NORTHERN WILDFLOWER: My fight against alcohol addiction – one year in

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I am one year sober this month and I am proud of how far I’ve come and how much I have been able to accomplish since quitting drinking. For me, alcohol is a waste of precious time. I could have been doing so much more with my life than sleeping all day and feeling sick and sick of myself. There is certainly no way that I would be going to law school this September if I were still drinking.

There wasn’t much room in my life for productivity when I was drinking. I always had to backtrack after a night of partying. I had no control of my life and I had to always clean up the mess that I made for days afterward.

But now that I am sober, things are very clear for me and there is less mess. Of course life always has ups and downs but I can deal with life’s issues with patience and confidence in myself. I now have the energy and mental capacity to deal with issues that arise daily instead of trying to drink my problems away and telling myself that I deserve a drink for all the stress I’m dealing with.

I often felt bad about myself after I went out drinking. I would get very bad anxiety attacks and feel guilty for days because of what I might have said or done to insult someone or how I might have acted. I often became a person that was far from who I truly am when I was drinking and did things that sober me would never do.

If I were still drinking there would be no way that I would be able to walk into a room full of potential law school students and sit for hours writing a difficult test to determine to pass or fail me into getting into law school. I probably wouldn’t even get around to sharpening my pencil. My life was never organized for very long when drinking. I was often a scattered mess and lacked the energy to do much. Sometimes I could barely get through the day. If I were still drinking, I wouldn’t even have gotten close to taking the first step in applying for law school because drinking inhibited me from living to my fullest potential.

This isn’t the case for everyone, though. There are many people that can have a few drinks and call it a night and make it to work the next morning without feeling like death, not me though, calling in on a Monday was a regular occurrence when I was drinking.

At first, quitting drinking was very lonely because I didn’t go to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. I got the courage to go to a meeting once, when I was newly into my sobriety. When I saw that the room was full of people that I knew, including people my age (which is great by the way) I turned back around and walked out with my head down because I was too worried that people would gossip about me or not accept me. That was probably the most difficult thing for me in staying sober; letting it be known that I was struggling with a problem that I was having difficulty coming to terms with and still somewhat in denial about in a small town.

It was hard because people saw me at my most vulnerable state. It is hard to let people know what you are going through especially when you are somewhat of an introvert.
But taking that first step is important because it means that you are trying. To try and try and never give up is to succeed.

I am so thankful that I am strong enough now to say “no thanks” when offered a drink and not be embarrassed or feel left out because I am not consuming alcohol. In a way, I have my grandparents to thank. Knowing that they were able to quit helps me to know that I can do it too.

They were heavy drinkers in their younger days but one day my grandma had enough and decided to quit right then and there. My grandpa quit shortly thereafter and they were both better for it and never looked back.

They didn’t go to meetings, and they didn’t turn to other addictions either. They had each other and I think that kept them strong. I take a cue from them and surround myself with other people that are on the road to recovery so that we can support each other and know that sobriety is not the end. It’s just a new way of living and for most it’s a rewarding, life changing journey.

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