a bit. Not a drop. No just one more or full glass could possibly compare to the year I've had.

It seems like getting sober took the longest three months of my life. That never ending five o'clock that tortured me over and over until I just had to go to bed or go crazy. The days that lasted forever and ever and ever and ever. I picture myself, standing in the kitchen hands open at my sides lost and confused. "What do I do if I'm not having wine now?" And then the deafening silence of not knowing.

Somehow I learned to listen to the quiet. I wanted to be sober more than I wanted to drink. I wanted the pain of being sober more than I wanted the pain of where I was. I wanted to suffer so I could shine. I decided I was brave enough and strong enough and even though I felt worthless I was worth the struggle of making it please stop.

The weight of the voice in my head that let me drink and then beat me up all day just got too heavy for me to carry. I just couldn't anymore. I got sober.

I learned to be sober. Because after you get sober you have to be sober.

I don't know about how typical I am or not. People look at me like I have two heads when I say I quit forever with the ease that someone might say "I like donuts" or "Tomorrow is Saturday." But wait! I want to say- hold UP. You can't see me from about 1986 to December 7th 2012. You weren't in the kitchen when I was dying inside.

I am very very very passionate about my sobriety. I work hard at it. Very hard. I am honest about it. I reach out when I want to hide because I know that I need to. I make plans when I want to stay home. I speak up in my recovery group when my heart is racing and I feel like I should be quiet, that no one is interested. I tell people the truth about me and I don't let them dictate whether I like me anyway. I believe in myself. I am proud of myself. I am smart, and brave, and awesome. I make sure that when that pipe-y little voice pipes up to say "You aren't any of that." I say "Yes I am. YES. I. AM."

Because I dare to be.


54 comments:

  1. Congratulations Amy! Thank you for the Good Housekeeping article, which has led me to Day 7 in my journey. :)

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    1. Day 7 is a week. Woot woot! Keep going. :)

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  2. Found you through Belle - I am at 21 days and you guys are getting me through, giving me laughs and keeping it real. I cannot thank you enough. TF4

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    1. Yay for 21 days! Keep reading and keep laughing. And keep going! :)

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  3. Amy, your article in Good Housekeeping changed my life. After reading it I immediately went to Belle's website and committed to 100 days of sobriety.
    I couldn't have done this without the inspiration of brave bloggers like you and
    Belle. Congrats!!!!

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    1. Thank you so much. I know what you mean about not being able to without help. It was when I finally reached out and said "Help me." that I got serious and quit for real and not just for a couple of days. We all hold each other up, and without each other we'd all just be alone. And now you're part of it. Welcome. :)

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  4. Oh my sweet and wonderful friend - congratulations. Not on being sober for a year, I know that once you committed that wasn't going to change, but for being sober the way you are sober. You reach out. You help. You guide. You give. You love.

    You couldn't have done any of that while dying inside. I'm so glad I met you.

    And on a side note, you're a pretty damn good writer you know that? Just sayin'.

    Enjoy your day tomorrow. You've certainly earned it.

    Namaste

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    1. Sherry,

      What can I say. You have supported me, made me laugh, and pushed me to think outside of my boundaries. I could not do this without you. I am so grateful for your love and friendship. Your commitment to honesty and persistence inspires me daily. Thank you for your kind words and for being part of my backbone.

      Namaste! Now, when is the next meeting of the minds? ;)

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    2. Weather permitting very so after Christmas. And this time bring Universe Amy!

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  5. Hi. I read your article in Good Housekeeping. It really spoke to me. I made the decision right then and there that I can do this. I can be a sober Mom and be fun and happy and be a postive part of my daughther's life. I am on day 2, but you have giving me the inspiration to keep going. Thank you.

    Peace, Love and Eternal Happiness.

    Me.

    Wanting to be a Sober Mom

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    1. Oh, keep going! One of the biggest reasons I stopped was because I wanted to be the woman I really am inside for my children- to show them what a woman looks like, what someone who is in charge of a family looks like. I certainly didn't want them to be either drunks or married to one. To show them that people hurt and heal and deal with life without drowning themselves.

      You can be fun, and happy, and a positive part of your daughter's life, and of your own life too. Keep going.

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  6. First you have to want it, then you have to get it and then you have to BE it. True, true, true!! CONGRATULATIONS AMY!!!!!

