I had my last drink on April 10, 1986. I remember it well. I went out with a bit of a fizzle: two beers at noon, by myself, on the beach. I didn’t know it was my last drink. I knew very well that alcohol was “my thing,” and that it had to go from my life. But I didn’t know how to stop drinking or that I was about to embark on an alcohol-free lifestyle. I was starting a four-day retreat later that day on how to get what you want out of life. There were a lot of those floating around in the 1980s. We took a sober pledge on the first night, and then dug into the work of looking at what was and was not working in our lives. I tried as hard as I could to hide that alcohol was the central issue. But as the universe would have it, another sober woman was at that retreat and I swear she had x-ray vision. When she asked me if I thought I had a problem with alcohol, I responded, “I don’t think I have a problem, I know I do!” I haven’t had a sip since. So, how did I do it? I joined an amazing sobriety support group that has sustained me for 35 years. I have been through good years, great years, hard years and terrible years - not one of them alone. I am forever grateful to that group for teaching me how to navigate all that life is, without a sip. My sober practices have evolved over the years to include regular exercise, yoga, meditation, reading, healthy nutrition, regular sleep - all the things! I call it a multimodal approach, and it is. I am very aware that sobriety support meetings are crucial, but I have to take care of my mind, body and spirit to stay on the sober beam. In the last couple of years, before Covid hit, I was going to two meetings a week - women’s meetings only. Why women only? Because that is whom I could help overcome their addiction to alcohol. I’ve always worked with women only. .
When we went into lockdown, one of the women I work with told me about an online meeting that was being hosted by a woman who wrote a book about getting sober. I am an open-minded, curious seeker, so I did not have to be convinced to check it out. It was awesome! Small at first, very raw and in the experience of getting and being sober at the outset of a world-wide pandemic. The host was kind and accepting and knew how to reach people. I bought her book and loved it. In these meetings, I learned that other people had written books about getting sober. I was amazed! How wonderful! I kid you not, I had been reading the same few books, over and over for 35 years. I felt like a kid in a candy score. This “modern” writing was so relatable. I didn’t need to translate anything. And what was significant to me: the ones I was most attracted to were written by women. To be sure, I have been reading some wonderful male authors, mostly poets. But for the first time in my sober life, I was reading what the female experience of alcohol addiction was. I came home again. My sober roots are deep, and I have a strong, daily practice to maintain it. But what I am experiencing in modern recovery has allowed me to deepen my understanding of addiction and embrace the many pathways to sobriety that we walk. I’m now going to upwards of seven meetings a week, in three different sober spaces. It’s beautiful and I am so very grateful. I am feeling super charged to carry the torch of a new generation of sober women, to unveil my face and say out loud that women can choose the path they walk. We can walk different paths, side by side, supporting a lifestyle that does not include drinking alcohol. We can accomplish great things in big and small ways - together
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