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Don’t Give Up

Well friends, we are 8 days into the New Year and by now some of us have already blown our resolutions. Last week on The Bubble Hour, I publicly vowed to stop using the F word and I confess that one slipped out the other day. No one else was present to hear it and I was totally justified in using it (having burnt the pizza I was making for supper), but nevertheless I swore I wouldn’t swear and I still swore. I am back on the F-less train and optimistic about my chances of staying on board.

Today I am reaching out to anyone who woke up January 1st saying “never again” to alcohol, only to find themselves back in its grip within days. Don’t give up. Don’t think you have to wait until next year to try again. Don’t even wait until after the weekend party, the big conference, that upcoming wedding or the vacation you have planned. There will always be something on the calendar to justify drinking, but you can make a change today and persevere through anything life throws at you. It is hard at first, but eventually we get to a place where parties, conferences, wedding, and vacations are MORE enjoyable because we are sober.

Does that sound impossible? I thought so too at first. I worried that I would never have any fun or be any fun. I thought no one would want to be around me, and that would probably be fine because I didn’t want to be around others either. I thought everyone would notice I wasn’t drinking, and I would be ostracized. I thought I would be in constant misery watching the wine go by.

The first few weeks of recovery are pretty tender, it’s true. There’s the physical discomfort of alcohol withdrawals, the mental wrestling with a brain that has been programmed to only recognize one form of comfort, the social awkwardness of handling invitations and obligations while feeling incredibly vulnerable, and the emotional pain of grieving the loss of something so dearly loved. That is a lot to handle all at once.

Little by little, these layers of discomfort fall away. Our bodies start to mend. We go for coffee or breakfast with a friend and realize there are other ways to socialize. We order an iced tea with dinner and no one notices. We feel our grief, cry and sleep our way through it and in time is lessens, as grief does. The most resonate aspect of recovery is the mental one, in my experience. We spent a long time training our brains to recognize alcohol as a reward and over time our pleasure-reward circuitry became hard-wired to demand this substance it perceived as essential.

We have also spent a lifetime investing in beliefs about the world and ourselves that may have ultimately contributed to the need for comfort we found in alcohol. If you asked me about my life 4 years ago (as evidenced in my early posts), I would tell you I was a hard-working, high achieving individual who loved everything about my life except for one little thing: I needed to stop drinking. I would tell you proudly that I was a perfectionist with high expectations for the people around me. I saw that as a good thing.

There are also many things I would not have told you about myself (mostly because I refused to acknowledge the existence of these things): I often awoke at night and wept over my failures and shortcomings. I felt unworthy of my success, my spouse, even my children’s love. I wouldn’t tell you that my hands shook with fear as I stood before an audience to give a speech or perform music, that I saw myself as an ugly person who hid it well with good hair and makeup, or that I felt I had to earn love because otherwise I simply didn’t deserve it. I wouldn’t tell you that I had binged and purged through my university years and as a young mom – no one knew about that. I wouldn’t tell you that I got really good at keeping secrets when I was 9 – the summer another kid molested me and I went along with it because I wanted that kid to like me (clearly I was “bad” from a young age). I could not have told you about my ongoing anxiety because I called it “stress” – anxiety was for weak people, strong people get stress.

And then there was this weird thing I’d always done in private – picking and tearing at hidden areas of my scalp. If I was very “stressed” (certainly not anxious, right?) in a meeting or social setting I would raise one finger and rub behind my left ear, but that was as much as I permitted myself in public. At home, that rubbing would turn to scratching and tearing. I never understood why I did it – it was embarrassing and gross. I was always worried about having dandruff on my shoulders – we must be perfect! – but I could not stop myself from this behaviour. Oh, but never mind about that, because I wouldn’t have told you anyway.

My life was perfect and I just needed to quit drinking so that it would be FULLY perfect and I wouldn’t have secrets (except the late night crying, self-loathing, self-harm which were just normal and had to be tolerated because that was just “me”).

This is hard for me to write. This is hard for me to imagine others reading. But this needs to be said because I believe it will help someone.

After I quit drinking, other people in recovery encouraged me to reflect on my anger, resentments and expectations of myself and others. They told me that these things had fueled my addiction. This was intriguing to me, so I started considering these ideas. Many new truths came to light.

Perfectionism is not a good thing, as it turns out. I worried too much what others thought of me, I felt unworthy, I dreaded judgment, so I strove for perfection as a way to pre-empt these things. All of this is rooted in anxiety – and once I stopped pretending it was stress and acknowledged the truth of what I was experiencing I could start finding ways to cope better. It was humbling, but I had to admit it – I have crippling anxiety.

I also found out that my embarrassing, gross skin-picking habit is a form of OCD called “Dermatillomania” – very common among those of us with anxiety disorders. It can be based in unexpressed anger, which we turn towards ourselves because we fear that others will reject us if we displease them by showing anger. Dermatillomania is mainly treated with behavioural therapy, and I have found that simply keeping my nails done at the salon with an acrylic or gel coating makes them too thick to do damage and has greatly reduced my behaviours. That said, I removed my fake nails last week for a few days and immediately found myself right back at it. I headed straight in for a full set and order was restored. There is lots of information online about the condition – just search the name and see what you learn.

Therapy was another thing I considered “weak” and I moved a long way through my recovery by simply reading, communicating with others (online and on this blog), listening to podcasts, and reflecting quietly on everything I learned. But after about two years I felt like I was stuck and kept encountering the same negative patterns with some people in my life. I still had a lot of anger and pain. A friend suggested therapy and suddenly I realized that I had held it as a “shame identity” – something for the weak and stupid and self-indulgent.  By this time, I had come to see that all of my old ways of thinking were what led me into addiction and I was open to change. Talking to a professional moved me forward like a slingshot because I was so eager to find whatI needed to do differently.

So here I am, and I offer my story as a message of hope to anyone who is struggling, hiding, crying alone, and wondering where recovery will take them. Quitting drinking is only the beginning, and soon you will start to see many other parts of life improve – things you may be refusing to acknowledge or scared to change. Things you tolerate because you think that’s “just how it is” may not be true at all. Shame you feel  can be lifted. You can be free in so many ways. I wish this for you.

I am not perfect, but I am getting better. I enjoy my life so much more now. I am present for it, and I do not constantly feel the need to get numb. By ignoring all the things that hurt and shamed me, I was tolerating the pain they caused – it was like a constant background noise. Now that I am dealing with them, their power is diminished.

If you are wavering in your resolve to get sober in 2015, please hang in there. You are not alone – there are many of us on this pathway with you to light the way and encourage you along. You may feel that you are just signing up for a boring life without alcohol, but I promise you that there is MORE joy, MORE freedom, and MORE opportunity ahead. Don’t give up. It gets easier, it reaches further, and it will bring you to a version of yourself that is stronger and more real than you ever thought possible.

