Betsy spent over 50 years of her life drinking. The idea of going sober at 70 seemed ludicrous but she was up for the challenge! Betsy shares her journey starting with her teens, her career, her relationships, and what ultimately led her to pursue going sober at 70.
Drinking to fit in
My parents did not drink a lot around us; most of their consumption was late at night. My mom always slept late in the morning. Dad would make breakfast for the four of us and get us to school. The only time I saw my dad really tipsy was after my sister’s wedding. My own drinking was my way of fitting in as a teen. Because I looked older I was able to buy for my friends. By 17 I could “drink my dates under the table.” with a pint of vodka.
Alcohol was always there
I didn’t concern myself at all about alcohol through the years. Drinking just seemed to be something everyone did. Of course, I didn’t like to see people really drunk and obnoxious but for me, it was fun and loosened me up. My career definitely involved alcohol. I worked in the communications and advertising world. I distinctly remember a colleague telling me it was a dangerous path and that my marriage would be at risk. As much as I hated to believe him, ultimately he was right. Now, 52 years later I can see clearly that alcohol was a big factor in my divorce, even though I’m quite sure that marriage would have dissolved anyway.
Later in life (I’m 71 now), I was drinking a bottle and a half nearly every night, even while I was still working. Increasingly I had this feeling, often when waking up in the middle of the night) that I was literally pickling myself. Each morning I would make a pledge to cut way back. You all know how that story goes.
Crossing the line
My promiscuity was an issue starting in college, especially when alcohol was involved. It also signaled the end of my 16-year marriage. Of course, that wasn’t the only factor but it made things much tougher. Once I crossed that line, my guilty self saw no way back. It took until I was 70 to begin making major health turnarounds in my life. Going sober at 70 seemed possible finally. My second marriage has lasted 30 years and our co-dependence has gotten us through a lot. We are both sharing this health path so we can live a quality life until the end.
Testing out a change
For about five years we did the Whole 30 diet each quarter and made it through 30 days. Once complete, we stayed with the healthy diet but picked right back up on the alcohol. That’s really the only time we’ve tried. It satisfied our need to know we weren’t textbook “alcoholics” but that’s about it.
Going sober at 70
Going sober at 70 came on gradually. I stopped drinking for 19 days and resolved to stop completely. This was spurred on by my newfound discipline from practicing intermittent fasting for 15 months and a newly gained respect and love for myself. It was a wonderful stroke of luck and I am thankful every day! Within a week I felt this joyful sense of relief at having discovered the Alcohol Experiment at just the right moment. I bought the book right away and committed to watching the program every single day.
It’s absolutely brilliant!! Fortunately, at my age, there’s not a lot of peer pressure so I didn’t have to deal with that. But writing up the list of what alcohol DOES for me blew my mind. I came up with almost nothing! It’s been close to 9 months and it’s truly no longer an issue. My husband had two glasses of wine in Portugal and a few IPAs since then but he’s all good too. For us, it’s a love journey…of ourselves and of each other. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I traveled lots of miles to find myself here. ❤️🎉👏
Support on my journey of going sober at 70
I started the Alcohol Experiment 19 days after quitting. It was immensely helpful, especially the science and the personal lists! I also signed up for the 100 days because I just wanted that added support. I’m solid now, but if for any reason I ever feel tempted again I would start all over. So worth every moment! I also read Annie’s book This Naked Mind and watched several podcasts. All excellent!
Are you ready to start your own journey of going sober at 70 (or any age!)? Start reading This Naked Mind for free instantly!
Peace after alcohol
One of my closest friends called me “the Benjamin Button” of her circle. I’ve always been joyful and now I’ve found peace. I can easily say “no, thank you” now. Not just to alcohol but to events and gatherings that truly don’t interest me. My ego is much more in check when people try to woo me with compliments to participate in this board or that project. I allow myself the space to truly think about my own desires. I’m much more at ease with myself and my choices. It’s as if I now know my true self much better without the haze of the wine. Good tastes better and some meals are actually memorable. And there is a profound sense of peace and comfort in myself. I know there is much more…
Share Your Story
Do you have your own story of going sober at 70 (or another equally awesome age)? Did our books, the app, the podcasts, or another program help you find your freedom? We want you to share your story here and inspire others on their journey!
Desiree is a research journalist working performing her duties as chief editor at this news station. She is a talented writer and comes up with facts everybody wants to know.