ONE YEAR SOBER ・ HOW I SUCCEEDED IN ALCOHOL ADDICTION RECOVERY
Each year on my birthday I’d blow out my candles and wish for love.
The universe has a funny way of making wishes come true because seven months later I entered alcohol addiction recovery and started to fall in the deepest and greatest love of all, the love with my own self.
You see, prior to sobriety I was drinking daily. I didn’t know how to sit at a table and simply drink a glass of orange juice, it always had to have something in it like vodka, make it a double too. Back then I was an expensive date, now I’m a very cheap one.
I made the resolution to quit drinking many months before I actually did. I promised that I’d stop drinking the day after my sister’s wedding. To be honest, I actually regret drinking on her wedding. I remember the bartender making me a triple gin and splash of tonic and I remember his face when I took a sip and asked him if he’d put any gin in it. He was legitimately disgusted.
I could no longer taste alcohol and I was so deep in depression, my last resort was to face my demons without relying on substances. It scared the fuck out of me.
“My last resort was to face my demons without relying on substances. It scared the fuck out of me.”
I was more excited about documenting my journey the first 4 months, I announced it everywhere partly because it kept me accountable. The more people that knew, the less likely I were to relapse. In the first 3 months I struggled with fatigue, my body was craving it’s alcoholic sugar fix and my system kept crashing so I often found myself falling asleep at 4pm.
There was one problem though, I couldn’t stop with the D… dating. Yeah and that other thing too. I found myself still attracting the same dicks I’d always attracted in my past. When you enter recovery it’s advised you don’t date anyone for at least 12 months, not until you begin to get comfortable in your new skin. I found myself trying to combat two addictions, alcohol and dickheads. Fortunately though, there are plenty of forums online where you can seek advice and I did that, anonymously of course.
I started going to AA meetings at around 5 months into sobriety. If I ever thought that maybe I was overreacting to my love affair with alcohol in the past, AA cemented the fact that I wasn’t. I was 100% an alcoholic and for the rest of my life, I had to learn how to say no to my favourite vice.
Throughout my recovery I researched heavily. I’d google things like “What to expect at 3 months, 5 months, 8 months sobriety…” just to make sure I was on the right path. In January I wrote my Ted Talk and was ready to talk about how my trauma and addictions interfered with my life for 11 years and how I was currently defeating those demons.
Then I entered PAWS, Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome. It was nasty. I had such heavy breakdowns that I didn’t want to do anything, I slipped in and out of depression and when I cried, I heaved like I was grieving. I cried on the kitchen floor asking God why he chose me, I didn’t want to go through it anymore. I was tired, I was confused and all over again, I was in pain. Was sobriety really worth it?
Between 6-8 months I fought the hardest, it was so hard because I felt the most alone. I was snappy, emotional and even the sound of a child crying would give me an anxiety attack. This was all normal.
“…even the sound of a child crying would give me an anxiety attack.”
In May I decided to be brave and go to a festival in Croatia. It would be my first festival ever without any drugs or alcohol, a whole new experience. I didn’t really miss drinking around that time but I knew the euphoria of watching a world class dj with drugs in your system. I kind of missed that and for a moment I was jealous of everyone on drugs but I’m sure they were jealous of me the next day not having to deal with a come down.
This was also around the time I started to feel more confident about my body and girl I was unravelling into. I always said that when I’d be able to dance like nobody’s watching during sobriety, that would be a marker of my success during recovery. Sobriety was starting to become normal, my brain was starting to become normal. I started to feel a way I never did in my life and focused intensely on creating the future I had alway dreamed of.
One of the biggest realisations I have come to over the past year is that the brain is magical and so so powerful. I literally convinced myself that if I didn’t change my lifestyle that I would die and I knew that deep down I was going down that path. If you really really want to do something in life, you can do it. Everyday you must show up, even if you don’t want to. There are good days, there are bad, there are atrocious days in life but bottom line is, you must show up.
I went from world class party girl to repairing the damage that every drink and every drug I’d put in my body had done. I will spend the rest of my life repairing this damage. I can no longer look back and be sad by everything I had done and been through, I can only look forward and create a better future for myself. I am a living example that the addiction recovery path works.
