One year!

It’s been ONE WHOLE YEAR since I had a drink. Can you believe it? I knew today was The Day but I still checked my sobriety app just to make sure. I swear it winked back at me. Hello, it said. I’m still here. You don’t check me very often any more but rest assured I’ve been here all along, quietly counting every day. And today is a real milestone.

It’s true, I don’t count the days anymore, because sobriety is the new normal. If you’re reading this from the sidelines, let me tell you – it’s pretty awesome. I am happier, thinner and richer. I sleep better. I have more control over my life. I don’t have as many secrets or as much guilt. I have more time to do stuff. If nothing else, life is just simpler. Controlling my drinking was like trying to keep the lid on a can of wriggly worms. I had to put so much energy into keeping the lid closed, but every now and then it would blow right off and I’d be clearing up for weeks.

When I first stopped drinking, one of the things that scared me most was how I would find my ‘off switch’. Before, drinking an entire bottle of wine had seemed like a pretty good way to close down my stressed out, racing brain, or turn off any unwelcome emotion. Alcohol allowed me to check out of life for a bit when things got difficult.

So what happens when you take that option away? Really, your only choice is to man up and start tackling things head on. It’s hard at first. Really hard. But if you keep doing it again and again you build emotional muscles that Popeye would be proud of. When you finally get ‘it’, and you do something like go to a party and mingle and have fun it’s a great feeling because that is the real you doing it. There’s no falseness.

It’s not always rainbows and glitterballs, but that’s because life isn’t like that. We all have crap days, but they’re easier to deal with when you’re sober. A hungover, emotional, miserable person does not always make the best choices (that’s what I’ve found anyway!). I’ve been quite ill this week. I think it’s the first time I’ve been poorly since I stopped drinking. It’s been a timely reminder of what it’s like to have a hangover. I am not used to operating at less than 100% any more and god, it is horrible.

I’ve made quite a few changes in my life over the past year. I’m in the process of buying a flat right next to a beautiful national park. I always thought I was a glamorous, city girl but actually I’ve realised I need green spaces in my life. I want to live near cosy cafes and fresh air, not clubs and kebab shops. I’ve got a new part-time job and have put a lot of work into making myself happier in my career. Change is happening slowly, but that’s ok because I’m pretty patient.

Of course, I couldn’t have done any of this without you lovely people. This big, supportive, sober blogosphere has got me through the hardest of times. Everyone needs a support network and if you can’t find the help you need in your day to day life I think it’s brilliant that you can get it here. When I look back on my previous attempts at stopping, it seems crazy that I thought I could do it all on my own. So, I want to end this with a big, big thank you to all of you out there who read and comment and blog. You rock.



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71 thoughts on “One year!

  1. youngfreesoberme April 6, 2014 at 10:20 am Reply

    Woo hoo!!! Congratulations, that’s fantastic!!! And I hope you feel back to 100% soon 🙂

  2. Belle April 6, 2014 at 10:26 am Reply

    hooray for you 🙂 sober rock star that you are … let there be cake.

  3. Louise April 6, 2014 at 11:08 am Reply

    Well done Kate. I’m about 8 months sober now and finding and reading your blog really helped me a few months ago, I found the 6 month mark really difficult. So thank you. And get well soon. Louise

  4. catgirl28 April 6, 2014 at 11:14 am Reply

    I love this post. I love that you’re a year sober. Well done. That is all round marvellous. I can’t believe I’m seven months! It just sortof flies by after the first three months, I found, doesn’t it? How wonderful re: the flat by the national park and the green spaces and cosy cafes and real you. It’s just all so lovely I think my head might explode. x

  5. Dave M April 6, 2014 at 11:31 am Reply

    Congratulations on getting a year! It’s a huge achievement and I hope the first of many 🙂

    Well done and keep on blogging!

