My Story of Sobriety – Katie’s Naked Life
Katie has a story of sobriety that so many of us can relate to. Drinking too much, stopping, moderating, and ultimately – drinking again. Katie realized her story didn’t truly begin until she embraced living a Naked Life and the freedom that comes with it.
My Story Of Sobriety
It’s 9:45 pm on Friday night and I’m almost three months into my Sobriety journey. For the last seven years of Friday nights it was a rarity that I would be this cognitive at this time of night, let alone be documenting my story of sobriety!
All I Knew
I grew up surrounded by drinking. My parents became pretty heavy drinkers as my siblings and I got older. Friday and Saturday nights we went to the bar behind our house with them. We actually loved going because as the parents drank the night away, we got popcorn, played video games, had ice cream sundaes, and stayed up pretty late.
Though we knew the fallout that would typically ensue when we got home. A lot of their drinking led to some heated fights that we’d have to listen to as we fell asleep. Things progressively got worse as we got older. The drinking and fighting escalated for years and ultimately ended in an angry divorce when I was 18. Watching what alcohol did to my parents and our family dynamic made me realize that it was something I never wanted for my life. You’d think that would sum up my story of sobriety but it didn’t.
Drinking Wasn’t A Big Deal
I didn’t have my first drink until I was 20. My early 20’s were spent drinking here and there but not regularly at all. I enjoyed occasional nights out with friends but just didn’t feel the need to seek out drinking events.
My husband and I started dating when I was 22. By the time I was 23 (2008) I was pregnant and gave birth to my daughter. He also had a daughter who was 11, so suddenly at a pretty young age I was a mother to 2! I loved being a mom, a wife and drinking still did not play a huge role in my life. In fact, I even recall in marriage prep my husband answering a question regarding your spouse’s drinking habits with me having more of a habit of not drinking!
I didn’t need it and didn’t really think about it. Furthermore, I still hadn’t forgotten what it had done to my childhood.
In 2013 my husband transferred jobs to a different airline. This meant he was going to have to be based and basically live out of state for his first year with the company. We had also just had our oldest daughter, my stepdaughter, move in with us full time. I was pretty devastated leading up to when he was to leave for training. One of my biggest fears is being home alone. I have always had anxiety about being home alone growing up and so I was not looking forward to this, let alone the fact that I was going to miss him so much.
My story of sobriety begins with the story of my drinking. I had recently begun to drink wine very occasionally. The first weekend he was gone I started to feel the anxiety about being home alone with the girls. I truly feared someone was going to break in and harm us, even though we lived in a very nice, safe area. So I decided to ease my fears with a glass of wine.
This was an absolute game changer for me, as I had never in my life drank alone. I always thought that was what people with “a problem” do.
So I had a glass of wine that night and felt better almost instantly. I went to bed and woke the next day and felt fine. So as the story goes, I continued to have wine, only on the weekends my husband was away. I never drank on the weeknights, because again, that’s what people with “a problem” do.
As the year went on my husband would have a rare 2 day stretch off and he’d come home for a couple weekdays. We’d spend time together as a family and it was wonderful. I felt incredible highs when he was home that I’d never felt before. I think I was just relieved to have him near, have his support for the girls and knowing I’d be able to sleep soundly for a couple nights!
When Everything Changed
However, we decided to cut loose and have some drinks to celebrate him being home on a Monday. Now, I NEVER DO THIS. I do not drink on weeknights, but because he was home I decided to break my “rule.” Little did I know, breaking these “rules” was the beginning of the end.
We would stay up late on several weeknight occasions after getting the girls to bed and have drinks on the deck to celebrate having him home. I worked a very stressful job I hated at this time and had to be there at 6 am. You can imagine there were several mornings I was feeling pretty miserable at work. Also, I was now not only having one glass to ease my fears on the weekends, it was turning into 2-3.
