42 years with alcohol, my story

For some years I have been thinking of asking for help, but this is the first time I am actually doing it. I am 49 years old, and today is again day #1

My grandfather made wine in his small farm, back in Portugal. The first time I got slightly drunk I was 7 years old, when the family was tasting that year’s wine. The first time I vomited for big alcohol consumption I was 11. I was sick for days.
From my 16 years old on I was going to the night life with friends and getting drunk several times per week. On my 20s there were also some phases of cocaine, ecstasy, lsd, but fortunately they did not stay.
I always had trouble to get to sleep and the first sleeping pill my mother gave me I was 3 or 4. At 10 years old I was addicted to sleeping pills. When at 16 I discovered cannabis, I replaced the sleeping pills for a joint (I was already smoking cigarettes since 12). I stopped smoking cigarettes in 2017, after 32 years of addiction. From that moment on I started using cannabis edibles to be able to sleep. But my memory is so bad that this year I went back to the sleeping pills.

Back to alcohol… when I was 23 my father died. I entered in a very dark phase of my life, consuming a lot and being very depressed, with a total lack of self love. From all that suffering came a desire for improving my life and spirituality. I read all the books, I went to hundreds of retreats, meditation, healthy food, and it helped a lot. I was so invested in my recovery and learning so much, that when I was 28 I opened an holistic center and macrobiotic restaurant in my hometown, Porto. But even then, once or twice a month I had to get very drunk. And I never remember what happened.
In 2008 I left Portugal and went to live in Brazil. I lived in many spiritual communities and centers, meditating every day, fasting, singing mantras, eating vegetarian, etc, etc, etc, and I had to leave at least once a month to get drunk.
My stayed in Brazil did not finish very well, I had several disappointments with so called “gurus”…
With the pain of losing a house I built in a retreat center, and the end of the dream of living in an intentional spiritual community, I started drinking more regularly. I kept a hidden bottle.
Already leaving in Canada, for many years I managed my anxiety with 3 IPAs a day. One at 11am, second at 2pm, and third at 5 or 6pm.
But since I met my partner, in 2016, my consumption of alcohol increased a lot. We both work from home, with very free lives.
In these last 5 years I have been living in a constant cycle of promessing quitting, not drinking for 1 week (sometimes managing more), then start drinking a little, until drinking a lot, not knowing what I am doing, my brain unable to think properly, and entering in a huge depression. And here we go again… Since covid hit, March 2020, I gained 40 pounds. I used to be beautiful, now I feel fat and ugly.

I was always very successful in the work area of my life, I think I am a functional alcoholic. I work while drunk, the next day I don’t remember what I did the previous day, and when I check, all is done properly.

If you managed to read until here, if you have an inspirational, successful story that somehowrelates with mine, I would love to be inspired by you! Just send me the link.
I am terribly scared of failing. I tried to stop drinking hundreds of times before, and I never succeeded. And my relationship with alcohol has 42 years…
But this is the first time I ask for help. Scared and hopeful.
And grateful for your reading :pray::heart::pray:


Thank you for sharing your story. Getting to know yourself as a sober person is quite the journey. Be kind with yourself always and surround yourself with positive people who support your recovery. Hold yourself accountable, checking into this forum has helped myself and thousands of others. Remember to take it one day at a time and stay in the present moment. Vent your heart away here because it not only helps you it helps others. Good luck with keeping it simple.


I can definitely see myself in your story. I had more than 40 years of various addictions to substances and behaviors. It takes such a toll on your body mind and spirit. :people_hugging: I am sorry for your suffering. It is hard living that life of drink or drugs, feel bad, repeat.

There is a lot of inspiration to be found here. It helped me so much to come on here every day and read as many old and new posts as I could. I gained a lot of knowledge around getting sober. I found a lot of support here. I reached out for support when I needed it. I read a lot of books on recovery. Stayed physically active. Meditated a lot and found new ways to manage stress and feelings.

It can seem impossible after so long of ingesting various substances. But we can stop, right now. Focus on getting thru today, this hour, this minute. I promise you that waking up hangover and regret free is a wonderful feeling. It builds your soul up and as that happens you learn to love yourself again and we all need more of that.:people_hugging::heart:

So glad you reached out. We can and do recover with connection, support, community and self love.:heart:


Thank you for sharing your story @SuVijay

Alcohol is a bitch of an addiction and ive found a sober community is key. It seems you always left the door open to induldge. I suggest you mentally, physically, and spiritually close the door on alcohol. Remove any triggers and find your sober community.

I found that here and in AA.

I was wisely advised to see the similarities and not the differences. This forum is full of people with a wide variety of life and addiction experiences which may benefit you even if it doesnt seem to relate to your experience. I wish you the gift of desperation, an open mind and willingness.

