Esther's Recovery Story
"I'm still me, just a much better version of past self" - Es
Hey there, my name is Es and I stopped drinking on June 10th, 2019. I’m currently living in Orange County, CA.
I started drinking in my early teens. I started off drinking excessively and I thought that’s how everyone drank alcohol - to the point of blacking out. Turns out, that’s not the way you want your night to go. By the time I reached college, I was trying to moderate and slow down. I did rein in my overindulgence, but there always seemed to be a loss of control. I didn’t enjoy my alcohol when I had to control how much I was drinking because then I was obsessing over ‘if I was drinking right’ rather than just enjoying myself.
My drinking landed me in a lot of dangerous, embarrassing, and uncomfortable situations. I remember having to call my mom in my early twenties to come pick me up after a heavy night of drinking and take me home. I felt guilty that she had to see me like that, but my painful hangover overshadowed my guilt and willingness to see I was worrying her. I regularly put people in situations where they had to rescue me from myself. I was too wrapped up in my own hangovers, and desire to drink, that I didn’t stop to think how I was affecting others. I just didn’t want the party to stop.
In the end, my recklessness while under the influence drove me to stop. I was tired of hurting other people. I was losing people that cared about me and I didn’t want to continue down that path. I had tried to quit drinking before and I had tried to moderate in the past, but I had never been able to so longer than a month. Quitting for ‘good’ or the foreseeable future, would have to take all my energy and radical self acceptance.
I struggled overcoming cravings that seemed to be so intense, I always wanted to give in. I read a lot of books and research articles about the science of cravings because I wanted to understand the root of mine. I also wanted to understand how to beat cravings. I also struggled with overcoming boredom. I’m in my twenties so going out with friends usually means going for drinks. How would i socialize sober? How would I have fun sober? What would I do with my free time now that I don’t drink?
It was a struggle, but I’ve learned to socialize better without alcohol. I set boundaries for myself and leave a party if it gets too rowdy. I still have fun through my new hobbies and I’m always learning about new activities I want to try out. When I quit drinking, I had way more time to learn about myself and what really does make me happy - I’m rarely ever bored!
I went to a lot of different type of meetings to help me quit drinking. I went to traditional meetings as well as some newer groups that are offered by different women in the sober community. I looked for women that had a lot of sober time (a year or more) and I asked them what they did to get to where they are now. I also read a lot of ‘quit lit’ books. This naked mind is by Annie Grace was the first book about alcohol abuse that I read and I always recommend it to others. I also meditated a lot in the first few months of sobriety. I was never someone who meditated before, but it helped me move through cravings. Additionally, I focused on the beautiful things in my life that I would lose if I started drinking again - that’s something I still think about daily.
The best part about sobriety is the freedom. The freedom to wake up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and have the choice to sleep in late, or get up. I’m not tied down by a hangover. I have the freedom to drive home whenever I want, the freedom from hangxiety, freedom from panic of what I said the night before. My life has improved in so many ways and I’m happy for the freedom sobriety has allowed me to posses in my life.
The best advice I could give someone who is just starting out, is to find a community of people who understand what you’re going through and can support you. My second piece of advice, would be to find the root of your cravings and what triggers them. Music and tv are big triggers for me. If I hear certain songs that I associate with my past drinking, I have to turn the music off or acknowledge that why I’m feeling the way I am is normal and that my brain is just making an association. Tv can be hard sometimes too. If I see a characters in a show or movie using alcohol excessively, it can trigger a craving and I have to turn the show off and come back to it, or choose not to watch it at all. I have to remember that many times alcohol use in media is not represented correctly and my alcohol use was not as fabulous and fun as what they’re showing me on my tv.
The last piece of advice I would give, is to read as much quit lit as possible. Read about others who have experienced the same things as you, read about how they cut out alcohol, read about the science of alcohol abuse and it’s affect on the brain. Knowledge is power and understanding the science behind why I felt so helpless to alcohol helped me move through a lot of my cravings and desire to drink.
You’re are not alone in your journey with alcohol! You can always find me at @sober_otter on IG