8 Years Sober and Still Growing

Each spring as my sober anniversary looms on the calendar, I consider ways to mark the milestone. I don’t need a parade, but I think it is important to acknowledge the date in a way that is meaningful to me.

This year I am nervously considering going to a meeting, just so that I can be in the company of others who *get it* and also to push myself into an arena that I have not yet explored. In my (nearly) eight years of sobriety, I have ventured into exactly two meetings – both of them away from home.

meeting time

I am open about my sobriety out in the world, but here in my hometown I am a recovery hermit. It is as if I am using a life preserver that is a few sizes too large. It works because I keep my arms out wide, reaching past the gap between my body and the sides for support.

I have made incredible friendships online and have life-changing adventures away from home, and plan to continue supporting my recovery by reaching afar. Yet filling in the gap closest to me is long overdue. It is time to dig into the established recovery community right here where I live and build relationships I can see and feel and touch everyday.

Even as I write this, anxiety builds in my chest. What am I afraid of? Rejection, plain and simple. I know this isn’t true but it feels true. I was not afraid of rejection in the other two meetings I attended because no one knew me, and perhaps because I wouldn’t have to live with it if they did reject me.

I feel extremely vulnerable as I write this, as if I should be wiser after so many years of learning, growing, and helping others. However if this blog is going to have any substance after eight years of chronicling sobriety, there had better be an ongoing commitment to truth telling.

I often encourage others to make use of the twelve step method. I tell them, sincerely, go and expect to feel welcomed. You don’t have to buy into every aspect of the program, I remind them, just go and take what you need.

Time to take my own advice.

It wouldn’t be right for me to write a followup, because what happens in the rooms stays in the rooms. But I predict it will go like this: I will feel the fear and do it anyway, be welcomed, and not regret the decision. Everything will be fine, my fears unfounded. I will wonder why I waited eight years to do something so simple.

P.S. I did buy myself a little something, you can see it on my Instagram page


  1. Wow massive congratulations! 8 years is huge. I received my second token this week, the 1 month token and I cannot believe the personal pride I had, at this stage I’m still living one day at a time, but I am continuing to seek out other recovered alcoholics as my inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story.


    • “Thank you so much for sharing. Accepting yourself can be one of the most difficult parts of the journey since we see things that are invisible to others. You might have a bit of impostor syndrome, which is quite common with people who have dramatically improved their lives. You feel like it’s not really you, that you weren’t capable of this success, possibly due to having lived so long in an inferior state unable to suceed. This can lead you to distance yourself from the people you were meant to be with.

      If anyone’s in Southern California, please check out AsanaRecovery.com. That’s where I was rehabiliated and I was met with a supportive community that helped me get on my feet feeling like I could succeed all the way, that I really was improving and was not an impostor.”


  2. I celebrated 9, yes, NINE years of living alcohol free yesterday. I quit drinking two weeks after my mom’s death in 2010, and have never looked back. I did this only with the help from my sister and our ever loving (and patient) God. No meetings, no stress.

    I found my journey to sobriety an easy journey. I started to do so many other USEFUL things: Learnt to code, took up my sewing which I neglected for years, and ditched my drinking buddies. I have never had any urge to drink again. I do however have friends and family who really struggle – the old “Oh,I can quit when I want to, but not yet” routine. It seems as though they have not recognised the new me, or that they are scared of what might happen.

    My eternal gratitude to everyone who supports me, us and you. We’ve made the right decision. Love from South Africa.


  3. I relapsed after two and a half years because I didn’t have that face to face support. I’d attended a few SMART recovery meetings but they were so far away and impossible with my work schedule so I tried AA. I didn’t think I’d like it, but turns out I really do enjoy it. I love having sober people in my life, that don’t live in my computer lol.


  4. Hello
    I hope you went to a meeting and it went well. I am day 4 of my own sober journey so its inspiring to see you at 8 years . I am hoping blogging for me and following blogs really helps me in my own recovery. thanks for sharing and please continue to xx


  5. Congratulations!! You have been a HUGE help, inspiration and support to me and we never even met! Your podcast and blog posts were invaluable to me at the beginning of my recovery two and a half years ago and I still enjoy it to this day!! We have a lot in common in the way we used to drink and also how we quietly got sober. The transparency of our stories will always hold a powerful trickle down affect that we may not ever bare witness to…..like in your case what your story did for me and what I hope I can also do for others. Thank you so much ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello,

    Thank you for your blog and for sharing your life with the world. When I first read your blog I was astonished. I too want to start a blog about becoming sober. It has been a LONG 20+ year journey for me and I am done. Just done. I need something to motivate me which I have tried everything – Almost. I am not tech savvy so I am having problems with designing my web site through WordPress. So my question is: Do you have someone design your web site or did you do it and continue to do it on your own?

    Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for your time,



    • Hi Melissa,
      Blogging is therapeutic but also it connects us to other sober people (who become friends!) and I’m glad you’re doing this! My site is just a plain old WordPress template. There’s tons of resources under the “help” section and even YouTube videos on setting up your blog. Make a pot of coffee and play around for a few hours.


  7. I find it really inspiring that you’re still so reflective after eight years, and wish you all the best exploring your local community. I hope you find it as rewarding as the one you already have.

    Im 67 days in and it took me until last week to work up the nerve to go to a meeting, but the relief at finding IRL people who understood was immeasurable.


  8. I’m sure you have felt that you both give and receive in your recovery community afar. You receive support and love. But just by sharing your story and showing vulnerability, you give strength to your readers who feel your story and are too shy to share theirs. This is a gift you give your readers, and you deprive your own neighbors from this same gift.

    I am 100% confident you will love how local recovery openness will make you feel. But just think about how it will make your neighbors feel to have another among them who understands. Good luck!

    Matt, Sober and Unashamed in Denver


  9. I love your honesty Jean!! I will always remember your kindness to me when I shared with you through e-mail my struggles with my mom. Thank you for helping me and so many others!!!


  10. Big congratulations, and I hope you went!
    I love my recovery community close and far! I’ve met some wonderful people at meetings, and they really do understand!
    Big hugs, Jean! Thank you for helping me on my way!


  11. This is why I have listened to you and love you. You’re authentic and share your truth. Eight years or eight months, we all are going to still learn and grow, question and shift. Sounds like you’re making some important shifts. xo Diana

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations!
    Do it! It always makes me feel kind of bad ass to go to AA. Like, I was just as hard a drinker as all you men, even if I do look like a middle age yoga teacher.

    It’s worth going and hearing people speak. I was very glad I went to the recovery celebration This weekend. Sometimes we need unexpected support. It’s nice to know it’s always there.

    Congratulations on 8 years. You have always been a glowing example of sobriety and I am privileged to be your friend. You changed my life. I will always be grateful.

    Love to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Good for you! It takes courage to admit to your local public that you’ve had a problem. If you were giving up smoking everyone would cheer you on. It’s good to have flesh and blood community with whom you can connect and relate. I admire you for taking this step. Don’t let the big boom thumpers deflate your sails. Find the people with whom you find a commonality. Ignore the negatives. Step proudly into the light.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I totally feel the same way. I have made amazing relationships online and love the person that I have become but I cannot bring myself to go to a f2f, I don’t know what I am so scared of. It is nice to know that I am not alone in this feeling. I am not even a year sober yet but I feel like the stronger I get in my sobriety the more able I will be to talk about it with people in real life. Congrats on 8 years!!

    Liked by 1 person

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