The road to sobriety and the ongoing journey of recovery is a story that is unique to each individual, but is a story that people from all parts of the world can connect with. Many stories won’t look or sound the same, but a connection still comes through that sense of understanding within a community. Connecting with the Soberocity community from England, an icon in the sober community, Veronica Valli.
Veronica spent her teenage and early adulthood years succumbing to the negative effects of alcohol, too familiar with spending most of her days under the influence. However, as she got older she began to discover how she could live a new life — a life of sobriety. And now, 21 years later, she continues to live and grow in the new life she imagined for herself.
Soberocity [S]: How much has your life transformed since you decided to get and stay on the path of sobriety?
Veronica [V]: It’s completely unrecognizable. I have been sober 21 years and everything I have is as a result of being sober. Particularly, my career and family all come from sobriety.
[S]: Could you tell us a little more specifically about the work you do and the individuals you work with?
[V]: I mostly work with women who recognise that there is something wrong with their drinking. On the outside, everything looks fine and ‘normal’ but on the inside they are falling apart and using alcohol to cope.
[S]: You talked about how your turning point was realizing that a life of sobriety could actually be a life that you lived. What would you tell someone who doesn’t believe they could live a life of sobriety either?
[V]: That it starts with a change in perception. The reason why quitting alcohol feels so hard is the faulty beliefs that we have that alcohol = fun, therefore sobriety = boring. Who wants to sign up to be boring? But this is just perception, not reality. If you give yourself a year to stop drinking and work on yourself, you will see massive changes. Alcohol is always going to be there and the cost of your drinking is only ever going to increase.
[S]: What are some or one of the key things that you’ve discovered people need in order to have a successful recovery process?
[V]: The five pillars of sobriety are key: Movement, Connection, Balance, Process, and Growth; these five pillars hold up our sobriety. It’s personal development — which everyone has to do — for sober people.
[S]: You spoke about living in a world where sobriety is more of a norm–a world where a person can turn down a drink and they aren’t called “weird” for it. How do you think we can get there?
[V]: I think we have to keep showing people how fun and awesome sobriety is; that you can do all the things (party, dance, festivals, vacations, etc.) sober and that they are better sober. We need to show people that you don’t miss out on anything when you are sober; you only gain. Show people the benefits, not warn them of the dangers.
[S]: It sounded like the people you surround yourself with had a huge impact on your sobriety status. Is that true? Did your community — in a sense — determine your sobriety?
[V]: I got sober in AA as that’s all there was 21 years ago; they saved my life. I realized that it wasn’t how much I drank, it had more to do with how I felt and that I used alcohol to cope with my feelings.
[S]: We know that COVID-19 has interrupted a lot of people during their recovery processes. Has the pandemic proven challenging for you? And if so, how have you been able to overcome?
[V]: It was challenging at first — the isolation. I had my family so I wasn’t lonely, but not being able to mix with others was hard. Exercise was really important to me during lock down as I needed to get out of my house and be on my own for an hour.
[S]: What is one piece of advice you would give someone struggling with an addiction in COVID-19?
[V]: You need community, you absolutely have to find a group of people you belong to. You can’t do this on your own. Addiction feeds off loneliness.
Veronica Valli continues to use her platform to guide others down their own paths to sobriety and recovery. Through her podcast and her upcoming book, both entitled Soberful, she — with her partner Chip Somers on the podcast — shares “stories, messes, experience and occasionally helpful advice to share on living in sobriety. This podcast is for anyone who wants to live an alcohol-free life, is struggling to get sober or who is in long-term recovery”. No matter where you are in your journey, together, we can strive and push forward.
Keep up-to-date with Veronica and stay tuned for her book release!