wellness

'Alcohol is destroying your life': A letter to my drinking self after 3 years sober.

I’m hiding in a toilet cubicle in a popular St Kilda establishment, taking deep breaths to calm my anxiety and trying to stop the tears. 

I can hear girls with perfect hair, laughing as they swap lip glosses and film Instagram stories. 

I am wearing an old maternity dress because it’s the only decent item of clothing that fits my bloated body. I look down at my fingernails, chewed to the quick, and realise I have never felt this out of place before. What happened to me? 

Watch: Your body, one year without alcohol. Post continues.


Video via Mamamia

I had been sober for three days after finally hitting my rock bottom and deciding to quit booze.

I was stuck between knowing that alcohol was destroying my life, and not feeling ready to say goodbye to the false sense of security it gave me.

My mind was racing: “How the hell am I supposed to navigate being sober? How will I ever fit in or socialise again? What will people think, knowing I had a drinking problem?”. 

The internal voice of my Wine Witch was so loud as she tried to persuade me: “Just have one drink to calm these nerves; one isn't going to hurt!”. But I knew it was never one drink.

I imagined myself waking up the following day, an anxious mess, knowing I had broken the promise I had made to myself so soon. I pushed through the craving, went home sober and cried myself to sleep. 

As I sit here today three years later, I think about what I would love to tell that woman in the toilet cubicle. She had no idea that she was on day three of her brand new life. One that would bring her more joy than she knew existed.

Lucy now. Image: Supplied.

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Dear Lucy, 

I know the thought of not drinking fills you with fear right now, but please trust me when I say you have nothing to lose and EVERYTHING to gain. I know you can’t see it now, but you are finally free of the vicious cycle of self-sabotage. 

You won't hate the woman you see looking back at you in the mirror for much longer. You won't be stuck in your unhealthy marriage forever and you’ll soon feel as though you deserve to hold the title of ‘Mum’ to your two beautiful children. 

Here are some very important things I would like you to know: 

Breaking free from alcohol isn't a walk in the park, but you’ll figure it out.

After quitting, you’ll be hit with some intense cravings. 

At times your hands will shake, your stomach will be in knots, and you will feel like throwing up. 

You’ll have some close calls in the early days, like the time you pour yourself a wine only to be distracted by the reminder that pops up on your phone: “Do not drink today, no matter what!”.

You’ll be so proud of yourself as you tip it down the sink and pick up your sobriety novel instead. 

The cravings will continue for weeks. 

You’ll regularly binge on sugar just to avoid drinking, but what you’ll soon learn is that behind every craving is a root cause that needs to be addressed. 

You’ll massage your little traumas out, one by one, like knots in your shoulders. 

It will hurt to begin with, but over time, you’ll be triggered less and less as your neural pathways rewire, and you’ll free yourself from the alcohol trap once and for all.

You’ll rediscover life.

Your 20-year drinking career has left you with deeply embedded subconscious beliefs about alcohol being a required part of life. 

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It’s at every dinner party and celebration. Hens parties, weddings and holidays revolve around it. You think it soothes you after a stressful workday, and that it makes the kids' chaotic dinner-bath-bed routine more tolerable. 

You believe it gives you something to look forward to and that it makes you happy. It doesn't; it’s been lying to you this whole time. 

Soon you’ll see that these beliefs have led you away from doing what makes you happy. 

You’ll discover what you truly enjoy doing (spoiler: it’s not blacking out in bars!). Spending time with family and nurturing friendships with people you love, early mornings, meditation and exercise will become your new favourite things to do. 

You’ll start to appreciate Melbourne’s restaurants and nightlife without embarrassing yourself and being left with crippling anxiety for days to follow. 

You’ll start having genuine fun for the first time in your life. Your social life will improve tenfold and, to top it all off, you’ll get to wake up as fresh as a daisy the next day after a night of deep, nourishing sleep. 

Image: Supplied.

You’ll have to face reality.

Sadly, as the veil of alcohol is lifted, you’ll find yourself stuck in a life that your sober self is not okay with. 

You were tolerating an unhealthy marriage for many years as the cycle of drinking kept you too small to feel you deserved anything better, and too fearful to take the leap. 

But a year after quitting, it will become blatantly obvious that your marriage is over. Sobriety will give you the gift of raising your self-worth and trusting your intuitive voice which will become too loud to ignore:  

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“Lucy, you have to leave.”

You'll leave.  

You’ll leave other things behind too, like your family home, a few low-vibe friendships and your marketing career. All this leaving will be tough, but you’ll know that it's a necessary part of intentionally creating a life you love. One that you’ll never want to numb out from or escape again.

You’ll recreate your world - on your own terms.

The freedom that sobriety will give you isn't just freedom from alcohol. You’ll be free from low self-worth and a lack of self-belief. 

As your self-worth rises, so will your ability to start creating a much happier and more fulfilling life for yourself. It will feel like a second chance to get it right.

You’ll get clear about the kind of man you want to share your life with, without making any sacrifices, and only a few months into your single life, he will show up and you’ll start building a wonderful life together.  

You’ll become a life coach and start Thrivalist with an incredible business partner you’ll soon meet, Jen Clements.

This type of self-worth and self-belief will be your new superpower for creating the life you truly desire. One that your drinking problem always held you back from.

Please stop crying, this is nearly over, I promise. 

Love me. x

Listen: On this episode of The Quicky, Mamamia's daily news podcast, we explore what life is like for a recovering alcoholic. Post continues below. 


If you’re considering quitting drinking, but fearful about how different your life will be, I encourage you to ask yourself these two questions:  

1. What real joy is drinking bringing to your life right now? (Get honest with yourself here.)

2. How is drinking holding you back from the life you dream about? 

If I didn't take the leap and quit drinking three years ago, it frightens me to think what my life would be like today. Similarly, it excites me to think, if this much positive change can come from three years of sobriety, what will my life look like in another three?

For more information on Thrivalist, visit www.thrivalistsobriety.com, join the free Thrivalist Facebook Community here and follow them on Instagram. For more from Lucy, follow her on  Instagram.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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