A Life Beyond My Wildest Dreams in Recovery?


I often hear people in recovery talking about “a life beyond my wildest dreams” and it is a statement I have actually begun to resent.  Since I found sobriety, I am healthier and in general terms a lot happier. But I feel like I am slowly losing so much.


Sober life is tough for me….

Sobriety is tough for me. Not the drinking – I am lucky that I lost my craving fairly quickly. But life….I find life so difficult. And I’m going through changes that are stripping me of everything that I thought I was. I have lost material possessions that I gained in my drinking days – a career, nice house, nice car. And in the last year I have lost all of this and I wonder every day why this is happening to me.


Some would say I am being tested and pushed to the limit. But I believe I am changing, and I am changing into the woman I should be, not the one that I thought everyone wanted.  Having a good career and the material possessions that came with it did not make me a nice person. It wasn’t something that came naturally to me and the pressure was too much. I broke, and now it”s all crumbling around me. Change is tough, but recovery is all about change.


Impasse and Negativity in Recovery

I’m at an impasse and have been letting this fuel my negativity. To everything that doesn’t go my way, I seem to react like a petulant child and then have that feeling of immense doom.  When this happens, my depression takes me to places that I don’t like, dark places where I am worthless… And then the thoughts of not wanting to be there lead to urges to drink. And I know if I did, it would lead to complete destruction.


Sobriety is like a roller coaster and getting through life without alcohol is the toughest ride of all. I am feeling feelings I am not used to, because I want constant euphoria. And I can’t cope with the come-down afterwards.  A lovely weekend with friends leads to a horrendous mood on a Monday morning and resenting having to go to work. I isolate or upset people, and then I’m hyper sensitive if they bite back at me.


 I’ve cried more in sobriety than ever before. It is a deep cry. A proper cry and a feeling-of-pain cry. Not like when I drank. When I cried as a drinker, it was an attention seeking cry or a frustration cry.




The tears coming out of me just now are overwhelmingly exhausting. but somewhere inside I know they are cleansing. My natural reaction is to hold my emotions in and I’m not yet able to fully let it go. Because I’m scared that if I do, I’ll never stop… but maybe that is what I need to do. Feel the feelings and let everything go.


We are told that the best thing about sobriety is that we get our feelings back and that the worst thing is that we get our feelings back. I couldn’t agree with this more.


We are all different –  some people embrace feelings and go with the flow and slowly get better at dealing with sensation. My sobriety has not been that smooth. My natural reaction to everything in life is to fight back. I tend to express myself in a way that upsets people and then I get upset.  


My kids are great, but the damage I did to myself is still simmering. I have been unable to forgive myself. I have been unable to look at what I have achieved in recovery. And I’m beating myself up for everything I did wrong. Failed friendships and relationships are on me, caused by bad choices or withdrawing. People, places and things challenge me every day.  


Remember – Work the Program for Life…

When life gets on top of me like this, I have to remember to work my program. I have to go back to living in the day. I also need to remember to reach out to the other sober people around me. Remember that no one is a mind reader.


Living without alcohol is the hardest lesson I have had to learn. And when I have periods of sobriety that are good and on program, this is the sober life I cling to and try to remember. I have to work my program and live each day in the moment. Feelings support us through life and they are not something to be scared of. Life in recovery is not “beyond my wildest dreams”, but it is my new normal. And there is no going back for me.  





Nicola Lee had it all - a successful career, 2 children, marriage, car, house... She found herself at alcoholic rock bottom on the 5th December 2015. Nicola says, "After some time in sobriety, I decided to write down my journey through recovery and finding a way to live happily and sober. By writing my truth I hope to dispel some of the myths around what defines an alcoholic." Nicola Lee lives in Hampshire, England. She writes a blog at called 365 'Days a Year' and also writes for the Huffington Post UK.