Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features


I'm 30 years sober today. Ask me anything.

162 replies

Prawnofthepatriarchy · 05/04/2019 16:26

Just that, really. I have DS aged 23 and 26 who were born after I stopped drinking. It's been amazing. Everything good in my life stems from my sobriety.

OP posts:

Prawnofthepatriarchy · 05/04/2019 18:46

If people that don't know you ask you why you're not drinking, say on a night out, do you tell them the truth?

Always. You never know who's listening. People need to know there is a way out.

OP posts:

Prawnofthepatriarchy · 05/04/2019 18:48

I have to break off now because I'm going to a celebratory AA meeting. But I'll be back.

OP posts:

Dapplegrey · 05/04/2019 18:50

Congratulations op.


mama1980 · 05/04/2019 18:52

Can I ask was there one thing for you? One comment or one incident that prompted you to finally get sober?

You are absolutely amazing, such a massive achievement, I hope you have a fabulous time this evening.


MissFitton · 05/04/2019 19:00

Congratulations on your sobriety, it's a massive achievement. I've seen you on the boards giving great advice too.

May I ask - what's the difference, in your opinion, between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic? I've always tended towards the former but I don't think I'm in danger of the latter (although I remain vigilant to 'enjoying myself' getting out of hand). Is it simply attitude?

Well done again and I hope you have a fabulous evening this evening. Thanks


heath48 · 05/04/2019 19:24

Well done,I a, just coming up to 16 years sober in AA.


heath48 · 05/04/2019 19:25



Prawnofthepatriarchy · 05/04/2019 21:57

Can you drink now? I'm sure the answer is no, but what would happen if you had one drink?

The short answer is no, StormcloakNord. If I had one drink the desire and compulsion to drink would return like a tiger and I'd be back where I left off in a matter of months.

I knew a man who'd been sober for well over a decade. When he retired from his stressful job he announced he was going to take up an interest in fine wines. Everyone's heart sank. He was dead within 18 months.

OP posts:

Prawnofthepatriarchy · 05/04/2019 22:14

What's the difference, in your opinion, between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic?

AA teaches that no one can diagnose someone else's alcoholism. But I do have an opinion.

Heavy drinkers tend to drink for enjoyment. They don't drink when they're alone and miserable but when out with friends. And they tend to drink at the same rate as their companions. If you're sneaking drinks or hiding bottles you're in trouble.

The difference is the compulsion and the shame. Alcoholics know their drinking is out of their control and they lie about it. And they may prefer certain drinks, but if pushed they'll drink anything as long as it's alcoholic.

If once you have a drink you can't stop until you pass out or the drink is all gone you're in trouble. And drinking every day is a bad sign.

Quantity isn't that relevant. I was in rehab with an elderly lady who was drinking far, far less than me. But she couldn't stop and if she didn't get pissed every night she made everyone's life a misery. Her adult DC got her into rehab.

OP posts:

Prawnofthepatriarchy · 05/04/2019 22:23

Nearly 16 years sober, heath48? Hurray for us! Best thing I ever did. How about you?

OP posts:

Prawnofthepatriarchy · 05/04/2019 22:26

Can I ask was there one thing for you? One comment or one incident that prompted you to finally get sober?

No. Just lots of terrible mornings and bad times. I kept letting people I loved down and the self loathing was killing me. There's an AA saying: I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.

OP posts:

ShowerOfShite · 05/04/2019 22:30

Happy AA Birthday Prawn
8 years here.
Great thread Smile.


Prawnofthepatriarchy · 05/04/2019 22:36

Do your family need to consistently support you in your sobriety, is that a family focus point or is it just something that is in the past?

No. It's history. I don't think about drinking from one year to the next and haven't done for at least 25 years. DF and I sometimes talk about it but only in the context of both being sober.

For the first few years my whole family rallied round. Their love and support were boundless. But they tell me that from the start it was clear how much work I was putting into my recovery, which gave them faith in me. They didn't feel they needed to be vigilant. Sober me was so different that if I'd relapsed they'd have noticed immediately.

