Gill's Recovery Story
Things do not happen. Things are made to happen - John F. Kennedy
I’m Gill, I live in the Boston area, and I got sober on November 9, 2019. I started drinking when I was 22 and had just started graduate school. Everyone drank except me, and I desperately wanted people to like me and to fit in with the group. My drinking was immediately different from everyone else’s. I had no control over how much I drank, and I’d frequently get too drunk or get sick. I never seemed to get sick in convenient places either. I mostly got sick in parking lots, other people’s houses, bars, or on subway platforms. My mental health got worse and worse, and in the last year of my drinking I developed anxiety that would keep me awake all night and my self-loathing and depression turned into suicidal thoughts.
I tried to moderate my drinking for 5 years with no success and even did a 90 day challenge as an attempt to “cure” myself so I could drink normally. During the challenge, the anxiety and suicidal thoughts disappeared, but quickly returned when I went back to drinking. That allowed me to accept that I will never be able to drink another way and finally give up my hopes and dreams of moderation. The fear of acting on those scary thoughts is what made me quit drinking.
The biggest challenge I had was intense rage that appeared out of nowhere and would take over my life for days at a time. It was so strong I could barely function. With the help of a therapist, I was able to identify why I was so angry and work on it. I have also developed my emotional intelligence so I can have control over how I feel and act. Before, I was just reacting to everyone, and it was exhausting. Educating myself about addiction has also been a big help. I understand now that this isn’t my fault and that having a problem with alcohol doesn’t mean I’m a weak-willed loser.
The best part of sobriety is not hating myself anymore. Not only do I not hate myself, but I actually like myself. I’ve never felt that way before. I don’t let myself down anymore and disappoint myself. Because I like, trust, and believe in myself, I have achieved every goal I’ve set in my sobriety.
If you’re just starting out then my advice is to work on accepting that you can never change the way you drink, expose yourself to as much sober content as possible, and work with a therapist to identify your triggers, how you handle triggers, and how you handle your emotions in general. Sure, it’s uncomfortable sometimes to not drink, but I never thought life could be this good. Some of us just can’t drink and that’s okay.
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