Amanda: Enjoying Life Without Alcohol Use

A woman shares her story of recovering from alcohol use and helping others find sobriety and community support.

I was always the party girl, the one who kept up with the boys, the first to arrive and the last to leave. My social life revolved around drinking. I never went to anything where alcohol wasn’t served. My biggest fear when I began recovery in 2010 was that the fun was over. I could not imagine a life without alcohol. I thought happiness was tied to drinking.

I could not have been more wrong.

I have always been outgoing, up front, and straightforward; I call it like I see it. Honestly? It never crossed my mind to hide my recovery. I work in an industry that has a strong drinking culture, and I was at the center of this for many years. When I returned to work after rehab, I didn’t keep my recovery a secret. I didn’t know what to expect from people. It didn’t matter to me, really. I knew only that I was not ashamed of my recovery; it was the hardest and best thing I ever did.

I am as outgoing as ever, but here is what I didn’t expect: I have more fun, laughter, and joy in my life now than I ever did drinking. I’m still a party girl—just without alcohol. And my life is so much better. I laugh harder, right from my gut, and it’s REAL. I love being present for my life—even the hard times.

Today I am a recovery advocate and co-founder of a nonprofit that my best friend started. The organization, Shining Strong, helps women struggling with addiction and celebrates recovery. Helping people find sobriety and community has filled a hole in me that I was trying to fill with alcohol. My life is anything but boring and best of all, it’s fun.

Last Updated: 12/22/2015