Abbie's Recovery Story
“Waking up sober is the first gift of every day”
Hi everyone! My name’s Abbie and I’m from the UK. I’ve been sober since 30th December 2019.
I had my first alcoholic drink when I was 12 years old. It was my friend’s 13th birthday and so we thought that we were officially old enough to sneak out to the forest and drink litres of cheap booze. It’s safe to say that the night ended disastrously: we all got caught and I ended up with my head down a toilet. Did this put me off drinking? Unfortunately not.
I continued drinking heavily throughout my teenage years and my early 20s. It wasn’t until the age of 23 that I realised my drinking had become a problem. I was the first to arrive at a party and the last to leave. I was always getting myself into trouble. I was in a significant amount of debt and my relationship was breaking down. I could not control my drinking, no matter how hard I tried. All I thought about was alcohol. It was the centre of my world. I started to physically crave it and would be defensive about my drinking habits.
What really pushed me to quit drinking was my deteriorating mental health. Alcohol exacerbated my anxiety and depression. At times, I wanted to die. After a catastrophic night of drinking on 28th December 2019, I picked up Catherine Gray’s, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, and read it in its entirety. I have not picked up a drink since.
I’m not going to lie: the first few months were difficult. I felt lost. I didn’t know who I was without alcohol. I joined AA and attended for three months. Eventually, I decided that it was not for me and started a sober Instagram page. I did this to share my journey but also to be inspired by other sober, like-minded people. I have never looked back.
I have three steadfast items in my recovery ‘tool-box’:
1. STAY HYDRATED – It is very easy to mistake dehydration for cravings.
2. CONSIDER HALT – If you are craving a drink, ask yourself: Are you (H) Hungry, (A) Angry, (L) Lonely or (T) Tired? Quite often, I find that my cravings can be reduced if I tend to one of those areas. This makes sense, as we become susceptible to self-destructive behaviours when our basic needs are not met!
3. PLAY THE TAPE FORWARD – If you are craving a drink, consider where that first drink will take you. Play the whole night out in your head. If you’re anything like me, it will be filled with disaster after disaster. Once I visualise it all, I realise that the first drink just isn’t worth it.
My favourite benefit of sobriety is my improved mental health. I am no longer suicidal. I am less anxious. I wouldn’t describe myself as depressed. I am starting to become content with my own company and my own mind. Now that I am starting to love myself, I’m in a better position to love those around me.
Thinking about a life without alcohol can be daunting when you first become sober. My advice would be to take it one day at a time; just focus on staying sober for the day ahead of you. Eventually, it will get easier and you may even come to love the thought of being sober forever (I know I do!). Also, sobriety does not equal no social life! I am busier than ever and I am enjoying every moment with my loved ones that little bit more!
If you want to hear more about my story, check out my sober Instagram: @asobertale.