Photo by: Corinne Cunningham

Four Years of Sobriety: Then and Now

by Corinne Cunningham
Photo by: Corinne Cunningham

Four years ago, the 26th of January was a Tuesday. I think. I woke up with a massive hangover, and an admission via a drunken late night email to my husband with those words… I’m an alcoholic. There was no other way to do it, in my mind. And there was no going back. January 26th is a date that will forever be etched into our minds, a date on the timeline of our lives. Our marriage.

At first I counted days. Then weeks. Then months of sobriety.

We celebrated little milestones, that eventually became bigger milestones, and now we’re at the point where we don’t look at the 26th of every month as a victory, but each year. Yes, each day is a victory of sorts. One day at a time, right? But for me, in my sobriety, four years in, it’s more of a choosing freedom daily, instead of choosing not to drink each day.

There’s a freedom in letting go of the things that harm you. Keep you back. Tie you to your burdens. Make you someone you’re really not.

That freedom is the biggest gift sobriety has given me. The knowledge that you can let go of harmful practices, people or things is a powerful gift to have on your side. There’s a mental list that I keep of the things I’m proudest of in my life. Our marriage is one. Birthing and mothering my children is another. But quitting drinking is up there as well.

Most of my daily life as I know it wouldn’t be possible if I had kept drinking. If I had kept hiding.

My story is not unlike many others. I’ve been thinking of sharing old blog posts from that raw part of my life, for people who might not know the story, who might need to hear it. There’s power in our stories. There’s power in our truths. They are not cookie cutter, one size fits all, stories and truths, recoveries and processes – but they can empower others and bits of our stories can be identified with by others. I truly and honestly believe that fact.

This morning I woke up, head full of a cold and mind foggy with congestion. I hugged my babies, who aren’t really aware of all of this, of mommy’s allergy to alcohol {a phrase that many use to explain an alcohol problem to their children}. I went to the grocery store and bought a cart load of groceries, and also a mini orchid. I’ve always wanted one… but my inability to keep houseplants alive has frightened me out of buying one in the past. But today I bought one, I figured, why not? I’ve kept myself sober for four years, giving an orchid an ice cube a week is nothing.

Freedom in choices. Freedom in mindfulness.

There’s freedom in it all, even in the choices that seem so hard to make, that are so scary, that seem like life just won’t go on after they’ve been made. But life does move on. The key is how you will move along with it. With fear hanging over your head, or with freedom in your pocket.

Have you ever discarded something that held you back and experienced a new-found freedom?

Corinne Cunningham is a writer, daydreamer, a lover of words, books and the sea. She is a homeschooling mother of two, currently working on her first novel. You can read more about her on her blog, or connect with her on Facebook & Pinterest.

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