Hola Sober April 2024

pushed me part of the way in a shopping trolley. It was a shit show really, but I was having fun.

spot – but I know alcohol is no longer an option. The thing that’s makes all the difference is first and foremost a community of loving and supportive women. I come to the meetings each week and walk away every time feeling so much gratitude, and I thank you all for this. And to my own Robinsons Rebels group – I know I suck at WhatsApp – but there is not a day goes by when I don’t think of you. I couldn’t have done this without you. Some people say they regret not stopping sooner or they wish they’d known sooner what they know now, but when I reflect on my life, I can’t say I’d change anything. I do cringe when I think of the drink driving, the throwing up, the loose sexual encounters - before and in between husbands that is - and especially the example set to my children. I don’t feel proud of my past behaviour, in fact I’ve deeply regretted some of the things I’ve done, but I do see them as necessary; because this is my life. For me to move forward with no shame, I must acknowledge and accept all the shit bits – these are the challenges I have been given and without them I wouldn’t be me. I’d like to finish with piece of writing by Maria Shriver that resonates with how I feel now and my connection with Hola Sober. I feel deeply that we are all here to share what we’ve learned, and I feel deeply that we are all here to heal ourselves and others. I also feel that this collective moment is one that needs us all to be at our best, because time is of the essence. I’m mindful that the road ahead of me is way shorter than the one behind me. That road was long and winding, but it was filled with lots of joy, lots of laughter, and lots of incredible experiences and opportunities. Like all long roads, it had its fair share of tears, challenges, and failures. There were potholes that I fell into, but I dusted myself off and kept walking. And the woman who had the strength to do that, well… today, I like her and respect her. I enjoy her company. I’m rooting for her. That’s a good thing because I didn’t always root for her. (Please don’t make this same mistake.) The truth is, I criticized her a lot and pushed her too hard. I never let her rest, and I even abandoned her and betrayed her at times. I didn’t truly accept all the different parts of who she was. I didn’t, until I finally did. I didn’t, until I finally learned better. And when I learned to accept her, that’s when the beauty of life opened up.

In 2011 my husband and I embarked on a two- year overland journey of a lifetime. We shipped our vehicle to Africa and drove from Cape Town to Cairo and then into Europe. We drank ourselves halfway around the world only to be interrupted in Iran because they didn’t sell alcohol – not legally anyway! Shortly after we returned from this trip, I noticed a shift in my thinking – I was unhappy in my life and drinking was no longer living up to my expectations. I began to investigate alternatives to AA and came across Hello Sunday Morning, a global support community that was founded in Australia. I signed up and met people online who were like me. Apart from AA it was the first time I had shared my drinking experiences with anyone. I participated for five months and then one November night I said to my husband – I’m going to buy a bottle of champagne. He didn’t question it because we were drinking buddies – that’s what we did. There was no rhyme or reason that I identified - I just wanted to get drunk and so I did - and off I went again. During my drinking years, I have moderated, but it was more of a forced thing during the working week. It was never a preferred option. I have always been an all-or-nothing, Since then, I have had two long sober stints, both of 11 months, from January to November. Looking back, I can see that November was the time I pulled the pin because I didn’t want to do Christmas sober. The first year I managed to rein it in during January but the second year I tried it didn’t work. I felt a bit worried so I started following sober Instagram accounts, however, they were mainly young people and I had a hard time relating. And then a woman I followed led me to Hola Sober, so I signed up for the daily emails. Susan Christina’s words were powerful and they really spoke to me - but I was still drinking. I signed up for Pledge 100 – I was scared I wasn’t going to able to make it through the 100 days, but now here I am over a year sober and I’m not a dry drunk this time around. I love my sober life – I feel like I’ve come home. That’s not to say it’s all moonlight and canoes – I still battle with mental health issues and at times there’s nothing more I’d like than to retreat into my sweet


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