Rebekah's Recovery Story
"Sobriety is a good look, but it's an even better feeling" - Rebakah
Every time I’m asked to share my journey to sobriety, I pick and choose a few high points that feel succinct, feel straight to the point or relevant. But the truth is, it’s much more complicated than just a few moments. It’s a lifetime of self-questioning and self-doubt and the belief that I wouldn’t be anything more. It’s the stigma around therapy, it’s Big Alcohol, it’s societal pressure that you’re only a good time if you’re getting wasted.
My relationship with alcohol started young, as it does for most. It snuck up, as it often does. And it became a constant in my life as it almost always will. A constant to cope. A constant to celebrate. A constant to complement a nice meal. A constant for a good time. Until it was no longer a good time.
My relationship with alcohol was always pretty predictable. Binging on the weekend and glasses of wine after a long day at work. A shot to calm my nerves. A beer at a concert to enhance the experience.
Then almost four years ago I moved to Philly for a job opportunity. I was recently divorced, recently out, and very lost. My own pressures and expectations only escalated my drinking. It brought me to a point where I was going out more nights than I was staying in. My anxiety and depression was at an all-time high. It was affecting my work, my emotional well-being, my relationships, it was affecting my life. I wasn’t present for the moments I wanted to be. I would gauge activities around whether there would be booze or not. I kept people at a distance. I kept myself in the dark.
Nights would end and I would find myself alone, deep within that depression, with no idea how to pull myself out. And then the next day I would just start all over again. I became a master at numbing. At pushing aside. At living a shell of a life - dressed up on the outside, but empty within.
I wanted to quit drinking for at least a year and a half before I actually stuck to the decision. There was nothing remarkable about my last night drinking, it was just another night where I felt out of control and I woke up the next morning telling myself I didn’t want to feel that way again. I didn’t want to miss out on moments that I was looking forward to and I didn’t want to miss out on my life.
Since that day, I have felt every single thing I could possibly feel, welcomed or not, but I am at least feeling. The world felt overwhelming, but it was manageable. I sought a support system (grateful that my best friend was already a year into her sobriety), I devoured literature, found a community (social media is a gem for that), and the most important of all - I never questioned my decision.
I read somewhere once that if we put ourselves in limbo between whether or not something is the right choice for us, our mind literally reacts by weakening our resolve. It’s a chemical thing. So I committed to my choice of being present. Of finding comfort in the discomfort. Of finding reassurance in the idea of constant change.
On 9/27 I reached my one year milestone. In that past year, so many things had opened up for me. I found therapy. I’ve learned to find comfort in my own solitude. I’ve found my voice, my passions, my drive, I’ve been able to revisit spaces that had been too painful for me for too long.
And I found healing.
On month 11, I made the drive back across the country to the pnw, a return I had contemplated the entire time I was gone, but feared it would make me a failure. But I am not a failure, I am finally recovering my sense of self.
For anyone considering sobriety or facing challenges with their own relationship with alcohol I just want you to know that it’s possible. And that life on the other side is thrilling and scary and magical all at the same time and it just makes it so worth it. Find your support system (virtual or otherwise), and remember your truth. Remember all the reasons that you longed to be free. And take each and every day as it comes.