Six Years

On Monday I celebrated six years of life without alcohol. How is it that the days became years?

The past few months went from trying to taxing to gruelling. I kept my chin up after breaking my leg and spent January indoors. Meanwhile we were preparing to move to a new house, and I paced myself for the challenges of this transition. Being non-weight-bearing on crutches meant giving up a significant amount of my cherished control. Then, just before the move my dad was hospitalized and began a final month-long decline. He passed away earlier this month.

I got through it all, as we do. It so happens that a dear friend of mine went through an eerily parallel experience just a few weeks ahead of me – a cast and crutches, the death of a parent – and she seemed so strong and capable. I resist comparing my insides to her outsides, instead following her lead for getting things done and moving forward.

My leg is slowly healing, my heart is mending, but my mind is dull.Β I feel kicked and drained. I have nothing left to give at this moment, I need time to fill up again.

I will be back with more podcasts and posts, but I need some time. I read your comments and messages, and they make me smile. I feel behind on responding, but I try not to pressure myself too much. Expectations and resentments, and all that you know.

Six years sober, but these past few weeks were not so easy. It occurred to me on the night my dad died that I had good reason to drink, thoughΒ I chose not to drink. Drinking dreams have returned, vivid and unsettling – a sign that something needs attention.

Six years of learning, lessons, tribe building, clarity and growth have come to this, prepared me for this. I will gather it all around me like a soft blanket and wrap up in the safety of my recovery to get me through and fill me up, until I have enough reserves to begin sharing and giving again.





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 March 22, 2017, in Getting Sober, Insights and Lessons, Life After Alcohol, Long Term Recovery, My UnPickled Life, Reflections on Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 65 Comments.

  1. Keep on going! Every day you stay sober is an amazing accomplishment, don’t forget that. Almost 9 years for myself!


  2. I hope you’re much better now! Congrats on your 6 years. You’re doing a good job and you’re inspiring so many people. Never give up! πŸ™‚


  3. Congratulations on your six years – that’s wonderful!!


  4. Hi I’ve only just seen this about your Dad. So sorry to hear. Sending much love xxx


  5. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you, Jean. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope you find all the time and space you need and deserve. With deepest condolences and love. JBP x


  6. Jean,
    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. I really hope the feelings of sadness and mourning can be replaced very soon by thankful rememberings of your life together and the relief from and end of all his recent suffering.
    I am from Germany and was excited to find your blog back in Dec 2013 when I stopped secret drinking secretly just like you. You helped me so much to motivate and make it through and I did read plenty of your posts especially in these first (for me the hardest) weeks. Since then I am sober and could not be more satisfied with and proud of my life. You helped me achieve this, and same like me many others did benfit as well, without you even knowing about it. You don’t imagine how valuable your contribution is to all of us. Thank you so much.
    You are a wonderful person and deserve all the time and silence you need for these difficult times you are marching through. I admire your courage. You are a true inspirer

    Take care, god bless you, deepest sympathy, W.


  7. Kathy kalagvano

    Dear Jean, so sorry for your loss of you Dad, and on the heels of two other stressful life events, your incapacitating injury and the move. Bravo you carried on sober and those drinking dreams are an indicator of just how difficult it was. Glad you had gathered all those important tools in your bubble. I hope I you will be feeling up to attending the She Recovers event in NYC. Your blog is one, an important one, of the reason I am sober today 32 months. I will be attending and looking forward to meeting you in person to say a big thank you. I live in NY so I probably won’t stay at the Conrad although I made a temporary reservation. I Thought it might be a better experience to kind of live in with everyone as I’m coming alone but the hotel prices are steep as you know. Either way I will be there and hope you will be to.
    Hugs, Kathy


  8. Jean I’m so sorry for your loss. It dawned on me yesterday that I hadn’t heard or seen anything from you in a while so I checked my social mail folder and sure enough I had missed this post. I’ll be thinking of you and hope that you continue to find strength and allow yourself lots of rest and time to heal because you need it and deserve it.


  9. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jean. You have helped so many of us with your story of recovery and your willingness to devote countless hours to The Bubble Hour and your blog. I am sending you love and light, I wish I could give you a big hug of support right now. I hope you will take as much time as you need and care for yourself, you are not alone.


  10. So sorry for the loss of your dad.😒


  11. Wow, I didn’t realize we were so close in dates. I celebrated 6 years on April 3. Congratulations and best wishes for a speedy recovery!