“I will spend the rest of my life repairing this damage.”
You don’t need a drink when you’re out. You don’t need a line of coke, you don’t need all those bullshit distractions that only distraction you from your inner self. True love begins from within. I look back now and see that for 11 years I really hated myself and was on a wicked path of self destruction to prevent myself from dealing with my trauma. The moment I faced my trauma and told it we were going to be friends, I understood it and my behaviour a whole lot better.
I removed anyone with addiction problems from my life, this included the trio- sex, drugs and alcohol. In the beginning of recovery I came across a sex addict, a prominent figure in media in Croatia and sure, we would have been killer together but I would have just killed my own self on the inside.
I no longer settle for anything less than what I know I deserve. If a guy shows that they are emotionally unavailable, instead of chasing him and trying to convince him that we belong together, I leave the situation immediately. The new Adriana Kupresak does not need to convince anyone that I need to be in their life. I want a real connection, someone who is crazy about me the way I am crazy about myself and my life. If he’s not putting magic on my table, he can fuck right off back through that door he walked through.
One of the biggest reasons why I was scared to get sober was because of my writing. I was convinced I wrote better when I was drinking. Just recently I wrote my story and it was published on Tiny Buddha, a website I always dreamt of being published on and the epitome of my successes are a creative. This opportunity has opened up many others and I currently have an inbox flooded with editors all over the world looking for a contribution from me.
I was also afraid to get sober because that meant I’d have to have sex without relying on alcohol. Alcohol provided a false safety blanket around my heart. Imagine what 11 years of numbing looked and felt like and then to get sober and to begin to feel, it was enthrilling and it was scary. I felt things, I caught feelings and when a guy told me that he’d never marry me- I was happy and sad at the same time. Sad because fuck that douchebag’s words hurt and happy because for the first time in my life, I felt the words of a douchebag. I was healing.
For those of you who have stumbled across my post through search looking for inspiration whether you should enter recovery or not, my answer to you is this- If there’s a voice inside your heart telling you that you need to get sober, then you need to get sober.
Not everyone has a problem with alcohol, some people know when to stop or can settle for one glass of wine. I am not one of those people and that is why I am where I am today. You must be honest with yourself. It’s the fucking hardest road you’ll ever take. You’ll hate yourself at first but then you’ll slowly find reasons to be kinder, self respecting and compassionate towards your demons. Slowly, you’ll start to notice roses growing in the darkest corners of your soul. Those roots are called self love.
If there’s a voice inside your heart telling you that you need to get sober, then you need to get sober.
No one drinks heavily for no reason. I had my own issues that I wanted to numb and unconsciously over the years I did just that. I put myself and my life in many compromising situations because of my drinking habits. There are many boys out there I should never have slept with, they shouldn’t even know what it’s like to touch my body.
I’m going to leave this post with the last few paragraphs of my Tiny Buddha post-
The relationship we have with ourselves is the longest relationship we’ll ever have. Yet, we spend prolonged periods of time neglecting ourselves to suit the world around us.
We chase happiness in momentary triumphs instead of simply choosing it by putting in the work to keep ourselves self-aware and on our own paths of personal enlightenment.
We avoid taboo topics like addictions because they make people uncomfortable, but are more than willing to engage in these addictions because they make us more comfortable with ourselves.
We are united by owning our struggles and sharing our stories, and divided by our quest for perfection and appearing perfect to the world around us. Perfection is an illusion, and God, did I learn this the hard way.
I don’t deny my demons because instead of feeling ashamed of them, I’m now proud of how I’ve overcome them. And I know my greatest strengths have surfaced from my deepest struggles. Because of what I’ve been through, I’m more compassionate with others in similar situations and I’ve also developed a strong sense of determination to do the inner self work required to get past my trauma.
How many of you can look yourself in the eye and say I love you without knowing deep down that you just lied? I’m still learning, but courtesy of sobriety, I’m getting there.
Ps. One thing I forgot to mention in this post and video is that in the first 6 months of recovery, I got really really sick every few weeks. Not just like a basic flu sickness type thing, I was bed ridden for days. This is all normal in recovery as your body is detoxing and cleansing out the toxins.