Finally, I encourage you to seek out other sober people. Be it a recovery program like AA, SMART Recovery, Life Ring, Celebrate Recovery, Women for Sobriety, or talking to someone you may know who is in recovery. Consider treatment – you don’t have to be a hot mess to go to treatment; it’s just another way to kickstart recovery. I got sober on my own, many do. It is possible. However, there is something magical about talking to another person that will add a whole other dimension to your journey. Start by commenting here, and see how great it feels when someone responds. Real-life support is exponentially greater, I promise.

Here’s to 2015, my friends. It is going to be effing great!

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About UnPickled

I am learning to walk without the crutch of alcohol. As I begin I am 1 day sober. Gulp. I drank in private and hope to quit just as privately. The purpose of this blog is to help make me accountable - just by following you will give me enormous support and encouragement.

Posted on January 8, 2015, in Getting Sober and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 139 Comments.

  1. I am on my first day of recovery from alcohol. I am a 31-year-old mother of three boys… and I have been reading your posts on and on for the past day. I have attended CR and completed a step study in the past but relapsed three years ago. It’s funny how I have convinced myself that a bottle of wine every night is somehow okay. This past year has been hell. I am in my second marriage. My husband picked up a really awesome meth addiction while I was pregnant with our third son. As he has been taking major steps towards his recovery through NA, AA, and sober living, I have allowed my circumstances to be my excuse for not addressing my own issues. It’s nice to have an online community for support.

    My 7-year-old is struggling with anxiety. I recently reached out for counseling for my kids. Hearing this woman talk about the impact that addiction has had on their lives (while all this time I thought I was somehow sheltering them from it) really hit home. I have never felt so convicted to quit drinking and work to repair my life, my hurts, and my hang-ups… I don’t want my children to suffer because of my own self-centeredness. I never realized what an impact my nightly wine-drinking could have on them. But, I am ready. While I am ready… I am scared. But, at this point I truly feel that it is do or die. I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m tired of living with guilt and self-hatred.

    Last night as I awoke to my usual nightmare I tried that method you have mentioned about changing your memories and dreams. It’s interesting because my son is having nightmares often about monsters. His counselor offered similar advice. That he can train his brain to take charge in his dreams- to come up with a way through his imagination to beat the monster.

    Thank you for your honest and sincerity. You have given me hope to really start on this journey or recovery.

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  2. Hi Unpickled I received your mail shot to which clicked myself to one of your fav posts and as I read it I discovered I had read it before but since I still struggle with my on and off drinking I am at same time realizing through my body if I don’t quit fully I’m going to do some permanent damage as years have past over 17 years alcoholism up and down I can’t hide from fact it’s now longer matter to stop it’s also matter of my health at the moment I’m good but I’ve noticed small things like longer hangovers, the pain my liver gets if I don’t refresh booze as at least I’ve cut it down to around twice a week and it’s not extreme but I know I cannot disguise as normal healthy relationship with booze because without wife support I would go back to daily drinking but with her support it has spurred me on but keeping to ones own promise I find I am always trying to find new excuse to take drink and like classic boozer that admits he has problem I say oh but it’s just the one but it never is. So thanks it at least shook me to take heed it can be slippery slope. I know it’s a daily battle because it isn’t as if now I’m thinking for when I can drink it’s battle because all sudden something will place me there maybe a situation which I feel I can argue my logical guilt driven brain that I can have this one as I earned it. Sadly it’s me who craves to be able to say I don’t need an excuse because I don’t want drink but my mentality is still with booze.

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    • Thanks for sharing so honestly. It sounds like and exhausting battle. For me, being alcohol-free is just so much easier than fighting to moderate. Your body will thank you as you age, too. It takes a bit to get going but it sounds like you have lots of support at home and hopefully together you can make some changes that will give you back your freedom. Glad you’re here, my friend.

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  3. Your honesty is a true gift to yourself and others! Thank you for that. When we share our deepest feelings with people who are struggling with sobriety – it’s like a breath of fresh air, a true gift of love. I have been sober for about 4 months. I’m glad I’m sober but I miss drinking (sometimes). Here are a few things I’ve learned so far: I feel sad and miss alcohol sometimes because saying good-bye to it has activated the grief process. I am currently feeling depressed/sad that I can’t drink like normal people – but since I know I can’t drink in moderation I have accepted that I can never drink again. I’m in a funky place mentally – I know I can’t so I won’t but I wish I could…..weird, huh? Ha! I’ve also learned that alcoholism looks different on everyone. It doesn’t matter how high or low your bottom is – when we hit it – we know. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend out patient treatment because it really helped me understand what I would be going through and it gave me a lot of tools to work with when I have temptations or triggers. In spite of my sadness, I really appreciate the good stuff that being sober has given back to me. No more 2-day hangovers, no more spending money I don’t have, no more putting myself at risk for a number of things. I attend AA meetings and realize that I cannot do this alone…..I just wanted to take a moment and share my experience and hope to let whoever is reading this know you are not alone! You can do this! Together we all can!

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  4. So I stumbled on your blog this morning along with my hangover… I googled “how to know its time to stop drinking” and am thrilled to have found your site! I have been struggling with this for a few years. I don’t drink daily but when I do drink, I now get these horrific hangivers which always sabotage my plans for the next day – sometimes 2 days. These, I recognize as old self sabotage habits that started to creep back in after a minor back injury last November. I too have anxiety that I think I haven’t recognized or acknowledged until recently. I too tear up my fingers and have for years. When I worked out regularly it was easy to say no to drinking or limit myself to just 1, but lately I’m hurting myself with it. It’s scary as I have so many great opportunities ahead of me and I don’t want to screw it up by allowing this to continue. I’ve noticed that for me, when I have physical goals (like lifting, running etc…) I am in a much better place. I need to get that back and not look back. That said, it’s scary too. We are building a vacation home in the Caribbean where we will be spending a lot of time and the culture there is very big on drinking. I drink more there than I ever do at home. It’s part of nearly every meal and in between – it gets to the point where my alcohol tolerance builds up to that point where I start to live with that low level of feeling crappy everyday but still functioning just enough to do what I have to do but no more than that. I want to be somebody who lives a healthy fulfilled and active lifestyle but it’s been quite hard not to allow myself to get sucked in to the glamorous perception of island living where everyone has a cocktail in hand. I have a new vision of what I want my weeks there to look like – days spent exploring, snorkeling, reading, going for a run in the morning and engaged in my work projects. I want to be THAT person, not the one who wakes up late, misses the sunrise and has to recover and brace myself before starting all over again. I just don’t know how to do it. Tyanks for your blog posts – they’ve definitely helped open my eyes a great deal.

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  5. Berg, Vianne M

    Hi, Jean –
    This is probably no surprise to you. I am really struggling. All of a sudden, I’m in this deep depression. I can’t get myself out of it. It came on after I ran my first race in March. When I have drank, you wouldn’t believe the amount. I’m so embarrassed. My husband is traveling for work, I know he hears my depression.

