Ashley's Recovery Story
"No matter how dark the night may get, your light will never burn out.”
– Jeanette LeBlanc
Hi! My name is Ashley, I’m from New York City, and I’ve been sober since April 29th, 2020.
I had my first drink right before I turned 18, the summer before I went to college. I was a pretty “normal” drinker throughout college, but was always a bit of a party girl. I took pride in my ability to party with the best of them, and even though it never became my identity, it was a huge part of my social life.
My drinking got out of hand following a sexual assault and an abusive relationship. I was drinking to cope, and I was drinking a lot. My life had become unbearable, and I wanted to hide from the things that had happened to me. Alcohol helped me do that, but all my problems were still there.
A little over a year ago, I read The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, and I began to question whether alcohol was really helping me cope with my trauma like I thought it was. I spent a year on a sober curious journey, but ultimately decided that alcohol was holding me back. So I quit.
Getting sober hasn’t always been easy, but it has been worth it. My cravings were really bad, and I have PAWS episodes, which are like short depressive episodes that lots of people get for the first two years after quitting, more often than I’d like. Sometimes it feels like a constant uphill battle. But the longer I’m sober the more I realize that this was what I needed to really find peace with myself and the things that have happened to me.
Not long after I started my sober curious journey, I created a community of survivors and thrivers (@the_unbuzzed on Instagram) who have either ditched the booze or are curious about doing so. This community has been a fundamental part of my sobriety, and helping other people achieve peace through sobriety and/or a sober curious journey has really helped keep me sober.
If you’re new to sobriety or thinking about trying it out, I urge you to practice radical self compassion. Give yourself grace to feel and experience your feelings as they come, and allow them to pass. Use your experiences as data, and don’t judge yourself for what you did before you knew better. We all make mistakes, but sobriety gives us the chance to have a fresh start.
Sobriety is not the answer to all my problems, but it has been the key to being capable of solving them. It has given me a mental clarity and contentment that I didn’t know was possible. It has allowed me to have the space to free myself from my past trauma, take my power back, and heal out loud.
I’m grateful every day that I get to be sober.