What is your sober date? Tell us a short paragraph on how you are living your best life now post addiction and recovery.
In the past i’ve struggled with an eating disorder and alcoholism. i don't know if i could say that i have an exact date as to when i started my recovery of my eating disorder, but i do know that it was at its peak throughout high school (2009-2013.) however my sober date for alcoholism is october 4th 2018. i’ve had lapses in both alcoholism and eating disordered behaviours, and i can only work toward keeping my sobriety and my strength for the future. since my recovery, i’ve removed myself from a toxic work environment, seen friends that i hadn't seen for years, and i’ll be starting university in the new year!
How did addiction keep you from living your best life?
I know now that i was extremely irritable and lonely when i was drinking. i’ve always been shy, so i didn’t think too much of it. in high school, i know that i was extremely obsessive over everything i ate and didn’t eat. holidays were really hard, and being around family in general was almost always tense. i was diagnosed with severe depression, and generalized anxiety at the age of 14, and using alcohol and/or my eating disorder definitely fed my sadness. just because these behaviours felt good and euphoric at the time, that only suppressed my trauma to come back the next day.
What and who guided you toward an addiction free journey?
From the time that i was 15 through 19 years old, i was seeing my counsellor, Lisa. she’d been through everything with me, and i don't know if i could count how many times she saved my life. unfortunately, she has cancer, so i haven't seen her much since then but i know that i want to make her proud. i have an amazing support system of close friends and family that sat with me through the darkest times, and stood by me as i picked myself up again.
What plan and steps did you take to get out of addiction?
I’ve been seeing social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists to help me understand who i am. i am enrolled in two weekly groups through mental health and addictions services, and they are more so education groups instead of sharing groups. i have learned mindfulness, meditation, breathing techniques, self compassion, understanding and explaining my thoughts and feelings, and self acceptance. i’ve started a gratitude journal of small daily things such as my stuffed animals on a cozy night, my favourite songs to blast in the car, my friends for loving me, and living in a city with such a beautiful sunrise and sunset.
When did you decide it was time to take action?
When it came to my eating disorder, i could deal with the dizziness and fatigue, but i worried about infertility. i know that when i drank, i didn’t care about wanting to live. knowing and remembering my parents’ addictions, really put my own into perspective. i was raised by my grandma because my mother was barely 22 when she had me. she wasn’t mentally ready to have children. though she has struggled with mental illnesses all of her life, she hasn’t ever been a good mother. she has always loved my brother and me, but she continues to choose her drinks, her smokes, or her men over us. since i was little, i’ve always said that if i ever have a kid, i never want to put them through what i went through. though i hadn’t lost my job, my car, or my home, i know that i couldn’t afford to fully lose myself. there were and are things that i don’t want to have and be, but i know that i am worthy. i am selfless, kind, smart, passionate, and loved. i know that it was the right decision, and i will continue to make that decision.
What was at stake for you if you didn’t take these actions to get sober?
Though i hadn’t lost my job, my car, or my home, i know that i couldn’t afford to fully lose myself. there were and are things that i don’t want to have and be, but i know that i am worthy. i am selfless, kind, smart, passionate, and loved. i know that it was the right decision, and i will continue to make that decision.
For someone in the same situation as you were who wants to get clean, what would you tell them?
I understand. you are going to be okay, and it’s okay if all you can do today is breathe. take things one day, one hour, or one second at a time. these things will take time, but tell yourself little things of affirmation. as an example, i have little sticky notes all over my apartment and on my mirrors with reminders. some of them are, “i am enough, i am loved, i am worthy, scream when you need to, you got this, breathe, i believe you.” i know that i don’t know you, but i want you to know that i love you.
My name is sarah, and i am 23 years old. i have experienced mental illness first hand and second hand for as long as i can remember. i am enrolled in university, and i will be pursuing a career in social work. i am a caring and selfless person, and i have always been the one that in which my friends confide. i am a survivor of sexual trauma, and i am a driven advocate for those with similar situations. for anyone wanting a sounding board, someone to yell at or with, and or just a friend, i’m here and i care.
for any contact, you can reach me at my instagram @sadlysarah_
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