If women who got and stayed sober had chosen not to share their stories of failure and success, I might still be hiding bottles in my briefcase, closet, nightstand, etc., and inviting another devastating rock bottom that would have inevitably led me to rehab. But because so many brave sisters had the courage to get vulnerable and come forward with their truths, I found my way to this amazing sober life. When you discover something so amazingly great, you want to tell others about it. Here are some other reasons why more women are coming clean about Alcohol Use Disorder and telling their sober stories.
To show that living an alcohol free life is both extraordinary and achievable.
One of my many rationalizations that kept me in the drinking trap and terrified to get sober is that I didn’t know what life without alcohol look like. How would I cope with the amount of stress I had in my life? What would help me relax and decompress? Isn’t a life without alcohol incredible boring? How would I fall asleep?
What would my friends think of me when I would say “I’m not drinking tonight, this month, at all…?”
Would they start to question me and ask me if I have a problem? (Some did, some didn’t.)
Would they not want to invite me along because I was the sober dud? OMG was I going to lose my friends? Sigh.
I was trapped by my fear of what not drinking would be like. But as I listened to women who had both drinking and sober stories similar to mine and are loving their years of sobriety, I could tell that the grass really was greener on the other side.
Going alcohol free changed my life. After I ended my toxic 30 year relationship with drinking, I gained confidence, contentment and personal achievement that I never would have known if I had continued to choose booze over really living.
Being out or at a party with friends is much more fun now. I listen to what people are saying and contribute back rather than changing the subject or being laser focused on getting another and then another drink until I duck out without saying goodbye.
Because sharing your story frees you, and other women.
When it became clear to me that I was supposed to share my struggle with alcohol through my writing, I fought it. Hard stop. No way did I want my deepest darkest secrets out there for the world to know about and then judge me accordingly. I continued to write articles for a different blog project that I had been trying to get off the ground for a long time, but so often my posts would start one way and end up being an article that would help women in my audience who are sober curious, newly sober or sober struggling.
When I reached one year of sobriety I shared some insights from my journey in my private online sobriety groups. I mentioned that I had a sobriety focused blog in the works, and that it is very clearly my purpose, my bigger yes. I got over 200 comments, with questions about how to find the blog.
“What an achievement . I am coming up to 7 months and this is really encouraging.”
“Good on you! I’m halfway there. You are my hero!”
Such a great post! Congratulations!! Would be interested in your blog for sure.
Way to go!!!!!! What were some of your greatest challenges??? SO happy for you. I am on day 13 and you have inspired me to go for 365!!!
“OMG. I LOVE your post. Thank you!!!!! I’m 50 and want to do one year free at 51. You are MY inspiration!!!! I’m copying and sticking it on my wall. ALL those points resonate with me, especially the last one.”
“This is an amazing post! How to I get to your blog?”
Women are hungry for sober success stories. We want to connect and lift each other up. Sharing your story tells readers, “You’re not alone. I did that awful stuff and made it to the other side. You can, too.”
To confront and correct the stigma and stereotype of alcoholism.
People who can take or leave alcohol (often referred to as “normies”) tend to subconsciously label someone who has quit drinking or can’t “control” their drinking as an alcoholic. It’s easy to compartmentalize it as black and white if you’re on the outside looking in.
This was one of the main reasons I didn’t talk about my not drinking to anyone outside my immediate family for a long time. I didn’t want to answer that question, “Are you an alcoholic?”
First, that label is a problem in itself that a lot of us with Alcohol Use Disorder want to destigmatize and get away from. It’s steeped in disdain and weakness and it keeps a lot of us who struggle with alcohol silent in our shame.
People tend to automatically assume that if you struggled with alcohol, you:
A) Were not a contributing member of society.
B) Have no self control.
C) Drank and drove drunk all the time.
D) Made poor choices in everything you do.
E) Were on the edge of losing your family, friends, house and job.
First of all, no one is created to be able to “handle their alcohol.” It’s a toxic, addictive substance and anyone who ingests it has just poisoned themselves, even if just a little.
Secondly, a large number of people with Alcohol Use Disorder are professional and successful.
The more people like us (normal people in nice houses with careers and friends and cars) come clean with our sober stories, the less of a stigma there is around problem drinking. I’m not saying AUD should be normalized. I am saying people shouldn’t put a scarlet A on us and judge us as “less than” or defective somehow.
(More on Are you an Alcoholic later here.)
To help other women figure out what works for them in their sobriety and what doesn’t.
Admitting you have to break up with your BFA (best friend alcohol) is terrifying in its own rite. Now you have to figure out how to do it. There is not just one way and certainly no right way to sobriety, and that’s good news.
Alcoholics Anonymous has helped many people get sober, but it’s not for everyone, it was not for me. I went several times throughout my quest and I left feeling more alone and different than ever.
Some of us do it on our own, but that doesn’t mean we are alone. My family was very supportive. I took two self-paced sober coaching courses. I was in the right mindset to do it that was. By the time I chose this option, I was all in. I was done with bullshit of drinking and I wanted the rest of my life back. I was ready to do the work. I simultaneously poured myself into audio quit lit, sober podcasts and building my sober toolbox of rewards and coping strategies. I found online support groups and read about successes and failures, oh so many Day Ones, and ways through the addiction from “my people.”
An inpatient or outpatient treatment center in my opinion is for after you have tried the other things or are really in the throes of a physical addiction.
You can have a lot of information at your fingertips and still have a hard time finding the answers that you need. Hearing someone’s real story about how long they were stuck in the cycle and how they actually kicked the habit may be the only resource that someone can relate to.
When you’re ready to share your story there is someone out there who needs to hear it.