I never let this affect my girls and always waited until they were in bed to have my first glass, but even so, if something were to happen in the night, I would be in no shape to handle it.
After a year, my husband was able to be home again, though, as a pilot, he often was away for 3-4 days at a time. Though that felt like nothing after that first crazy year away! By this time I was drinking regularly on the weekends and more socially with family or friends.
My Story Of Sobriety Has Shameful Moments
One of my lowest moments was when we had friends in town for Memorial Weekend. I didn’t drink hard liquor, but was coaxed into trying moonshine. Apparently I overdid it. As shameful as this is to admit, woke the next morning, in my daughter’s bed with her, and had thrown up on the pillow and floor. I had no recollection of this at all. I had the absolute worst hangover that day and still had to be functional enough to entertain people. Ugh! But not for one moment did I think, I should stop drinking. I just thought, I’ll never drink Moonshine again. So stupid.
Becoming A Regular Drinker
Over the next few years the drinking continued pretty regularly. My husband drank beer and I drank wine. At one point we even decided to start brewing our own beer and wine at home. This was probably one of the worst ideas. I literally had wine at my disposal for the better part of 6 months at a time with the wine kits. These wine kits make so much wine and for really cheap. We didn’t even bother bottling it, we kept it in a jug which was even easier access. This is where the drinking crept into the weeknights on a more regular basis. Thursdays were a reason to celebrate nearing the weekend, Sunday’s were last chance to relax before Monday. And occasionally a Wednesday night bonfire.
I also noticed myself craving the wine and getting excited for the part of my day where I could finally sit down and drink wine.
Now, my husband mostly drank beer, which is much lower alcohol content. So if he had 3 beers and I had three glasses of wine, it was fair to say that I was pretty blitzed at bedtime, while he likely felt more even-keeled. My pours were also getting bigger. I wasn’t pouring 5 or 6 oz glasses, nope, I had gallons of wine now so I would pour 9 oz glasses. Also, I would get embarrassed by the amount I’d pour, so before I got back upstairs with my glass, I’d already drank 3-4 gulps to conceal how much I’d poured.
In It For The High
My drinking had become chasing the buzz. There’s was no more casual drinking for me. I drank for purpose – to get buzzed or drunk, otherwise I didn’t see the point. I also began getting irritable if my wine was running low or if we weren’t home by the time I wanted to drink. Sunday dinners with family were excuses for me to overindulge a bit and let loose. I noticed social occasions where I would overdo it and likely be pretty embarrassing. Also, there were a few vacations with family that were just big drink fests. Near the end of each trip my husband would get pretty mad at me.
My Story Of Sobriety Begins
I started questioning my drinking around 2016-17. At this point I was drinking 3 glasses of wine on some weeknights when my husband was out of town to calm my anxiety. Going to work the next morning extremely hungover was just miserable. My husband and I started having pretty big fights, which was not normal for us. He would get mad at me for a certain reason that seemed strange. But I began wondering if it was really just frustration regarding my drinking and he didn’t know how to say it.
I decided to stop making wine kits and having so much wine available. I would now buy boxed wine and have to be responsible about how much I drank as it costs more. What a joke!
Boxed wine basically became “no one knows how much I drink” wine.
I recall running out of wine while my husband was out of town and going to the store for more and trying to drink it down so he’d think it was the same box. Oh my gosh. So awful.
This is where I started realizing something is not right here. I’m hiding the amount I drink and am embarrassed by it as well.
Deciding To Quit
January of 2019 we attended a funeral with family in Colorado. Though it was a somber and sad moment for me and my husband, I was also excited at the prospect of being away for my daughter so I could cut loose. I met new people and drank too much, not totally making a fool of myself, but also not putting my best foot forward. Again, my husband got mad at me for something and it was just awful. When he gets mad, the silent treatment he gives is miserable, especially around family. It’s literally one of the worst feelings ever. I decide then and there that I’m done. I cannot drink anymore because clearly it’s hurting our relationship, I’m embarrassing him, and I hate the way he treats me when he’s mad. Again, he’s never said it’s regarding drinking, but somehow it’s always when I am drinking.
