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Waking up to a new year, hangover-free

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

It's a new morning in a new year and today, I wake up with a clear head, a clear conscience and no hangover. It's been almost six years since I had my last drink and I still remember what it felt like to wake up as a practicing alcoholic.

I'm fearful and my thoughts are dark and brittle. My insides feel like they're shaking. My mouth is so dry I can't feel my tongue. Waves of nausea crash through me and my skin feels like it's on inside out. I am full of remorse and guilt about everything. I don't remember what happened. I want desperately to stop this endless cycle of pain and insanity but know I can't. I loathe myself. Make it stop. Death dances through my head and feels like a good idea.

Staying stopped drinking

Putting down the bottle was the easy bit. It was how I started off every single day until by the afternoon, the voice in my head would tell me that life was way too hard to live like this and that a drink would make it all better. The anxiety would slip away, the nausea and shakes and aches and pains would recede as my body would relax. Taking that first drink was like coming up for air and made everything manageable, if only for a little while.

I knew from decades of failing – going in and out of sobriety, sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks or even months – that I couldn't do it alone. I was absolutely powerless and it felt like the fight of my life. I really needed help.

Recovery looks different for everyone but for me, it appeared as needing medical assistance through my doctor (suddenly stopping drinking at least two bottles of wine a night is not a good idea), weekly sessions with an alcohol and drug counsellor, two weekly support meetings within a recovery community and daily contact with other people sober people. It meant unconditional support from my family and friends, even when I was impossible to be around. It meant voraciously reading sober blogs, recovery literature and watching

documentaries on alcoholism, every day. It meant endlessly sitting in my feelings and relentlessly facing everything in my life head on, instead of running to a drink. It meant holding on even when I hated my life and everyone in it, including me. Especially me.

Saying it wasn't easy was an understatement. It was awful being sick and tired, even though I was sober. Wasn't this supposed to be the easy bit? The reward? Wasn't I supposed to be skipping through life, sober, happy and free?

The truth is, it took a long time to feel like that, and I needed a lot of help. But I did get there.

This morning, I woke up early, the sun shining on my face. I am healthy. I feel content. I have no remorse or regrets about what I did last night. I have energy for my life and the people I care about. I am sober. I really want to live. And I wouldn't change that for the world.

From one alcoholic to another, my wish for you is recovery. A good, solid life in recovery is like a dream come true for someone who is dependent on alcohol. It's the difference between night and day, between life and death. You can do this, with the right help. Reach out today and make a start on a sober life that you will never regret.

Phone Elaine for a confidential chat on 027 573 7744.

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