Seven years sober
Seven years sober: A journey of self-discovery, resilience, and the courage to choose an authentic, judgment-free life.
Today marks seven years since I had my last drink and I have never felt better. But it hasn’t always been rainbows and butterflies …
I used to have the motto, “I’m here for a good time, not a long time,” and I sure had a good time! But did it make me eternally happy? No. And, in hindsight, how awful was that motto? I used to drink a lot. But I was doing it for all the wrong reasons: to escape life, to build my confidence. For me, alcohol was a release. I didn’t have confidence in my own abilities, so I thought I needed a lift to make my personality shine. And for that moment in time it did lift me, but unfortunately the days after took me on a huge emotional rollercoaster ride.
Many of my issues started from drinking. They started with that very first sip of alcohol. I loved drinking because I loved being social, but I suffered the after-effects badly. And to be completely honest, I don’t like the taste of alcohol. When I was pregnant with Axel (now eight), I truly believed this was the blessing I had been asking for. I had a vision to live an authentic, happy life and this was the perfect time to make the leap.
In 2019, I separated from the father of my child. I’d love to say it was a conscious separation. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. In the blink of an eye, my entire world was smashed to pieces. I didn’t just separate from my partner; I separated from family, friends and a life that I’d always known.
It all happened so quickly; I couldn’t breathe.
My way of dealing with pain is to isolate myself. I need time to get my head around things. I come across as an extrovert, but I feel deep down I’m an introvert. I need space to process. I like to pull the puzzle apart so I can put it back together. I am a solution-based person. If there is a problem, I will research as much as I can to discover the solution. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. And I quickly learned that distancing myself from people to heal was very triggering for others.
They say divorce and moving house are two of the hardest traumas you will go through. I did both in the space of a year — all while homeschooling my baby, without a day of help, studying art therapy to become a family and child counsellor, picking up and moving to the coast with knowing a soul. This was to create an entire new life for my baby and me — all through a world pandemic. For six months I was living a double life in Melbourne and trying to settle on the Surf Coast, driving up to 20 hours per week. It was exhausting.
If there was any time to start drinking again, it was now. But I held onto my truth. I was very cautious not to jump straight into another relationship. Break-ups take two to tango; it’s never just one person’s fault. I needed to discover the part I played in this mess. I have a pattern of co-dependency in relationships — a trait I want to smash to pieces, so I needed to discover the root cause of this.
As days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into years, the fog started to lift and the mud settled. I started to heal. Day by day, I started to reinvent myself. Each day, one of the puzzle pieces came back but aligned differently. New friends arrived. My smile became brighter. A new life awaited. Then the mud started to make sense. I began living more authentically than I had ever before. When I look around, I have created a life that I longed for my entire life. I am freer in my mind, body and soul. A previous people-pleaser, I have discovered my worth. I won’t accept crumbs. I have created a life surrounded by Mother Earth. I fill this life with joy and love, reliving my youth through surfing, skating, nature — this life aligned to my vision of motherhood and adventure.
What I have learned about myself is that I am a warrior. No matter how much someone tries, you can’t knock me down; I will get up even stronger than I was before. If I could survive separation and still stay true to my beliefs, I can survive anything. I have got to a place of being happy within myself and loving myself deeply. I’m not dependent on anyone else but myself. I know deep down I am wholeheartedly supported by the universe, and I was every step of the way.
My job is to love, support and guide my son; he is and has been my only priority. Every time he looks deep into my soul, I feel the gratitude he feels. I feel that he knows that I will always be by his side. His mum showed him strength and how to be brave, and he taught me how to love unconditionally. He is as much my teacher as I am his. I showed him I would show up for him no matter what. I am there by his side to process his big emotions; I would always whisper to him, “I’m not going anywhere,” and often sit there in silence until he had processed his big feelings. I don’t shame him for tantrums, I encourage them. We have been through a lot. My son can be his true self around me because I love him unconditionally, flaws and all. I have created a safe space to show him that he, too, could survive a storm and learn lessons along the way.
I have been completely sober for seven years now and I have finally found myself. What has surprised me the most about living a life of sobriety is the judgement which comes with it. In Australia, we live in a culture where it is almost celebrated to write ourselves off. You get a badge of honour for being the drunkest person in the room. Why do we feel like an outsider if we say no? What I have learned about judgement is that my choices are like a giant mirror which reflects people’s inner thoughts, and that makes people uncomfortable. Unfortunately, giving up drinking hasn’t always been socially acceptable; however, as each year progresses, it is becoming more and more accepted. Each year more and more nonalcoholic bars are popping up. Younger generations are living more authentically.
Everyone is wired differently, so giving up alcohol is not for everyone and that’s OK, but it most certainly was for me. I have absolutely no desire to drink. I don’t judge people for drinking; that is your choice, so I don’t want to be judged for not drinking.
So how do you raise your vibration and manifest a life beyond your wildest dreams? You choose you. You make hard decisions. You make choices that are for you. You listen to your intuition above the advice of others. Remember, you can do hard things.