  12. You’ve given so much of yourself to us all and now it’s our turn! We need to give you time to grieve, heal & recover no matter how long it takes. You have a sober army behind you-be well.


  13. I am so sorry for your loss of your father. It’s hard. My dad had Parkinson’s and he really had a tough fight to the end.

    You have given so much to all of us in this blog – please take all the time you need and do it without any guilt. It is much appreciated that you checked in with all of us to let us know what is going on – so may bloggers just stop and it is hard for us out here who follow and comment so THANK YOU for thinking of us and letting us know you are taking a much needed break.

    From here out know that I am thinking of you and hope you take the time you need for yourself however much time that it is.


  14. Wow 6 years, that is amazing! Congratulations, I can’t believe I have been reading your blog for so long. unfortunately I am still a drunk.



    Don’t worry about any of us out here. We will find our way. Take care of yourself and take all the time you need to heal and recharge. Life is short and precious! Shann


  16. Hi Jean! Sending you prayers and blessings from AZ. Look forward to hearing more from you in the near future. Thank you!


  17. Thinking of you during this overwhelming time. My condolences on the passing of your father. As you allude to
    in your post, if we take one day at a time, the days will turn into weeks, months and then years. Hang in there!


  18. Congratulations on 6 years. As they say – put the mask on yourself first. Give yourself a hug, wrap up in a blanket. You are the one that needs attention now.


  19. Sorry for your loss and the stress in your life as you navigate grief. It is odd how , when we are faced with difficult bumps in the road we think about alcohol for a minute. The poison that once held the power to numb our feelings and help shield us from pain. Only after our hard fought sobriety do we realize it is a scam. It doesn’t comfort, it only distorts. The pain, loss is still there. Because of your amazing 6 years
    and the throngs of followers who care, you will get through all of it . Just breathe and heal. Make your new house your home. We all appreciate your insight and support.


  20. Hi Jean,
    I am so sorry for your loss. You take all the time you need, we will all be here. lots and lots of


  21. Hi Jean,
    So sorry to hear the news of your dad’s passing. Praying that each day your heart and mind will be filled with beautiful memories of your father. Pile on the blankets and take care.
    Congrats on 6 years, well done!


  22. I lost my Mom about 6 months ago. It’s so hard. I am sorry your Dad is gone. Take the time for yourself. It will all be here when you feel ready to step back in.


  23. Jean,
    So sorry that you are drained and worn down and for all that you have gone I through a this year. Good that you recognize that you need see self care. I hope with the lighter days and spring coming that you will heal body, mind and spirit.
    Congratulations on 6 years, I am over 3 years now and don’t think I could have done it without Unpickled and The Bubble Hour.


  24. Jean, you bring so much joy to so many people. Thank you for always being open and honest with what’s on your mind and heart. Sending you healing prayers and love. It sounds like you’re exactly where you should be. So glad you are taking time to fil your cup up. Don’t rush. We all love you and will be here when you’re ready!!!


  25. Hardest experiences in my 55 year life (in order of hardest first):

    1) Divorce
    2) Broken Leg
    3) Parent’s Death

    You have had (2) at the SAME TIME. That has got to be tough.
    Hang in there….


  26. Jean, so sorry to hear. Thank you for your open hearted blog. I read it a while back and now reading your old posts again-I really relate to a lot of things, more this time around xx


  27. It is so inspiring to read this post. Congratulations on your six years!

    Amazing, like you say, how the time seems to just pile up. One day you’re experiencing DTs and tremens, the next you are inspiring others to stay sober. Incredible! And congrats again.


  28. Sending you very best wishes as you go through this period. You sum it up perfectly that you have nothing to give at the moment. You have given so much back over the years this is your time to rest, reflect and heal. I wish you well in that process.


  29. Dear Jean,
    My thoughts go out to you during this trial of life journey. If you remain strong and abstain from alcohol, you will find your strength and serenity will prevail. The peace will come again, allow yourself the time to heal. Alcohol will slow and alter the process. Be extremely gentle to yourself right now, don’t move too fast. Put one foot in front of the other. Allow the feelings. Experience the feelings. What you are going through right now, this is what you are made of, this is what is molding you, your Higher Power is there with you right now. God Bless you. Easy now, easy.


  30. Jean you are in my thoughts. Wish you much strength during this time, here’s to filling your cup and congrats of 6 years. All my love and gratitude.

    Onward always!


  31. Jean, thank you for opening your heart to us here right now. I too believe that the recovery lessons you have learnt will stand you in good stead as you live through these days.