  6. Anonymous April 6, 2014 at 11:51 am Reply

    So happy for you. Life sounds good but I know how hard it is to get there and stay there ( and it’s for life. Into my fourth year now, not going back. Constantly re defining and sometimes impatient, the FFF blog echoes with me, too, but mostly happy to be me

  7. lucy2610 April 6, 2014 at 11:55 am Reply

    Hi Kate Congratulations on 1 year. Another sober super star lighting the way for the rest of us to follow 🙂 x

  8. soberhorizons April 6, 2014 at 12:09 pm Reply

    Well done on a year! I am just over four months, and my life is just getting better and better, I can attest to life getting simpler, and easier. I feel so much more alive, it’s great, isn’t it?

    Here’s to the sober life, go us! xxx

  9. Odysseus300 April 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm Reply

    Incredible achievement! That first year is hard, but actually the second year is harder. Nothing is novel any more and your friends just expect you to be able to *do it* with no effort any more & it doesn’t always work that way. Congratulations to you – and be mindful to keep it up. I’m over 6 years and sometimes it still sneaks up on you and you get a really hard day without expecting it!

  10. Rebecca A. Watson April 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm Reply

    Yay for you! What a big happy moment 🙂 I am sorry you’re feeling sick. Hope you are well soon. Isn’t is interesting how your tastes changed so much from the city girl to someone who wants more quiet and green-ness in her life? I’m so thrilled to hear you could have a flat near a park like that. What a blessing! Thanks for sharing your journey with all of us.

  11. Maggie @ Sober Courage April 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm Reply

    Congrats! That’s absolutely awesome! Woot Woot! I love your post it’s quite inspiring and full of hope. Thank you for being here and sharing your sobriety with all of us! Hugs and cake!

  12. fern April 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm Reply

    Great inspirational post — thank you for sharing your strength an giving hope to those coming after you!

  13. Chris Highcock April 6, 2014 at 2:23 pm Reply

    Congratulations Kate.

  14. erics1100paces April 6, 2014 at 2:33 pm Reply

    Oh you crazy British people. “Flat” is a adjective used to describe things that are not bumpy.

    But most serious congratulations! I wish you all the best in your endeavors. Enjoy the fresh air. Get a dog if you don’t already have one, so s/he can enjoy it with you!

  15. soberlearning April 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm Reply

    Congratulations on an amazing milestone!! It sounds like all the pieces are fitting together. It helps me to read blogs like these, so inspirational to keep fighting the good fight! Thanks, and have some cake!!

  16. momma bee April 6, 2014 at 2:43 pm Reply

    Wonderful read for a Sunday morning! Congrats and I look forward to your year 2. Hope your feeling better soon!!! Hugs momma bee

  17. DE April 6, 2014 at 3:21 pm Reply

    Congratulations on your first year anniversary! You’ve been a massive inspiration to me. I discovered your blog and related straight away and this strengthened my resolve to quit so thank you. Life is certainly sweeter without alcohol. I look forward to hearing how your life continues to improve in the months to come. And congrats on the new flat and job, rewards for your hard work…x

  18. elee April 6, 2014 at 4:01 pm Reply

    Congratulations! You’re a huge inspiration. Well done.

  19. Debbie April 6, 2014 at 4:12 pm Reply

    I remember when you first started to post (and I’ve been following every since!) I must admit I wasn’t sure you were going to be able to do it. (that sounds bad, but I don’t mean it that way) From reading your first posts about how much you drank and when you drank, I know that if it had been me, I would have found it extremely difficult to pull myself up and get in the sober car. But you did it. YOU ARE AMAZING and through reading your stuff it has also helped keep me sober for 7 months. You are an inspiration. My sincerest congratulations on one year. I am so proud of you 🙂 Debbie

  20. KJM April 6, 2014 at 4:19 pm Reply

    Happy Birthday Kate! I’m starting to see the changes that you described above, and I too am loving this metamorphisis. I’m still counting the days (81), and am so looking forward to celebrating one year like you. The only real loss I have had in sobriety is the 15 lbs of actual weight, and the 2 tons of emotional weight. That I can deal with and embrace! I’ve gained so much more. Enjoy your day and this incredible personal milestone. Thanks again for sharing your journey with this newbie.

