A couple of weeks ago I received a lovely email from one of my readers, a Spanish lady who has proudly reached her six month sobriety milestone after a few false starts. And proud she should be! Those first six months are probably the toughest, but also the most rewarding to get through, with the mad nightmares and beer cravings finally starting to subside, and the fog of a brain battered by perpetual hangovers beginning to lift.
Keen to mark this occasion she asked if she could write a guest blog for SoberPunks, and share her story with all of you fellow sweaty man-babies.
I said NO, but she threatened to come round and kick the fuck out of me – so here it is, completely unedited for full Spanish effect:
Hey there! This humble post is to celebrate my sixth month sober. You may find six months a petty milestone, but for me this is amazing. I’m immensely happy that six months ago I was able to identify the “this is enough” moment one night in which, during a blackout, I almost ended up in a prison cell of the foreign country where I had just moved in.
Let me start by saying that I’m a Spaniard, so bear with me if my writing is not as rich as it could be (I’d kick your asses if I wrote in Spanish, people!)
I started with heavy drinking at weekends when I was 15. My introduction to “cubalibres” coincided with the beginning of my eating disorders, anorexia. There is nothing special here: a kind of attractive but a bit wonk teenager girl, pathologically obsessed with what others (mainly guys) thought about her. The classic recipe for a fruitful career of heavy partying, too frequently bad choices concerning sexual encounters (let me be clear, I’m in favour of casual sex, but only when you freely and consciously engage in it, and guess what! that hardly happens when you are totally wasted), and of course, of causing a lot of pain to myself and to my loved ones.
This is another cliché, but I think that my early drinking started with a painstaking search of my self-esteem (spoil alert, that slippy bastard is not at the end of your glass of gin). As you all know, this is just counter-productive. I thus entered in a vicious circle of anxiety, stress, depression and heavy anorexia at some point.
All this shit-cycle was well kept inside of me, while for the outside world I was just another normal annoying teen. I soon became somehow a bit “popular” (and quite a selfish asshole), and a later I started my first stable relationship with a very nice guy, then I got a degree, etc.
I also had many insane funny moments. With my group of friends we would get ourselves inside of rubbish bins and race in the middle of the road. I would also often look so cool in my impossibly tight mini-skirt, laughing or flirting while zipping from a glass of whiskey and coke (yes, I drank whiskey because I was too cool for a girlish drink like rum).
I honestly think I could have continued with this shitty life-style on and on. Shitty because the supposed rewards that alcohol gave me where just a blatant lie. The costs, on the contrary, were real and devastating. I’d end many nights desperately crying for no apparent reason, I’d wake up wishing to turn the clock back, or even searching in my wrecked memory to figure out if I that episode that popped up as a fragmented nightmare had really happened. My bile, as my dignity, going through the toilet in those endless days.
I’ve now realised that my then little sister was seeing in this pathetic figure, void of self-respect, the model of what “a woman with success” should look like. How great that is!
As I got older, the cool part of drinking was less cool and the downside became more severe. I grew more self-conscious. I’ve screwed up many times; I’ve caused immense pain to my current awesome partner (one of the best people I’ve ever met, and this is not a typical Spanish exaggeration). I’ve been on the verge of losing him.
Six months ago, I had my rock bottom moment, which is too embarrassing to describe. Nothing too serious though, just damage to alien property during one of my frequents blackouts, being lost in the middle of an unknown city, not being able to explain myself in the local language – or in any language in fact-, thinking that I had been kidnapped and so on.
The day after, during one of the most horrible hangovers that I’ve ever had, I realised three things:
- First, that I could no longer cause pain and suffering to my partner for my irresponsible drinking: it was just utterly unfair and cruel.
- Second, that I could have seriously injured myself, and putting yourself in danger for a stupid substance is just idiotic. If you wanna jeopardize your life in a senseless manner, go to the Ultra Sur (Real Madrid’s hooligans) grandstand in the Santiago Bernabéu and shout “Visca Barça i Visca Catalunya!” (Note: the Ultra Sur were expelled from the Bernabéu due to their violent behavior, so option no longer valid, but very accurate still).
- Third, that I could also have ended the night in a police cell. Alcohol used to turn me very aggressive, like a 5 feet Mr Hyde in cocaine high. This is a comic picture for us, but not for cops, who are not precisely famous for being fond of aggressive or slightly brave people. If I have to end up behind bars I prefer it to be for a good cause or for having become a famous serial bank robber like Bonnie Parker, and not, again, for a stupid substance.
I’ve been on the wagon at least three times in my life, I’ve tried moderation, I’ve deployed all the tips that people without a drink abuse problem mention when you tell them you’re quitting drinks (all I have to do is to drink moderately? Seeeeeeriously? You genius!) This time I knew I couldn’t play games any more. I couldn’t fuck up once again.
I decided to stop drinking the day or the few days after that episode. I was shit scared at the beginning, but as the months have passed I’ve grown more confident, firm and happy.
I’ve enjoyed many funny moments (no more chariot races for me though). I’m even starting to overcome the fear of missing out. I won’t be the funny party animal that I used to be, but to hell with that, I’ve had almost 20 years of that!
My relationship with my partner has improved in such a way I cannot even measure. The thing with booze is that it creates problems where there are not, and it aggravates or makes it more difficult to solve those that you may have (this is the way I see it at least).
Even though I was hesitant when making the choice of quitting, I tell you something: at this point, people would have to try very very hard to make me drink again (and who would care so much about what the hell I consume to make that effort, right?)
I don’t know if my silly story is of use to anyone, but it’s great to share it, and I hope it wasn’t too boring and that it was sweary enough for soberpunks!
Loves lass and lads!
There’s something to be said for making a fuss about these milestones, and going out of your way to share your success stories with the world. Not only is it a celebration of your achievements so far, but also you are sending a bat-signal up into the sky to say I’M SERIOUS ABOUT THIS SHIT! DOUBTERS BE DAMNED!
The other huge benefit to sharing this stuff, and one of the main reasons that I set SoberPunks up back in 2016, is that these success stories share hope among the people who need it the most – the people who are waking up this morning with a head full of regrets and a mouth full of fuzz, and they sit at their laptops and start typing into the Googles ‘help with quitting drinking…’
Without people like you, Sober Señorita, there’d be a lot less hope and guidance out there for people struggling to cope with their booze problems. Maybe tomorrow morning someone will read your story, and it will help them to get sober for the first time in years. And then maybe, in six months time, they’ll also write their story down for the world to read, and someone else will read it and be inspired to make a positive change. And maybe that person will go on to share their experiences too, and on and on it goes…
This is the wonderful thing about sharing within the recovery community. It starts with a small push, but brings a lovely warm feeling which slowly spreads until it can no longer go unnoticed.
Just like pissing your jeans on the tube.
Wanna read my big wanky blog from the start? Click here.
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