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  7. Congratulations Amy!! I was dying in my kitchen, too. Your words have been an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your journey. All the best to you. :-)

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    1. Thank you. Oh, the dying in the kitchen. So hard. But so many possibilities. Best back. :)

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  8. Yay! I am so happy for you, Amy. What an amazing achievement. I totally get what you are saying about spending time dying inside before you quit for good. I am so glad that you found a way out and can be an inspiration (and friend!) to so many. xxxx -Jen

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    1. Thanks Jen! I'm happy for you too sister! The wonder of it all- each dying inside until we reach out for hands to hold with words to write and read. I am so excited to see what we're up to next year at this time! xoxoxoxo

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  9. Hi Amy -- Thanks for being honest about your 5 pm struggles. Any additional tips for getting through this part of the day would be helpful!

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    1. Have something wonderful and treat-y to drink. Like that Pellegrino that you never bought because it seemed too expensive. Be gentle with yourself, like really, really nice. And patient too. Read about sober people- blogs, books. Email me! Join the 100 day challenge. Work at it like you mean it. Be passionate about being sober. If all else fails just go to bed. :)

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  10. The biggest congratulations on your 1st soberversary! You are where I want to be :)

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    1. Thank you! Just keep going and you will be. :)

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  11. Yeah for you! You are truly inspirational.

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  12. Amy, Huge hugs and cheers for you on your one year soberversary.
    I hav been reading since you started. I remember commenting once that I hoped to feel strong enough to join as you inspired me with every painful, gritty step you took. When I was ready I emailed you and that one step, opening up, sharing the problem, led me here. I'm right behind you, watching you grow, being in awe of your determination. I don't know how differently my story would've the problem, led me here. I'm right behind you, watching you grow, being in awe of your determination. I don't know how different my story would've been had I not been so moved and motivated by you.
    So, today like so many, I am grateful for Amy and I am proud of your many achievements.
    Love Carrie x

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    1. Oh Carrie! I am so glad to have come along on this journey with you- I have cheered and ached right along with you. I am just as in awe of you sister! By being these strong women and holding out our lives and hands out for people to see we build community and chances for other women in our same shoes. Without the sober blogging community I would never ever have made it.

      Thank you, thankful for you. I am so grateful to call you friend. xoxoxo

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  13. God Bless You...keep on keepin' on. I stand amazed.

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    1. Thanks. I'm pretty amazed too. :)

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  14. Congrats, Amy! That's fabulous. You've come a long way, and I don't mean that in a sort of pat-the-child-on-the-head way...you really have, and it's shown in your writing here. You have given a lot already in this - your article, your blog, your meetings, your time, your energy, etc. It's a key part of recovery, this giving back. And like you said, it's work at times. Sobriety isn't just about putting the plug in the jug and just moving on. It's work. Not always. We have life to attend to, to laugh, to cry, to embrace, to play, etc. But you have shown that it can be done, and while we struggle at times, the payoff is the same - a sober, happy, joyous and free existence.

    Thank you for being you and your one year...it looks good on you :)

    Cheers
    Paul

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    1. Thank you! Paul, you have been a huge huge part of this year. Your words, your encouragement, your honesty- all have helped me build the confidence to be the woman I am today. I still get a chuckle over us pondering if it was still ok to use the word "cheers". Sobriety is so much work. So much good, hard, soul work. And the harder you work the better it is: shining that light in the dark places and still being able to hold my head up. Heartfelt thank you for your support.

      Cheers!

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  15. Wonderful and inspirational, Amy. Thank you.

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  16. This is so amazing and beautiful! Thank you for sharing your journey and inspiring us!
    Hope you day was fabulous!
    Jenny G.

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    1. Thank you Jenny! I can't wait to be part of your 1 year celebration! :) xoxoxo

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  17. Hello Amy! I never,ever read Good Housekeeping....but I picked it up today. Thumbed through it and came across your story. It hit home. Lightening bolt. I related to so much. And I thought, "I can do this".....starting January 1st. I can quit. Starting January 1st. I can drink during the holidays.....as much as I want....cause I can do this....ON JANUARY 1st.

    But I've said that done that before.

    He'll.....many times.

    If I really mean it, and really want to quit....I need to do it now.

    I'm scared.

    Really scared.

