This week’s Coming Clean Staying Clean #4 is another one of the sobriety success stories that is common in the addiction space.
In an effort to highlight the true devastation of alcohol and drugs, we are continuing with our series of sobriety success stories we call Coming Clean, Staying Clean. Alcohol sobriety stories are a focal point of all AA meetings and we want to make these kinds of stories accessible to more people in hopes to change a few minds and offer some perspective.
This is the story of Andrew S.
1 – We start off all these sobriety success stories with the same question. Why? Because it is the most powerful and universally understood question. All alcohol sobriety stories start here: What was the moment you had when you realized enough was enough and you had to get sober?
I had known for some years that I had a drinking problem and had trouble controlling my drinking once I started. I always thought I was going to either get it under control or quit without anyone else knowing, because I always wanted to keep the door open to go back to drinking.
I knew once I said I need to quit, going back would never be an option for my family and friends. That being said, my work was suffering and that was about all I did, I still had some money, still had my house and car, but I was alone and drank alone all the time and that was my whole life. I could really feel like I was about to lose everything and with the amount I was drinking near the end, and having guns in the house, I just didn’t trust myself anymore to keep drinking and I knew I couldn’t stop on my own safely.
2 – Did you go to an alcohol treatment center?
Yes, I first just went to the hospital because I knew you shouldn’t just stop drinking a handle of vodka a day cold turkey, so I knew I needed medical attention. They sent me to a pretty fantastic detox. I was fortunate they had a bed open and they really did a great job of preparing me for continued sobriety and getting me into an IOP program afterwards, but I already knew I had a problem and could never drink again.
3 – What was the most difficult part of sobriety in the beginning?
Definitely the mental and emotional swings and the anxiety. I just felt like I was all over the place, up down, up down and pretty anxious. That is why meetings everyday helped, because just having that support from a bunch of people that know exactly what you are going through and knowing that what I was feeling was nothing new to them.
4 – What positive changes have you noticed in your life now that you are sober?
Well this list is long.
Just about every aspect of my life has gotten better. My relationships with family and friends are better, my social life is better (well, I actually have one) I have a bunch of great new friends from AA and elsewhere. I have a relationship with a really great girl that motivates me to keep doing the next right thing. My professional life is much, much better. I am a mechanical engineer, so having a clear mind really makes things much easier and has allowed me to start achieving some of the professional goals I always wanted to achieve but never could while drinking.
Obviously, the physical side of things is a plus, I am active now, I lost about 100 pounds, I am running now, which again is something I always liked and wanted to do but alcohol got in the way. I mean everything is just better, and I just feel more mature and I feel like my mind is stronger than it’s ever been. I actually feel free to do or accomplish whatever I want, and that is a hard feeling to describe but it is so worth the effort to get there.
5 – That’s the best part of sobriety success stories, hearing how much everyone’s life improves as time goes by. The more time you spend in recovery, the more opportunities present themselves. What advice do you have for anyone considering sobriety but are scared?
Ask for help. Ask for help. Ask for help.
There’s nothing to fear and if you are thinking you need to get sober, then you probably need to at least give it a try. Did I mention ask for help? I learn by watching people and I needed to find people that are sober AND happy. There are lots of them out there, and they all want to help you, don’t try it alone and give it time.
6 – Is there anything else you would like to add?
Well I just want to thank you for reaching out to me. Every day I am amazed at how many people want to genuinely help people get sober and be healthy. I always thought people that offered help like that were full of it, until I started becoming one of them, and not unselfishly I might add. My sobriety is contingent upon me trying to give this thing away, but it also feels pretty good too. Thanks again.
Andrew touched on something that we find is so important: he understands the power of helping others. Cynicism can give way to genuine optimism when we learn to change the record in our head. We can all live that optimism.
We want to thank Andrew for sharing his alcohol sobriety success story with all of us here.