So I quit.
The Negotiations Begin
February 1st of 2019 I decided to quit drinking for a few months. If I can do this, it means I don’t have a problem. I also decide I will no longer drink wine and I’ll switch to hard seltzer. I find Hip Sobriety and read a few stories and am absolutely shocked by how many people have such a similar story to mine. So I did it. I quit drinking for 2 1/2 months. Then, while at our beach condo, I decide to have an innocent mimosa. Very light on the alcohol. This was beginning of the end. I just didn’t know it yet. Through 2019, I stayed true to my word and almost entirely cut out the wine. I drank hard seltzer at home on rare occasions through the year. I behaved at social events and cut back on my alcohol consumption by about 80%. Most would see my story of sobriety as pretty successful in that regard.
In August, my stepdaughter married the most wonderful guy and I said I wasn’t going to go overdo it at the wedding. I still had to make myself promise these things as I had a history of overdoing it with alcohol. I stayed pretty true to my word. Though, I got “iced” during the reception (you’re forced to drink an entire wine cooler while everyone cheers, ugh). After the wine cooler I was loosened up and had a few extra glasses of champagne. The next day I woke up feeling my first hangover in quite some time.
I also woke with the familiar fear and anxiety of what did I do and say last night!?!? I hate that feeling! Sure, I hadn’t blacked out, but I still worried.
Luckily, most everyone else was pretty toasted, so no big deal right?
Opening The Door
But the door had now been opened into overdoing it again. I went the next few months with little to no overdoing it and moderating very well with my seltzer.
But I was constantly thinking about how much I was drinking, or getting frustrated that I wasn’t getting buzzed as easily on the hard seltzer.
Fast forward to December 2019. We moved into a new home and to celebrate and make unpacking more fun my husband and I bought 2 bottles of champagne. We each polished off a bottle and stayed up until 3 am unpacking. I woke the next day feeling pretty awful.
Here We Go Again
Then New Year’s Eve came and I had my daughter spend the night with my mom. I claimed it was because I thought she should spend some time with her. Over the past seven years it’s typically truly been because I’ve wanted to drink and not have her home for it. So my husband and I polished off about 3 bottles of champagne over the course of the night. We did have a lot of fun just hanging out at home together. Little did I know that this was all leading down the same road. I let alcohol back in and slowly, over the course of 2019 I was re-escalating my relationship with it. My story of sobriety was unraveling.
It All Falls Apart
Now it’s January 12th, 2020. I’ve planned a murder mystery party with family members at our new home. Though I didn’t admit it to myself, I’m strategic about who I’ve invited. People who like to drink. I’ve planned for my daughter to go to my mom’s because “we’ll be up late and I don’t want her to stay up that late.” Likely story.
And even though I tell myself I’m not going to over do it, I’m subconsciously setting myself up to do just that.
People start arriving and we’re getting into costume. It starts with a glass of Rosè, then I loosen up and start chasing the buzz. I get sloppy, I can hardly remember details of my character, I can hardly read my character info to the group. Some people are drinking, but others are not and they’re watching me slip into this drunken stupor. I suggest shots when we’ve plowed through all the Prosecco and wine. Straight Bacardi! So disgusting, but apparently a good idea in my head. I then get out Prosecco pong, but we’re out of Prosecco so I pour white claw in some cups and straight Barcardi in other cups. I get people to play 3 or 4 rounds. At this point I’m a complete goner.
