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Sober Sister Turns 30

25 Jun Posted by in • Guest Writers | 2 comments
Sober Sister Turns 30

I’ve been clean and sober a long time. In fact, on June 4th it was 30 years since my last drink or recreational drug. Truly a lifetime. I was 28 years old when I sought recovery, but like everyone, had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I just wanted to learn how to drink without getting into trouble, car accidents or waking up in strange places.

When I came out I was living in San Diego, attempting to go to college, and the only place to go to be with other gay people was the bar. In San Diego in the 1970’s we were regularly rousted by the San Diego Police Department for ‘disturbing the peace’ if we were caught touching on the dance floor. (Anybody out there remember Diablo’s?) I was only 19 but fashioned a fake ID that said I was 21, so the party was on. I could drink a lot, and I liked it. I liked the taste and I loved the effect. In gay bars I found other people who drank like me, or more than me – and that made me feel better about my own drinking. I had plenty of close calls with my recklessness, but I was a typical young alcoholic-addict. I don’t know why I was able to stop, so many people are never able to stop and addiction holds them for their whole lives.

When I first got clean and sober I didn’t know anyone who didn’t drink or use, and I thought I would be bored to death.  What would I do on New Years’ Eve? With some help, I managed to find a band of lesbians who were attempting to stay sober by creating a community and holding onto each other.  I hung on, and it saved my life. Many of those same women are still in my life today.  Of course we had our dramas, losses, and relapses. I can’t imagine how my life would have been without that group of rebel lesbians.  Thank you Waller Street women.

Even with one day sober, you learn fast that it isn’t easy. In some sense I am good at this now, but I still have a very busy, creative mind and my stuff is still my stuff. I’m just more comfortable with it and I know it so much better. I’m willing now that other people know my stuff, and that is the most healing experience.

I’m very grateful. Is it important to be 30 years clean and sober? It is to me, but I also know that I don’t know anymore than most people walking this path. For younger women who are wondering if it’s possible, it is. Thirty years is just a whole lot of individual 24-hour days.

Oh yes, I’m 30 years older.

What this means is I am a sober menopausal woman with a ‘don’t fuck with me’ attitude who believes she’s earned her place on the planet.

I’ve learned how to build a life. This life is filled with meaning for me. Recovery now is about cherishing this precious life, being of service, having fun and living in community.




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