    I didn’t drink the night that my father died, either. Since then that has been a touchstone for me. How could I justify drinking over a lesser life event, when I didn’t drink then? For me that is still an unexpected gift of that darkest day.

    Sending love, sober blankets, and hot chocolate. Prim xx

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Congratulations on 6 years, and congratulations on knowing when to back off and regroup. I was not sober when I lost my dad, and I imploded. xoxoxo


  33. I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief is hard. And no one likes to talk about it.

    Give yourself time. Set boundaries and say no. The feelings of being overwhelmed and numb will pass. You will laugh again.

    Take care. Prayers and peace to you.


  34. That is a lot all at once! And even though birthdays are special, they are a little hard too, let’s be honest. Luckily time will pass and the sun will surely come back out eventually.

    Thanks for being an inspiration to us all. You played a role in saving this alcoholic’s life, and we don’t even know each other. Not many people have saved strangers lives without knowing them. πŸ’™

    Your father got six years of seeing this beautiful process. You are a gift and a miracle Jean. You’re just as strong as your friend and hopefully you can lean on each other. Big hug to you as you walk through this pain, facing it with courage, reality, and genuine openness to feel. The pain is the part that gives us roots and depth, I do believe that, like the Osho poem. When we were drinking through pain, we couldn’t feel the joy either.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Sending love to you. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I am so sorry you’ve had to go through so much. It is good for you to just take care of you right now. Thank you for being so transparent. You will be in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. 6 Years! ….. it’s hard to even just process that amount of time … for those of us who are at 6 hours … 6 days… 6 weeks… 6 months … it is a tremendous encouragement…. my sincere sympathy to you on the passing of your father….keep on keeping on… alcohol addiction is matter of life and death…we learn it’s not a game. .. we quit.. we die or we go crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Grace and peace to you, Jean. Your work (the podcasts and your blog) have meant the world to me as I live an AF life. Take the time you need to heal your body, mind and heart.


  39. Dear Jean,
    I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad. You will be in my thoughts. Grieving is tough and it has a life of it’s own. When I discovered your amazing blog just one month ago, I jokingly commented that you were my new BFF. But as I make my way each day through the last 6 YEARS! of your posts, I feel like you really have become a friend. You have done a very great thing by sharing your story with all of us, encouraging all of us to do the same, and nurturing all of us along through our dark times. You’ve just navigated through 3 of life’s top stressors – injury, moving, and most difficult of all, losing a loved one – all within a matter of weeks. Time for you to take all the time you need to nurture yourself now. Feel proud of the life-changing gift you have bestowed upon this sober/recovery community. Take good care my friend ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  40. You’ve had a really tough time, make sure you put yourself first and be gentle and kind to you!! This is the time to prioritise your self care. Six years is amazing thank goodness for that and you and the inspiration that you are! Huge hugs Carrie x


  41. Jean – I am so very sorry for your loss. You have given so much to so many – in the last month you have been a huge part of my sobriety, and I love listening to your written and spoken voice (you are a huge part of my personal bubble). Know that taking some time for yourself now, to receive rather than give, is not only OK, but is necessary. And because you have already done so much, you are giving and giving in all of the archived podcasts and six years of posts! I will be here sending virtual hugs from afar and hoping all the best for you and your whole family, and looking forward to watching you as your strength, resilience and beautiful spirit guide you forward. Love you you. Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Congratulations on 6 years. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. So sorry for your loss. Will be thinking of you and praying for you! God bless.


  44. Oh Jean! Sending so much love to you. I hope you are able to rest, restore and rejuvenate, and that you encounter many opportunities to fill up. You give so much. It is now time to receive. ❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

  45. You mention the ‘drinking dreams’. Not sure how yours go, but I recall mine very vividly from the start of my sobriety. Most of them have me in a situation where I’m being pressured to drink and I give into that pressure. In the dream I do drink and I’m then filled with this disgust of myself that I’ve just thrown away all that sober time. I suppose if it happened in real life it would feel the same. I’m glad it hasn’t. And maybe these dreams (nightmares?) are actually helping me, because when I wake up I’m so relieved (almost ecstatic) that it was just a dream.