I look forward to hearing more from you. You have a very interesting spiritual background


Hi and welcome! I also considered myself a “functioning alcoholic,” but I find that term to be problematic. Sure, I had lots of people fooled. I drank at home, heavily often, but only on weekends. My drinking never made me miss work, even though there were many Mondays I would go in feeling wretched. Really, most of the time I felt wretched. Even if I wasn’t hungover, I felt sad and ashamed. I often felt desperate. But I never told anyone, never reached out. Occasionally my weekend binges would get bad enough I’d raise the eyebrows of someone close to me, but they would just pay me on the back and tell me to drink less next time. Next time. Ugh. I kept this wheel circling for so long with some brief and other very long periods of sobriety. I “functioned” so well, the people close to me did more back patting when I asked for help and told me I was being dramatic. Sometimes I think “functioning” gets used for the benefit of other people, not the alcoholic, because it comes as such a surprise that there was an undetected problem. I thought she had it all together! I had no idea it was that bad! Yeah. I never felt like I was functioning, and successes linked with my alcohol abuse felt empty and fake, like a performance.

I am glad you’re here. You asked the right people for help. We get it.


Resonate so much with your story. I got sober at age 45, after 10 years of knowing and two years of actively trying to get sober. I had 2 years AF in 3/10/23. My life has never been better. The mind and spirituality space has completely opened up now that I don’t have to think about alcohol constantly. The possibilities are endless. I hope you can get off that wheel and stop wasting time. It’s better on this side.


Thank you :pray::heart:

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Thank you so much, for the words and hugs, they were felt! Yesterday i ordered a few books and will start reading. But since you had 40 years of consumption, how was the recovery of your brain? Does it come naturally or did you have to do something? How all that chemistry goes back to normal?
Bug :people_hugging: to you, thank you. :heart:

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Thank you @Cjp !
That is one of my biggest fears, people that will trigger my addiction again…
Every year we leave Canada early December and go to Mexico for almost 4 months. There we live in a very small fisherman’s village and we know almost every gringo that spends winter there. Tequila is everywhere, constant parties, nobody uses cars, so we can get wasted and walk home. And all my friends there drink. A lot. My partner and I have a band there, we play every week at the local restaurant/pub, to a large drinking audience, that are also becoming friends… what will I do next winter?
I don’t have friends yet where I live in Canada because I just moved recently. So I value so much all my friends that I spend my winter with… I am very afraid of that.
I am on the road now, returning from México. In Canada I will look for a support group and that probably will give me sober friends, that will be good.


Good question!! Looking back, it was similar to when I quit smoking cigarettes many years ago. The first full year was spent actually having and feeling emotions…something I literally had no experience with without nicotine in my system. I felt like my body needed that time to clear the nicotine from my cells. It was a big adjustment.

And so it has been with removing alcohol from my system. My body and brain and emotions had a lot of healing to do. That came later in my sobriety…early on all of me was focused on not drinking. As I gained some confidence and sober muscles, I could feel my self taking the time to heal and be without the alcohol…a very big adjustment after my entire life with it to some extent. A lot of it was and continues to be learning how to feel my emotions, how to reprogram reactions, how to integrate / reprogram past traumas and acknowledge fight / flight / freeze / fawn. A lot of work on developing healthier reactions, coping mechanisms, empathy and compassion for my self and my process and why I am how I am.

I think the chemistry aspect of my body went back (or actually discovered!) homeostasis mostly on its own…tho certainly with the assistance of healthier foods, liquids, lack of substances, being hydrated, nourishing body mind spirit thru embodiment, etc. It has taken a long time for sure…I am still healing and learning. My body / brain does though feel very different now than it did years ago.

Caring and love of self truly does heal. :people_hugging:


Your winter in Mexico sounds similar to our time away in Jamaica. We have made so many friends there over 20+ years and the focus has always been around drinking and drugs. No lie, it was very challenging the first few times we were all together. I had to embrace my sobriety whole heartedly and be honest with my friends and self around it. I put myself to bed early a lot, sought out some new friends who were not so boozy, nurtured my sobriety and self. You can make that shift happen.

That said…no need to worry over a future that is not here. Today is our day and we can be sober today. Staying in the now helps me a lot when I get caught up in what ifs and whens. Just my experience of course. :heart:


Thank you so much for your words @TryingJoy .
All my family is in Portugal, I don’t have friends where I am living now because I just moved. So my interactions are all online, except when I spend my winters in Mexico. And nobody knows about my struggles except my partner.
I work from home, producing, and I sell in person and online. I use to take my wine disguise, and sell while drunk. But people love this performance of mine and bought a lot. I am afraid of the next shows, festivals, markets…
For me alcohol is still related with success. I know i have to delete this idea from my brain, but it is still here. My next show will be 24 to 26 this month, next weekend :frowning_with_open_mouth:

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Thank you. You are so right. Waste of time… I will keep reminding myself about it.

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Again, thank you so much for all your words, they are meaning a lot to me.
Staying on the now is for sure my hardest challenge. I suffer from anxiety, so I am always in the future. I have to re-read a few books, thinking of Eckhart Tolle now!
Yesterday I ordered
The Recovery Book
Quit Like a Woman (I loved the title!)
In your process, what was the book that made more difference in your recovery?
Am I making too many questions?
More :people_hugging:s


Not too many questions at all! :slightly_smiling_face:

I think the first 2 that made a big impact were The Easy Way by Allen Carr and This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. More recently Quit Like A Woman and Push Off From Here have had a big impact. I am also partial to anything by Pema Chodron, Sharon Salzberg and Thich Nhat Hanh. I hear you on anxiety. The last 3 authors have assisted with that.:slightly_smiling_face:


Thanks so much for this info! :pray::heart:

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