A mother-of-two who has overcome alcohol addiction has opened up about her struggles and recovery online in the hope that other people will be encouraged to quit.
Megan Montague, 31, from Kent, talks about her relationship with alcohol on her blog Sober Story, which millions of social drinkers in Britain will relate to.
She also compares impactful pictures on her Instagram of her life as a drinker with her more wholesome sober lifestyle.
For the businesswoman and mum-of-two, boozing was a normal, everyday part of life. She held down jobs and had a good social and family life, but she eventually realised she had to stop drinking.
‘I used to get obliterated all the time,’ she said. ‘Sharing a litre of vodka with a friend ‘for fun’.’
Megan Montague, 31, from Kent, overcame alcohol addiction and is now opening up about her struggles and recovery online in the hope that other people will be encouraged to quit. Pictured with her two children
For the mum-of-two, boozing was a normal, everyday part of life. ‘I used to get all the time. Sharing a litre of vodka with a friend “for fun,” she explained
Megan (pictured during her drinking days) held down jobs and had a good social and family life, but she eventually realised she had to stop drinking
Megan’s unhealthy relationship with booze began as teenager. She spent most weekends binge drinking with her mates and things got worse in her twenties.
Following nights out with friends she’d wake up with mysterious bruises and she admits ‘there were nights I couldn’t remember getting home.’
She says she also abused alcohol to try to deal with the stress and solitude of running her own business as a financial consultant and trying to raise two young children alone.
The businesswoman had her first child, a daughter, in 2012, then a son in 2014, but the breakup with their Dad in 2015 hit her hard, as did an accident in which her father nearly drowned.
The businesswoman uses her social media account to post impactful photographs which compare her life as a drinker to that of her sober lifestyle
Megan during her drinking days, having a cigarette on a boozy night out. During her twenties, she loved going out boozing, but would often wake up with no memory of getting home
‘It was a build up of a lot of difficult situations and emotions – dealing with the break up and my dad almost dying,’ she explained. ‘I’d been trying to avoid feeling a lot of things and turned to wine.’
Eventually she was drinking every day to try to feel better, but always felt worse the morning after – whether she’d been out with friends or downing bottle of wine at home alone.
To the outside world she may have looked like a successful young mum, but behind closed doors it was a different story with her kids.
‘I was so depleted, so lacking in energy, just so impatient with them,’ she said. ‘I didn’t have the energy to do stuff with them. I found them so overwhelming a lot of the time – it just felt like a constant battle.’
Megan’s unhealthy relationship with booze began as teenager. She spent most weekends binge drinking with her mates and things got worse in her twenties (pictured left and right)
After a decade of trying to drink her problems away, at the age of 30, Megan decided enough was enough.
‘I knew if I carried on then I’d die,’ she said. ‘If it carried on, I wouldn’t carry on for much longer.’
On another hungover morning, following a friend’s party, Megan stumbled across Catherine Gray’s Unexpected Joy of Being Sober account on Instagram . The author was running Sober Spring, a 90-day challenge encouraging people to stop drinking.
Megan had been debating quitting alcohol for months, but it turned out this was the support group for her.
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober
Megan was inspired by Catherine Gray, whose book, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober: Discovering a happy, healthy, wealthy alcohol-free life, published in December 2018, is a number one bestseller on Amazon.
In the book, she reveals how she started drinking alcohol at 12 to calm her nerves.
‘I began to believe that relief resided in bottles. That great stories were at the bottom of glasses. That booze was an anaesthetic for my ever-present anxiety,’ she said.
‘When I was sober, life was too sharp, too painful, too real and too loud. Drinking softened the edges and blurred the clarity. It turned an intimidating Andy Warhol pop-art world into a misty Monet watercolour.
‘Blackouts were common. I thought everyone experienced lost hours from nights out. I thought everyone felt jangly nerved until they had a drink. It turns out they don’t.’
In June 2010, a few months after her 30th birthday, her boyfriend of three years broke up with her, claiming they could never be happy together because of her drinking.
She finally realised she had to change when her parents confiscated the booze, and she started drinking peppermint tea with mouthwash to get a hit of alcohol.
But as soon as she quit drinking, she noticed huge changes in her appearance and mental wellbeing.
‘I found that sober, I was about a million times happier than I had ever been while drinking. As were the dozens of other sober pals I picked up along the way,’ she said.
‘I found myself with more hours in the week, heaps more energy, £23,000 more money over four years, deepened friendships, revived family relationships, better skin, a tighter body, the ability to sleep for eight uninterrupted hours, a bone-deep sense of wellbeing, a positive outlook and an infinitely more successful career. What’s not to like about that?’
She joined the challenge, and got advice and encouragement from others in their WhatsApp group. Family and friends were also supportive, but it was by no means a quick, easy fix.
‘In terms of community it was really helpful,’ Megan explained. ‘I had to spend a long time retraining myself.’
She has found that a combination of small habits throughout the day, from drinking more water and eating properly to writing, are among the things that help her stay healthy and alcohol-free.
‘I just feel better looked after and better prepared to deal with the stress of life,’ she explained.
Her healthier habits even served her when she sadly lost her father, who had Parkinson’s, this year.
Megan admits that following nights out with friends she’d wake up with mysterious bruises. ‘There were nights I couldn’t remember getting home,’ she said
The young mum-of-two, pictured with her two children, said: ‘I just feel better looked after and better prepared to deal with the stress of life’
Megan has found that a combination of small habits throughout the day, from drinking more water and eating properly to writing, are among the things that help her stay healthy and alcohol-free. Pictured at the gym
Now, Megan has been sober for more than a year, and runs her blog and Instagram account, sharing pictures and messages to help other young women realise they don’t need alcohol to feel OK.
In a recent blog post, marking her first year of sobriety, she shared what a year of being sober has taught her.
She wrote: ‘I really feel that this is only the beginning of what is possible for me and for my life. I have learned that I am not the anxious, angry, sad mess that I believed I was.’
‘I do not need to punish myself and I do not need to spend my life worrying about every single thing.’
‘I have learned that I can trust my judgement. I have learned that my feelings do not need to rule my life and dictate my actions. I can observe the chaos of life without partaking in it.’
Speaking of her new sober lifestyle (pictured with her two children), Megan said: ‘I have made some lovely new sober friends and the community on social media is so supportive and welcoming’
Megan goes on to list the main elements of her recovery and the things that help her get to this new point, which include proper sleep, having a good morning routine, exercise, therapy, practising mindfulness and gratitude, getting professional help and finding people who are also recovering.
‘Finding like-minded people has been really positive for me,’ she added. ‘When I stopped drinking I was worried about how it would impact my social life.’
‘I have made some lovely new sober friends and the community on social media is so supportive and welcoming. I make the effort to attend local sober events and workshops.’
‘There is nothing better than feeling like you are a part of something. When I was drinking, I felt very lonely and it was very isolating. Knowing I am not alone in my struggles makes me feel so much better.’
And what does Megan think about alcohol now?
‘You don’t need it to have fun, you don’t need it to have a good time – it’s a lie that we’re fed that we need it to socialise or meet people or progress in our careers,’ she said.
Speaking of the elements which have helped her recovery, Megan cited ‘proper sleep, having a good morning routine, exercise, therapy, practising mindfulness and gratitude, getting professional help and finding people who are also recovering’