June 28th, 2020 was the day I took my last drink. I didn’t really want it, but I didn’t know how else to deal with my emotions, especially the anxiety, loneliness, and depression. I hated myself for needing to drink. It made me feel weak, and I wanted to be strong. I wanted so much more for myself, so I said then and there that enough was enough. June 29th, 2020 was the first day of my sober journey. I’m halfway through my first alcohol-free year and I am amazed at how much my life has changed for the better.
I used to drink wine, almost exclusively. I’d occasionally get a craft beer if I went out. I never liked liquor or mixed drinks. I pretty much just liked any kind of dry wine. I didn’t care if it was white, red, or rosé. At first I bought bottles of wine with pretty labels. I was discriminating. A bit of a wine snob even. Classy… Then I stepped it up and started ordering cases of wine online to cut down on my visits to the local liquor store. No problem here, I thought. A case will last a month! That’s totally acceptable and still very classy. But between me and my husband, the cases disappeared quickly. So then I thought, box wine is really where it’s at…the new classy! It’s eco-friendly because there’s less packaging, and it has spigot! As an added bonus, that box graciously obscured how much I was really drinking. I could pretend I’d only had half a bottle of wine each night, when in reality it was probably closer to 1.5 bottles of wine. The quickness with which I finished a box was hard evidence that I was drinking more than I wanted to admit.
In the evening hours, when my husband was at work and our son was asleep, and I was all alone, I would help myself to glass after glass of box wine. Mom-wine culture reassured me that this was perfectly fine. Rosé-all-day, right girl?! Sure. I reasoned with myself that other moms did this, and they seemed pretty on the ball, so it couldn’t possibly be bad. I would even call it self-care to justify it. After all, I wasn’t a day drinker. I usually made it till 5 PM before I had my first glass, and that’s “normal,” right? I could also discipline myself to take a day or two off here and there, so I clearly didn’t have a problem…everything was fine. I just kept telling myself that. Just fine!
Except something told me that I this wasn’t actually fine. A voice deep down kept saying, “this isn’t good.” It was quiet at first, but it became more persistent and much louder over time. I knew it wasn’t good. I knew something was very wrong in my life. But how could I stop drinking? Alcohol was the one thing that seemed to calm my nerves, make me feel less lonely, and allowed me to have fun. And most everyone else I hung out with seemed to drink for these reasons, too. I would have no social life! I would be even lonelier! I didn’t think I could live without drinking.
In the last 2-3 months of my drinking, things escalated. I started having blackouts…losing snippets of time when I drank. There were a few times that I couldn’t even remember going to bed the night before. But I thought to myself, I’m a mother! This is unacceptable. I would wake up in a panic only to find out that my husband—realizing I’d had a little too much to drink–had put our son to bed for me. I berated myself and cried tears of shame. I was horrified by the thought of something bad happening to my son because I was too drunk to notice. What if he got hurt or sick and needed to go to the hospital? How would I have gotten him there? My husband was always there, but he drank, too. He always reassured me when I voiced concerns about how much I was drinking. He said it was okay. The other moms I knew who drank wine daily said it was okay. My therapist even said it was okay! Well, okay.
But was “okay” all that I wanted? A mediocre existence with alcohol at the center? A marriage with daily arguments? Parenting my son under the influence of alcohol? Ongoing physical discomfort, no energy, dramatic mood swings, terrible sleep? Our hard-earned money spent on temporary highs? Was that the life I wanted?
Absolutely not! Why would anyone want that? That realization was my breakthrough. Everyone around me was saying it was perfectly fine to continue as I was, but I knew life could be so much better. But they were wrong, and I knew it. I wanted so much more for myself, my son, my husband, and our future together. That desire for something better was the first step and it got the ball rolling. It’s been hard work to stay sober some days, especially in the beginning, but it’s gotten easier and my life has gotten better and better! I’m excited to keep going and see just how much my life can change with continued sobriety.
Thanks for reading, friends! 🙂