I Got Sober Today


Today marks the anniversary of the day I got sober - the day I gave up trying to run my life - the day I surrendered. It's the day I became just a little willing to let some one else hold the reigns for a bit.

Every year I reflect on what a total mess I was that day, all of the people that have taken time and had the patience to help me, and how very much my life has changed. 

My blog is usually focused on the funny parts of my life, or the dreary, but here's a little of the in-between.

On May 1, 2000 I was homeless and helpless. It was the day I attempted to take my own life because I couldn't figure out how to live it. I was twenty-two years old, afraid of my own shadow, and had been hiding from myself for a very long time. 

Drinking was never my problem. I was pretty awesome at it, actually. I never had a drinking problem. I did however have a wicked sober problem. Sober was a terrible place to live and I did my best to avoid it at all cost. Sober I was me, and I really hated her. 

I had no idea who I was, and I couldn't look in the mirror without wanting to spit at the reflection. I was fairly certain I was the absolute worst mother in the world, and my daughter was better off without me. She was four. 

I think about those feelings today and cannot imagine how I didn't realize what alcohol was doing to me or my life. I was just having fun, or trying to unwind, or following others. I didn't always plan on getting drunk, often I would just head out to have a couple. At first it was fun, really fun to escape and let loose; and at some point it wasn't. I was running. 

I have always done the best I could with what I had, I know that now, but back then I felt useless. I remember referring to myself as "a waste of human flesh and oxygen." I haven't felt that way in a really long time, but I will never forget it. It's the reason I got sober and it has been one of the driving forces of my recovery today. 

In the last thirteen years I've probably made every mistake there was to make. I've made terrible choices, sober. I've dated the wrong men, many many times - sober. I've made some great friends, but also pushed people away - sober. 

Getting sober didn't change me immediately by any stretch. It has been a long, amazing journey. I still make mistakes, lots of them, all the time, but I don't drink. 

 
 

Over these years I have been given the rare opportunity to meet and get to know myself. I have had many teachers and have gotten glimpses of the good, bad, and ugly within me through the reflections I have seen in other women. There have been so many women that I have looked up to, loved, and shared amazingly difficult times with. 

Sobriety gave me the opportunity to meet these wonderful people, and they let me borrow their peace and serenity until I earned my own. There have been great times. There have also been horrific times. These women stood by me through the ups and downs and reminded me that I was worth it when I forgot. They didn't help me by being perfect at this life thing, they helped me by making mistakes and sharing their lessons. This I am eternally grateful for.

On this day I think about the people I started this journey with or those I have met along the way that didn't make it. I think of them often, but on this day, I focus on the impact that meeting and knowing them has had on my life and my sobriety.

I often wonder what I would have thought about the woman I am today back then. I don't think I would have liked myself, but for all the right reasons. I have become one of those women that can extend peace and serenity to those in need until they find their own. If you had told me this would happen, I would not have believed it. It's hard to believe even now. 

What is not hard to believe is that if I can do this, anyone can. One of my counselors in detox said I should have worn a t-shirt that said "I dare you to get me sober," and here I am. 

If you're reading this and currently struggling with alcohol or drugs or anything, please don't give up. If you're not ready to get help, that's okay. Just know that it's available to you when you are ready. There are a bazillion self help groups, 12-step groups, NON- 12-step groups, books, prayers, etc. to choose from and they're coming up with more every day. I have attached a link  below where you can access all sorts of resources...you know, just in case.  

I am so grateful today for my life, and the opportunity to be present for my children. I am proud of the woman I have become, and the reflection that I get in the mirror today. That four year old is now seventeen, and although there are very few things we can agree on these days, we're both pretty stoked that I'm sober. 



If you think you may have a problem with alcohol or drugs, please don't go it alone.











Whether you love what you just read or hated everything about it, let's connect and talk about it! I'm always open to honest feedback. Come be social with me!

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35 comments:

  1. I am so very proud of you. <3 you.

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  2. Alysia5/02/2013

    This is an incredibly powerful post. Thank you for sharing this and for your courage and strength.

