“I’m so grateful to be free from alcohol now. Why should so many be lonely and suffer at the hands of this normalized, insidious drug? Alcohol breaks my heart. I wish I hadn’t given it so much power for so long, but I’m so grateful I have come through to the other side now.”
Anthea Parker is a married mother of twins, a boy, and a girl, aged 18. She loves attending Zoom meetings around quitting alcohol as this is where she feels the real connection and support happen.
Her first experience of a Zoom meeting around quitting alcohol was daunting, but now she makes it a daily habit.
She has found a smaller group of people just like herself and she has developed an amazing friendship group in a challenge. These people continue to be as important to her today as they were then. It has made all the difference to Anthea in her sober life, and she says that she has found her tribe.
“Finding an online world of recovery changed my life. I had tried AA and rehab, and SMART recovery and so many wonderful gems of information that I collected on the way were suddenly making sense…. I had found my own personal recipe for sobriety. The main change was learning about the science from Alcohol Explained. And how alcohol lies to us…. This information completely opened my eyes.
I have a loved one too who has not been very well with alcohol use… I’ve seen other friends not survive alcohol addiction. The impact that alcohol has on an alcohol-saturated society breaks my heart.
So, if I can reach out to just one person on the street, who doesn’t think that there is any hope, who is feeling isolated and alone in their addiction, then me putting myself out there is worth it. The beautiful thing about meeting other people in recovery from alcohol addiction is that we want to share the freedom that we have found and give hope to others that they can too. I’ve met people from all walks of life on these forums… from others like me who were addicted to people who realize that alcohol isn’t helpful and want to leave it behind to live a happier, healthier life. We are a kaleidoscope of backgrounds and experience.”
How it All Began
Anthea stopped drinking on her 48th birthday, just like that. Because it was time. There was no other day to do it. To stop alcohol. Ten years earlier she had been very ill with depression. She was in and out of the hospital because she was so unwell. During this time, she could not continue her job as an occupational therapist so she completed a diploma in art and design. She also invested in therapy, mindful-based stress reduction and dialectical behavioral therapy.
This was the beginning of her ‘recovery’. It was therapy, medication and art combined that enabled her to see that life was worth living again. How ironic then that this was when the alcohol intake began to rise!
When she awoke this year on her 48th birthday she knew she had to quit drinking. But how? She had already discovered William Porter’s book, Alcohol Explained the previous October. She remembered reading it and thinking “I have to get this, no matter what.”
So, she read the book over and over. She also started a new routine that day. Come wine time, she would make a fresh ginger, lemon, and honey tea. Days one, to 5 were brutal. She experienced some withdrawal symptoms, and she kept some alcohol around in case she felt too awful. She knew the risks of withdrawal.
“I slowly started peeking into the Facebook group, also called Alcohol Explained. I couldn’t believe that there were around 17,000 others using this site to get sober…. And loving life! Yes, please!!! On day 5, I went to my first zoom meeting in Alcohol Explained. And what a huge difference that made. I was so nervous, but I was scooped up by people who had lots of sobrieties under their belts, and I just knew I was in the right place.”
Anthea reads posts every day. Her new Friday nights were tuning into William Porter’s lives … She listened to many podcasts and watched films and YouTube videos. And she wrote in her journal.
Around day 90 something changed…. “I was walking home from work one day and felt so alone. I was going to the weekly online Zoom meetings, but I didn’t have anyone I could call. I needed someone to talk to. I must have written a post about it because before I knew it I was suddenly in another sober group.”
The Idea for the Sober Inspiration Project was Born
Anthea was tidying up her loft space and came across some old postcards and letters…this sowed the seed for a way to reach out to other people just like she, who shied away from seeing others live a seemingly wonderful life on social media.
“The project began when I asked friends whom I had met through online groups to make and send me a postcard to share their tips to inspire others to continue their alcohol-free journeys. I was thrilled with the response! What better way to find out how to live an alcohol-free life than to ask the people who are succeeding!!”
The post office box was open for 6 months and she received around 100 cards! These have all been photocopied and laminated and then taken into the streets and trees and hung up.
The project has continued with great success. It now has a list of fabulous resources that people are using. They write and share their favorite books, podcasts, YouTube links, and online groups. There is also a list of free online Zooms that people can attend. The group is currently using this platform to share their inspiring stories about how they have found freedom from alcohol in the hope that their story will also inspire someone else.
“It really is making connections that help us succeed in finding our new sober lives. We learn from people who are succeeding!” says Anthea.
One Year Sober
Since celebrating her soberversay, the story for Anthea has changed over the past 6 months. It isn’t about the alcohol any longer.
“I stay vigilant, I post in groups daily, and continue to learn from people ahead of me in my journey. I try my best to reach out and support others who are finding their way into a new sober life. Yes, it is hard, in an alcohol-soaked society, and yes, it is hard learning to cope with feelings and emotions in a different way than drowning them with alcohol, but my goodness it’s worth it. “
A Final Word of Advice
“My advice to anyone starting out is to get a pen and paper and write what your reasons are. How are you going to do this? And commit. 100% Try a few groups to see where you fit in and stick with it. Be brave!! Reach out and ask questions. There are so many people succeeding in the groups, and they want you to succeed too because it’s much better over here… away from the self-destruction of ethanol. We all deserve a happier healthier future. Let’s not make alcohol a reason to stop us any longer.”