Extract : This side of alcohol
“ Before I stopped drinking , I spent hours on the internet searching to see if I really had a drinking problem — more times than not , with a glass of sauvignon blanc in my hands . And , of course , the internet makes it possible to find a source to support any opinion under the sun , no matter how outrageously unscientific it might be . Just the fact that I was looking on the internet to see how “ bad ” my drinking was should have been my first clue , right ? Nope , because I could always find a reason for concluding that things weren ’ t THAT bad , whatever “ THAT ” means . I ignored that small voice inside that was telling me the truth the whole time ; I refused to listen , because I just wasn ’ t ready . Until I was . Now I listen to that voice every day and I can feel in my head , heart , and body that alcohol has lost its grip on me . How did it happen ? Well , I did something that was in stark contrast to my usual modus operandi when things went south , which was to retreat , wallow in self - loathing , hide in my house , and drink . This time I reached out and asked for help . I cannot adequately describe the emotional pain I was in for the first three months of my sobriety . My marriage was falling apart . I was so full of guilt and shame that I was physically sick . And in the middle of all this , my brother Bob suffered a massive heart attack and almost died . He was in a coma for weeks and in the hospital for what seemed like forever . Three things kept me going : my children , my grandchildren , and that voice I heard on my last day one , when I was literally down on my knees in the bedroom of the Lake Tahoe cabin — the voice that quietly , but clearly , said to me : “ Peggi , you are done — and you are going to be okay .” I had to get uncomfortable , doing the things that I never would have seen myself doing before .
It was time to get busy . I totally immersed myself in everything sober by journaling every day , reading books , listening to podcasts , and then journaling some more . When the Sober Sis Reset program started , I had nineteen days of sobriety under my belt and poured myself ( irony duly noted ) into the daily lessons . The program also included being put into a group of about 25 women from all over the country . Called “ Marco Polo ,” the group relies on communication among members through video - posting , in a walkie - talkie - like fashion . Bottom line , I don ’ t think I could have gotten sober without the support of these women , with many of whom I have established extremely close friendships . I know from my training in social work that it takes about 21 days to form a habit and about 90 days to make it stick . The more time I put in , the more confident I became that I could actually do this sober thing . Here are some of the things I did in that first month : mani - pedis with my daughter and grandkids , along with almost daily visits ; connected daily with my Marco Polo group ; made plans to attend the Sober Sis retreat in Fort Worth ; and made lunch plans with new sober sisters . I drove to San Francisco with a sober sister to meet another to celebrate our successful 21 - day reset . At about 90 days AF ( alcohol free ; this acronym took some time to get used to ), I started posting observations about my new alcohol - free lifestyle on social media . I wrote about the incredibly dumb - ass things I had routinely done to hide my drinking , things no normal drinker would ever consider doing ( or would have to do ). I also posted observations on how my life was improving as my AF days added up . I had no plans about how long I would continue posting . I was living day - to - day , and the posts just made me feel connected and accountable to my recovery community . Although my family was supportive of my sobriety , they really weren ’ t into talking about it . I noticed how my writing was resonating with so many others . So , I kept posting . Every day . This book , one I never knew I would write , is the result of all those posts .”
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