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.
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’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.