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Womxn x Alcohol: Event Producer April Wozny Quit Booze and Is Still the Life of the Party

For over a decade, April Wozny has been one of Toronto’s most notable event producers—always the life of the party. But for many of those years, life behind the glamorous photos wasn’t so pretty. At age thirty, April decided that change was necessary and gave up drinking. That was in 2015 and since that time, April has become a powerful advocate for recovery, hosting a sober curious event at Stackt Market last fall, and bravely sharing parts of her journey in the Toronto Star

How did you stop drinking?

I didn’t have a choice. It was either continue drinking and die, or find help and live. I got help through a psychiatrist, Alcoholics Anonymous, an addictions counselor, spiritual support, friends and family.

What does your recovery look like today?

I am happily 4.5 years clean and sober. In early sobriety, I gathered tools to put in my toolbox to help me get back on my feet, learn how to live without drugs and alcohol and navigate life in this world. I continue with therapy, surrounding myself with a support system, mindfulness and gratefulness.

What was a major discovery you made during the early days (months) of your recovery?

First off, getting sober was not easy. But one thing that was brought to my attention that helped ease my new path was that not everything has to be done in leaps and bounds. Not everything has to be done all at once and grand proclamations don’t need to be made (“I’ll never drink again!”), baby steps are key (“I won’t drink for the next hour or 24 hours!”). One baby step then another then another. Soon you’ll look back and realize you’ve walked a mile.

Another discovery I made was that I was able to actually take a step back for the first time and look at myself fully. I was never able to do that before as I was drowning myself and my feelings in booze and drugs. Another way of phrasing that is called denial. Discovering I had been living in denial about my using and demons for a long time was a big shocker. I had been using and been in pain for so long that it was 100% normal to live in constant discomfort.

What have you discovered more recently?
 
If I’m not mindful, my addiction shows up in other areas of my life: food, sex, love, money, work. I’m an extremist in all that I do. Taking things day by day and bit by bit is something I need to be aware of.
 
When someone asks you why you don’t drink, how do you respond?
 
Because I’m publicly out with my sobriety, I say with a smile, “Because I’m a recovering alcoholic.” Or a simple, “Because I don’t want to.” I no longer have shame surrounding my sobriety. Truth of the matter is: why I don’t drink is actually nobody’s business. Remember that.
 
What does fun look like you today?
 
Just because I’m sober doesn’t mean I’m not able to have a fulfilling life. Fun comes in all forms, especially now that I’m fully aware and able to enjoy and remember what I’m doing. My definition of ‘fun’ may not look like what you would expect. Fun to me is having deeper connections with people. Being aware of my surroundings allows me to immerse myself and experience fully. I’m alive. And that to me is fun.
 
What do you want to say to the woman still struggling?
 
You are not alone. There are many womxn out there struggling just the same as you are. Try to seek help and find those who have sobriety to help you along in your journey. Keep it simple by trying to stay sober for just one day. Like I said, baby steps. I also want to give you a big hug and tell you that you can get sober. I want you to be happy because you deserve it. You deserve it all.
 
What stigma do you think needs to be smashed? 
 
All of it. In particular, that life doesn’t exist after sobriety and that addiction is something to be ashamed of. I encourage you to be brave and explore all that a sober life has to offer you. As it was once told me to me and I will continue to say: life will become abundant in more ways than you could’ve ever imagined. Sober is sexy. Sober is cool. 
 

What’s the greatest gift that sobriety has given you?

I got my life back. In fact, I got an upgrade. A glow up. Listen, not everything is perfect but I’m no longer a) alone and b) suffering in pain as much as I did. Being liberated from pain is the greatest thing I have ever received.

In our ongoing Womxn x Alcohol series, we’re interviewing dozens of Canadians who stopped drinking to support their mental health as a way to explore and demonstrate how broad the alcohol-use disorder spectrum is.

Through sharing our stories, we hope to begin to educate the masses that recovery looks different for everyone, while also fighting the stigma that prevents healing—as individuals, and also as a society. Read more here. 

 

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