    It's the holiday season.

    Am I setting myself up to fail?

    I want to stop.......

    Can I?

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    1. Oh YES!!!! YOU CAN! There is never a perfect time. There are always going to be birthdays and holidays and such and so's celebrate this.

      Be scared. Be scared that you'll keep drinking and never know what sobriety is like. Be scared that you won't make it. And then make it anyway. Stop. Stop and struggle and hate it and curse it and stay stopped anyway. When you wake up in the morning and can look yourself in the eye you will know how worth it it is. Email me. Ask for help.

      You can.

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  18. Congrats! So awesome! I love the last paragraph, there...
    "Yes I am. YES. I. AM."

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    1. Thank you! :) YES. WE. ARE. xoxoxo

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  19. Love your work, love your writing, love your sober pants! Big big big congratulations. Love how your GH article has given so many other people strength.. just goes to show.. once again.. the more we share the more strength we feel. There should be no shame! There should be no stigma! It's bloody addictive!! We're not weak because we got addicted to something addictive!! We're strong because we recognized that.. fought the brave fight and beat our addictions to the curb. NO SHAME! NO STIGMA! sorry about the yelling. Big love to you xxx

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    1. Thank you so much! You have been a huge part of this journey. I have loved being part of this past year with you. I am all all all about being proud of the woman I am, the woman being sober helped me to be. We will wave our sober selves around like flags- proud. Love back sassy! :)

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  20. amy,

    I too read the GH article and couldn't put it down… because I felt like you were telling my story, at least part of it. still haven't stopped drinking but know I need too. the previous poster writing about setting a date sounds familiar too.

    Curious….can you tell me more about your sobriety group since I know you don't attend AA?

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    1. My first group was curriculum based, the group I'm in now is women in long term recovery- both lead by the same therapist. It is one of the hardest parts of what I do to stay sober- it makes me dig up the stuff I buried but heals me. I found the group through a sober friend, it meets once a week. I started the first group about 6 months in. I'm not against AA (I'm actually going to my first meeting tonight) but it just never seemed like a right fit. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

      Like I told alimoll, you have to just stop. There is never a perfect day. Get through that first week. The struggle is worth it.

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  21. I saw your article in Good Housekeeping yesterday.I had woken up Friday and knew I had to stop drinking, but I didn't like AA.I think this might be what I have been looking for.I hope so.Thank You

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    1. The sober blogging community is amazing.

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  22. Happy Soverversity Amy! I've been reading your blog since you started writing it, and love how you've shared your story so generously. And I love how your voice is getting stronger and stronger. Yay YOU. You're a brave, inspiring woman. XX

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    1. Thank you! I hope that by sharing I can help others be brave enough to get and be sober. I feel stronger and stronger. And it feels GOOD.

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  23. You are all of those things and so many more! I love reading you here and I thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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    1. Thank you! And thank you for all of your kind words and support. They mean a lot. Xoxoxo

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  24. How was your first real AA meeting?

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    1. We didn't go!!! I'll try again another time. I was going with universe amy and she was sick and having a yoga final/graduation and so we decided to wait. I had pizza and ice cream and a movie with my family instead. Just like AA, but different. :) I did regret not going later that evening, and I'm sure I'm not the first person to say that. Lol.

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  25. Another person who was inspired by your article in Good Housekeeping. I'm into Day 14 AF now. Thank you so much for sharing your story - it sounded very familiar to me and I know it's what gave me the courage to try to stop this time. I have made the promise to myself many times before but this time, I have talked with my husband about it and he has been incredibly supportive (he himself has really even stopped for the most part!). I can already say the best part is getting up in the AM without a headache or groggy feeling (not sleeping well but I think that will come in time!). Thank you again for your inspiration!!

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  26. Way to go Amy - a year is to celebrate for sure :) Because of your article I made the choice to quit alcohol and I am now at 27 days - encouraged by you, Belle and the 100 day challenge. I may have replaced wine with chocolate but at least I am in better control of my life and am starting to discover the old, new Liz.....and I actually like me. May your soberversary be the first of many, and may we all feel encouraged by your awesomeness!

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  27. This post could have been written by me (3 years ago). Five o'clock has a whole new meaning now! Thank you for your honesty. You are so brave to write about what so many of us have been through. Congratulations on your remarkable year!

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