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  3. "the day I gave up trying to run my life" That touches me. It is truly a struggle for me to do that. To let go of that control is to trust that things will be ok even without my control. That is very scary. Some day, I hope to be where you are. At peace. <3 Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Victoria Lynn5/03/2013

    Very touching and real. Excellent post to share with others.

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  5. Very powerful stuff. And brave of you to be so honest in front of all of us. I'm glad you found this road to travel. :)

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  6. Jennifer Provenzano5/06/2013

    I love this very brave piece of writing! You're one amazing lady!

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  7. Thanks Starr, that means a lot :)

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  8. Thank you for reading and sharing it Alysia!

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  9. Thanks Lucy, I am a COMPLETE control freak and often forget that control is just an illusion. I learn the hard way every time and am constantly reminded that life runs much more smoothly when I'm trusting and relying upon The Man Upstairs. ;)

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  10. Thanks Evil. There were some men that were extremely supportive too ;)

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  11. Thank you Victoria! I appreciate you taking the time to read it :) Please feel free to share it with anyone you may think might need to read it. Please also feel free to give them my email address ;) nextlifenokids@gmail.com

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  12. Thanks Melissa, I'm REALLY glad too <3

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  13. Awww, thanks Jen! You're pretty amazing yourself :)

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  14. What an auspicious day. I am so proud of you, and even prouder of your voice. The courage you have when you speak out is amazing. I really hope you reach some people who need to hear what you have to say, because your story is real. And real is what people need. Bravo my friend!

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  15. Happy sober-thday...and many happy returns!! You have so much to be proud of, including a lot of beautiful writing.

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  16. Thank you for sharing this! It's so refreshing to hear women talk honestly about their struggle with alcohol and recovery. I found you on Honest Voices and coincidentally, my post is about my life with alcoholism. Happy birthday (a few days late) and may you enjoy many, many more sober years.

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  17. Oh so moving. I firmly believe that boundless goodness comes from facing our darkest demons. What is life without truth? This was so heartfelt and beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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  18. What an incredible post. And how brave you are for sharing it. No doubt, not a single one that someone will read this, identify with it and change their lives because of it. Stopping by from the Honest Mom link-up.-The Dose Girls

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  19. Congratulations! Not long ago I read about the rising rates of alcoholism and binge drinking among women. Thank you for sharing your story and for reaching out to others who are walking the same scary path. (I came from Honest Mom's bloghop.)

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  20. Science of Parenthood5/08/2013

    Congratulations to you! I'm about to celebrate two years sobriety in a few weeks. It's so helpful when women like you, especially moms, share their stories. It helps eliminate the secrecy and shame surrounding addiction. Hopefully many women read your story and will find their own strength to get the help they need. Carry on.

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  21. It's Not Like a Cat5/11/2013

    You are so fucking awesome and inspirational and lovely and helpful and generous. Thank you for sharing your story and your resources.

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  22. Thanks Jen, that means a lot! :)

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  23. Thanks Karyn!! I appreciate that!! :)

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  24. Sarah,


    Thank you for reading it!! :)

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  25. Thanks Girls!! I'm so glad you stopped by :)

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  26. Thanks Ginger, I appreciate you stopping by to read this and for taking the time to comment!!

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  27. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!! That's AMAZING!! Thank you so much for sharing, and being here! I hope that women will read it and understand that recovery can happen for them too. Congrats again!!

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  28. YOU are fucking awesome. So there. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. :)

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  29. Congrats on your sobriety and this awesome post, Julie. I like the part where you said you didn't have a drinking problem, you had a sober problem. I totally get that. Here's to recovery, strength, hope, and grace. XO

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  30. Jake Parent9/19/2014

    Such a powerful story and you tell it so well.

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  31. Thank you so much, Jake. XOXO

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  32. What an amazing and beautiful story. Thank you for sharing!

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  33. lauire fre7/06/2015

    I LOVE THIS. thanks so much for sharing your journey

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  34. Ernie Flores7/06/2015

    Today is complete. I now like you more than I did yesterday!
    JULIE! How can I be twenty-seven years older than thou???
    . . . and you've been sober longer.

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