“Alcohol was the jealous friend of my twenties, whispering the poisonous lie that I was nothing without it, so I better keep drinking.”

By Caitlin W.  8/25/21

Tomorrow I will be one year and ten months sober. That’s nearly 670 days of waking up without a hangover, 670 days of living with more integrity and 670 days of finding my way back to myself, one day at a time. I’m beginning to understand the people in meetings who introduce themselves as “grateful, thankful alcoholics” because these sober days have been the most important of my life. 

For the decade I spent drinking heavily, I never went a day without thinking about my next drink. This obsession was fueled by a feeling that I wasn’t my true self when I was sober, and that I needed alcohol to unlock the woman I wanted to be. Drunk me was more brazen (obnoxious), more talkative (all nonsense) and above all, more confident (self-absorbed). Alcohol was the jealous friend of my twenties, whispering the poisonous lie that I was nothing without it, so I better keep drinking.

Now that I have some time in the program, along with a terrific sponsor, sponsee and home group, I recognize that booze is the great bully of my life. It told me that freedom came from the bottle, while it was ensnaring me in the trap of addiction. Waking up every morning to cravings for more alcohol isn’t freedom. It’s the worst suffering I’ve ever known.

For me, the most reliable path away from that suffering is through service. Recently, I volunteered to be Secretary for one of my meetings. In the past, the thought of having to speak (even over Zoom) to a room full of people would have filled me with dread. Frankly, it’s still hard for me to believe that I’m good enough sober, or to believe that I won’t somehow make a fool of myself, or goof up. But every time I make it through a meeting, or decide to share, or confide in my sponsor about something I never thought I would say to another person, it strengthens my burgeoning sense of self.

This is what we mean when we say we’re aiming for progress, not perfection. I drank because I was afraid to be anything other than perfect, and alcohol gave me the false confidence to think I was greater than I was. But the wonderful thing about sobriety is that I’m discovering that I’m enough. Just me.

These days, I wake up in the morning and take a moment to thank my higher power for another day, another opportunity to try hard things, and to maybe learn a thing or two. On the good days, I take a beat to recognize how comfortable I feel in my own skin, and how I’m learning to handle the tough stuff with more grace and ease. And on the other, not so great days, I sign into a meeting and take comfort in the Fellowship. It’s the place where I know I can be exactly who I’m becoming.

Caitlin’s home group is the Rockridge Fellowship 10:30am meeting.