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Old 12-07-2018, 09:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
Giving up is NOT an option.
 
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4 Years Sober - Experience, strength and hope


Hello fellow SR folks,

I recently passed the 4-year mark (Tuesday, the 4th). I wanted to take some time to write a few words of experience, strength, and hope. In AA, we say, ďif you want to keep it, you have to give it away.Ē I believe in this very much.

A little about how I got here. I was a 51-year-old woman who had completely lost her way in life. I was going through the motions, keeping things together (barely) and using alcohol in extremely unhealthy ways. There were days I was so depressed and full of shame that I thought the world would be better off if I was dead. I hated myself. My life was a wasteland, basically. And on December 4th, 2014, I got my third DUI. Sitting in the police station that night being booked, I had what I can only call a spiritual experience. I surrendered completely in a moment. I knew I had to change everything, or my life would surely end in a haze of pain, regret, and broken promises. I think the cop was puzzled, because I was not crying or horribly upset. I was smiling and calm. I knew something he didnít know in that moment - I was going to take action the minute I got home, and start figuring out how to live a life I could be proud of. I knew what I needed to do.

I called a friend who was in recovery at one in the morning. He kindly answered and offered to take me to a meeting in a day or two. He also recommended the IOP program he had gone to. I called them the very next day and started the process of getting into treatment. I went to that first AA meeting a couple of days later. I admitted to everyone who would listen that I was an alcoholic (what a relief to say those words out loud!!). I committed pretty much every fiber of my being to sobriety in those early months, finished treatment, went to AA several times a week, joined my class here on SR, went to jail for a couple of weeks (not fun, but a good time for reflecting on what I had done). I started cleaning up the messes I had made of my relationships and finances, and began the process of learning who I am deep down inside Ė what my real values and morals are, what makes me ďtick,Ē what I want the rest of my life to look like. I had completely lost sight of all those things in the drinking years.

Iím happy to report that Iím figuring out how to live the kind of life I really want, not the kind of life I used to THINK I wanted. It has not been easy. There were times I didnít think I could do it. Times here and there when I thought about giving up. Itís not easy or fun to own up to all the things I did that I regret while drinking. Itís hard to approach people I have hurt and offer amends. It would have been far easier to sweep it all back under the rug and pretend it wasnít there, like I did when I drank. But I believed the people who told me the only way to have lasting peace is to be completely honest, with myself and others, and to own my actions. After all Ė the people telling me that already had what I wanted. I had to take their word for it. So, I stopped lying (and boy, I had gotten good at it). I made amends. I started to be a real adult. I found out that when I do the next right thing, all day every day, the shame started to fall away. I wasnít creating new messes to clean up. I began to like myself Ė something I didnít think I could do when I was at my lowest points.

Today my life is so much better than I ever thought it could be. Itís not a big fancy life. Nothing monumental has happened, really, like moving to a new place, getting a big new job, or having the relationship of my dreams. Itís not glamourous. Itís a simple life, and Iím REALLY OK WITH THAT. I take care of the people I love. I take care of my pets. I pay my bills on time. I show up to work ready to do my best. I take care of myself better than I ever did before, both physically and mentally. I face lifeís challenges, big and small, knowing I can get through them without resorting to drama and alcohol. I have stopped trying to control everything and learned to let things happen the way they are supposed to. I have peace, most of the time. Yeah, I still get anxious and upset. Things still happen that throw me off for a while. Life is still life. Always will be.

But I donít have to drink. I donít WANT to drink. My coping mechanisms have changed completely. Working the steps of AA and continuing to go to meetings helps keep me on the right track, as does meditation, time in nature, and continued contact with friends near and far who are sober and understand me and what Iíve been through. I give SR lots of credit for pulling me along in the early days, and connecting me with people I really consider true friends, even if we have not met face-to-face. What a god-send this place is.

Well, my few words turned into a bit of a novel. And thereís so much more I could say. But know this if you are struggling and wondering if you can do it Ė truly, if I could get this far, so can you. Keep reaching out. Stay connected. Find the things and people that support your quest for sobriety and peace. Let go of the people and things that work against you. Simplify as much as you can. Do the next right thing every day. Donít drink, no matter what. Take it day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, if you need to. And before you know it, youíll realize you have strung together 10, 100, 1000 days and more.

Peace.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So proud of you!! Much love!
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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fantastic, MLD, and the best part is that it is NOT fantastic at all but REAL!
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I am so very happy for you, MLD!

Well done!
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Congratulations on four years, MLD51!

Thanks for the inspiring post!
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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So proud of you, MLD!

There is so much honesty and inspiration in your post. A true gift to those on this path with us.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Congrats on four years sober!! And thanks for the message of hope.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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A big congrats to you MLD51 - stories like that are so valuable to hear in our community, thank you for sharing. And thank you for all of your contributions here over those years as well!
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Beautiful written and inspirational, MLD! You now have what other people want.
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well that was a wonderful post! Thanks MLD. And big, big congratulations on four years of sobriety.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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What a wonderful, uplifting post. Many congratulations on four fantastic years and 8 wish you many more to come.
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Well done you nice to see you hun
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
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MLD, beautiful post! Thank you for your story and inspiration. I am in my 50ís as well. It is so encouraging to hear from others in this age group to know that finally sobering up after 50 is not impossible. I made many attempts but had many relapses prior to 50. Im now 23 months. I like what you said about giving it away in order to keep it. Iíve never heard that before. I agree with it so much. Sobriety is such a gift.

Thank you again.
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Congratulations on 4 years!
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks so much for sharing that MLD - and congratulations again

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Old 12-08-2018, 11:43 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Thank you MLD for your wonderful, hopeful post. Congratulations on your recovery journey.
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Old 12-08-2018, 03:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I really needed to read this. Thanks
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