Little did I know….

Fred plopped himself down next to a book on the couch (I really didn't stage this!) and it looks like the little star is coming right out of his head!
Fred plopped himself down next to a book on the couch (I really didn’t stage this!) and it looks like the little star is coming right out of his head!

For a month or so, my son Matt and I have been texting each other everyday with something that we are grateful for. Just short, one sentence statements like, “I am grateful for water.”  Some have also been silly, but I really look forward to these little communications. Yesterday I found myself texting, “I am so grateful to be sober.” Matt texted back, “I am so grateful that you stayed sober.”

It wasn’t hard to get sober. It was hard to drink. Right before I got sober, my life felt life a crazy roller coaster ride. My behaviour was unpredictable and erratic. My mind was in constant turmoil. I was arrogant and deeply insecure, and I was, as they say in the Anonymous programs, so very “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

It wasn’t hard to get sober, but it was hard to wake up hung-over and embarrassed about what I partially remembered saying the night before. It was hard to try to censor myself and to not slur my words. It was hard to try to ration my drinks and after 2, forgetting my resolve and finishing the bottle. It was hard to wake up at 2 in the morning, sick and hung over and hating myself.

My sons were 4 and 8 when I stopped drinking. As bizarre as this sounds to me now, I can remember (before I got sober) thinking, “How could I stop drinking?! Life wouldn’t be any fun. And I wouldn’t even be able to join in the champagne toast at my sons weddings!” It was unfathomable that this would be completely irrelevant almost 27 years later.

I thought that life without alcohol would be boring and really dull, but that would be the price I’d have to pay for not being sick anymore. Little did I know that just the opposite would be true.

I can remember the first day that I walked into an AA meeting feeling like I didn’t know anything and for the first time in my life, not trying to hide this fact. I let myself be led. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of life for me.

“In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is.” Bill Wilson (Co-founder of AA)

21 thoughts on “Little did I know….”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. 29 years this coming October. Walking into the hall was frightening that first day. Relating to the woman speaker that day was a blessing and the beginning of an incredible journey that is still ongoing.

  2. Tears and smiles of joy this morning. I am so greatful for the beautiful, sharing, loving person you are. You’ve written for us before that God doesn’t only give us one chance…He gives us many. What a leap of faith (in yourself) you took
    27 years ago…and you learned (and help inspire us) to fly!

  3. Mary…so proud of you and Jack. I know it must have been hard for you but you succeeded. You spurred a thought of mind that I used to think when I was still smoking…everyday life wouldn’t be fun and how would I get through the day. Its funny how we preceed things in our minds.   Have a great day. Love all the news on Matts wedding.   Love Jeanne

    1. Thank you Jeanne…but it wasn’t hard at all (when I was ready)….i was talking with someone the other day about sobriety and how it almost seemed like the drink let go of me….no struggle, no regrets, ….it fell away ( I did however have to learn to think a new way, and that was amazingly challenging!)

  4. Mary, I am constantly amazed at how open you can be about yourself and I think this is one of the most wonderful things about you and this blog of yours. My father was an alcoholic. That term was never used in our home growing up, though. I’m in my seventies now and an alcoholic parent was not unusual in those days; many of my friends grew up with this problem in their lives as well. It marked me in ways that I still am not fully aware of even yet. When I was sixteen, my mother hit the wall with a crisis with my father’s drinking and I remember to thhis day, my dad and I walking to the doctor’s house to tell him, he came, I sat in the stairwell, sobbing. I don’t know what went on in the bedroom with my parents and the doctor but the end result was that my father was admitted the following week to the Bell Clinic which later became Donwoods, the first clinic for addictions in Toronto.. My dad never took another drink after that although liquor was always kept in the house for guests. My parent’s lives changed dramatically after my dad stopped drinkiing. Their friends, many of whom were alcoholics themselves, they saw little of after he became sober. When I married, in tribute to my pride in my father, I elected to have a dry wedding. My dad, although loving of me and never abusive, was emotionally absent most of my growing up years. I have the greatest respect for people who can stop drinking when it becomes a problem in their lives and I have little tolerance for those whose lives are being destroyed by alcohol. I’m not proud to admit this. I simply can’t be a part of someone’s life when they are under the control of an addiction such as this. Hearing you talk about how it was for you from the other side of the spectrum, helps me understand a different point of view.
    Sandy P in canada

