On January 6, 2020, I started a brand new job. It should have been an exciting morning for me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I spent the next few hours just trying to stay awake, and not throwing up. I had stayed up all night drinking with a neighbor. When the morning finally came, I popped a few Adderall pills and went to work.
After that first day, I came home and continued to drink for the next 24-hours. I’d hit rock bottom. When my husband told me that I needed help, I agreed. We made the decision that I should quit my job and move back home to get help. I packed my things, and my husband, and I drove from our home in Virginia to Ohio. I moved in with my grandmother to get sober.
I wish I could say that I stopped drinking right away, but I didn’t. In fact, I had to hit another low before I finally entered an intensive outpatient program to help people get sober. The whole month of January, I kept drinking. At one point my grandmother took my car keys, and debit card so I couldn’t sneak out and find alcohol. Finally, on February 3, 2020 I had my last drink and have been sober since. I entered treatment soon after that and on my last day of treatment, everything shut down because of COVID. I had no access to the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings I’d been going to. I could no longer go to my treatment center, or see my therapist in person. I found myself alone.
Getting sober during COVID was a very strange experience. Like the rest of the world at the time, I found myself very isolated. I’d heard a saying in treatment that the opposite of addiction was connection. When I was drinking, I was cut off from everyone. I knew that if I wanted to stay sober, I had to find community and fast.
I used the downtime I had during COVID to heal past traumas and work through my struggles with anxiety and depression. I ran, walked, journaled, and cried. I read so many books on staying sober and listened to podcasts galore.
The thing that helped me stay sober the most during this time was my peers. At about 1 month sober, I started sharing my experience online via a blog and Instagram. The people in my life were shocked that I struggled with an addiction to alcohol. But, a beautiful thing happened once I started sharing my story. I was able to connect with others who were struggling just like me! I no longer felt alone; my shame began to disappear.
Peer support saved my life and continues to help keep me sober today. Addiction can be so isolating. Unfortunately, sobriety can be lonely at times, too. It’s hard to find people in your life who "get it."
That’s why I was so excited when I learned about the WhiteFlag App. The WhiteFlag community gives me the chance to connect with others who know just what I’m going through. It’s fast and convenient, and that is so important, particularly for people in recovery.
When I’m headed out to a social event or somewhere I know there will be alcohol, I rely on my sober peers as support and as an accountability system. I breathe easier knowing that I can message someone who will understand and not judge me. Staying sober isn’t easy, and we weren’t meant to do it alone.
As of today, I am 640 days sober. But there are still days where I struggle with wanting to take a drink. It happens less often now, but it has happened. If I didn’t have sober peers to share this urge with, I’m not sure what I would do. I can’t tell my immediate friends or family if I’m tempted to drink, it would scare them and they wouldn’t understand. That’s where the WhiteFlag community comes in. There are other people in recovery who have faced situations similar to mine.
The simple act of reaching out and sharing can change your life. It did for me.
Get support. Give support. Download the app today.