Connecting other bloggers is one of the most rewarding parts of the #OYACommunity – especially when it’s a blogger like Kelly Fitzgerald aka The Sober Senorita, who has with a similar mission to share experiences, resources and hope. Thanks, Kelly! MWM
I never knew May 7, 2013 was going to be my sobriety date. I didn’t know that that day would stick in my head and my heart forever.
It started out as any other day, I was nursing another hangover, I was questioning my life, I was beating myself up for not being able to drink like a “normal person.”
I had done those same things countless times before. I guess in a way, I got sober on accident. Sometimes I’d like to think it was divine intervention, sometimes I’d like to think I finally came to my senses, and other times I think my luck just ran out. There was really nothing extra special about that time in my life. But for some reason I was ready and willing.
I’m aware that not everyone has this experience and that some people have to try really hard to get sober, or need to try several times. I’m not saying my experience was easy either, I’m saying that I had no clue I was “getting sober.” On the day I made the decision to quit drinking, I thought it would be a short-term solution, a few days, a week, maybe a month tops.
I still had the mindset that I might be able to learn how to drink normally and not experience all of the negative consequences I had been experiencing for many years due to drinking.
The problem is I was never a “normal drinker.” Binge drinking is generally defined for women as consuming about 4 or more drinks in the span of two hours. The term binge was adopted to describe a pattern of problematic drinking characterized by heavy use, followed by periods of abstinence. This is exactly how I drank. The days of abstinence in between my binge drinking convinced me that I did not have a problem with alcohol. I always thought “I can stop any time so I’m not an alcoholic and I don’t need to quit.”
What I had learned growing up about addiction was riddled with stereotypes, the slogan “just say no,” and the thought that if I wasn’t the textbook definition of an alcoholic, then I don’t need to be sober. The truth is I had been thinking about the pressing question, “am I an alcoholic?” for years. It was my worst fear.
To me, being an alcoholic meant I was a bad person, that I’d never be able to drink again, and that it was something to be ashamed of. We live in a society where happy hours are praised, alcohol ads are normal, and kids are exposed to drinking and drugs use via social media. Why wasn’t I convinced I needed to stop drinking? The simple answer is I didn’t know my patterns of drinking qualified as a problem.
On that day in May of 2013 what I knew was I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was devastated I couldn’t moderate my drinking. I felt like a failure. I felt like a horrible person who couldn’t complete a simple task no matter how hard I tried. At that time I felt like I had tried everything else, to just drink 1 or 2 drinks, to only drink on the weekends, to avoid hard liquor – any tactic to drink moderately, I tried it. I finally decided to try cutting alcohol out of my life completely, but I didn’t expect it to last forever.
I didn’t know how good it would feel. I didn’t know if it would be the answer to all my problems, in fact, I thought it would be a new problem. That day I quit alcohol and drugs for good, I thought my life was over.
I spent the next several weeks crying, emotionally and physically detoxing from a substance that had accompanied me for years. Thinking about being 27 and a non-drinker made my heart ache. I couldn’t spin the situation any way I tried.
As the months went on something miraculous happened, I started feeling better and better and I kept my sobriety sacred. Each morning I woke up and chose to not drink or use. The days racked up and eventually I made it to one year. That’s when I knew that sobriety was for me and that I wanted to keep it forever. It’s funny that something I dreaded and thought was the result of a moral defect, became something I learned about, grew from, and became proud of. I was so deep into my addiction that I didn’t see how good life could be. I didn’t see my part in my own pain. Getting sober has completely transformed the course of my life.
Today I am not afraid to say I’m an alcoholic, I’m in recovery, I’m sober, I’m a non-drinker. These statements empower me. To me they are a symbol of everything I have overcome and the gratitude and grace I have today. I didn’t know I was getting sober in 2013, but I’m happy that I did because sobriety has given me every good thing I have in my life. Because of sobriety I have become an award-winning writer. I am paid to do what I love and to spread the message of hope and recovery to others. Sobriety has provided a stable foundation on which I’ve built a partnership of love with the man I married. Sobriety has enabled me to become a responsible member of society who pays their bills and can afford a mortgage. Today I get to show up and be there for my family and friends when they need me.
I no longer believe that life is just something that happens to me; it’s something that I am part of and have choices in. All of these drastic life changes would not be possible if I was still drinking and using drugs. That’s why I’m so glad I chose sobriety, even if it wasn’t on purpose.
Bio: Kelly Fitzgerald is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida who is best known for her personal blog The Adventures of a Sober Señorita. Her work has been published across the web including sites like The Huffington Post, Medium, The Fix, Ravishly, SheKnows, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, and AfterPartyMagazine. She is currently writing a memoir.
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