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The Evolution of Birthdays


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It is my birthday! Whoot whoot! How amazing it is to be sober on this day, especially knowing that there was a point in my life when I just didn’t think that this was ever going to be possible. Tonight I was thinking about how my birthdays have evolved over time.

The first birthday I drank was 16. Well, I tried to drink… I have never had more than a sip here and there till then. I was just too terrified to try it, not wanting to become like my alcoholic mother. But 16th birthday? Well I just got dared… So I proceeded to chug straight out of the Jack Daniel’s whiskey bottle and promptly vomited all over while running to the bathroom. I didn’t drink again for several years.

My next great memory was my 21st birthday, and the year one becomes the legal drinking age in the US. I proudly marched myself with my shiny ID down to the convenience store to buy some beer and wine coolers so I could proudly be able to smack my ID on the counter! Well, I didn’t get IDed, very disappointing, and I got very buzzed off of 4 pack of wine coolers! Hmmm.


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Then my very memorable 25th birthday, which I remember completely even though I drank everyone under the table and did so very proudly, except for the few episodes of vomiting. But… I just got right back to it until wee hours of the morning. All my friends showed up, each bringing another exotic bottle of my favorite elixir. That was a grand birthday – I remember thinking.

30! What can I say about it? I started with a few shots of tequila and a friendly game of quarters – that’s a game in which you try to bounce a quarter off the table into a shot glass. If you missed then you had to take a shot. I was losing. I don’t remember much, just bits and pieces: loud music, many people I didn’t know, vomiting, trying to walk thru the house and holding myself up with the walls and passing out on the floor. I don’t really remember having a good time at all. I do remember waking up with a horrible hangover and just chugging a beer to get rid of it!

By the time my 35th birthday came around I was in an outpatient rehab. I was sober but only to get the law off my back. I had several serious consequences that had stemmed from my drinking and the rehab was court ordered. I was a mess. I had nothing. I just got some little job because the told me too. I was not able to see my daughter but only every other weekend with what they called an unannounced supervision. I hated being sober and I hated spending my bday sober and alone! It completely sucked. No party. No celebration. Just another ordinary day. Deep down I couldn’t wait for all the legal crap to be over so that I could drink again, and that hope alone kept me going! Pretty messed up, huh?


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Oh and then 40… Forty was amazing! I was sober for 2 continuous years. My whole family showed up and all my sober fellowship friends. It was the biggest party I had since, well, maybe that party I had at 25. I remember it all. I now I have a family! And a house and a job. And no law in my life! There was no alcohol served – lots of coffee though! I got hugged more than ever. We danced, ate cake and laughed till my cheeks hurt. I have many pictures of that day. I have great memories and all warm and fuzzy. I felt loved. I felt whole. I couldn’t believe that all this was possible in sobriety.

And now today – a great day with family and friends and the fellowship. Lots of hugs and tears of joy. I just could not ask for more! I am sober and grateful!

How have your birthdays evolved?

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)*, please check out the Sober Courage menu at the top of this page for an extensive list of support groups and recovery related articles.

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*Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using (Ref: NIAAA).


1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Sober Courage and commented:

    Birthdays seem like a great time to reflect back on how things have changed over the years in my life. I often get so overwhelmed with the daily tasks of living that I don’t see the progress that I have made, and I feel like I am just treading water. However, when I really take the time and look back, I am truly astounded – the changes are beyond any of my expectations! What I thought ten years ago that my life would be like is nothing like how it is at all – and I mean the good and the bad. Most of all, I think that sobriety and recovery helped me to be the person that I was always meant to be and for that I am eternally grateful!

    So please do not lose hope! Keep moving forward and sober, and before you now it, you too will be astonished by your progress and your new life!

    Accordingly, today I would like to share this little post with you, straight from the Sober courage vault – The Evolution of Birthdays!


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