The Party Girl Challenge, One Year Sober

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You’ve heard the saying…reality sucks.

I disagree.

On January 21, 2012 I quit drinking.

On March 21, 2013 I quit everything else…which for me included smoking pot and cigarettes. (If you read my blog regularly you will know I went back to the cigarettes about two months later) When I think about my one year soberversary…real sobriety…today is that day. Cause I have been a regular pot smoker for most of my adult life. I use the term “adult” loosely because I started smoking pot fairly regularly at about age 15. Pot was my drug of choice.  I am somewhat of an anxious person, I think too much…I worry too much. Pot allowed me to have one thought at a time. This was a relief for me. I would say I craved pot in a way that I never craved alcohol. Ok wait, I started to crave alcohol about six months before I finally quit. But up to that point, I was a pot smoker first and a drinker second. I was known for my ability to out smoke most everybody. Pot didn’t make me paranoid, it didn’t give me crazy munchies, it just slowed me way down and it numbed me. I didn’t feel everything so deeply. The world was little fuzzier around the edges. I liked that.

So I smoked whenever I could. I found that my productivity suffered if I smoked pot during the day so I mostly smoked it late at night. Smoke a little pot, drink a little wine=relaxation.

My version of hitting bottom revolved around drinking and it was the drinking that was scaring the shit out of me. Coming from a family of alcoholics, I was always a little weary of drinking. So when I quit drinking, I didn’t quit smoking pot. It made it a little easier. But after two months of alcohol free living, I decided to go all reality all the time.

No fuzzy edges, no reduction of pain, no numbness.

Wow, that was a shock. I couldn’t get my bearings for a while. I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing. I was overwhelmed with emotions I hadn’t been feeling. I started to ask myself some really big questions. I didn’t like all of the answers. Some of them intrigued me and others scared the shit out of me.

Getting used to simply living life was absolutely overwhelming. Learning to simply “be” is truly the hardest thing I have had to learn. Sounds kind of silly, right? Learning to just be…to be present in conversations, to hear what others are really saying instead thinking so much that the world is shut out entirely, being honest about what I was feeling and not feeling…wow, that was hard.

But I did it. And I’m doing it. And it’s actually not that bad. Reality doesn’t suck as badly as I thought it might. Life is not nearly as scary as I thought it might be. Feelings pass, even the really tough ones…they pass when you feel them. Numbing them just puts them in a feelings holding pattern, stored up for the next minor infraction like being cut off on the freeway and screaming at the offender like a crazy person. Yep, you can avoid feelings for a while but you can’t avoid them forever. They come out.

SO those first few months of true reality were sort of like squinting at the sun, I kept my eyes partially shut, unsure what was going to happen with all this reality surrounding me. Eventually, I got a little braver. I got a little more used to being the soberest person in the room….instead of my old life as the most wasted person in the room. And today, after one year of real sobriety, I have days where I approach the world with a completely open heart. I spend entire stretches simply “being” instead of trying so hard to be.  I can walk out into the world and know I will be ok. Certainly there are bad days, but they are getting a lot further apart.

I am doing good. I’m even happy sometimes.

Yeah, that sounds silly too. But I only knew one path to happiness before this year and that was alcohol and pot fake happy. Now I feel genuine happiness. It’s a beautiful thing. I want more of that.

I am at the point where I am ready to shut this blog down and start a new one. This blog was really about going one year sober…a challenge to myself that I put out into the world. I don’t know that I could have done it without this blog to keep me honest, to allow me to express my thoughts and feelings, to bounce ideas off other people through comments and other sober bloggers. This blog saved me. I am so grateful for that. I am also grateful for the online friends I have made over the past year. It has been the most difficult and most beautiful year of my life. In the past year I have quit drinking, quit smoking pot, and divorced my husband of fifteen years, moved out on my own for the first time in my life and admitted to myself and everyone else that I am GAY.


How’s that for a big finish?


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27 thoughts on “Reality

  1. I felt the boom right here in Qatar!
    Your honesty throughout all this has made your blog inspirational and an absolutely brilliant read.
    Wishing you some more good, honest, open and sober self-loving and other-loving in the next chapter of your life. It’s a brave new world – go and rock it!

    • Thank you. Three steps forward, two steps back. Your support from afar is very important…HUGS!

  2. If you shut it down please leave it up for others to visit!! don’t shut it down completely! Yay for coming out and admitting you are gay. There is so so much freedom that comes from being authentically ourselves without pretenses. I’m glad you’re not stopping blogging altogether because you are such a great writer and an inspiration to many!

  3. Please link to your new blog. Girl that’s a major year!! Congrats for living in your clear sober truth.

  4. This is awesome K! I loved your line about the memories. Can absolutely relate to all the lost time. Just keep on blogging and thinking and doing! And love Crystal Light! Also club soda with a splash of diet cranberry. Here’s to today! Cheers.

    • I have no idea why the above comment went on your blog! So sorry and I can’t figure out how to delete it. I will say huge congrats and I sure hope your new adventures at least link to this amazing journey of transformation!!!

    • And all the days to come. Peace to you!

  5. Boom is right!!! Renee you’ve helped me in so many ways, your honesty inspires me deeply :) . I still smoke pot, scared to stop. I’ve cut way back and go days without it and then I think about it and have some. Maybe in not ready…YET!!! If you shut this down, please don’t disappear!!!

    • Thank you. Pot rarely takes you to the bad places that alcohol can and does take you. It’s definitely an excellent method of reducing anxiety. Maybe your doctor doesn’t prescribe it but he/she probably should. I was ready, you will be too someday.

      Take care of yourself!

  6. Reality is awesome! Your transformation has been a joy to watch, especially since we’ve experienced so many of the same feelings. I totally understand your need to start fresh with a new blog to reflect where you are now. Follow your heart and instinct which you can absolutely trust if you really listen. Secrets destroy us and I’m so excited for you to live your truth!

  7. Huge congrats on your one year of sobriety and even huger congrats for coming out!

    I hope you’ll stay in touch!

    At Gmail Dot com

  8. It’s amazing to me the depth to which we can discover ourselves when we give up the chemicals.

    I second the request to leave this blog out there. Not only the individual posts are good, but the overall story about giving it up for a year, and then discovering it was a better way is a powerful one and could help many people.

    • Yes, I have the blog up for the time being. I will likely create a new one that is more focused on the new truth of my life. Thank you for your constant positive influence.


  9. Bam. :) That is some finish.
    Yours is the 1st blog I found about getting and staying sober!

    I have enjoyed following your story and relating to you which made me feel not so alone. I agree with everyone above. You are an inspiration and your blog has helped me and will to help countless others if you choose to leave the it up.

    Enjoy the freedom of living sober. You rock.

  10. Carle on said:

    You my friend, are nothing less than amazing! I’m glad to see you come out on the other side of this year in such a happy and amazing place in life… For the first time the world is your oyster and you have found you!! I love you to the ends if the Earth and back. Happy coming out!!!

  11. Another good post, with a cracker of an ending.
    Good on you Renee.

    I wish you all the best for the future.


  12. Yes, awesome blog, let us know if you move to a new one! And congrats on everything, this sure has been a full and awesome year for you!

    • Full that is very true. It’s a scary world out there but I am ready to face it.
      Take care of yourself!

  13. ekellymarcom on said:

    I have a wise friend whose abiding life approach is simply to “live a fully expressed life”…congratulations on reaching that destination and thank you for sharing your journey. Wishing you safe and happy travels on your continuing path onward and upward!

    • That’s the hope anyway…the desire.

      Thank YOU for your encouragement and friendship.


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