    Just wanted to tell somebody.
    Vianne

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    • Oh Vianne, I am so glad you have reached out. You don’t have to go through this alone. There are so many of us here to support one another. You had some solid recovery going and you know what it is like to feel better. Alcohol can exacerbate depression symptoms, it is a vicious cycle. Do you think you can get back to living alcohol free so that you can treat the depression? Love and hugs.

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  6. Thank you. I have been sat quietly reading your blog for an hour or so now and I love your style of writing and your honesty. I can relate to so much of what you have written and when you wrote about Dermatillomania I actually gasped because I do that. I didn’t even know it had a name and I didn’t think that anyone else did it. I don’t know what day I am on in terms of ditching the booze (I’m not really counting) … week 4 or 5 anyway and I feel so positive about the future. I have fixated on this weird thing in my head and it represents a point in the future when I know once and for all that drink plays no part in my life when I can wholeheartedly answer ‘No I would not’ to the following question. If a meteor was heading to earth, or some other catastrophic event was about to happen and life as we know it would go from ‘normal’ to not existing in the blink of an eye, if I had an hour left and was sat around with my family sharing our last minutes on earth together. If someone offered me a glass of wine, just one, there would be no drunkenness, no outwardly negative consequences of having it or not having it… would I have it? It sounds bizarre but it’s a reference point I keep coming back to in order to gauge my current position on my whole sobriety thing. Anyway, thank you again for this really insightful blog. I look forward to reading more of it. L x

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  7. Sunnydaysagain

    I’m on day 3 today…
    I have been tried few times before the longest was in 6monts.
    My life become so miserable,missing from work,fighting with my boyfriend,sleeping on my all weekend and I lost my fun from the life.
    It started about 2years ago.was really stressed and I had one two glass of wine after the work.i thought every one have harder day why I not have wine?i hate to work.its not the problem,thought…it was !!!i was trying to find my relax and happiness in the alcohol to forget things,example we had fight with my love and I said how cares I’m gonna have wine and tomorrow I’ll wake up like nothing happened…
    I’m about lost two boyfriend already because my drinking problem I becom really depressed and where is my nice healthy girl how I was???
    Wake up everyday my hands are numb and my face like full moon:(
    So I will quit drinking I don’t wanna lost my love of my life and I wanna be feel free enjoy the beautiful sunny days !!!!
    I’m just pray and keep saying every day no more toxins!!!!!
    It’s hard to not buying alcohol in the nights but I keep saying,happiness will become again!!!!

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  8. After Google searching today, in my attempt to once again gain the knowledge, perspective and compassion of what it’s like to have a unhealthy relationship with alcohol, I stumbled upon UnPickled. Jean your blog is beautiful, insightful and honest, thank you for the posts.

    I’m here today because sadly I’m divorcing my “High Functioning Alcoholic” whom I still love and care about. Wondering and wishing why he couldn’t stop drinking, why he’s in denial, why I continue to love him after all the lies, blame, deceit and anger he’s inflicted upon our family. After being married for 13 years, I threw him out of the house on NYE, after a month went by and he didn’t fulfill my wishes of not drinking/smoking I filed for divorce. So why do I feel guilty? Maybe I could have done things differently…

    To all the members on this blog I admire you, stay strong and continue on your path to sobriety, health and success.

    Be well,
    🌴🌞Beach Bound 🌊

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    • Beach Bound, it is wonderful that you have come looking for insights and understanding. I encourage you to listen to The Bubble Hour (www.thebubblehour.com) as we spend an hour each week talking about life in recovery, and how our minds work. Last night’s episode was about “Drinking Dreams” (which can be very unnerving when you get sober!) and some very helpful insights came out that would benefit anyone trying to understand the way an addict thinks. Consider visiting an alanon group or reading “CoDependant No More” by Melanie Beatty. Do not think that you are responsible for your spouse’s addiction, or for the consequences of it. All the best to you as you move through this difficult time. Please post here any time.

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  9. I’m a first time reader and loved the post on “yet” I defiantly fit into that category. I see the progression of drinking over the last few years and know that no good will come of continuing one more day. I’ve been putting lots of thought into…how I got here? As I read this post I see a connection. I too deal with perfectionism, I feel I have to earn love, I bury anger and shame. Ugg. Day 1 of recovery. I want life….. I’m very blessed to have a wonderful husband and daughter and I want to enjoy them to the fullest.

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    • Hi Shannon, it never ceases to amaze me how similar we all are, and yet we all feel so alone. Good news – lots of people have walked this pathway before us and we know it is do-able. Quit drinking, yes. And when you are ready, start unravelling all that other stuff so that you will never NEED to drink again.

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  10. I’ve listened to the Bubble Hour for months now and it is so helpful. Before Christmas I had 40 days and was feeling so good. Then several weeks ago I had a sober week long trip moving my daughter to an internship, again, it was GOOD. I’ve gone back to old ways and today is Day 1 again. This post is so encouraging. I know it is true… I have heard if from too many…. that life really gets better. I have talked with a counselor some but I have resisted going to AA consistently. Thank you for your encouragement. Caroline

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  11. Thank you for this! I have already read this but I read and re-read all of your posts and this one is the most inspiring. I began my sobriety 5 months ago and have had a couple of relapses but I am a different person than when I started. Life is getting better. I started seeing a therapist and facing up to all my old pain and shame….it’s very scary and uncomfortable sometimes. I love the paragraph that talks about not being perfect and letting go of the pain. It fits me exactly.I too have the condition you do as well so hoping the therapy helps. So thanks again for sharing your story:)

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    • So glad you are here and great job on changing your life these past months. That is truly the heart of recovery – not just getting sober but getting our life back and in a richer, fuller form. You are my hero today!

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  12. I am a first time reader of your blog. Just got through 2 posts and I have to say I am already hooked. I can relate to what you’re saying here and you’re also a good writer which makes these posts even better to read. Very glad I discovered this blog. Thank you.

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  13. Thank you for writing so honestly and for sharing your journey. I’m a big fan of the Bubble Hour as well, I save it to listen to on Monday evenings, it’s always such a treat. I’m currently looking around for additional ways to get help with my drinking, had about four months sobriety going but unfortunately I am back at day one again. I am definitely not giving up hope for a sober lifestyle and inner peace. Thank you also for sharing about Dermatillomania. I do this with the skin on my fingers and I’m so grateful to learn that there is a name for it and I’m not alone

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    • Hi Clare, I am sending you strength and encouragement to keep going. Do not give up on making your life the best it can be. Every one of us was born sober and it is how we can be fully ourselves. My wish for you is peace and joy. I am here for you all any time – shoot me an email if you find yourself struggling or comment here to draw on the strength of the many wise folks in recovery who read this blog and help one another along. We never have to do this alone.

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  14. I read your blog often but usually do not post. I am at Day 4 for the millionth time I think. Feel better each day. One question….I cannot sleep. When does sleep come back? I have been using wine for years as a sedative I think. Do not want pills. Thanks for what you do!

