Emily lives in the woods, by the ocean in a small Maine town. Her job is an office at home so she is always interested in keeping busy, learning and being active in a positive way. She’s a big gym person and loves lifting heavy weights.
She is also passionate about nature, fresh air and really enjoy solitude. Her husband is a huge part of her life and is very supportive of her (again positive) pursuits, like self-help, recovery, and refinishing furniture – whatever has a purpose. Emily has a great blog: first lap sobriety where she is chronicling her journey into sobriety.
1) Describe your ‘rock bottom.’
I’ve had what seem like several “rock bottoms.” Being severely hard on myself, basically every time I got wasted (which at least was 3 out of every 5 times I drank) the next day I would think I wouldn’t drink anymore or as much or during the week or nothing ever more than wine or no more than 2 glasses or whatever. I would set out in the morning one way, then by the end of the day just drink and that would be it.
I’ve had so many horrible times drinking, it really would be hard to say. But I guess the last occasion, that wasn’t bad really at all, was the last time I had a drink. It was a night like any other, couple glasses of wine in rapid succession while making dinner, a couple more while eating, gulped down. And I looked over while eating and saw how the second wine bottle was almost empty. I’d already finished the half one from the previous night and this one I opened after that just a few minutes ago really. My husband had probably had 1 glass to I’d had like 3 and was already thinking about the next. I asked him, want me to open another bottle? And I felt such shame about it and he said no that’s ok. But I remember thinking, but I HAVE to open another one. And I just saw how I would never get enough and it was so shameful and embarrassing. I didn’t say anything to him at all further about it but I knew how I was going to put a stop to it once and for all. The next morning I was still thinking about it and knew what I had to do. I had to write down on a post-it note August 12, 2015 – first day of sobriety. I knew once I put it down I had to stick with it. I was really scared to write it.
2) What were your first 30 days of recovery like?
I felt like I was going on a journey. Like I had to prepare and pack – getting alternative teas to drink, mixing them up, making sure I had plenty of iced ones for dinner time, mixed with bedtime tea to make me feel chilled out. Setting boundaries like that I wouldn’t go into a liquor store or a bar or eat food that had been cooked in wine for a while, at least 3 months.
I didn’t drop any pounds, so that was a disappointment. I mean, I wasn’t eating donuts instead of drinking 4 glasses of wine, so how come no auto weight loss? My senses did feel sharper and I did start to feel a lot of memories come back, which I have been having to deal with. That was really hard too. Sobriety was pretty much on my mind all the time and I felt good about it, but also a bit wary, like I hoped I didn’t mess it up or become a dry drunk as time went by. I worried. But also felt relieved that I didn’t have to deal with the mess of drinking anymore. I felt freed too.
3) What are the best things that have happened to you since you got clean/sober?
I would often “realize” I was not drinking or hungover and be like wow…that’s good! I slept better and had to pee less; as a compulsive pee’er it was a relief. The irritation on my whole system was quickly obvious. Eyes much more white, skin got clearer. A lot less bloated. As a fitness person, that’s a big one. Also – it was pretty idiotic to care for fitness so much but drink like I was. Really stupid. I’ve made some strides in making sure I’m more accountable for myself and how I spend my time. I’ve been more organized, my memory is better, I feel more firm in my words.
4) If you could go back in time to you when you were drinking/using what would you tell yourself?
Oh man…I would tell myself to stop right that second, so that all those bad things wouldn’t happen. Like making a FOOL out of myself, hurting myself, being furious, hanging out with bad people for me, gaining weight, not being all I could be, and ruining my brain. I would tell myself to cut the crap, stop drinking and that it would never do me any good whatsoever, while not drinking would be such a better choice. Plus save that money you idiot and stop trying to buy drinks for people. Stop trying to consume and push everything into yourself. You must product good, you cannot buy or ingest it. Also – all those nips you are drinking, plus the wine, every Sunday night in particular, then driving an hour to work at 5 am? Those are so so bad and you could have been still drunk in the morning. You can’t take those chances. Always had a hangover, every day.
5) What have been the most useful things you have learnt about yourself since getting sober/clean?
That I actually can finish things I set my mind to, that I can be patient, compassionate, laugh, converse, and be present, in a fuller way.
6) Tell me about something wonderful that happened to you recently that never would have happened if you had been drinking.
I went for a drive to the water after dinner. I was feeling anxious and wanting to see the moon, it was a huge moon. So I got into my Jeep and went to see it, then came back to the house and got my husband to go see it with me. If it had been before I never would have gone as once I started drinking I was a prisoner of wherever I was.
7) What are your favorite recovery slogans?
Let go so you can let God.
I would rather go through life sober believing I was an alcoholic than go through life drunk believing I am not.
It works if you work it.
8) And lastly, why does ‘recovery rock?’
Recovery rocks – especially in today’s world – because there is a lot of support and opportunity to share and hear our stories and learn from others. I know being in recovery still has a stigma to some people/businesses, but there’s also so much support and options out there. Recovery rocks because without it we’re just one drink or drug away from being unable to handle anything at all. The thing we’re running from never goes away no matter how hard we try to run. If we deal with whatever it is it makes it easier and we can appreciate the good things more.