    Keep your chin up and take the time you need. I’ll be 2 years sober at the end of June and I’m really looking forward to my internal celebration I’ll have then. I’m mostly on this journey alone, even though I do have my wife supporting me, it’s just not something I talk about much with her. She drinks maybe 3 or 4 times a year, so it’s never been something she’s fully understood. And that’s fine. Drinking just isn’t a part of our lives. But being sober is a HUGE part of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Take whatever time you need, Jean. We’ll be waiting for you with open arms. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  47. I’m so sorry to hear your news Jean and understand completely your need to withdraw and recharge. 6 years is amazing xx

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Jean, you have given so much to so many. Please don’t feel guilty taking time to care for yourself and process your grief. You deserve a break after all you have been thru the last few months. All that you have given will come back to you to help fill you up, try to breathe and welcome being a receiver instead of the giver, just this once:) Praying that peace and comfort find you quickly.

    Liked by 2 people

  49. Losing my Dad, then my Mom shortly after, pushed me into my worst drinking years. I was finally able to pull out of the spiral by putting enormous focus on my self care and by reaching out to you and Anne.Losing a parent is tough,tough,tough. Take all the time and space you need to heal. You’ve done so much for all of us-it’s your turn.

    And 6 years-so inspiring!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Sunflower, your story sounds similar to mine. Lost my parents within a month of each other. Pushed me into the real depths of depression and alcoholism. It took 3 years before I could face my addiction and put down the bottle. Best decision of my life, for my life. It’s been 6 years since I’ve had a drink.


  50. Hi Jean! It’s Susanne – one of the Sobricorns πŸ˜‰ Wow, so amazing on your 6 year soberversary! And – I am so deeply sorry about the grief that is also very real on this milestone day. I found that losing my mom was incredibly untethering. What a gift that as painful as this is, you are not reaching for a drink to numb the pain. As we Sobricorns say, your default is now sobriety. Sending you big hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Hey, congrats! I just reached two years sober today! Awesome, right? I’ve been reading your blog from the start of my recovery. Thank you thank you very much for your inspiration, example, and motivation. You’re the best. Thanks! Al.


    Liked by 1 person

  52. My deepest condolences on the loss of your Father. I lost my Dad 13 years ago, and it still feels like yesterday. I hope your wonderful memories and kind thoughts can get you through this tough time.

    Congrats on your 6 years as well. That is an amazing accomplishment. You deserve a vacation (or 4)! Take care of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  53. So sorry for your loss. You are so inspiring to make it through SIX Years!!!!!!!! Awesome

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Wow! What a start to the year you have had. I’m so sorry for your loss. You really deserve a warm blanket and a lot of love. I’ll have two years sober next month and your blog was the first place I went to when I finally realized I couldn’t do it alone. You’ve given so much to others, its your turn to be still. Six years is an amazing accomplishment. I hope to meet you in NY in May at She Recovers to say Thank-You in person. Big hug!

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Susie Patterson

    My heart sincerely goes out to you. You expressed it so well when you said that you need to fill up again. I lost my little Cairn Terrier in August. He died suddenly in my arms. He was with me for 18 years. No, not like losing a Dad or Mom but to me it was. Unlike you I did start drinking again after two weeks of being without him. I got Champagne and drank the whole bottle. It tasted soooo weird. I have been back and forth with this stopping and starting, but nothing like my life before. So kudos to you for being strong. It is funny because just this morning I was thinking of you and your site and thinking I need to get back on it again to assist in solidifying my commitment again. One thing I learned is if I do drink, the tears can really flow. Not drinking one is more stable and able to deal with life more intelligently. Hang in there. We are all here for you … and remember the greatest healer is Father Time and one’s personal belief in a Higher Power whatever that might be.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. shannonkelley321 you can quit – just need to throw EVERYTHING AT IT… Blogs, sober podcasts, dessert, exercise, sleeping, reading, tons of treats. YOU CAN DO IT.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. I am wishing you some peace of mind.
    Much Love,

    Liked by 1 person

  58. shannonkelley321

    I can’t stop drinking just want to end it all.

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

    Liked by 1 person

    • The alcohol is a huge factor in the feeling of wanting to end it all (my sobriety journey started two years ago) – I wasn’t suicidal but just thought it would all be easier just to be gone. With treatment, meetings, wonderful blogs, reading, treats, doing what others suggest (that have been through this), etc. brought me back to life. Your mental outlook will completely change with sobriety. When you are in the abyss of addiction you really don’t (can’t) think, process emotions, deal with normal emotions, feel joy and happiness… BUT it is all there with sobriety and patience; see also Lucy Rocca’s Soberistas blog today. You can do this and it is SO worth the effort!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  59. praying for you Jean! hang in there!


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