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    • I encourage you to read up on alcohol withdrawal because it can be more complicated than many of us realize, and lots of people give into booze again to stop the discomfort. Sleep does come back, though – unless there is a secondary issue happening (depression or menopause for example). I also used wine as a sleep aid – I was terrified of laying away at night and it was one of my greatest fears when I quit. As it turns out, alcohol may help us fall asleep (as in, pass out) but it also disturbs sleep partway through the night as it wears off and our body calls out for more. (I have spoken to some who hid alcohol near the bed so that they could have a sip partway through the night and go back to sleep! This is full-fledged physical dependency). If you should find yourself awake at night, don’t panic. Tell yourself that you will rest your mind and body in other ways – laying still and comfortably while breathing deeply, for example. Some people swear by meditation podcasts like Tara Bracht. You are wise to avoid sleeping pills – that could just lead to addiction swapping. Be kind to yourself and CONGRATULATIONS of making this important, monumental change in your life! I am glad you are here. Please keep sharing how you manage your sleep so we can all learn together.

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  15. This was so helpful to me! I have not drank 30 out of the last 31 days and its been tough. Lots of highs and lows and feeling feelings that were burried. It was comforting to hear about someone else’s struggle with feeling “bad” at a young age, not feeling they deserved love, and wanting to be perfect because everything else in our lives feels perfect. It is so brave and generous of you to share this, and it HAS helped people! I am extremely grateful and using this article in particular as something to hang onto as I push through breaking up with alcohol. I thought it was something I could lean on, but as I’ve gotten clearer this last month I see all the damage it has done and pain it has caused to me and the people I really care about. I feel like self forgiveness comes after this for me, and looking ahead to all the positive changes that will happen as a result of making this choice. Thank you, thank you, thank you….. Really a million effing thanks! 🙂

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  16. Found this blog searching “How to have fun when you’ve quit drinking” – and reading your responses has done just that. I’m 21 and I’d been drinking “regularly” since I was 17 – but 2014 had been every day (all day most of the time).
    Right before Christmas I was visiting my family (I live across the country) and I went to visit some old friends from high school. Apparently I drank a half a bottle of whiskey in thirty minutes and proceeded to try to drive home. I woke up from a coma two and a half days later with my family by my side.
    Id driven into a tree and caught on fire – only to be pulled out (barely alive from all the blood I was losing) by a friend who drove after me when he’d discovered I’d left.
    Anyway, here I am, a month and a half later, still sober. The idea of “missing out” on fun or social opportunities has hit hardest. Tonight being Friday night in one of the biggest and youngest cities in the world doesn’t help much either – but I know I’ll make it. My dad has been sober for 18 years. I hope I can say that about myself one day. Thanks for your stories – they’re making me chuckle and cry. 🙂

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  17. I can’t believe this blog exists. I keep reading posts and each one mentions something that I do/did EXACTLY. I started drinking in high school and I remember thinking back then that I couldn’t remember a weekend when I hadn’t been drunk. I went on to be a food server/cocktail waitress and spent every night going out, either after work or to celebrate a day off from work. I have fallen asleep at multiple bars, fallen asleep holding a lit cigarette, passed out standing up, on the toilet, at weddings, you name it. As a student, I studied while I drank two bottles of wine. I don’t know how I graduated from college and did not kill anyone. I don’t really remember dancing at my wedding and I passed out without having sex that night. That night is one of my biggest regrets. I quit drinking when I was pregnant (mostly). Now I have two little kids and I don’t want them to see me as a drunk. I started taking an anti-anxiety med last January and I have gained at least 15 pounds since then. I’m not sure if its the meds or my metabolism catching up to me but I am miserable. I have known for a long time that I need to quit but recently, something just clicked. I never knew there were so many people out there like me, buying boxes of wine, drinking to celebrate, relax, mourn, calm down, hype up…any excuse. I even have the dermatillomania piece. I love my friends but everything we do centers around drinking alcohol. I am terrified of losing them. I am terrified of never having fun again, of not being the cute thirty something who has wine and girls time. I am terrified because I don’t think I have ever had sober sex or a genuine relationship with anyone… I am taking this one day at a time because if I thought about having to miss out on fun, I would just start up again out of stress. I’m telling myself that I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I still have a hard time thinking that I may NEVER drink again. I mentioned to a friend via text that I found this blog – no response – that was pretty embarrassing. Anyway, thank you for this. It helps my logical brain to see that someone has succeeded. I will keep reading, please keep posting.

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  18. Thank you for your blog. I’ve gotten on the sober train and i’m only looking forward. Your words help me each morning as I spend several minutes, before getting my day started, reflecting on the importance of this change in my life.

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  19. Thank you so much for this blog…all of your posts along with other’s comments make me feel comforted in a way. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one with this struggle. I gave up alcohol for a month a few months ago, did great, and thought I could moderate my drinking after. After several weeks, I realized this was not the case. I’m 14 days sober now and going with the ‘one day at a time’ approach. The forever part scared me last time. I am committed to continue and will continue reading!

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  20. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s Very encouraging to read from someone else so much of what I feel. Today is day one of sobriety. I’m really looking forward to waking up clear headed tomorrow.

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  21. Just found this blog ….Iv just turned 25 years old and I want to stop drinking ….I have been drinking socially since the age of 14 ..problem is when I start drinking I cannot stop drinking until I blackout …I binge a lot ….I suffer from anxiety and I’m constantly anxious about the fear I have of what if I never stop….I’m seeing a therapist tomorrow and considering rehab …..I have not drank in 2 days hopefully I can keep going ….the weird thing is that this just crept up on me ….I have a good job and so much to live for ….but I can see that if I don’t stop .this drinking thing will ruin me ..my reputation …will loose the people in my life …please pray for me and thank you for this blog !!!

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    • Stay with it!!! I Also discovered alcohol at an early age (12). It quickly became my go-to comfort tool. I’ve experienced periods of sobriety and always felt better overall for doing so. I’ve convinced myself that Iove to drink (lying to myself). I’m trying to understand that alcohol hates me and only seeks my destruction. Sobriety will also help my thumbs stop shaking as I try to type on this damn phone.

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    • day 5!!!! woke up this mornng feeling fresh and full of energy !!!!last night was hard my family is away and have the whole house to myself so drinking would be easy because its summer here in cape town and all the bars clubs etc are full…feel so good ….gonna go for a nice long jog today !!!actually have the energy….anxiety gone!!!!…this is such a great feeling …although now and then my booze brain tells me “what if i can never drink again” its quite a scary thought …but i see it for what it is the ALCOHOL DEMON WANTING ME TO CRUMBLE SO IT CAN SEE MY DEMISE …thinking if i dont drink this weekend gna use the cash i would have pissed out to join the gym and maybe see a movie …..guys we can do this its all in the mind ….i find keeping busy helps alot ….
      heres to another 5 days 5 months 5 years …o and thank u for this blog!!!!:-)

      Like

      • Way to go, Dude! Reading your words this morning gave me a jolt of enthusiasm. It’s mid winter here and that could be cause to drink, too. Any reason (season). I loved what you said, “it’s all in the mind” That is so true. Time ticks on, with or without you. I’m grateful I am able to recall the last eight months way better than the last eight years. Best of luck!

