Ex-alcoholic Abbey Fickley turns sober bartender and transforms life after ‘flirting’ with death
Abbey Fickley has become a star on TikTok after candidly speaking about her past struggles with addiction – the mum is now a sober bartender after she turned her life around
You may think that someone who was an alcoholic should be nowhere near booze, but this is not the case for 27-year-old Abbey Fickley.
The mum-of-one, from Pittsburgh, US, spent years hooked on alcohol and drugs – to the point she was faced with serving prison time and found herself close to death.
After experiencing bouts of homelessness and stays in psychiatric units, Abbey’s early 20s were riddled by her deep addiction.
But after a damning letter from her father who wished to cut her off because she stole cash from family members, she knew things had to change.
Now four years sober, Abbey has completely turned her life around for the better which has enabled her to regain custody of her young daughter – and build back the bond with her father.
The ex-alcoholic now works as a “sober bartender” and candidly speaks about her life as a former addict, racking up 264,000 TikTok followers for doing so.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Star, Abbey has opened up about how she has managed to overcome her addiction.
She explained: “I attempted sobriety for years, but never succeeded. My addiction was causing chaos within my life.
“I started drinking and smoking in high school with all of my friends. However, when the party would end, my friends would go home. I would stay up all night obsessing over that feeling the substance provided me.
“I maintained a normal life at this point.”
When she gave birth to her daughter when she was 20-years-old, Abbey was diagnosed with postpartum depression and fled to the doctors for help. She was prescribed some Benzodiazepines, a class of psychoactive drugs.
However, things quickly went downhill from there.
Abbey said: “After one year of being on benzos, I became addicted to essentially any mind altering substance that would take me out of my own head, but my choice specifically was opiates. Once I found those, it was off to the races.
“I needed pills to eat, sleep, work, parent… I needed them just to function like a normal human being. This was an incredibly expensive habit, which is how I ended up doing horrible immoral things like stealing from my own family.
“From psych wards to jail, homelessness, I lost all of my friends and family and lost my job… addiction stripped me of absolutely everything.”
Having had enough of Abbey’s behaviour as an addict, her dad decided to pen a painful letter to share that he was cutting her off.
Abbey shared: “Towards the end of my addiction, my family cut me off, completely disowning me.”
“Whilst in treatment for the final time, I received a letter from my father letting me know that he pressed charges against me for the money I had stolen.
“I was facing a minimum of seven years in prison.
“My father cut me off because he knew I was dying, and he couldn’t continue watching me flirt with death.
“He had to stand up for not only himself, but also my mom and siblings. My addiction had taken control of everyone’s life – not just mine.
“At this point I knew I needed to get sober – my alternative was either jail or death-with absolutely no in between.”
Understanding that she was on the brink of death or had to possibly serve time for stealing from her family, Abbey knew things needed to change.
“The first year of my sobriety I had no relationship with them [parents]. He cut me off via a typed letter signed, and had it mailed to the treatment centre I was at two days before graduating rehab.
“The number one thing I did differently this time that set my recovery apart from all of those failed attempts, was working a full on program.
“After [being an] inpatient, I did three months of outpatient care and lived in sober living for one year.”
Abbey is now able to help others reclaim their lives by spreading awareness of her journey to sobriety and now works as an influencer – alongside her bartender job.
“My life has improved in every single way since getting sober. I regained custody of my daughter, paid my parents back, rebuilt a relationship with my parents and siblings.
“I have my own house, two jobs, including sharing my story on my social media platform, and so much more.”
Despite concerns from some TikTok followers regarding her gig pulling pints, the mum is confident enough in her sobriety.
She declared: “The moment my sobriety becomes threatened due to my job, I would immediately quit.”
“I began posting [on TikTok] about my addiction/sobriety when the pandemic hit.
“In person meetings were cancelled, and I was finding myself feeling very lonely.
“Not to mention the number one way I’ve maintained sobriety is by talking about it with other recovering alcoholics!”
“The most important thing I’ve gained is peace of mind.”