So here is the post I should have written: Happy Soberversary to me!

A few weeks ago, I bought myself a present, and I saved it up in its little parcel until last weekend, and then I finally opened it today.  It was my gift to myself, because I am one year sober.

Why didn’t I open it earlier?  Because, oh, it’s not such a big deal, and oh, well, no need to make a fuss, and oh, look how cool and insouciant I am, I don’t need gifts or rewards or treats.  I’m happy here with my herbal tea (stupid Whole30) and my crafting and my virtue.

I’ve written before about my tendency to try and do everything better than anyone else, yes?

But I got here because I gave myself the licence to be kind to myself, and have treats here and there, and believe that I was worth the fuss and the trouble that getting sober can be.  So I took the present out of the cupboard.

My presentThe woman from whom I bought this is a friend, and I told her that it was a present to celebrate a year of sobriety, and so she said that she’d wrap it up for me.  Isn’t it pretty?

This was supposed to be a victorious post, full of the fact that sobriety has transformed my life.  It has done, beyond anything I could have imagined.  I said, a year ago, that I decided to get up drinking because otherwise, nothing would change in my life.  I would plod along, raising my children with less joy than I wanted to feel, hating my job but without the courage to try something new, narrowing my horizons more and more so that the only pleasure I had left was the same bottle of wine that was trapping me.

And then I stopped drinking, thinking well, if nothing else I’ll lose some weight.  In fact, I didn’t, but every single other thing got better instead.

At Easter last year, I moved house.  That doesn’t sound like much, perhaps, but I moved to the village I have been dreaming of for eleven years, to a dream home within that dream area, with enough shabby quirk that we could afford it, and which makes it far more lovable than a highly renovated version.  And in retrospect, we could have moved here years earlier, so why didn’t we?  Inertia, fear of debt, a lack of willingness to grasp the possibility?  In the end, I just opened myself up to the fact that I wanted to move, and a friend of mine sold me her family home.  Really.

I started running.

I ate food, without guilt or fear, and I learned to go to bed early with a good book, and I started taking long baths, and my skin shone and my hair shone and – without weight loss – the contours of my face returned.

My parenting experience transformed.  I have so much more love.  So much more joy, so much more gratitude.  And so much more faith in myself, so that even when I get exasperated and yell, I forgive myself because I love them and they love me and it’s alright.  It’s better than alright.  Children need to be allowed to love their parents, and I can accept that love now, in all its sticky physical glory.

I started writing.  And then I started getting published.  And then I was laid off, and with the financial cushion that gave me, I decided to do it for a living.  One year ago, I hadn’t written anything except Facebook comments since leaving university.  And now I make my living as a writer, and I do so successfully.

If, a year ago, you had asked me what my dream life looked like, it would look like this.  I’d like to live in a huge rambling house in Village, I’d have said, with a big garden that the girls can play in, and I’d work from home as a writer, and get up early to exercise, and I’d read more and take up a craft.  And then I’d laugh because it seemed so impossible.

Sobriety made it possible.

My whole life is a gift now, but I deserve one nonetheless, and so I opened my parcel.


This is a Turkish towel, hand-loomed and fair trade.  The weave is beautiful and light as a feather.  I wanted something that would last, something lovely, something that would bring me comfort and pleasure in the everyday.  It’s no use buying myself lovely jewellery that I’ll save for a special occasion that never comes, or stationery too pretty to use.  Remember my scented candle?  I have never set it alight.  In eleven months.  So, something that I need every day, something to add luxury and comfort to a necessary ritual.   Something that would be mine, my special thing, that nobody else is allowed to use because it is Mum’s special thing.

But as I unwrapped it, this symbol of triumph that I so carefully thought through, I felt sad.  And lonely.  Because I wanted people to say well done, and to have noticed, and to share my pride in me, and it felt so anti-climactic, this present that I bought myself and unwrapped myself and hung in the shower.

And then I saw the card that my lovely friend had tucked in there.

cardHappy one year, from me to me.  Well done, me.


28 thoughts on “So here is the post I should have written: Happy Soberversary to me!

  1. We’re all here too cheering you on! Congrats Allie for all you have achieved in the last year. If anyone wanted to see the transformative power of sobriety writ large – you are it. Enjoy your scarf and your new sober life – a gift indeed 🙂 xx

  2. Massive congratulations, Allie!! WOOHOO!! One year is amazing. I’m so inspired by you and the changes you’ve made. You’ve built your dream life and that gives me so much hope. ❤ Thank you for sharing.

  3. Congratulations. You brought tears to my eyes. Somehow your thoughts mirror my own so well.

    You do deserve it. This is a big deal. You are a bright light that makes the world a better place.

    Thank you

  4. YES!

    awesome post, awesome you.
    Thank you for sharing your journey and triumph and thoughts…helping so many others as you do!
    You give a gift to us all, just you.

  5. Congratulations! One month behind you and inspired by your writing as always. In fact, are you me?????? Big love missus very well done x

  6. We’re all out here celebrating you! I can imagine the anti-climacticness, I haven’t even told anyone IRL about my 30 days so I’m feeling alone. I think the key is to learn to be enough, just for yourself, this is something I struggle with a lot these days – why am i doing this if not to impress others with my renewed resolve, renewed beauty, renewed joy? When really I should be enough. You are enough. More than enough.

  7. I neglected to mention, because pesky work, that this is one of those posts I will really remember, that will help me get through today, and on, because I think I have a lot in common with a-year-ago-you. I just got a job where I’m paid to write from home and I never thought I’d be so lucky. I’m hoping to move in the next few months from a pretty uncomfortable starter home situation to my dream neighborhood in another state (albeit the smallest house on the block), I’ve got my two young kids giving me inspiration to have some love for life every day, and the more days I spend sober, the more I realize what a gift it is to myself and my family. So thank you for saying things like sobriety has transformed your life more than you could have imagined. I would have settled for the realm of things I have imagined but I know that positive change feeds on itself and I look forward to knowing what that feels like. Thank you!

  8. Well done you.

    I think that every person who is struggling in their first few months of sobriety should be forced to read this post. Forced to see the possibilities and truth the lies within sobriety.

    Yes, yes YES!!! Well done you.


  9. Congratulations on your one year and your achievements in this year. 🙂 Wonderful! And wonderful post. It makes me very happy to read that you are so happy in your new sober life. I feel again and again the sober blogworld proves to me that life without alcohol is BETTER than with while we have spent years in the prison of addiction thinking it would be worse. 😦 Shame. But again, happy that I quit, happy that you have freed yourself and walk the way before me (us) with good news. Thank you. 🙂
    Beautiful Turkish towel btw, I used to weave myself so I immediately spotted the warmth that a handwoven scarf actually brings. 🙂 Lovely.
    xx, Feeling

  10. Happy one year! Well done!
    Who would’ve thought that by getting sober, by not drinking, that so much could change for the better!

  11. Oh wow, I am SO glad you wrote this post! Thank you so much for sharing all of the wonderful gifts you’ve received in the past year. It is inspiring. Truly inspiring, and that’s rare. I’m so glad you opened your gift to yourself too…

    I’ll say it, as you said too…YAY YOU. Bravo. Well done! ❤

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