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  22. Love this blog! I’m eight days sober and also dealing with a dual diagnosis (panic disorder). Just reading your posts has helped me so much in the past eight days…when I get anxious or have a craving, it helps to know that I’m not alone. Thank you.

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  23. Great post! I have been battling alcohol addiction for about a year. I have frequently relapsed, but I keep fighting, keep moving forward. Even with my relapses, I have drank less this year then I have in over 10 years. I am not satisfied, as I would prefer zero relapses, but there is no choice but to keep pushing forward. The alternative is not acceptable.

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  24. I just wanted to say “Thank You”! For the first time (in probably over 20+ years), I had a sober New Years Eve! I can’t remember a time when my life didn’t involve alcohol (other than my pregnancies and while I was nursing). I was one of those “functioning alcoholics” who hid my addiction well. Thank You for your blog as it hit me like no other. I’ve probably been following you for a year or so, but I always remained silent. I’m happy to say that my last instance of drinking was this past Christmas (over 21 days now). I feel like I’m being nicer to my body/health and being a much better Mommy to my kiddos. I was a great Mom before, but I’m a healthier and more present one now. 🙂 I’m going to keep it up for myself and my kids. Here’s to hoping that next Christmas is one that I can remember the entire day!!! That’s all for now. I just wanted to show my appreciation to you and the great folks of the Bubble Hour for assisting me with this new and exciting time in my life ❤

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  25. Sorry…I left the wrong email address

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  26. Thank u so much for your post! I am really struggling right now with alcohol and I worry everyday that my daughters father will take her away from me. But lately I’m not even feeling like I deserve to be her mother. I feel so lost and ashamed of me.

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    • Oh Marie, dear girl. Those words are the lies that booze tells us to keep us drinking. When the addiction senses that we are going to threaten its existence, it pulls out all the stops to make us think we are better off drinking. That just is not true. You daughter deserve you, and you deserve to enjoy your life again. You have it in you to get unstuck. The sooner the better!

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  27. Day 3 for me! So far so good. Weird little things that have happened:

    1. My husband and my daughter gave me a hard time about drinking diet soda – I bought diet ginger ale for me. I mean really, would you prefer I drink something else?
    2. I still think my husband thinks the ginger ale in my glass was wine. (No I haven’t told him, because like many of you, I want to do this privately.)
    3. My youngest daughter did the most interesting thing last night – she kissed my forehead while I was walking past her going to bed. (She is taller than me) So they haven’t said anything to me, but they are letting me know in their own way.
    4. OMG do I feel better! I knew I wasn’t feeling great, but I had no idea how truly miserable I felt until I felt better.
    5. Since I wasn’t nearly passed out when I went to bed, I used all my “fancy” beauty products, even teeth whitener.

    This is my first weekend. But when I think about it, I drank the same whether a weekday or weekend, just another day.

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  28. Putting Down the Glass

    Thank you , I am on day 88 and I am still struggling. I think I just need to give it more time. I know what you mean about there always being an upcoming reason to drink. I’m glad I started back in Oct last year and didn’t wait until the new year. If you can give up wine you can give up the ‘f’ word :).

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  29. Thank you

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  30. This post really touched me. I’ve been combing over your and Belle’s websites for a year. This is my very first time to post. I am starting a 30 day “challenge” for myself. I know that sounds sorta like a cop-out for a lot of you.. But that will be the longest I’ve gone since being pregnant 3.5 years ago. My husband is quitting smoking tmrw after smoking a pack a day for 15yrs. I told him I would give up wine for the 1st month for moral support. I’m hoping at the end of 30 days I will want to keep going.. Like Belle. I too suffer from anxiety and that annoying skin picking disorder.. So I totally relate to that. I don’t want to say I’ll give up forever yet.. I’m too afraid of failure I guess; and forever seems like an awful long time.. Lol (nervous fake laugh). I want to start out with a goal that sounds attainable to me. 30 days.. I got this! Fingers crossed I can find the strength to make it 60. One step at a time.

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    • Don’t even worry about how long – just do the right thing from moment to moment. Soon the moments add up to days, the days to weeks, the weeks to months and years. It gets easier, and eventually you will get to where you don’t WANT to drink again because you love life as it is!

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  31. Thank you for your honesty. Your site resonates deeply with me and I find encouragement every time I read your words. I’ve had success with Celebrate Recovery (2 years!) and have just started my own blog http://www.liftupyourface.com that shares my story and will hopefully bring comfort and motivation for others as well. I love that no matter what road we take to recovery that we all have the same goals!

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    • Congrats on two years! Wonderful! What do you like most about Celebrate Recovery?

      Like

      • Relating lasting life change to Biblical truths helps it stick for me. The accountability has been priceless for my recovery as I am a “master” at isolating myself when I’m feeling depressed. At Celebrate Recovery I am also diving more deeply into the underlying issues behind my destructive behaviors. There’s always something!!

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  32. I read this entry and my head just bobbed up and down, nodding at all of the things I have experienced, that could have been written directly about me. The picking, the anxiety permeating my existence that I could never face or acknowledge as that. That I have been medicating myself for years to try to escape that very real, difficult pain and discomfort of being alive in this world. One day 3 today, for the third time, but here’s hoping. I’ll keep trying.

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    • Hi Raddit, how is your week progressing? I am sending you some positive energy and encouragement – do not give up! It is so much better to be free of alcohol – it makes everything else worse instead of better.

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  33. Thank you Jean for your honesty. I am 14months alcohol free with the help of your blog, reading about how to break addiction and “The Bubble Hour’ I listen all the time and take something different away every time i hear a podcast. I am looking forward to the rest of my life without masking all the possibilities with alcohol. I am learning to navigate an alcohol soaked world–without being soaked in alcohol. And it is wonderful !

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  34. Thank you so much for your beautiful post. You truly have found serenity and by sharing this with others, you’ve given us a gift to treasure.

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  35. I just love reading your honesty about your struggles and I too have experienced most of them. With 6 months of sobriety under my belt, I feel like I am still in disbelief that I am sober …..and especially that I am enjoying my life! ! Check out my blog if you get a chance, gonna start working on it again, thanks for the inspiration! My path2renewalandrecovery on blogpress. Lisa

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  36. Wow! That is the most heartfelt, raw, honest, intuitive and incredibly informative post ever! I have been lurking on the sober blogs now for about 2 months (Day 49). I have found them to be so helpful and I think it is because I finally (after decades) finally feel I have found a community. Reading everybody’s stories, their past, their traumas, their multiple “issues” where drinking is only one of them have made me realize that there are others like me. I don’t want this post to be about me at all, suffice to say that it is people like you (and many other bloggers) who have helped pull some deeply unhappy and highly addicted people out of the shadow of despair. Thank you so much.

