My Sobriety Journey

I went to the hospital for a hangover 136 days ago. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: the hospital for a hangover? How much of a loser are you, Daley? Up until that point, I’d had about a million hangovers over the last ten years, but this one felt different. 

The Hangover 

On a Friday night in April, I went out with my friend for a drink to a local bar down the street—it was a last-minute decision, and I remember saying that I was only going to have two glasses of wine and then call it a night. Well, two glasses turned into a bottle at the first bar, followed by a few more mixed drinks at our friendly neighborhood pub soon thereafter. I don’t remember attempting to Irish step dance on the pub’s mini stage that night, nor do I remember coming home. 

My Saturday morning began with uncontrollable sobbing. Although my boyfriend tried to console me, the disappointment I felt for myself was too overwhelming. I knew when I woke up that I wasn’t going to be able to make it to my close friend’s 30th birthday party that evening because of my intense hangover—I called her that afternoon, crying, embarrassed, and very ashamed of myself. 

The hangover was pretty rough throughout the day, but once 7 pm rolled around, I started to get really worried. I was puking, in and out of a mild panic attack, and had searing stomach pain. When my body started convulsing while I was laying in my bed, my boyfriend decided to call 911. The two EMT guys came and were concerned that my stomach pain could have something to do with a pregnancy, because I was “a female of child-bearing age” *puke* (I knew I was not pregnant…just super hungover). They suggested I go to the hospital in the ambulance after seeing how low my blood pressure was. 

We spent hours at the hospital that night. I got an IV drip with fluids and was diagnosed with viral gastroenteritis. I was prescribed Pepcid AC, bland foods, and sent home at 3 am. From the time I started puking, to the end of the night, I asked my boyfriend to snap pictures of me so that I would never forget this night (I will spare you all the images). I knew it would be the last time I drank for a long time, and I needed to document this night to never forget. 

The Recovery

My hospital visit was the wake up call I needed to finally realize that alcohol had me by the throat. For more than a decade, I spent most Fridays getting drunk, and most Saturdays recovering. Sundays were left to pick up the pieces of anything I wasn’t able to do on Saturday, when I couldn’t get out of bed. 

I’d gone into that Friday night in April with every intention to just have two drinks, but my alcohol addiction had other plans. When I woke up on Saturday morning and cried, I now know it was an intense wave of grief—I knew that my drinking days needed to end or this cycle would just keep repeating itself. 

On that Saturday, April 16, 2022, I decided to try out full-time sobriety for the first time. I’d done two successful dry months previously, and had tried my fair share of non-alcoholic drinks over the last year or so. About four months and 14 days later, I still haven’t had a sip of alcohol.

I’ll never forget the wave of relief that overcame me the day I decided to stop drinking—I hadn’t realized how much anxiety alcohol was causing in my life. When I went on a two-week trip in March to San Diego (bachelorette party), Los Angeles (visiting my brother), New Orleans (friend’s 30th birthday party), and then Aspen (press trip), I remember dreading the trip because 1.) It was a really long trip with a bunch of stops and 2.) I didn’t know how I was going to handle all the hangovers that I knew would inevitably accompany all that partying. The anxiety of a hangover was ruining my excitement and experience of joy for the trip. 

The last four-ish months of sobriety have been hard, but they’ve also been incredibly easy, too. My anxiety has decreased drastically, but I’ve also been a bit of an emotional wreck for months (no longer using alcohol to numb all your feelings and worries every Friday night will do that to ya). In sobriety, my life and my world have expanded in ways that are difficult to describe—I’m excited to try new things, capable of taking on challenges, have bigger plans for my future, and feel at peace with my mind and my body. I feel so incredibly alive, and no longer trudging through life like I was when I was binge drinking every weekend. 

The key to my sober journey has been to take it day by day. The thought of being sober forever scares me too much, and it’s too much of a commitment for me to wrap my brain around. Truthfully, I think I will go back to drinking alcohol at some point in my life, if and when I can stop using it as a way to numb my feelings and emotions. Until then, you can find me drinking my non-alcoholic beers and mocktails. 

The Joy

To the folks reading this blog post considering sobriety or wanting to cut down on their alcohol intake, but are terrified of leaving their “drinking identity” behind, I see you. I was scared to stop drinking because I didn’t know who I was without alcohol. I believed that drinking was a huge part of my identity (even though I only really drank alcohol on Fridays). I didn’t know what I would do with my friends if we weren’t drinking, and I was terrified of the judgment and stigma around sobriety. 

As it turns out, I am way more than my drinking habits, and there is way more fun shit to do in life than getting trashed and being too hungover to enjoy the day. Do I miss drinking sometimes? Yes, I absolutely do. But I think I miss the camaraderie and social aspect of drinking more than alcohol itself. That being said, I’m enjoying my sobriety way more than I thought I would. I’m happy to report that I still have fun with my friends, my relationship with my partner is stronger, and I have an incredible support system of family and friends who are cheering on my sobriety every step of the way. 

I feel at peace, joyful, strong, and capable—and while it was tough in the moment, I can thank my hangover-turned-hospital-visit for that. 

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  1. Surprisingly comforting to hear that I’m not the only one who suffered immensely from shame-overs. The puking, the crying… I can totally relate.

  2. I am so sorry you had to go through such a painful experience but also so happy you came out stronger on the other end.
    Always here for you!

  3. Do proud of you and recognizing your needs. Nipping it early. Congrats. It is something I think about always. Haven’t figured out my boundaries yet. Thank you for sharing xx

  4. Daley,
    I am in awe of your ability to be vulnerable, courageous and candid. Your journey will definitely inspire others.

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