  21. soberp82 April 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm Reply

    Many congratulations on your one year!! You inspired me to take the plunge of the 100 day challenge and it’s so motivational to read about you completing one year and sounding so positive and self assured. Thanks for helping me start my journey! I’m 10weeks in and loving the changes sobriety brings 🙂

  22. jenisthesoberist April 6, 2014 at 6:06 pm Reply

    Yay! One year! Congratulations on this wonderful accomplishment. I love hearing about your life now. Hugs!!

  23. wren1450 April 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm Reply

    Amazing. You rock. I love your blog……

  24. thirstystill April 6, 2014 at 6:15 pm Reply

    Wow! Congratulations! A year is fantastic. And i really appreciate the advice about the “off switch.” i hope you enjoy that new flat, and the cosy cafes and green space too.

  25. Dominique April 6, 2014 at 6:56 pm Reply

    Congratulations! …but be careful: a glass and you jump again in the former life! Be strong!

  26. Liz from Finland April 6, 2014 at 6:59 pm Reply

    Congratulations! Great work! Today I’ve got 96 days, and I’m so happy for every single sober day.

  27. primrosep April 6, 2014 at 8:31 pm Reply

    congratulations on one year, and thank you for all your inspiring and lovely posts!

  28. One day at a time April 6, 2014 at 9:04 pm Reply

    Amazing result. Well done!

  29. soberandawkward April 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm Reply

    Wonderful! Congrats on one year!!! xo

  30. carrieonsober April 6, 2014 at 9:51 pm Reply

    You did it! So happy for you and here’s to a sucessful year two!!
    New flat sounds amazing and so glad you’re getting to know the real you, and what she really wants. It’s been the most amazing journey and I loved being part of each others recovery 🙂
    You’ve been a big part of mine.
    Hope you had a wonderful day x x x x

  31. I'm Waking Up Now April 6, 2014 at 10:49 pm Reply

    Congratulations! Your blog was one of the ones that inspired me in the beginning of my own rocky journey (today is my Day 1 – Again), and inspired me to create my own blog about it, and you continue to be a friendly resource to me whenever I need a pep talk! I can’t imagine getting there, but I can’t wait to see what it feels like. Go get a cake!!!

  32. barista1971 April 6, 2014 at 11:52 pm Reply

    Go You!!! I am going to have my husband read this.

  33. amy April 7, 2014 at 4:17 am Reply

    yahoo!!! so great. flat sounds absolutely perfect. thanks for all your writing. it has helped me stick with it. Congratulations many times over!!

  34. Anonymous April 7, 2014 at 9:51 am Reply

    You rock! Big congratulations, I am sooooo happy for you, you deserve the best in life… I have followed your blog since January 2014 and find it totally inspiring. Keep up the good work and enjoy the cosy cafes, sounds delightful! Xx

  35. KT April 7, 2014 at 11:32 am Reply

    Yours was the first blog of this kind that I came across, I forget why now, were you on the BBC website? Anyway, you started me thinking, and although I’ve had a lot of false starts over the past couple of years understanding the concept of addiction to a social norm, I love being sober. I love sleeping, laughing and waking sober. I actually thought I couldn’t laugh sober. How wrong I was. Deep in my soul something has changed, and you are a part of that. Thank you. You mentioned an app: I’d quite like something to count my days so that I can get on with all the other things that I’ve been missing out on instead of worrying about calculating a number. I’m using blogger, perhaps someone can suggest a tool that would help. Congratulations and very best wishes x

  36. Mr.B April 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm Reply

    Green.. get THAT flat. more green better you’d feel 🙂
    How you find coffee taste? isn’t better now? love nice fresh cup 🙂
    ps: well done on a year 🙂

  37. Annabelle April 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm Reply

    YAYYYY! You are awesome! Congrats on your big day! Such a remarkable accomplishment 🙂 Congratulations X a billion!

  38. Anonymous April 7, 2014 at 4:51 pm Reply

    Well done. I quoted from your last blog (the train) at a meeting this Saturday past because it reminded me exactly how I was a few years ago. Thanks. KelvinB, Cape Town.

