Amy and I were sober penpals a long time ago (dec 9). a few others joined in. Team 100 was born on March 14th. A few people joined who already had some days under their belt (like Sunny Sue!). And then there’s Carrie. She is on Day 100 today!
About 6 weeks after she signed up, she sent me this:
Thanks for your email … I am sitting in the park reading this with tears in my eyes because I am still hugely touched every time you reply to an email from me. That someone would bother to take the time to listen to my problems … that continues to surprise and humble me.
I wasn’t ready to own up and admit my problem to a room full of people. I am not ready to wear a label, I may never be. But, I also wasn’t in denial and I desperately wanted to be saved.
Who knew that being saved didn’t have to involve a public fall from grace, hitting rock bottom, or shouting from the rooftops for help.
Just one tiny email was all it took to be sitting here with huge waves of relief gushing over me, that I found a lifeline in someone else who gets this and cares that I am staying sober today. I only wish that I had found this/you sooner and that more people knew that reaching out would make a fucking ENORMOUS difference to this journey.
And today, she sent me this:
Hi Belle, checking in to say still sober … 100 days!! Wow, I can’t believe it. I am so happy to be writing this email. I cannot thank you enough for being my sober friend and for the Team 100 idea both of which have helped me get to this momentous day. I really can’t believe that I have been sober for this long and have plans only to stay sober and happy too!
I made a million promises to myself that I would cut down or give up booze.
I needed to do something differently this time as my attempts always failed in the end. I would always convince myself that I had probably just overreacted and back to drinking I would go! I needed to admit to someone other than myself that I needed help. I needed to be understood. I needed someone to empathise with my situation and most of all, I needed to be accountable.
Among the online community, I found like minded people. I realised that I wasn’t alone and that I wasn’t unique in my alcoholism. I realised that I am normal and there are lots of other regular people like me who are really struggling to cope with their drinking.
Reaching out online was the best thing I have ever done. In my sobriety, it is the single most important decision I have made. At the time it felt like the biggest, most difficult step but I swallowed hard, sent the emails and started on my journey. I have experienced being sober with and without support. I can say that being part of a group and with sober pen pals, it is a whole lot easier.
Team 100 and the online sober community gave my sobriety a whole new sense of purpose. It’s not just about not drinking. It’s about sharing fears, expressing feelings, asking for help, opening up, showing vulnerability and baring your soul. It’s about being encouraged, receiving praise, cheers, shout outs! It’s about giving advice too, supporting others, hoping, praying for them to do well. It’s following their journey, rooting for them, cheering them on, keeping each other company on the good days and the bad. It’s knowing someone has your back. Someone who understands.
Through this my sobriety has grown into something of value that is tangible. Not just to me but to others. It’s a huge part of who I am now and I have met some wonderful people. I couldn’t throw all of that away so easily for a glass of chardonnay or a beer. Being 100 days sober means I have a future that I can plan for again. Drinking and worrying about my drinking had taken over my life. I just couldn’t imagine a life without wine and yet I couldn’t imagine how my life was going to continue if I was drinking so heavily. I am back in control and drinking doesn’t dominate everything I do. Every decision doesn’t revolve around obsessing about alcohol. It’s an exciting, scary, new feeling but I would chose this over the constant thinking about alcohol every time.
Having 100 days has given me the strength to face 100 more. So I am going for 200 days sober, wow, I never thought I would say that!
You are a superstar, dear Belle. You are always going to be a huge part of my sober story and to say that I am eternally grateful to you for that doesn’t even begin to cover it. Thank you. xxxx
If you haven’t met Carrie yet, go and read her blog here.
Team 100 update: 113 members, welcome to Jen-Faith (4), JT without JB (10), and runningfromthebooze (2). Happy days to Carrie (100!), Simpson Sister (60), Erica (140), Lawyer Anne (71), PP (15), Kirst (7), LilyUK (46), Paula (21), Allie (11), Sara (31), Julz & Quill (21), Designer Rachel & Ingrid (14), SugarRush3 (10), and Carol (8).
Team 100 “statistics” (and i put that word in quotes): 113 people have registered since we started. Lest you think it’s ‘easy’ for everyone (it ain’t), 28% of Team 100 members have restarted to day 1, sometimes more than once. BUT an amazing 77% are sober today, and in regular communication.