“I wish I’d been taught to embrace my imperfections, and to understand the importance of self-care.”DedMityay/Shutterstock
With Laura Ward’s first taste of alcohol as a teenager came the awareness that she couldn’t have just one drink. But Ward, who now blogs about sobriety, didn’t face her weakness until her children reached school age. “I couldn’t admit it to myself,” she says. “I became so dependent on alcohol that it threatened to take everything from me. In 2013, she began drinking daily, from the moment her kids went to school until she passed out at night. “I realized I didn’t know how to function without alcohol. I knew it was only a matter of time before I killed myself or crashed my car or killed someone else. I was terrified of drinking. I was terrified of not drinking. I had forgotten how to function sober and was convinced I couldn’t do it.”
Then came a morning in March 2014, when Ward was so sick from not drinking that she couldn’t stand upright in the shower; she grabbed a beer to steady her hand, and that was the moment she made the choice to stop. By working with a wellness coach, Ward was able to eventually break her addiction. “She helped me identify bad habits and replace them with healthy ones. I learned to love, value, and respect myself.” Ward also realized there is no shame in admitting you need help. “Alcoholics are not broken or flawed: We’re ill. And when we’re sick, we need to take care of ourselves. There are so many different ways to recover. It doesn’t matter what path you choose as long as you find a way to become and remain sober,” she said.
“I could never have imagined that a life of sobriety would be so rich.”Dubova/Shutterstock
When Joy Clubb was beginning her path to recovery, she had no idea how many benefits she’d gain from giving up drinking. “If anyone would have told me that I would have the life I have today, in sobriety, I would have never believed them,” says 45-year-old Clubb. “The material things that came with recovery are nice, but the relationship I have with myself, my family and my faith is indescribable. I am able to look at myself in the mirror and like what I see.”
Clubb not only discovered confidence, but she found a career path. “When I got sober, I worked at a treatment center as a housekeeper and on a horse farm. I assumed this or something similar is what I would do for the rest of my life but I took a leap of faith and applied at Bluff Plantation, a rehabilitation center in Augusta, Georgia. After receiving several promotions, I am now Program Manager.” Equally important for Clubb is the change in her personal life. “The relationships I have now are genuine. I thought that many of my relationships would be ruined forever because to my alcoholism, but my family just wanted their wife, mother, and daughter back. What they have received in return, is a better version of myself.”
“Ignore the little voice that says, ‘I don’t want to recover’ and do it anyway.”Marjan-Apostolovic/Shutterstock
Before Larisa Washington became sober, the 32-year-old was going down a dangerous path by abusing alcohol and drugs. Loved ones encouraged Washington to get sober, but it would take years before she was able to pull the plug and really focus on what mattered to most: A substance-free life. “If I could go back to my former self, I’d tell her that being vulnerable and real with others helps us learn to love ourselves,” she shared. “I would tell her that it does get better and easier with time. That the most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. That she will look around one day and realize her life is so much more than she’d ever dreamed, and that is the kind of life she deserves. Why pass up an opportunity like that?”