How I Got Sober

I've been receiving many messages and emails asking what I did to get sober.  Many people have asked me if I've gone to AA or if I followed a certain step program or went to treatment.  My answer might shock some.  I have done none of the above. My answer is I have no sobriety secret or fool proof way to get and stay sober.  I only know what worked and didn't work for me.  I was not physically dependent on alcohol, therefore detox was not necessary for me.  Although even if I was, in my circumstances I think I was determined and willing to deal with sobriety on my own. (This is not recommended for those who need detox.  Do not endanger your health!)

When I decided to quit for good it was because I had tried everything else.  It was also because I realized I was hurting people who loved me.  I was making my family worry about me constantly.  They would sit around waiting for the next phone call telling them I had a drunk injury, lost my purse, or worse.  Fer was going to break up with me because he had had it with my drinking.  I finally wanted to change.

Here are the steps I took to get sober:

1.  I declared to myself that I was not taking another sip of alcohol until further notice.  At first I wasn't sure when that further notice would be, but I knew it would not be soon.

2.  I thought about what I knew about not drinking and the first thing that comes to everyone's mind is Alcoholics Anonymous.  I had nothing to lose so I joined a bunch of AA chat rooms online and signed up for some women's AA email chains.  This was good at first as it kept me occupied and I had meetings to attend online.  However, I didn't feel like I really belonged.  As we all know the 12 step program of AA is centered around a higher power, which many attendants refer to as God.  This concept was foreign to be because I am not a spiritual person.  I felt nervous and lost in these online meetings and then people in the chat rooms began to single me out and ask me why I had never been to a face-to-face meeting.  The only reasons I had for not going to face-to-face meetings were that I lived in Cancun and didn't know where to find one in English, and because I was scared. The people in the rooms didn't seem to be interested in getting to know me personally and didn't really seem to even acknowledge my sobriety because I had no AA chips and had not been to F2F meetings.  I also didn't have a sponsor and wasn't officially working the steps.  I got tired of the harassing questions and I quit the online meetings and took myself off of the email chains.

I have not totally ruled out AA and I know that it works great for a lot of people.  Maybe it just doesn't work for me.

3.  I read and researched all I could about addiction, alcoholism, and sobriety.  I found Facebook pages, blogs, websites, and books to read that helped me understand how I was feeling.  I have learned a lot and I continue to read these types of publications. I searched and continue to search for people who are like me.

4.  It was important to me that I not miss out on anything.  I knew that I would need to be able to say no to drinking in public settings because I refused to avoid situations where alcohol may be present.  When I go to a party, club, or bar I make sure I always have a drink in my hand so I don't feel different or out of place.  These are sometimes non-alcoholic cocktails, soda, or just water.

5.  When I first stopped drinking and people would ask why I wasn't drinking, I would simply say I just wasn't drinking that day or at that party.  As the months went on and I felt happier and more comfortable being sober, I would explain that I no longer drink, my life works better sober, or that my body doesn't accept alcohol anymore. Simple and straight to the point.

6.  Lastly, I chose to share my story.  I refuse to be ashamed or embarrassed about being sober.  For me and many others, being sober is cool!  It works for me.  I think sharing my story has inspired others and lets them know they are not alone, which is exactly what I have been searching for myself.

There are no easy tricks in the journey to sobriety.  Mostly it's about being real with yourself and facing reality.  I am still growing and learning everyday.  I am still exploring other types of meetings and step programs.

How did you get sober? What worked for you? Let me know in the comments below!

 before drunk with a broken nose and after at 6 months sober

before drunk with a broken nose and after at 6 months sober