It has affected how I brought my DC up. I made sure from their early teens that they knew mummy was an ex drunk and that they should be wary of liking booze too much. It's like any serious health condition that runs in families. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.

OP posts:

mrsdopamine · 05/04/2019 22:36

Fabulous post. Congratulations! I'm three next month 😊😊😊


timefor · 05/04/2019 22:57

Fantastic post a massive happy birthday to you @Prawnofthepatriarchy I'm 2 and half years sober and I love my sober life. So many wonderful gifts sobriety has given me. One of the highlights for me is being present for my children. They was very young when I stopped drinking so they will have no memory of drunk mummy. I don't remember much of it either I was in blackout most of the time.
Can I ask how you came to your first meeting?
Would love to hear you do a share.
Thank you for making this post I hope someone get something from this, it works, if you work it.


brigghouse · 05/04/2019 23:30

Congratulations OP :)

When did you start drinking and when did you know you had a drink problem?


Prawnofthepatriarchy · 05/04/2019 23:57

Ellabella989, you asked about hangovers. I used to get terrible hangovers but then, about five years before I stopped, a boyfriend taught me what I saw as a life hack: have a drink in the morning. Problem solved. After that I always had drink available the morning after.

He was abusive when drunk so I started drinking his vodka to reduce the amount he could drink. I hadn't drunk spirits before. If I'd thrown it away he'd have been furious. But if I claimed I needed a drink he acquiesced. That and the morning drinking progressed my drinking into full blown alcoholism in no time.

Oddly enough I'm almost grateful to him. Before him my drinking was just slowly ruining my life. Because of our relationship I was catapulted into alcohol dependence and therefore hit my rock bottom years earlier. So he kinda did me a favour.

OP posts:

Prawnofthepatriarchy · 06/04/2019 00:37

When did you start drinking and when did you know you had a drink problem?

I started drinking when I was 14, brigghouse, along with all my friends. None of the others became alcoholics AFAIK.

As for when I knew I had a problem, that's tricky. It creeps up on you. I had a problem a long time before I recognized it.

Glimpses of the truth would filter through but until the last two years I absolutely refused to recognize that alcohol was wrecking my life. Drowning my guilt and shame over my drinking was one of the many reasons I drank. It's a crazy illness.

I thought drinking helped me deal with my difficult and chaotic life. I saw it as a crutch. But the reverse is true. Once I was in rehab I learned that my problems were either actually directly due to my drinking or at the least worsened by it.

OP posts:

Frannibananni · 06/04/2019 00:45

Thank you for sharing.


Brienneoftarthiloveyou · 06/04/2019 01:11

Thanks for sharing and congratulations, you're doing brilliantly!


BernardBlacksWineIcelolly · 06/04/2019 08:31

This has been such an interesting thread Prawn, thank you for sharing


HoraceCope · 06/04/2019 08:40

Respect to you op.

How do you feel about drinking culture, it is all people seem to talk about, friday wine oclock, gin clock, etc.,
What do you do for fun?
what about enjoying time with your dc? Do you get concerned when they dirnk?


Prawnofthepatriarchy · 06/04/2019 11:32

do you feel about drinking culture, it is all people seem to talk about, friday wine oclock, gin clock, etc.

It concerns me. I remember a school quiz night in which one of the team names was something like mummy's special juice. They thought that was hilarious and I was thinking you have no idea how dangerous that thinking is. Teams brought their own drink and two of the teams were pretty pissed.

There used to be more social disapproval of drunken women. This lessened because women (including me) felt it was sexist. But we were missing the point. Women have far less tolerance for alcohol so hard drinking is more dangerous for us.

One of the mums at school died of drink. Pancreatitis. She used to reek of vodka in the morning. Then she gradually got more and more yellow - and died. It was tragic.

What do you do for fun?

I've been in the same pub quiz team for over 10 years. We have a lot of laughs. We save our winnings and blow them on a Christmas bash. I'm involved in the arts and I go to feminist meetings. I have mobility problems but until the last few years I used to go to a festival or two every year.

