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8 Thoughts After 8 Years Without a Drink

Updated: Feb 9, 2018

By Deanna deBara 02/02/18

It wasn’t until I accepted that things had changed - and, in fact, that everything in my life would continue to change - that I was able to let go and move on.

December 30, 2009 was the day of my last bender. And that means that New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2017, marked eight years without a drink. At this point, I’ve been alcohol-free longer than I drank.

The past eight years have been a lot of things: exciting, challenging, awe-inspiring, frustrating, transformative. And over the past eight years, I’ve learned a few things: about myself, about life, and about how to navigate both without a drink in my hand.

Here are eight thoughts I have after eight years without a drink:

1. Recovery takes time.

Like most people, on day one of my sobriety, my life looked like a tornado had blown through it. But for some reason, I thought the simple act of putting down the bottle would solve all of my problems. Like sobriety was a magic wand that would immediately repair all the damage I’d caused in my life. Yeah… not so much.

I didn’t wake up to a brand new life on day two of my sobriety. The wreckage caused by my drinking wasn’t magically tidied up in the first day (or month, or even year) of my sobriety. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight.

Recovery takes time.

Quitting drinking (or smoking or snorting or whatever it is you’re into) is just the first step in the recovery process. Letting go of substances allowed me to tackle my problems with a clear and sober mind, but it certainly wasn’t a cure-all. I still had to put in the work to clean up the mess my addiction left in its wake.

But recovery is a tricky thing. At first, it seemed like nothing was happening. I felt like I was putting in work every day to better my life and not much was changing. But then all of a sudden, one day I woke up and my life wasn’t a mess. It’s like the John Greene quote - “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

Recovery takes time. But it’s time well spent.

2. The only thing holding you back is… well, you.

I spent a lot of time in my addiction and early recovery feeling stuck. I thought that the story of my life was already written and that there wasn’t much I could do to change things. And, as a result, I never took any risks. I followed the status quo. I would daydream of the kind of life I wanted to have - a life full of adventure - but it felt completely out of reach.

But then, a few years into my recovery, I realized that ...


[CURATED CONTENT: Written By Deanna deBara, February 2, 2018 - originally published on]

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