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The Gift of Sobriety

I started binge drinking in college. I kept telling myself that I was just a "social drinker". But drinking made me feel liked and accepted for the first time in a long time.  After I graduated college, I drank after work to deal with stress and on the weekends. Looking back, my 20s seem like a blur. I went to therapy but still used alcohol to cope with stress.

I didn't have a "rock bottom" like you see in the movies. I just got tired of feeling like a slave to alcohol. I was tired of drinking bottle after bottle at night only to find that the amount I drank was never enough to feel relaxed. I felt tired of the harsh way I talked to myself after another binge session.

woman having a drink at a party needs sobriety

Still, I couldn't imagine my life without alcohol. I couldn't imagine having fun without alcohol, so I drank more. I had no idea how to care for myself as an autistic adult without alcohol.

In January of 2023, I felt God calling me to live a sober life. I had already tried to decrease my amount of drinking. I had already tired to drink different types of alcohol to decrease my craving, but nothing worked. I knew I needed to do something drastic.

For me, that was going to AA.

The first 3 months were tough. I found out that I wasn't actually caring for my mental health before, but was instead numbing the pain I felt.

All of a sudden, I had to actually care for my mental health. I had to learn about autism and be an advocate for myself. Sobriety is hard work, there's no going around that.

But you know what? I'm starting to see the gift of sobriety:

  • Because of sobriety, I have the gift of really discovering who I am without alcohol. I've always loved nature, but due to hangovers or wanting to drink more than doing outdoor activities, I rarely participated in outdoor activities.
  • Because of sobriety, I'm advocating for myself as an autistic adult. I'm listening to my body instead of pushing myself to prove that I'm like everyone else.
  • Because of sobriety, I'm developing a toolkit to cope with stress and anxiety. Because of sobriety, I'm leaning into the freedom of knowing that I'm not in control of everything and everyone around me.
  • Because of sobriety, I'm actually healing from emotional trauma.
  • Because of sobriety, I found AA. Now, I have a dependence on God that I've never known before.

 

You couldn't have told me a year ago that there is joy in sobriety, but I believe it now. There was no way I thought I could deal with the stress of being a mom without alcohol, but now I know that I can.

There was no way I would've believed that sobriety was a gift, but I know that it is. I'm grateful to be sober.

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