Alcohol addiction comes in many degrees. From an innocent little drink every day, all the way to structural numbing with a bottle of whiskey or two a day, and far beyond. But if there’s one thing I’ve come to believe in since I started collecting these personal quitting stories, it’s that no one is too far gone to free themselves from the addictive spiral of alcohol. With the necessary help, courage, self-knowledge and perseverance, true alcoholfreedom can be achieved by everyone. I am honored to show this again today with this week’s beautiful quitting story:
I am now 37 years old, mother of 2 teenagers. I can proudly say that I have now been sober for 21 months. In other words, ‘free’!
11 years ago I got divorced, I was married to a narcissist and that has left its scars. A year after the divorce, I started experiencing hyperventilation and subsequent panic attacks. This is extremely tiring, a chronic condition. I noticed that when I had a drink, I was a lot more relaxed and could avoid the attacks.
I can’t say exactly when this behavior became problematic, it quietly crept in. Until the moment that the circle kept going round. I drank so I felt good, got sober or got a hangover and felt bad, so I drank again. The last 2 years often in the morning already.
Whiskey was my medicine. I drank this at the weekend with my husband, and secretly during the week. My husband never had a problem, never that great dependence that I had. It wasn’t that I was always drunk, but I always had to be in that daze. This made it possible for me to function properly. This made me a ‘responsible alcoholic’. I work as a healthcare professional, a job that requires a lot of involvement. I also trained as a hairdresser and I now do this as a secondary profession. I could never have lived up to this secondary occupation if I had continued to drink.
Especially in my last drinking year I had to deal with depression and even suicidal thoughts. I couldn’t handle anything without the alcohol, but it didn’t help me either. A day at the zoo became quite a task, I no longer had the energy for it. Everything happened on autopilot, including the drinking. But I was empty. I knew that something had to change, but I couldn’t turn the switch. The mistake I made was that I wanted to do it alone. I hid my problem and didn’t talk to anyone about it. I was ashamed, I was about to lose everything, my relationship, my children’s respect, my environment and my business that I hadn’t even started yet.
One day I got a phone call from a friend. She had been in a car accident while intoxicated. No casualties, but it did shake me awake. This was when I broke down and told her about my problem. That day is the last day I drank. I suggested we go to AA together. We ended up in a nice group. The experience stories, knowing that I am certainly not alone and being able to talk about it was worth gold. My switch was turned, I knew I can’t drink. 1 whiskey is too much and 1 bottle too little. My brakes are broken.
In the first 2 weeks I had withdrawal symptoms, continuous restlessness, shaking. I had to be sober with all my emotions and bite through my hyperventilation. One week after I quit, I started my business as a secondary profession. This was one of my goals, my distraction. I was constantly busy. My house has never been so clean as it was then. I filled in dead moments by reading. It was very confronting in those moments to realize how often I used to reach for alcohol and how persistent the habit was.
I had difficult moments. Then I called someone. Talking works. I also told the people around me, this gave me control. They gave me respect and kudos, because it’s not nothing. Mentally I also had some difficult periods. I hadn’t been able to deal with everything sober in so long. I had to admit my feelings. I never get rid of my hyperventilation, but at least I am in control now. I have accepted this and made it livable by staying sober.
It was day by day, step by step. Days of euphoria but also days of difficult thoughts. To never drink again was an impossible thought for me the first year, but it is possible.
I am grateful for all the help I have received and continue to receive.
My husband who supports me, this was not always easy for him either.
My kids are very proud of me.
My business, my dream has come true.
I am stronger than ever, more real than ever and more honest than ever. I’ve learned to let go of things and prioritize self-care.
I’ve been sober for almost 2 years now, and I notice that I rarely crave alcohol anymore. I’ll keep at it, I’m still going to AA. I do my best to help others. I get satisfaction from this. Then my ‘misery’ was worth something. This continues to help with my growth process, because from now on I will always be in recovery. I once thought that was a painful thought. This is over, I’m mainly looking forward. I am the best version of myself now: my sober me.
For all fellow sufferers who are in the beginning of their recovery…. hang on! It’s worth it! Step by step, be kind to yourself and give yourself time. You will find peace and above all FREEDOM.’
Oh, and how priceless is that freedom! I think it’s amazing how you got off your sham drug Whiskey. It’s no small feat to ditch that familiar subterfuge. I have nothing but deep respect for that. Also for the fact that you want to help others with your story, such as here today. I think, hope and expect that this will definitely give people courage and inspiration to do the same. A thousand thanks for that!
And if somebody else would like to share his or her experiences with quitting alcohol after reading this story: please do! Just leave your e-mail in the form on this page and I’ll contact you as soon as possible.