  5. Beautiful! Life without alcohol for me is
    life without alcohol…without the altered mind and without the mask….a natural high…with some pain and discomfort sprinkled in …….I don’t want to miss a day of it!!!!

  6. My mind is thinking too many thoughts after reading this, too many painful memories I guess, so I will just say thank you for sharing, Mary, thank you for accepting the gift of sobriety, thank you for giving your two young sons their mother back and taking good care of her.
    When my dad was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer he got sober, I remember thinking it was so good to have him back and those two and a half years before he passed away were so special for our family.
    Blessings to you everyday for your strength, your wisdom, and your friendship. xoxo Marian

  7. My dad was an active alcholic, and our household was very unhappy much of the time, yet my experience of getting sober has been that I never minded being around those who continued to drink (after a couple of years of getting my sober-feet under me). I still hardly notice if someone is drinking or not and if I’m at a friend’s house (or out at any social occassion) and they ask me if I mind if they drink, I’m always surprised. …my thought is, “Why would I mind you doing something that you enjoy?” I love celebrating life in ways that feel good to me and I let others celebrate in their own way. True sobriety is freedom from all fear, worry or judgement about alcohol.

  8. Today, Mary, your comments touched a chord for me….2 years sober in 12 days. I remember that May 6 morning nearly two years ago, waking up in a detox unit of the hospital. I knew it was time to start on a new path. My new path has brought me life, a new partner, a wonderful dog who is also a good friend and near constant companion, and the oppty to travel in a motorhome around this great country of ours and meet people of all walks. I am eternally grateful to those who helped me in the beginning: my family, the hospital and rehab folks, and the AA. Like you, I too was “sick and tired of being sick and tired”. As always, Mary, my love reaches out to you. Thank you so much for this subject and your commentary.

  9. You’re always writing what I’m thinking! How do you do that? I tend to think, “well, I’m the only person who experiences life that way.” Apparently not! It’s very comforting and uplifting. I have ten years in now, and every day I am delighted to be done with living in fear of what I had done or might do while drinking. When I first got sober, and wasn’t struggling to avoid drinking, and in fact was really enjoying my new life, a counselor told me I was “on a pink cloud” and at some point, it would crash and the real struggle would begin. Still waiting….

  10. Thank you, Mary for this post. After many years, sometimes the journey of sobriety gets forgotten. For reminding me to be grateful for mine, I am so grateful.

  11. Mary, I so understand and I am so grateful for my 21 years of sobriety!!! Sometimes it seems like our personal journeys are only ours and nobody else can relate or has experienced these thoughts. Thank you for sharing!!!

  12. BRAVO, MARY!!!!

    A toast to your freedom with a fresh brewed mug of coffee!
    Celebrate each day, live joyfully.


  13. Oh Mary, I can so relate with your story. That’s how it works. I too have a life second to none and my daughter has told me the same thing your son related to you. I love your new tradition with your son and if I may I am going to ask my daughter to start this with me.
    I’m so grateful you stayed sober also so your inspiration can touch us all.

  14. Bravo!
    I am sending you and Jack a virtual high five!
    Hope you will write more about this, so many need to garner strength from the process.

  15. Mary
    I find great value in your blog. It seems like the times I am having more downs than ups . Something in your blog that day is relevant and helps me deal with it in a healthy manner . I feel a common bond with your thought process and the journey we take to healthy thinking. I am the same age and want a peaceful kind role in the life I have been given. It does at times seem to be contagious . Thanks Mary and have a wonderful day. Sharon

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