Well-Being//

Four and a Half Years Sober: My Battle With Addiction

If you're struggling, know that recovery is possible — and life is so much better on the other side.

Mariya Bulat Photography
Mariya Bulat Photography

My name is Eve. Some of you might remember me from my recent essay about my musical journey. This one is also about a song I wrote the lyrics for and sang on. It is called Sober, by my band, Somatic Moon. What I’d love to concentrate on in this essay is what it took me to write those words.

I am a 39-year-old female, who immigrated to the US twenty years ago from Kyrgyzstan, one of the most economically unfortunate territories of the former Soviet Union. For the majority of my twenties and early thirties, I was a drunk and an addict. There is no certain reason as to why I took to drugs and alcohol. It just happened. I think, genetic predisposal (father died an alcoholic death after decades of battling his own demons), as well as my career as a musician never hitting it off; or maybe the soul–crushing hardship of initially being a financially insecure immigrant from a developing country, and not knowing, if I was going to make it here in the US, if I’d get my green card, if I’d be able to live here legally and work; or just the incertitude of being alive, the existential dread, that comes upon so many of us… I chose to hide in drugs and booze. 

Thank god, who I don’t really believe in, but that’s a different story, I was able to stop. And –– what is so much more important –– to stay stopped. At the age of 34, I was on the brink of losing everything: my husband, my home, my life. And, once again, music came to my salvation. I didn’t go to a rehab, but I went to school, to an audio engineering school, and I was able to shift my attention from the incessant desire to relapse into learning, how to create my own beats and to record live. Once again, I found my peace in writing songs, in pouring my frustration and fears onto those keys, and that microphone, in connecting with other musicians, and in learning a new skill. Music saved my soul, as it has always done before.

When I was three years sober, my band, Somatic Moon, released a single called Sober. I wrote the lyrics, while sitting in a classroom of yet another program I attended, this time in sobriety –– sober coaching. I was surrounded by people just like me, sitting around the table, some of them clearly nodding out on very strong substances. What a cruel and unforgiving disease. Those were the people, who came here to learn, how to save others, yet they couldn’t resist that next dose. And what was stopping me? What stops me, when I see my friends and relatives get drunk; what stops me, when I am offered a hit, or a pill, or a line. Just the one. Only one. 

I play the tape through. And I know that it will never be just this one. It will end up in me overdosing again, or having a terrible fight with the man I love so much, who has stood by my side for sixteen years now –– through love and through tough love –– but stand by my side he did, my husband, who, I know, I will lose this time, if I fall off the wagon again. I know, I will most probably have no other chance at recovery, as these four and a half years of a sober mind have been so indescribably difficult to attain. I don’t see me going thru early sobriety again, as early sobriety is excruciatingly, painfully difficult, for both the addict and people in their life. Yet, it is unavoidable, because the alternative is death inside. I am done being dead at my very core. I choose life.

This music video is about the internal struggle of early sobriety. I love, how the actress in the video was able to capture and channel those raw emotions into every frame.

If there is anyone reading these lines, who identifies with what I am writing about, who is struggling with believing if they might ever overcome their addiction, please know –– it is possible. If I could do it, you can. I promise you, it is much better on the other side. 

Here is the link to the music video. I hope it reaches your heart.

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