Introducing Tribe Sober Member Lynn who has bravely volunteered to do a member share – thank you Lynn! 14 questions for you!
First of all tell us a bit about yourself. Where do you live? Married? Single? Age bracket? Kids? Worklife?
I live in Parkhurst, Jozi. I’m a single, 50 plus mom of a 17 year-old daughter. I’m a swim teacher which I love; and a freelance advertising copywriter – the stress of advertising was one of my key triggers to opening up a bottle of wine.
When did you start thinking you had unhealthy relationship with alcohol?
In my 30s. Not that I did much about it besides going to a few AA meetings and trying to modetrate,.
What were your objectives when you subscribed to Tribe Sober?
I knew I couldn’t moderate so wanted support with AF living – something I thought I could never do.
What have been the main benefits of Tribe Sober membership for you?
The empathetic, non-judgemental support and connectivity with so many special people. I have also thrived on having the opportunity to pay it forward. Encouraging others and hearing about their wins is so rewarding.
How long have you been Alcohol Free – and how do you feel?
On 29 July I will be 7 months AF.
I feel so many things. Proud of myself, content and calmer, as opposed to a sense of shame, embarrassment, low self-esteem; and super anxious. I also feel more empowered to express my thoughts and manage life’s challenges.
What made you decide to give up alcohol? If you had a “rock bottom” please describe.
I was going to lose the relationship with my nearly 17 year-old daughter. What’s more, I knew alcohol was threatening my two careers as a swim teacher and a copywriter.
What was your first month of sobriety like?
My first month was January – a great way to start 2019. It was actually a liberating month in that I started my journey being with wonderful friends in Cape Town. The liberation was a result of disclosing my AF commitment to them and other go-to friends and connecting with Tribe Sober members – both on WhatsApp and face-to-face.
Did you have to go back to “day 1” often or did you stay firm once you had made your decision?
While I attended the workshop in November, for about 6 miserable weeks I would do a maximum of 4 days AF and then think F-it. I guess I needed these false starts to confirm my need to take the leap into AF life. During this period I didn’t tell anyone where I was at. My secret kept me “sick”.
What are the best things that have happened to you since you stopped drinking – and the benefits of being alcohol free?
I now respect myself and can be the mom I would like to be – emotionally and physically available for my daughter. A mom she respects and a mom she trusts. I am also more in tune with my emotions – both negative and positive. What’s more, I’m getting a kick out of marketing the authentic me; and love being complemented for looking well. Botox and fillers are however still on my wish list.
What do you say when offered an alcoholic drink?
I’ve moved from the “Dry January” excuse (no longer relevant) to saying “No Thanks”. I’ve even recently told someone I’ve stopped drinking alcohol. I might have added, “It doesn’t work for me.
If you could go back to a time when you were drinking what would you tell yourself?
I would say, “Lynn you’re F’ing up. You have a problem. You need to get help.”
What would say is keeping you on track?
Never wanting to go back the turmoil of previous life and staying accountable to the Tribe Sober tribe, my daughter and friends.
BTW: I have not discussed my AF journey with my family but they know meals at me are BYO.
What have you learned about yourself since you gave up drinking?
I am a trillion times happier without alcohol in my life and am more confident that I can realise my potential in all aspects of my life.
What would you recommend to newbies?
So many things …
a. Have clear reasons for ditching alcohol.
b. Engage with the Tribe Sober tribe. Never be afraid to ask for help or express your feelings.
c. Gradually disclose your journey to people you trust.
d. Don’t go to bars or hang around with huge drinkers until you know you can avoid the temptation.
e. Find thing to do with your free time – even if it’s just Netflixing for hours.
f. Binge on all the alcohol-related literature and YouTubes available. Insights into celebrities like Robin Williams, Richard Burton; and Elizabeth Vargas; and the wisdom of life coaches like Johann Hari, Brene Brown and Joe Dispenza are really motivating and inspirational. For all this, make ME TIME. It’s all about self-care.
g. Don’t isolate yourself. Connect with people – even if you just pop into the shops and greet the cashier.
BTW: I hate words like “alcoholic”, “sober”, and “recovery”. I would rather say that I have an addictive personality; and suffer from anxiety. I used alcohol as a crutch. I am now AF.