It Was All A Lie
I’m hosting people in my new home and I am trashed. I’m the hostess for God’s sake!! People slowly start to leave, a couple nearing my level of drunk, but most are able to drive home. They just witnessed a total shit show. My husband has drank pretty hard as well, which is really a rarity for him. I remember going upstairs and trying to clean up the kitchen and immediately break a glass bowl. I fall to my knees in the glass and start sobbing uncontrollably. Not because of the glass, but because it all led back to this point. The “quitting” followed by the moderation was all a lie. My husband helped me clean the glass and I try to hide my tears. From this moment I remember nothing. I don’t remember going to bed, nothing.
I wake at 3 am feeling like a train has hit me. Thirsty but literally incapable of moving. I’m half out of the bed already (it’s how I’ve been sleeping). Terrified that my husband will see me, still in my dress from the night before. I forgot how much he had also drank. Sneaking to the kitchen, barely able to walk, I force water down. I am just sick and miserable. Sneak into the bathroom I slowly and painfully slip into pajamas. I lay in bed for hours replaying the night. Hating myself so much. So embarrassed that I consider going into hiding for a long time. I wonder what I said or did.
Fuzzy memories come back of suggesting shots, getting sloppy, pouring Bacardi into pong glasses. Ugh.
No Laughing Matter
I fall asleep for another couple hours. I wake to my husband looking at me. Luckily, he starts laughing, saying we overdid it last night. Of course, I laugh, but it’s not funny. I hate myself and am so ashamed. I’m 35 years old, not 20! We get up to go get our daughter and I can still hardly walk. I try to hide my misery and act as if I’m mostly okay. We are scheduled to go bowling in a couple hours and then have friends over later. How am I going to get through this day?!?
This Has To End
I feel better when I see my daughter. We have fun bowling with her but I’m still trying to hide one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had. As I look at her I realize that this is the end. This cannot go on. It’s for her. She doesn’t deserve a parent who behaves like this. I had parents who did that, and I hated it and it hurt our family and I cannot do this to her.
I know moderation is a joke. I’m scared of quitting and failing, but that just means that I cannot forget what this feels like.
Even here, now, three months later I’m sick about writing this. The feeling of that morning still makes me sick.
That day I go home and search for Hip Sobriety again and start reading. I happen upon a mention of Annie Grace and This Naked Mind. I search her and start reading stories and listening to podcasts and am hooked. The stories are all so similar but different but relevant in a way I need so badly. I order her book on kindle and read it over the course of a week. I know this is the end. But now, instead of just knowing, I have these invaluable tools in her book, podcasts, and reader’s stories!
Want to hear my story of sobriety? Start reading This Naked Mind for free today!
The True Beginning Of My Story Of Sobriety
I also know what it’s like to quit and fail and moderate and fail. I know so much more this time and over the weeks I realize I’ve been on this journey for much longer than I knew. It started with questioning my drinking, then led to discomfort and shame with my drinking. That led to an attempt to quit and prove that it wasn’t a problem, which led to moderation. Moderation led to total and utter failure. This time felt different.
With my own experience mixed with Annie’s book, I knew the only solution was sobriety. And I was happy about it, and suddenly free! I felt an insane amount of freedom! I don’t have to drink! Thank goodness, I don’t have to feel this way ever again!!!
3 Months Later
So here I am. Almost 3 months sober. I wake every day so incredibly grateful for being present. I’m present for my daughter, my husband, my day. In love with being present. Some days have been tough, there’s been warm evenings where a drink sounds like a good idea (because that’s what I would normally do) but I say no. There’s days that have been stressful (especially in quarantine!) and I have a fleeting thought that a drink could help, but I say no. And there’s been a few occasions out with family when others are indulging and I’m tempted to join, but I say no.
Each time I go back to the stories, the podcasts, the book. Because it takes time and tools to overcome this addiction. I’m grateful for the tools, I rely on the tools to remind me.
Share Your Story
I’m so grateful my new story of sobriety starts here. And I think it’s going to be a beautiful one, as long as I never forget where I’ve been. Thank you, Annie. You’ve truly helped change my everything. Has This Naked Mind been part of your story of sobriety? Please share your stories so you can help others!