Sober AF - Ali's Story

Sober AF. What does that even mean except a rebellious, against the grain way to say one is sober and in recovery.

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For me, being Sober AF means being abstinent from drugs and alcohol, but it’s so much more than that. It means that I have found a world of recovery that I love and have made my own. It’s finding joy in the small and big things in my life. It’s living a life I feel proud of and a life I feel successful in. It means I drink a lot of coffee and Dr. Pepper and it means I know all the good ice cream spots in Minneapolis.

Being Sober AF means being an engaging aunt, a loving sister, a helpful daughter and a supportive granddaughter. It means I do things like babysit for the best nieces and nephews a woman could have. It means having a niece that is excited to see me and runs into my arms after years of hesitation when I was around as a result of my drinking. It means having brothers and sisters-in-law that invite me over, or out for coffee when just 3 short years ago they avoided having anything to do with me and invited me over out of obligation. Being Sober AF means having brothers that trust me to babysit their kids and let me take them to get their nails done or ride roller coasters at the Mall of America. It means getting to be there for my mother while she battles brain cancer and let her know not only is she not alone, but let her know that her one and only daughter is sober and living a life mom can be proud of. It means driving her to appointments and finding her clothes that she likes and that fit her. Being Sober AF means getting to meet their new fluffy dog and love on him a bit. Pretty importantly being Sober AF means getting to be there to help my aging grandmother get to appointments she can’t drive herself to, and stay the night when she comes home from the hospital. It also means getting to take her to the mall for an awesome girls day out.

Being Sober AF means being a driven, motivated student for the first time in my entire life. It means channeling all the energy I used to put into drinking and instead channeling that into school. It means a 3.8 GPA after two 16 credit semesters. Being Sober AF means I have meaningful relationships with my professors and fellow classmates. It means being able to connect real life and school life and then expand my dreams even more. Being Sober AF means I work hard and I’m proud of the work I complete. It means I am a team player and do the work expected of me in groups.

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Being Sober AF means I have found a job in which I feel rewarded, relevant and that I am making a difference in my world. As a recovery coach for participants in a substance abuse court I feel that I am helping make a difference in their lives and helping them navigate some new and rocky waters. Being Sober AF means I get to be an advocate for these individuals and help them also learn how to advocate for themselves. It means I speak with lawyers and judges on a weekly basis and really fight for what’s right for those in early recovery.

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Being Sober AF means I have found an amazing partner-in-life that I adore and can say with confidence that I am in a healthy, balanced, encouraging relationship. This relationship did not come early in my recovery and that I know. I had to work on loving myself, and the new, sober Ali before I was able to be in a relationship with someone else. I’m not huge on rules (I mean how many of us really are), but that is one that I agree with. Waiting until it’s the right time, and the right person. I would catch myself saying things like “how did I get so lucky” but it really has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with being patient and not settling. Being Sober AF means I found my worth and became okay with not settling for anything less than what I deserve.

Being Sober AF means I have rediscovered my dreams and goals. It means I rediscovered that I am worthy of my dreams and goals and all the things I’ll learn along the way. Before I found recovery I often found myself not feeling worthy of my dreams or goals or thinking that I would just fail, so why even try. Being Sober AF means I believe in myself for the first time in decades.

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Being Sober AF does NOT mean that I am perfect. I am better than I was, yes, but I am not perfect. I’m still late more often than not. I miss deadlines. Forget appointments. Procrastinate like it’s going out of style. Being Sober AF does NOT mean I am mistake free. I still hurt people (though not on purpose anymore). Forget to apologize when I should. I still yell at cars while out driving. I still have drinking dreams 2.5 years later. Being Sober AF means that I’m still learning. Changing. Growing.

Being Sober AF means that I have found recovery and I have made it my own. I’ve never been good at following a path that others made. When I started to realize that when it came to recovery I didn’t need to follow anyone, that changed how I felt about recovery. I feel engaged, energized and back in love with recovery once I made it mine.

Being Sober AF means I drink a lot of coffee and Dr. Pepper and eat a lot of cheese. It means I wander around Costco when I’m bored. It means I laugh. It means I cry (at everything). It means I soak in the sun a little longer. It means I get tattoos and a lot of them. It means I go to Disneyland with friends and eat all the snacks and buy new Minnie Mouse ears every time I go. Being Sober AF means I go on a lot of adventures and try new things.

Being Sober AF means waking up in the morning and liking what I see in the mirror. It means living a life that is genuine and real. Being Sober AF means living a life I’m proud of and a life that others are proud of too.

Being Sober AF means I have bad days. But my worst day sober is infinitely better than my best day drunk.

Being Sober AF is more than just a catchy phrase. For me, it’s a lifestyle I’ve come to know and love. A lifestyle I plan on living as long as I’m on this planet.

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