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  37. Tears poured down my face as I read this blog. I intended to start January 1st also. Every morning I get up telling myself that this is Day 1. I haven’t been able to go more than 2 or 3 days. I struggle with anxiety and depression. Am struggling with a deep, deep depression now. I can’t handle the pain so I drink. I know AA is not for me. I’m trying to figure out what is. I’m tired of living like this. I feel so bad. It’s not only the drinking, there is more. There’s always more. I am seeing a therapist and am on medication. Why am i hurting this bad?

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    • It hurts because you are human, and alcohol makes those other things worse. It can also interfere with your medication, causing it to be less effective. I encourage you to talk to your doctor and be 100% truthful about how much you are drinking. Specifically say that you want to stop drinking and need help and medical supervision. There are tons of recovery programs – see the resource links at the side of my page. You deserve better, and it IS possible. Please keep us all posted on how you are doing. Hugs.

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  38. Thank you SO MUCH for this ! I failed after 10 days this time.very ashamed. I too was bulimic and anorexic from HS all the way until I was 36. I do the skin picking thing too. I love your blog.

    Thank you thank you thanks you

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    • You are welcome and do not give up! All of these things are related and it is not easy to undo them but it can be done. Be persistent. Don’t feel ashamed – you are doing a good, brave thing. Better to stumble a few times while trying than to continue doing something you know is harmful. Onward ho!!!

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  39. Oh Jean, this is the first time I have visited your blog, although I’m a devotee of The Bubble Hour which is how I came to be here. And I am so blown away by your post. It was so spot on for my first 11 days of 2015. When I read: “Today I am reaching out to anyone who woke up January 1st saying “never again” to alcohol, only to find themselves back in its grip within days.” tears rolled down my face because that was ME! I went into 2015 with such high hopes that I would never again have another “Day 1” (I have had many), but those hopes were shattered when I awoke on the bathroom floor on Jan. 7 after a binge night, once again full of shame, self-hatred and the maddening feeling of “how the hell did that happen?” But reading your post gives me such comfort, that someone else out here knows what it’s like, and that it is indeed possible to begin again. And that, dear Jean is what I did on Jan. 7, I began yet again. So here I am at Day 5, so grateful for you and your bravery and honesty in sharing your struggles with all of us. It must have been incredibly difficult to write that post, but believe me, you did indeed help me with your words, and I know you helped many others too. Truly, thank you.

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  40. Like so many others, I found your blog when I googled ‘how to quit drinking.’ I’ve been reading over previous posts since Jan. 1, but have not been brave enough to post yet. The open honesty of this post took my breath away, and opened my eyes to other behavioral issues I hadn’t connected to my urge to drink. I also suffered from skin picking, which increased while at home as I watched my family members do it. I was doing well in terms of not drinking, I made it to six days, but then had two glasses of wine after an extremely crappy day at work (which is much less than I’d have had if it was two weeks ago). I’d like to be able to have a glass with certain meals, but am concerned I won’t be able to stop there.

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  41. I will echo what everyone else is saying here, thank you for sharing your story. It is so familiar to so many of us, and it is brave and helpful of you to share it. I am now 65 days sober and reading your blog and others has been such a great help to me. It is so comforting to see that I am not alone in how alcohol has affected me, and in trying to release myself from its grasp. When I am having a bad day, questioning why the hell I am doing this, I find all these amazing people out here reminding me of why and showing how much better it is when we finally make it to the other side. Thank you!!

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  42. I have spent the past year saying “next week” or “next month.” I’d get a day or two and cave to the booze. I got back on the sober train in the past couple of days and managed to get through yesterday – a SATURDAY – without alcohol. Big victory there. Thanks for the encouragement!

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  43. For the last month I have been keeping track on a post it note stuck to my frig with the days I do not have wine. The longest I went was 6 days with out but for the first time in a very long time I am not drinking everyday. For me it is a start. I have told my husband and my friend who comes over once a week so I am sharing what progress I am making. Also, I have a friend outside of my home that is recovering and she is very helpful.

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  44. Well stated 😉 Causes and conditions needed to be adressed for this alkie so that the bottle was no longer an option. Dealing with life as it comes without booze effectively removes it from the menu. Knowing that we aren’t alone and sharing and opening up makes a huge difference.

    Blessings
    Paul

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  45. One of the things I found most difficult about sobriety was discovering (oh so clear headedly) that I had other issues to deal with. I have a sugar addiction. I isolate and grapple with OCD. It seemed unfair somehow, as if giving up alcohol should have wiped the slate clean of all other things to “fix”. in myself I want to thank you for sharing your story so honestly. You are a trooper. It seems like you consider yourself a work in progress (tinkering to make things better) and that is a good way to approach sobriety and life.

    In the new year we should all just keep plugging. No one said it has to happen all at once – or perfectly. If you drop an F-bomb the world won’t end. Whenever I consider myself a hot mess I remember I’m a SOBER hot mess, and that is good enough.

    Happy New Year.

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  46. A wonderful post. I am another grateful woman, early in sobriety whose journey began through finding you. Thank you. Like many on here I can identify so much with the reasons that led you to addiction. I too struggled with a lifetime of OCD, anxiety and eating disorders. Alcohol seemed to help (although it’s only now in my early fifties that I realise that’s why I drank) . Now I am dealing with those issues so much more productively without alcohol in the equation. The most productive thing for me is to learn through CBT to stop beating myself up. I now realise that my OCD and anxiety is just something I can’t help, something I just have to deal with and find a way if living with, just like someone else might manage physical disability or illness. Knowing gnus has helped me see that drinking just adds to the problems fifty fold. Your honesty is wonderful and has helped so many people . Thank you ..,,

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  47. Two years sober for me, thanks to all of you out there in blogger land. I have become a grandmother, and a very responsible one! I have one very proud family. I am also proud of me. I can trace back pre drinking to a very loose set of sexual morals which in many way is abuse. I abused myself. I have since gone back to being the girl I wasn’t. I love nothing more than crawling around the floor after the baby and laughing my head off with her. I also went through a long period of caring for a dying parent and kept up my strong sobriety. My siblings are all still drinking, some heavier than the others. I am not that much fun to be around late in the night but I do enjoy a good chat after dinner with coffee and a chocolate. Early to bed and pleasant dreams is my new high!

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  48. Wow, just wow Jean. This one moved me to tears. I am so hard on myself and you always remind me that there is hope and that it is possible to beat this. Thank-you.

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  49. Thank you so much. Your blogs have helped me so much.

