1. December 2015: I bought a new bicycle on the day I decided to quit drinking (12/20/2015) and celebrated my first alcohol-free Christmas riding bicycles with my boyfriend.
2. December 2015: I celebrated my first non-drinking New Years Eve with my boyfriend (who instead of partying stayed sober with me) by getting coffee, seeing the fireworks, going ice skating, then we checked out the telescopes and stargazing, then dancing at first night in Portsmouth, and we were home exhausted and eating pizza by 10 pm and asleep before midnight. It was so much fun!
3. January 2016: I bought the VW Jetta that I’ve wanted for the past decade!
4. January 2016: I started celebrating Friday nights with pizza and movies at home.
5. February 2016: I joined a monthly hiking group.
6. February 2016: I went interviews for marketing jobs. I didn’t get the jobs but I had nice interviews.
7. March 2016: I went to the New England Aquarium for the first time since elementary school with my boyfriend.
8. March 2016: I was invited to host a monthly poetry series at RiverRun Bookstore and I accepted the challenge!
9. April 2016: I visited my grandmother on her 99th birthday – I spent 9 hours driving to spend 3 hours at lunchtime with her!
10. April 2016: I joined an all women’s skateboarding group on Facebook and started connecting with women of all ages that skateboard from around the globe!
11. May 2016: I celebrated my one year anniversary with my boyfriend by having lunch at Surf Portsmouth – the raw bar sampler and my meal tasted even better without being accompanied by wine!
12. May 2016: I went hiking at Mount Agamenticus for the first time ever with friends we had a great adventure and my first sober Memorial Day weekend was way more fun than ever before!
Photo Credit: Jeremy Ouellette
13. June 2016: I went to an all women’s skateboarding event at Rye Airfield Skatepark!
14. June 2016: I enjoyed being at the beach not hungover with my boyfriend and friends throughout the summer!
15. July 2016: I attended my first poetry workshop ever on Tuesday evenings with Matt Miller at The Word Barn in Exeter.
16. July 2016: I published my first poetry collection, a chapbook on House of Love and Pizza Press.
17. August 2016: I took my first ever paddle boarding and surfing lessons at Summer Sessions Surf Shop in Rye, NH.
Photo Credit: Kayleigh Almon
18. August 2016: I celebrated my first sober birthday at Canobie Lake Park enjoying the rides.
19. September 2016: I started thinking about what I want my life to look and after a long conversation with an old friend realized I need to stop letting fear hold me back from pursuing my dreams.
20. September 2016: I was invited and accepted a three-year position on the board of the PPLP: Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program.
Me Feb. 2014 Photo Credit: Tammi Truax
21. October 2016: At a friend’s Halloween Party across town, after working two jobs it was a lot of fun!
Photo Credit: Shane Jeffrey Smith
22. October 2016: I started writing daily.
23. November 2016: I was one of twenty featured authors at the Portsmouth Public Library (NH) second annual author fair. I sold four of my poetry books and traded two more with authors for their books.
Photo credit: Dan Szczesny
24. November 2016: I celebrated my first sober Thanksgiving and my 11-month sobriety mark.
25. December 2016: I remembered my mother on the anniversary of her death – but didn’t feel the urge to drink, smoke, or overeat. Oddly, the day she died is also her youngest sisters birthday and I almost forgot to text her and wish her happy birthday but I remembered before I went to bed!
Photo Credit: Unknown
26. December 2016: I’ve read 52 books this year. That’s an average of a book a week.
Sheafe Street Books Photo Credit: Tamara J. Collins
Note: I’ve changed a lot over the past year. I’m no longer judgmental, mean, gossipy, or filled with fear/doubt/insecurity. I’m at peace. I live in the moment. I try to think before I speak. That’s still something I’m working on! And I’m grateful for the life I have and all the people that I’ve encountered on my journey. When I get overwhelmed or start to feel like I need to compare myself to others successes, I think back to the beginning of the month when a wise friend told me to keep it simple and to be grateful for things like soap.
Sobriety doesn’t equal sitting at home bored and alone watching TV.
I’ve been busier in sobriety than I ever imagined. I’ve met women whose hobbies include: bicycling, cross fit, hiking, paddle boarding, running, swimming, surfing, and yoga. They also love going to aquariums, concerts, dining out, trying new things, visiting museums, volunteering to help local charities etc. I have been pleasantly surprised to meet so many intelligent, well dressed, well put together, fun, creative, active people with many years of sobriety in the Seacoast. Sober is the new black.
Photo Credit: https://partysoberclothing.com