I was sober for 8 ½ years and had established my career in the drug and alcohol treatment industry in that time. So, when the decision to no longer be sober happened, it was not taken lightly. I took into account all that I could lose and evaluated why that wouldn’t happen. What I’ve encountered was worse than I could have ever anticipated.

It wasn’t just a moment that happened and all of a sudden, I decided to no longer be sober. This was months in the making. I made the decision to see if I was “normal” (or a normie as they say in AA). I made this decision in secret and only spoke to my therapist about it. What I had come to the realization of was that I was just 19 when I got sober. That young girl had no knowledge of coping mechanisms (at least healthy ones anyway), self-worth, confidence, etc. I worked really hard to become the woman I am today. Lots and lots of money spent on therapy and the willingness to acknowledge my faults lead to this moment.

A little backstory for you, while you are in the rooms of AA you are always told tales about the ones that thought they were “normal” and how they came crawling back to the rooms broken. Then you’re told the horror stories of the ones who never make it back. These stories kept me sober in the beginning of my sobriety. I believed them to be true and since I was in the rooms of AA that is what would happen to me if I chose not to be. Wow, re-reading that last sentence really made that feel like a cult. So, let me clear some things up as I never want to scare anyone away from the rooms of AA. In those 8 ½ years of sobriety, I have had to attend more funerals than I can count for friends who relapsed and never made it back. So, those stories aren’t far off. It’s just not fair to assume that because I once was sober, I’m now labeled a relapsed alcoholic.

Through this journey, my number one rule for myself was always remain honest with my closest friends. They have even been instructed to call me out on behaviors I engage in that could be harmful to myself or who to call should I need help and not want it. Like I said, I didn’t take this decision lightly. What I never expected was to lose the majority of my friends and support system because of the decision. Even my ride or dies went MIA. That hurt the most, because I value the relationships in my life and would be there in a heartbeat for many of those individuals to this day. I can understand if some felt that seeing me “go out” put their sobriety at risk and they couldn’t be around. I guess it just sucks that for the 8 ½ years I was taught unconditional love and to always be there for each other because you never know who’s struggling. To receive the complete opposite and worse is just disheartening.

I had someone (who didn’t even know me) tell an individual I was working with at the time that not only was I not sober but I was constantly high… Now, for this individual, I withheld the fact I wasn’t sober to protect their sobriety/safety and I was living with them. If there’s anything an addict knows, is when someone is getting high or is high. Also, this person made it sound like I was shooting heroin in the bathroom. I drink alcohol and indulge in the occasional edible but never while working with a client. When my client addressed this with me, I was completely transparent and honest about my situation. I made it clear that even though we were working well together that if knowing I wasn’t sober jeopardized their sobriety/safety we needed to find a replacement and I was ok with that. In fact, I helped find my replacement.

I think the saddest part about this chapter of my life is that if I do need to get sober again one day, I will not be returning to the rooms of AA. The experience I’ve had with individuals from the program have tarnished my trust. I’d rather seek therapy and build healthy relationships in my life than think I need the rooms for a healthy supportive sober lifestyle.