    >

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  50. I knew I had to stop drinking. But how? AA was familiar to me (I watched my dad receive medallions when I was kid), but it doesn’t fit me. I sat in my car outside a meeting once-too paralyzed to go in. I looked up “how” on line, read books, read any magazine in grocery store/waiting room with a blurb on mommies and drinking, (as if this was some new craze/concept). I could identify with mommies and I feel less alone (for about an hour). It always seemed to me quitting, wasn’t just about quitting drinking. I was seeking deeper information. The articles so easily summed up-you quit and life is good. It sounds good but what’s lacking is the how!..How have others done it? Literally-what’s withdrawal like, what does day three like or week three?..That’s what I was seeking. I was looking for someone like me, who had done it, really quit. I figured if I found that person they would have the easy magic answer as to how in the hell I was going to this. I was lost and alone. Then I found your blog. Turns out there is no magic easy answer on how to quit drinking. There are however, brave people willing to share their stories of “how” they stopped. How they are doing at various stages in recovery and how much support is out there for them and from them. Things you can’t always get in a self help/quit drinking book, or at a meeting guided by rules and beliefs that don’t match your own. What I have learned is I am not alone. I have the power to chose living over drinking. I’m the only one who can truly change things and I have to put the work into my sobriety. The “how” to quit drinking for me started with “how” I got to this dark place. I’m learning “how” to find the light and “how” to keep it bright. Your blog is amazing, as are you. Thank you Jean:) My name is Kelly and I am 9 days sober.

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    • You are amazing, too, Kelly. The kind comments of readers has moved me deeply tonight, and yours topped it off with tears. Thank you for sharing your story. Let’s keep going – all together!

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  51. I am nine days sober, and it is extremely uncomfortable. I am trying everything, but I guess the old saying is true: time takes time.

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    • I’m nine days sober too……. you aren’t alone – while it is a bit hard at times I am discovering more and more people who have chosen – for many different reasons – to kick the booze. I believe drinking will soon be viewed the same way smoking is – unhealthy, addictive and simply a bad lifestyle choice. Hang in there!

      Liked by 1 person

  52. Running From the Booze

    I listen to a podcast called Progress Not Perfection. It has helped me a lot to hear others discuss the ways they cope with pefectionism.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. I had always believed that allowing one’s self to be vulnerable was a bad thing. Perhaps the worst possible thing. I was meticulous about maintaining the persona I had so carefully crafted (which, in retrospect, was a futile effort because the whole world–whether I wanted to admit it or not–knew about my drinking).. Your brave and honest words have challenged and encouraged me to have at this sober thing with a renewed sense of purpose. Just being sober isn’t enough. I want more. Thank you for nudging (shoving?) me in the direction of what I now imagine are unlimited possibilities. Here’s to an awesome New Year …

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  54. Thank you so much for this post – I don’t think I breathed the entire time I read it. What an incredibly brave woman you are…. You’ll never know how many people you helped, not only with this post, but by sharing your journey to sobriety. I also decided to walk away from booze, 145 days ago. I discovered your blog early on, devoured every post, and added everything I learned to my toolbox. To anyone reading all these comments, struggling to quit – PLEASE – hang in there and keep trying! It gets better every single day.
    Again, THANK YOU for your honesty and bravery. You amaze me!

    Hugs!!!

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  55. I know you weren’t trying to write the perfect post Jean but it absolutely f**king was 😉 Every word so true and so humbling to read it makes me cry. Thank you for helping me by sharing – you will never know how much gratitude I have towards you and one day I would like to say those words to you in person xx

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  56. What a fantastic post! Your best ever. You have been an inspiration to me since I started this journey eight months ago. Many have said it before but I must reiterate. I have found this site to be supportive and encouraging. Thanks for all you have done to help me find my true, happy self. May your blessings come back a hundred fold.

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  57. What an amazing post!! I celebrated one year of sobriety on Jan. 2nd….it was an amazing way to start 2015. I am seeing the promises which are discussed in AA coming true for me. I was told a year ago, to just keep coming back, and that I only had to stay sober for today. BC tomorrow is not a guarantee…. and you know what, they were right…. livein the moment, be present, forgive yourself!!! Thank you for being an inspiration to myself and so many other!!!
    Katie😊

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  58. I’ve been struggling with binge & purge & drinking to much for a long time feeling hopeless but your blogs let me know I’m not alone😔

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    • Hi Terry, you’re definitely not alone. Those things are a symptom of your pain, and you can heal and change. Hang in there, and reach out. So many others who have been there would love to help you. Eating behaviours and addiction often fo hand in hand. There is an episode of The Bubble Hour on that topic – you can listen to others talk about it.

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  59. Great post my friend. Great. Bloody effing great. So brave and open and honest and very very kind of you to share of yourself like this so that others may heal. The internet is a very richer place because of you xxxx (am going to share on Twitter hope that’s ok) xxx

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  60. Ann Marie Johnston

    I don’t think I have read anything so brave and forthright before. And I have read alot of memoirs and recovery books and blogs. You and I are similar in our age , our anxieties , the fact we both travel in Vintage VW’s ( we gave a van and my hubby restored a 62 Beetle for me😻) and we both have grandbeasties( my loving reference to my grandchildren not my granddogs). The biggest difference between us is that you have found sobriety and I am still a work in progress. Thankyou for your insigjts today. Everything is part of the journey. With admiration, Ann Marie Johnston

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  61. LOVE the last line hahahahahahaha! it was effing AWESOME

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  62. Your inner beauty shone out of this post, through my iPad and warmed my heart Jean. Your voice on the bubble hour has soothed many a ragged day for me too. Thank you so much for all you do. I survived molestation at 6 years old and have been hiding behind something ever since. Until I got sober on June 17th 2014. I’m finally learning to love that little girl that was abused so long ago. I also have a skin issue- and the “getting nails done” solution sounds completely perfect. Thank you thank you thank you. xx

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  63. Thank you for your courageous post, Jean! I’m so grateful I found your blog last January when I Googled “How to quit drinking.” After trying and failing to moderate, and a couple of false sobriety starts, I’m now nearing my one year soberversary! I could not have imagined feeling this content and hopeful a year ago. You’ve helped me immeasurably by sharing your story. I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart. 🙂

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    • Funny we all feel so scared and alone when we google “how to quit drinking” (i did it, too!) and meanwhile there are thousands of others soing that very same thing! We are anything BUT alone in this!! Now, more importantly, how are you going to celebrate your one year sober-versary??! Jewelry? A trip? Fancy dinner? A concert? A glam photo shoot???

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  64. Dear Jean,
    This was a beautiful post! I thank you! Everything you said about recovery is so, so true.
    (Well, I’m only 126 days, but it’s not my first time!)
    It’s amazing how many secrets we carry! I have some too, although, I think most of them are out.
    I found a great therapist too, and with all the other support I have, I am going to make it to 200 days!

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  65. Spot on Jean! Please keep writing. You have a knack, a gift and insight. If we all keep sharing and reaching out, it can only help. I have greatly reduced my drinking. Still trying to kick it completely. I will. I need to. Thank you again. When we shed light on our darkness or secrets, they loose their power over us. Peace.

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  66. thankyou! After many many years of trying and failing I have finally got my head into the right space and New Years Eve was the last time I drank alcohol. Still a little scary to use the ‘f’ word (‘ forever’) but I am secretly optimistic that this will be so. I’m 49, about time I did this.I read an interview a while ago with someone who had quit drinking. They said “I wanted to see if anything would change…… and EVERYTHING did” I want to see that too! Thankyou again.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. What a courageous, elevating post, Jean. It’s reading inspirational bloggers like you that keep me coming back!

