The Sober Inspiration Series is a sequence of interviews with regular women, just like you and me, who have overcome alcohol dependence, abuse, and addiction. We feature women from all backgrounds and walks of life and praise all methods of recovery from addiction, whether support groups, higher power, rehab, counseling, DIY or a combination of all the above. Please join us in celebrating these strong, successful women. If you’d like to share your story, check out the interview instructions, and let us know.
Can you share a little about yourself?
My name is Marj and my sobriety date is 01/03/2000. I worked in the restaurant business as a food server/bartender for 15 years and have worked in the corporate work for the last 20+ years. I am the oldest of six children. If I could do anything I wanted for a living, it would be something creative. I did manage to get a bachelor’s degree in business and finance in 2004. Now, I work as a Supply Chain Manager for a manufacturing company. I was married 36 years this past June.
Can you share your experience with drugs and/or alcohol?
Drugs were more my thing than alcohol, but back then, I would have taken any of it. I just passed 18 years and 8 months of sobriety.
How did you know it was finally time to stop using?
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My husband told me he would take everything from me and I turned around, went out the door and went to an AA meeting. I stayed clean for 7 months, had a 2-day relapse on 01/01/2000 and started over again with one day clean on 01/03/2000.
What method(s) did you use to quit?
I went to rehab in 1995. I did not stay clean at that time, but the tools you acquire while you are there always stay with you. I’ve been to more AA/NA meetings than I can count, although I have not been to one recently. I do believe in a Higher Power.
What was your biggest challenge with getting sober, and how did you overcome it?
I don’t recall having a hard time avoiding drugs and alcohol after I went through the relapse. My husband and I built a house (back when you did not have to put money down). I knew that if I did not stay clean I was going to lose my house and my family (my husband had been sober for 6 months and I had an 8-year-old son).
What are the top benefits you’ve experienced since quitting?
Everything…I can actually set goals and achieve them. I finished college, bought a house and people trust me.
What is the best advice you can give to someone who is struggling with alcohol abuse?
Just keep trying. I know people that have been to rehab numerous times and they eventually celebrate multiple years of sobriety. My husband always talks about the discomfort of detox (he did it with alcohol and cigarettes). He always says, “why would you want to go through that again”. As long as you don’t take that first one, you don’t have to worry about the chaos and sickness that is sure to follow.
Who have been your biggest influencers along your sobriety journey?
This is a hard one for me to answer. Early on, my influencers were other people in the recovery community that were living a sober and productive life. Now, I read a lot of books on productivity and success principles. I guess you would say it is the authors of these books.
Do you celebrate your sober anniversary in any special way?
I used to go to a meeting and get the tags/coins they gave out for years of sobriety. I think 10 years was the last one I got. Currently, I don’t do anything special. I live my life to the fullest and use the “lessons learned” to live a healthy life one day at a time.
Where can we find you on the internet?
I do not currently offer products. I own two blogs https://stashingdollars.com which is about making money, saving money and getting out of debt. The other https://livingfitoverfifty.com, is a work in progress about lifestyles over 50. It will include some recovery and sober living posts.
For me, recovery has been an 18-year process. The 18th year is nothing like the first year. I feel like I have grown each year.
One of the most important things to realize is an addictive behavior can manifest itself in other ways. I attended Overeaters Anonymous meeting for a while and was shocked at the number of people that were recovering alcoholics and addicts and were now trying to manage compulsive behaviors with food.
I have seen similar behaviors with money. One of the most important things I have learned in 18 years is to deal with your feelings. Don’t be afraid to cry and work through emotions rather than stuffing them. Take life one day at a time and you can live an amazing life without drugs and alcohol.