To be perfectly honest I'm depressed atm, partly because of chronic pain. Recovery doesn't resolve everything. I have to spend a lot of time lying down which is dull.

what about enjoying time with your dc? Do you get concerned when they dirnk?

Have done. DS2 seems to be ok, but DS1 showed clear signs of a budding problem. I won't write about him at length because it's a very complex story - and it's his story. He has MH issues unconnected to alcohol. But when he got drunk he'd go ballistic - go round our tiny house weeping and shouting abuse at the world. Then one night he flipped and started smashing things. He was delusional. I had to call the police, who were wonderful.

He woke up in the cells and the police rang to tell me they thought he was very remorseful. He came home and didn't stop apologizing for months. There was no doubting his sincerity. That was well over two years ago and he hasn't even got tipsy since. So it may have been protective. I hope so.

I'm very close to both my sons.

OP posts:

Prawnofthepatriarchy · 06/04/2019 12:29

Reading back over the thread I see I haven't said much about AA.

My DF went into AA when I was in my late teens. Before that he and I used to set the world to rights when he was pissed late at night after DM was asleep.

After he got into AA he stopped confiding in me. He was always going to meetings. So in a weird way I blamed AA for "stealing" DF. I got the (false) impression that it was religious which put me right off.

Later, although I was desperate to stop drinking, I was determined to do it myself or by any other way than AA. I tried various groups, even detoxed in psychiatric units. Nothing stuck.

My DPs lied to me to get me into rehab. They told me it wasn't AA. When I got there and discovered the truth I was incandescent. Apparently it was a sight to see. I got teased a lot for it later. Grin

I will always remember what an amazing counsellor there said. He said that as my obvious intelligence hadn't been able to solve my problems, how did I feel about trying another way - a way that could actually remove the desire to drink. And I just said lead me to it.

Something about his calm certainty won my trust. So I buckled down and did absolutely everything that was asked of me. And one day, a couple of weeks in, we were doing country dancing of all things and I tripped. As I sat on the floor I started laughing. And I realized that I was carefree - and just free - in a way I hadn't been for so many years. I was in absolutely the right place and with my own people. That was the start of my gratitude for sobriety, a gratitude that still fires me today.

I did the first four steps in rehab. I was there for six weeks. Then, when I went home, I went to five meetings a week for the first six or seven years. Luckily we lived in London with lots of lunchtime meetings otherwise my poor DH would've spent a lot of lonely evenings.

AA has been everything to my recovery. I went often until my DC got a bit older. Then, after taking advice from the AA member I respected the most, I stopped going. I haven't wanted to drink since my step 4. Acceptance and gratitude can work what seems like miracles.

Nowadays I only go to meetings occasionally, although I went to a lot while supporting a newcomer I'd 12th stepped.

This is not for everyone. I know a lot of long term sober people who go to frequent meetings and always will. But as my AA mate said "AA is a bridge to normal living. Looks like you've gone over the bridge. You've got enough sense to come back if you need us."

It's not a popular viewpoint in AA and I entirely understand why. People who stop going to meetings are usually on the road to relapse. But there are also people with good sobriety who just stop going.

After last night's meeting I was asked to do a share in a couple of weeks, which means talk about my recovery for about 20 minutes and I'm trying to work out what to say about my non attendance. The last thing I want to do is encourage people not to go to meetings.

OP posts:

WhatAreYouSaying · 06/04/2019 12:58

Op, my husband is dry now but I am never sure about having any alcohol in the house or drinking any myself in front of him.

I once went to al-anon to ask but it want that sort of interactive meeting, so I came away none the wiser. DH is desperately keen for me to continue a normal relationship with alcohol because I'm such a light drinker anyway, and he feels it will not be right for me to be forced to be teetotal if I don't have a problem. Yet I feel bad opening a bottle and having a glass when I know it's dangerous to him, though he never drinks any and it's been many years now.

What do you think about this side of it?

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

We're all short on time

Log in or sign up to use the 'See Next' or 'See all' posts by the OP (Original Poster) and cut straight to the action.

Already signed up?

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?