    I remember, in early sobriety, thinking that if I could just stop drinking, then life would be fine. And I did stop, and life improved exponentially. However, the more clarity I achieved with sobriety, the more I could see that I had issues that predated alcohol consumption, issues that likely contributed to alcohol consumption. And then the real work began. And then the real miracles resulted, and they just keep on coming!

    Happy New Year, Jean, I’m still waiting for some renovations pictures 🙂

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  68. This post resonated with me on a deep level. I’ve read it and saw myslef in it. I quit drinking before the holidays. I was at the point that I did not care that the holidays were approaching. I knew it will be tough but I quit anyway. And boy it is tough. Just like you said, for me it is much harder on mental level than physical. I am constantly re-adjusting my thinking, my habits, my views, my order of the day. I am a work-in-process.
    Thank you for sharing personal details. This post made me feel so much better. I am not alone… And that makes this hard process a little easier.

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  69. spoke straight to me.

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  70. I’m having trouble with ” Perfect” “I’m not perfect bit….” Perfection needs to be addressed and thrown out. No more perfect, ever. No such thing other than something outside ourselves, it is not something we can do, or be, or should even want to be. Just living and being as best we can, and we are already there, each day.

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  71. Thank you. You’re story is so moving. Please don’t feel vulnerable. I feel the gift of your strength because of your raw honesty which is so powerful to those of us still struggling. Bless you for writing this. You touch a great many lives and I am thankful for your brave inspiration.

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  72. I have been so absent from blogging for the past 6-8 weeks, but when this came to my inbox, I knew I had to read it and I am ever so glad I did. There isn’t a word here with which I do not identify from the molestation ( I was 12) to the OCD picking (nails, in grown hairs, perceived pimples, etc.). I have tried, like drinking, to use my will and not God’s when solving my or attempting to solve my problems. Having shelac or acrylic nails is an excellent solution. In the past when I have done this, I felt guilty for spending money on myself as I didn’t deserve it. However, framing it as a necessity for my mental health certainly makes sense to me and it takes the pressure off that I put on myself that I am not worth the time or money. I get the notion of the full disclosure hangover, too. Sometimes, to grow, we have to take these little jumps and go for it. It’s cleansing,really. (I type that but I have a novel sitting on my desk waiting to send to an editor that I am not sure I want to take the leap with. I would be telling on myself to the whole world.)
    Anyway, thank you for your post. You are an amazing woman who is not only brave but selfless. Sharing this will help so many people whether they are brave enough to state or not. You have helped me today; and I am ever grateful.
    Hugs,
    Linda

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    • Thanks for your kind words, Linda. The only thing more incredible than finding out how similar we all are is that ever ever thought we were the only ones! How long we suffered! Now go get your nails done. You can’t claim it on your health benefits or taxes, but for me it is an essential service.

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  73. What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  74. That was an amazing post. So inspiring. Yours was one of the first blogs I found when I was plucking up the courage to try yet again to kick alcohol into touch. I’m now 4 months down the line and after a very difficult first 3 months where I thought I was going backwards and that I must be different from everyone else, I’m starting to feel like my life is improving and can only get better. I know that there are issues I need to address that caused me to drink and your post has given me the nudge to do something about them so I can carry on my journey to a better life without wine. Thank you.

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    • I am so glad – please stay in touch and let us know what you learn as you go. We are all in it together – no one is really all that different from anyone else. Good for you for persevering through the hard stuff. Now it is time to start healing. xo

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  75. Like so many others I started my journey with Googling “how to stop drinking” and found your blog. That was 125 days ago! I read every post and every comment! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Your blog was sent to me from above at the right time, couldn’t have taken that first step without it.
    Mary 💗💗

    Like

  76. Thank you for your vulnerability. Your blog is a blessing for me personally. Sixty days ago today, I googled ‘quitting drinking’ and your blog was the first thing that came up. I read the entire blog in a matter of days. I found someone who was a mother, professionally successful but stuck! Your blog showed me that I was not alone in my struggle. I saw your resolve and success and realized that I could do it too. On November 9, 2014 I started my journey. I’ve survived X-mas parties, Thanksgiving, New Year’s and some intense family drama completely sober. I’ve downloaded bubble hours and just keep moving forward with my pot of tea every night. I’ve realized that I have intense, almost neurotic thoughts and I constantly worry. The wine at night helped me mute all that stuff and I could have a break from the worrying. My journey now is to let go, keep sober and do my best. Good luck and thank you so much for your blog!!! Please keep writing and doing Bubble Hour.

    Like

    • I will keep it up, I promise! I am deeply honoured to have been part of your journey – the beauty of it all is that there is nothing special about me or my story – it is precisely because we are all so similar that we can help and hope in one another. Congratulations on 60 DAYS!! That is a huge accomplishment and I hope you are celebrating!

      Like

    • Have you found a therapist? There are lots of ways to start to deal with anxiety. My thouhts were just like that, overwhelming, negative and full of worry.
      There is help!

      Like

  77. Reblogged this on ainsobriety and commented:
    Here is the most honest, moving and inspirational post from an amazing woman.

    Whether you are new to the idea of sobriety or well into your recovery, there is something here for you.

    Like

  78. Oh god. Me too.
    Me too to all of it.

    Now, i speak words like depression and anxiety and additiction aloud and am not ashamed. I am overjoyed that i found a solution to years of hidden misery.

    We are strong, confident, happy sober women.

    It is worth the work.

    Love you

    Anne

    Like

  79. Thank you so, so much for sharing this! It must have been scary to be so brutally honest, but I think that not only can it be freeing to admit that we are not perfect, but that it also is so helpful to others. They realize, and by they I am including me, that they are not the only person who has some weird secret habit, not the only person who has things in their life they are ashamed of, and it opens up the conversation and allows for greater emotional connection.

    Like

  80. Thank you for this post. Three and a half years ago I knew I needed to quit drinking and around New Years I found your blog and your early posts helped me tremendously. I saw myself in them. I found myself drinking again later and would quit only to start over again for about two years. During that time I read everything I could about getting sober, I ate better, I did tons of yoga. I followed the mantra that I didn’t have to do it all at once- that eventually I would be able to quit. A year and a half ago I managed to quit and have been successful ever since. I quit mostly on my own and rely on a therapist for support and yoga to ease the anxiety. It took me two years after I realized I needed to quit to do so…don’t give up. If you are here but still drinking give yourself some credit and some love- you are on your way.

    Like

  81. What an amazing, powerful post, Jean. I felt as though you were reaching in to my very soul. I am hopeful that 2015 will be my year; I am trying. Love Annie x

    Like

  82. Terms of Surrender

    I spent years looking at my calendar trying to find excuses to drink. I realized that that there will always be some sort of justification for drinking. What took me a while to realize was that my life was going to happen with or without booze. It’s never too late to start over!

    Liked by 1 person

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