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Getting Sober at 28

What I learned about myself, the world, and reality

The drink may be fake but the below content is 100% real

I never thought I would be an advocate for AA, for recovery, for sobriety. Let’s be honest—I never thought sobriety, recovery, or AA would be in my life—especially not at 28—but here we are.

I entered AA meetings rooms out of desperation. Out of a lack of understanding, I just couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t stop myself. Why I couldn’t stop turning into this weird, alcohol-driven rage, indulgent, pain inflicting-monster. Was this just 28 or was it just me? Or was it we.

Flashback to my college years—I remember sitting cross-legged in the lounge with a bunch of other girls watching The Hills, (not so) discretely drinking vodka & powerade, while one of the characters announced she had been going to AA—she was around the same age as I was when I started going—and I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that she would go so young. Right away comments started flying—mostly from yours truly—about how much of a buzzkill she was, and how lame her life had to be. If the Komchatka / Powerade combo wasn’t enough of a red flag—that should have been.

Getting sober at a “younger” age has offered me so much more than I realized could happen.

  1. I have a clear mind on a daily basis. I focus more at work, with friends, family, and in my relationship.
  2. I discovered new passions and have been able to pursue them. Who cares if some may be a little old-lady-esque (hello knitting and puzzles!).  I have been able to take the time I used to waste and turn it into something productive. I’ve even made gifts for other people—something I used to promise and never follow through with.
  3. I care about myself, in a good way. I take vitamins. I work out. I pray. I stretch. I meditate. I talk things out instead of closing people out. I read.
  4. I daydream again. I have goals, dreams, hopes, that are potentially attainable.
  5. I smile at strangers. Strangers on the street, strangers in meetings (who become quick and wonderful friends), myself—because that reflection of mine no longer is a stranger to me.
  6. I fall in love. With seasons, with nature, with animals, with my niece and nephew, with that man off Tinder.
  7.  I indulge. In real belly laughs, in mocktails, in memories, in experiences, in trips, in life, in friendship, in love, oh yeah—and ice cream.

I have only been in the program for a little over a year and a half (one year and seven months but who’s counting, right?), but have grown exponentially as a human being. As my dad puts it, I’m an AA poster child. I went in kicking and screaming, “knowing” I wouldn’t get anything out of it and it wouldn’t help, and here I stand over a year later, ready to scream from the rooftops to gather my people to get your asses in here. Sure, there’s no beer but there is a hell of a lot of ice cream—and let me tell you, it’s never tasted so good. 

Read next: Warm Embrace
Emily Christyson
Emily Christyson

Oh hey! I'm Emily, I constantly have thoughts flowing through my head ready for whoever would like to listen. I have had a passion for creative writing since I was young, and hope my thoughts resonate with at least a few of you! 

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Getting Sober at 28
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