Today my sober sister celebrates her first year of continuous sobriety. She is just 19 days behind me, and made a wonderful, brave decision to stop drinking, and on March 30th last year she had her last alcoholic drink.
I don’t want to ‘out’ her on the blog, but I want to write about what she means to me because I am so blessed by our friendship and so proud of what she has achieved.
SS (for sober sister) and I met ‘online’ in early April 2016. We were on a long running mumsnet forum for people who have given up drinking. I was about 3 weeks into my sobriety, and she just starting. I immediately felt warm towards this woman who was struggling with physical withdrawal in the early days and weeks, but was so determined that she battled on anyway. Her strength and commitment despite her physical and emotional vicissitudes, impressed and bolstered me when I felt weak. I started messaging her on the mumsnet PM system; she replied and we started an infrequent but supportive personal relationship.
Like me SS is a professional woman; like me she was a high functioning dependent drinker who had been concerned about her alcohol intake for many years; like me SS has teenager children and like me she had committed to sobriety.
We emailed on and off through our first months of sobriety, offering support and encouragement to one another. I felt listened to, and understood by her in a way that perhaps only someone else who is treading this path could understand.
Just before Christmas we met in person. We live about 100 miles apart in the UK, but there is a frequent train service between our nearest cities and we wanted to meet. I was curious, excited and nervous before our first meeting. Ironically we chose to meet in All Bar One – a chain of wine bars that we had both visited in our past lives.
It was a very special meeting. I think we just ‘got’ each other. We smiled and laughed and talked through a few hours, drinking Becks Blue and just .. connecting.
Since than we have texted and been in touch quite a lot. I took a day from my annual leave and travelled up to see her earlier this month, we walked and talked and laughed and shared experiences and feelings. It was again, a really special, affirming, confidence building day.
I have lots of acquaintances, and a few close friends, all of whom I have known for a long time. My SS is different, I feel that she is walking with me on a special path, that we are connected by our circumstances, drawn together – meant to be friends to help and encourage each other.
We are not involved in each others day to day life and a consequence of our geographical distance from one another. We don’t know each others friends or family, although we talk about them and about our lives, but we have the shared wisdom of a year with no alcohol, and the shared future goal of long term sobriety and a pretty unique understanding of how each other ended up needing to stop drinking.
I don’t judge her and I know I am not judged. I am sure for every awful drinking story she has I could share one just as bad. I know her struggle because it is also mine, and I celebrate her achievement today, as though it is mine.
My SS means something special to me. It takes nothing away from those I am so close to at home, its a different closeness and a different relationship but one that I value immensely and cherish. It’s a friendship just for me …
so fabulous sober sister – Happy soberversary – the first of Many. And Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your ongoing support & caring.
You brighten up my life 🙂