Wearing Her Tragedies as Armor
by Kelly Fitzgerald – the Sober Señorita
When I got sober I didn’t know I was “getting sober.” I just knew I was miserable, I had tried everything, and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I didn’t know I would grow to love sobriety so much. I didn’t know it would grow to become an integral part of my being.
During my drinking and using years, my life was a tornado of drama, booze, and drugs. It was riddled with toxic relationships – romantic ones and “friendships.” My self-worth was lower than I could ever grasp until I got sober. I had a lot of crazy things happen to me. Not everyone has to go through 6 knee surgeries or has a random high school classmate who attempts to take on your identity by giving your information to the police when they get arrested, or has their apartment in Cancun raided by the federal police because their roommate was wanted for fraud. But all of those things happened to me.
For a long time, I believed the world was out to get me and I used alcohol to deal with the negativity that clouded my life. The emotional destruction I caused and was a part of will always be a part of my story, but I will no longer let it win.
The first tattoo I got dedicated to sobriety was a quote I feel describes my situation and my attitude to a “T.”
Wear your tragedies as armor not shackles.
It’s a constant reminder that I can overcome any situation life throws at me - sports injuries, sickness, crazy life events, whatever it is. Not only that, I can use my past to spread the message of hope and recovery to others. It’s when our past and our tragedies become armor that we are truly free. That’s how I feel now in my sobriety.
The second sobriety tattoo I got was the symbol Tt – a teetotaler tattoo on my arm. This came directly from our online sober writer friends Laura McKowen and Holly Whitaker. They’ve started a teetotaler movement that I am proud to be a part of. A teetotaler is a person who abstains from alcohol. Holly sketched the Tt image to look like an element on the periodic table, citing that “chemicals are what got me here, that it’s in a way elemental.” It’s true. She and Laura got the tattoo and shared it with their networks, encouraging others to brand themselves if they are proud to be sober. I jumped at the chance.
People often ask me what the Tt means and I’m happy to explain that I am a person in long-term recovery, also known as a teetotaler. I am free from the shackles of addiction that had their grips on me for so long. I am proud to explain the importance of recovery to others. Whether it’s through my personal blog, my full-time work, or my tattoos.