I had been making excuses for years. I was good at convincing myself that there was no problem and that I knew what I was doing. Since my teenage years, there was a problem. I battled throughout my twenties with alcohol and drug abuse. I was hospitalized in therapy wards, had years of therapy, and tried AA meetings.
Fast Forward to 2018
Surely there has to be more to life? There has to be a way out of this addiction! I started to envision my new life, the life that I would like to have. A life led with purpose, a child of my own, an exciting career, meeting new people, traveling, and experiencing new adventures. The past 35 years were a bit messy, I wanted to have a better outcome for the next 35 years
How overwhelming all these thoughts were and where would I start?
I thought I’d Kill Two Birds with One Stone
If I have a child then I can’t drink, right? I was not, and am still not, in a relationship. I left a toxic relationship years back and slowly alcohol became my partner. There was just no place for a partner at this time of life but falling pregnant without one can be done. I began my search for a donor via a fertility clinic and settled on the donation of a young, fun, and smart guy with a sense of humour and some strong genes. Not that I’ve met the guy – so I’m going with what his profile tells me.
I began this process in April and on the 31st May 2018 I was pregnant. When pregnant, I drank a tiny amount (no more than 25ml) every now and then. But I was constantly Googling to see if maybe there was new evidence to say that drinking while pregnant is okay. Google never gave me the answer I was hoping for at times of weakness. I hadn’t met my son yet but I was already in love and most of the time found it easy not to drink.
Fast Forward to January 2019
He was here. My son was born. I held this new precious life in my arms and I felt love and excitement like never before. A new life for us both. A few weeks in and that fairytale took a turn. I could drink again. And I did. I went back to my old habits.
Fast Forward to June 2020
I was stuck in the trap of alcohol addiction once again. That purpose-led life I had envisioned was dimming and becoming scary. I was nervous and felt shameful for bringing a new life into my world which didn’t seem like a good place for someone so innocent and who deserved so much more than I was giving. To everyone else, I seemed like a fantastic mum. I felt like I was sinking down a dark hole of no return.
So Do Something About It
Phone a rehab, surely they have an outpatient program? In a nutshell, they do but it was a complicated process, and complicated is not what I could handle then. Find an addiction counsellor. I did. She asked the usual therapy questions and suggested AA and more therapy. Again, too much to think about when all that I could think about was what I would drink that night and at what time I would start. Also, I’d been down that road before and I wasn’t prepared to endure hour-long therapy sessions or meetings that had left me feeling awkward.
Okay so maybe I should try Tribe Sober. I’d been getting their emails and I knew about the workshops. Still not totally convinced I went onto YouTube to see if I could find any videos of what they were about. I found 3 or 4 videos but it was enough to comfort me. The next step was to send Janet a Whatsapp via the handy link on the website and ask her where to start.
In the email I received the next day, I found my new starting block. I signed up for a year’s membership and got added to Dry July. A challenge – exactly what I needed. A support group – exactly what I wanted. Connecting with people on the same path and being part of a community – exactly what I craved. I was stuck in a lonely place and needed someone to tell me it was going to be okay.
Where to Start
I now had hope and a slight excitement to start my journey which would hopefully lead me back to the path of my life that I envisioned. Day 1. How am I going to get through this day without a drink? Connect with the group. Ask for help. I did it. I started going to Saturday’s Zoom Cafes, I connected with the group daily sharing my fears and limiting beliefs, I listened to FB lives, I read quit lit, and got involved where I could.
Dearest Lynette spent time coaching me. If you haven’t done a session with Lynette yet, do it! I went to Belinda for hypnotherapy sessions. Also a must if you want to look deeper into your thoughts. I did a workshop, I got a Sober Buddy, I made new friends with other Tribe members. Every offer that Janet made available for members I took it knowing and trusting that this was what I needed and wanted.
My First Year
84 Day ones! That is the amount of time I attempted to get to 66 days. I had from July 2020 to July 2021. So much for me thinking that this would be a quick and easy process but now when I look back, 1 year isn’t long to change a habit of 24 years.
Was it easy? No. I had to grow. For us to grow we have to change, and not just our habits. We have to change so much more. Our thoughts, our relationships, friendships, deal with past trauma. We have to find ourselves and learn to love ourselves again or even for the first time. We have to sit with uncomfortable feelings as Lynette suggests. All of this is hard to do and many times I couldn’t and would drink to numb the emotions and tranquilize the noise in my head. I drank if I was sad, I drank if I was happy, I drank if I was stressed, I drank to celebrate, I drank because why not? everyone else does.
I had to ask myself who I wanted to be. I had taken a look into the future to see where I was heading. Did I want my son to grow up with a drunk mum? Did I want to miss out on watching him grow up? Did I want to risk his life and mine and leave him to find himself in the world without parents to guide him? Did I want to be that person responsible for hurting another person with selfish acts like drinking and driving? Did I want to stay stuck with a life that I felt served no purpose and carry on struggling daily by being trapped by alcohol addiction? No, no I didn’t, and no I won’t.
That purpose-led life is coming alive again as am I. A choice has been made luckily before it was too late. We get to make choices daily. We all have the ability to change and when one has the support of a Tribe – it’s not a lonely and dull process.