  39. Sue April 7, 2014 at 5:07 pm Reply

    Huge Congratulations, Kate, really great job 🙂
    One year is such an amazing achievement and has clearly transformed your life!
    It’s been wonderful to read your blog and share in your ongoing success, I’ve drawn so many similarities to my own situation, and it’s been inspiring to read how you’ve continued to make progress all the way.. I’m on day 260 and barely a hundred day challenge away from my Year. It’s great to know that it’s possible.. at this stage I feel it’s possible for me too! You’re right, life is simpler, and there are reminders all around to reinforce why we are doing this and how far we have come.
    Bless you, and Congratulations on your anniversary of success!
    Sue x

  40. Lisa Neumann April 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm Reply

    Happy Anniversary. I love it … this is a big celebration for you and we all get to benefit.
    My favorite line: “It’s not always rainbows and glitterballs, but that’s because life isn’t like that.” You nailed it. Blessings for another day of loving self. Lisa

  41. Anonymous April 7, 2014 at 8:42 pm Reply

    Hi Kate,

    I wanted to write you and wish you the best on your achievement.

    I am a fellow young journalist and your blog has been instrumental in helping me through my journey into sobriety. I really appreciate your honesty and candor as our experiences have been disturbingly similar.

    I am four months sober and have never felt better in my entire life. Though when I have tough days, I can turn to your blog no matter where I am on this planet for sudden support.

    Stay strong.

  42. runningonsober April 8, 2014 at 3:34 am Reply

    Wonderful! Happy One Year, Kate!

  43. Satwinder Virdee April 9, 2014 at 9:01 am Reply

    Hi ya
    Well done , Iv woken up this morning thinking how am I goin to pull this off be a non drinker is it possible then I googled n came across your storie this is exactly wat im trying to do but feel so week about .then I read ur post for april 6th 2014 n it gave me hope that someeone else felt exactly like me and has done it .congratulations that feelin mus b amazing n all the time u had hard times must av been worth it now .
    I jus know its the hardest thing im gona av to wrk out and haveing no1 to talk to is worse coz I just sound so silly

  44. Lee Davy April 9, 2014 at 7:31 pm Reply

    Hi Kate,

    Congratulations on your birthday.

    I loved to read that you had stopped counting the days because sobriety was now normal for you.

    I was also inspired by your words on ‘manning’ up and just dealing with your issues instead of trying to drown them under the weight of red or white poison. I will remember this when coaching people, so thanks for that.

    Keep on keeping on.



  45. Anonymous April 9, 2014 at 8:39 pm Reply

    Congrats on getting your 1 year sobriety! I also wanted to thank you for writing, your posts have helped fill the gaps for me and the “slow” hours at work. I really relate to so many things you’ve written, thank you and keep writing! Our stopping point is really our starting point! All the best!

  46. Anonymous April 16, 2014 at 12:47 pm Reply

    Congratuations Kate,
    I really hope you continue to post because I along with many others get a great deal from reading your posts you are an inspiration to many including me (Just done day 100 after drinking 200 units aweek for the last decade).
    I hope you just havn,t posted for while because you are busy with your new job and moving.

    Thank you

  47. Anonymous April 16, 2014 at 5:40 pm Reply

    Congratulations and thanks for your blogging help on my own journey. I made my year yesterday. Hoping and working at having many more to come and I wish you the same. It’s all so much more special when you’re sober. X

  48. Anonymous April 16, 2014 at 5:46 pm Reply

    Congrats!!! I am almost at month 3 and I started after hitting bottom and reading your blog. Keep up the amazing work and writing. No one tells you that you get richer and skinnier!! It’s true!!

  49. hilary April 17, 2014 at 9:13 pm Reply

    Congratulations on your year. Reading through your blog has been very helpful as I begin my journey, and I really appreciate you putting this out into the blogosphere.

  50. FitFatFood April 17, 2014 at 11:00 pm Reply

    WELL DONE! It’s taken me a while to get to this post, but I’m so glad I did.

    You sound like a new person from the woman who was lying on her sofa watching Wimbledon with the worlds worst hangover. It’s just better, isn’t it, sobriety?! I love how simple you make it sound in your world of the new normal. Really, all we have to do is not drink and learn to deal with the emotional stuff. That feels doable on a good day, challenging on a bad, but definitely better than the alternative.

    Well done again x x x x x

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