I’m 54 days alcohol free, so I’m new to this like so many others. In fact, the only other time I’ve abstained from drinking alcohol this long since I was 16 years old was when I’ve been pregnant #SitOnThatForABit
I’ve allowed alcohol to take up residence in my life for far too long:
I was sexually assaulted the first time I ever drank alcohol.
Many of my sexual encounters have all been while I was intoxicated with alcohol.
I had severe alcohol poisoning one of my very first night’s away at college, threw up everywhere (even on a friend’s computer) and literally can’t believe I’m even alive.
I’ve cheated on significant others and believe alcohol consumption was a partial contributor.
I’ve driven under the influence of alcohol and only by the grace of God was never in an accident, but absolutely could have killed myself OR WORSE … someone else.
I’ve berated others, been belligerent, lost/strained relationships while under the influence of alcohol.
I’ve put myself at risk too many times to count when I was under the influence of alcohol.
Almost all decisions and choices I’ve had some level of regret were the result of being under the influence of alcohol.
As a mom especially, I was starting to wonder what positive role was alcohol truly playing in my life. And, if children learn by WATCHING, what am I teaching my girls? What am I setting them up for? Could they possibly experience what I have experienced?
I’m 36 now, and my thirties have been a decade where I’ve drank much less and have really started to think about my drinking. But I became a grey-area drinker.
I *maybe* once or twice a week had 1-2 drinks. The last time I was “drunk” was at the Justin Timberlake concert in April (and I paid for it the next day and felt the worst kind of mom-guilt when my kids asked me to play and all I could do was lay on the couch).
My decision to stop drinking wasn’t necessarily around some of the reasons I would have thought, like getting completely in the way of living my life or my health was outright failing or being abusive to friends and family.
It’s because a few weeks ago, as we were driving to Red Robin (my daughter’s favorite restaurant), I had a moment where I thought, “Aww, I could really use a margarita and I bet Chris wants a beer like always 😩” But then I flash-forwarded to the future when we tell both of our girls that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should they EVER get in a car with someone who has been drinking — even just one drink.
Howwwww in the mothereffing WORLD can we expect them to listen to that when for YEARS their mother and father would have a drink with dinner and then drive them home?
It’s because I want my girls to learn how to deal with emotions and feelings and ups and downs and LIFE as it comes to them — to learn to cope sober. But if I’M NOT EVEN DOING THAT, how will they learn??
I also don’t want them thinking that motherhood is miserable. And the only way to get through the day is with rosé. Motherhood is hard. BUT WE CAN DO HARD THINGS. <<— THAT is what I want them to know.
And I want them to be able to truly recognize depression and anxiety if they experience it, so that they get THE HELP THEY NEED ... because if they are self-medicating, they are LESS likely to seek out help or see that there’s an issue needing to be addressed.
I love the clarity. I love the energy. I love all the feelings that I’m feeling, even the not as pleasant stuff.
So in my 54 days of sobriety, here’s what I’ve found to be helpful for me:
Start finding true research on alcohol and how it impacts us individually and as a society. No amount of alcohol is safe or good for you.
Start QUESTIONING why it’s the ONLY drug (aside from tobacco) we’ve regulated that results in more deaths each year than any other illegal drug or pharmaceutical drug combined.
Follow sober accounts on Instagram. They are in the trenches with you. They get it. They won’t bullshit. They will make you feel less alone in this. Because it can get lonely, especially if you have to refrain from spending time with the people you’ve been hanging with if they are all drinking.
Read This Naked Mind. So much truth-telling in that book. Helps me get through the tougher days too. Cause there will be tough days, I promise.
Find your spirituality. Explore your relationship with God, The Universe, Mother Earth … whatever speaks to you. Figure out a way to CONNECT and find the BEAUTY in this life.
A miracle morning practice: Wake up before the kids do (if you can) and meditate, practice gratitude, visualize your future life how you want it to be, and read personal development.
Go easy on yourself when it comes to what you’re eating. If you want a bowl of ice cream if it keeps you from grabbing a bottle of wine, please eat the ice cream. We can save that “battle” for another day. Eat food. And be ok with it for right now, especially if you are staying sober.
Pinterest is the shit for mocktail recipes. If you feel like you want a fun drink, start playing around!
Get and stay active - whatever that looks like for you. Join a gym, sign up for yoga classes, start running and sign up for a 5K so you’re working toward something, commit to an in-home workout program, go for nightly walks after dinner, BUT COMMIT to doing something and find at least one other person to help you stay accountable.
Self-care, self-care, self-care: Massages, nails, hair, spa day, or even just an in-home paint your nails day. Whatever is going to bring you joy, but does not revolve around alcohol, do it.
The decision to get sober was a process. It took years of me questioning, several hangovers that I’m not proud of, and watching my daughters watch me to decide that this what where I was headed. I’m new on my journey, but I am confident. And I am ready to LIVE life … sober.