There’s something about a drink that just feels right during certain situations: girls’ night out, an event, first dates, after a long day of work and parenting teens in the middle of a pandemic. It just FEELS right. It felt right.
Until it didn’t anymore.
Now, I’ve been wanting to get sober for a long time and I realize that I may get slack for coming out as a sober person, and honestly, I get it. I used to pass judgments too. Underneath it all, if I can be truly honest, it was all based around fear. How can sober people have fun or relax? I mean, come on. The social anxiety and stress thing is real. Am I right?
At first, it started off as innocent thinking. Drinking had been a way for me to let loose, enjoy life, and escape the stress that parenting brings. Ending the day with a nightcap became a daily staple and ranked just as high as my yoga and meditation practice.
But it also led me to a dead-end road with crippling bouts of depression and anxiety.
Mornings were spent promising myself a sober evening during a groggy yoga routine and washing off the regret of another night of drinking. There were countless Google searches leading me to sober parent blogs, quizzes, and tips to remedy the hangover.
And every night ended the same: the reward of a drink.
Heck, I thought I earned it. On top of being a single mom of teenagers, I’m an entrepreneur. So each day is an adventure all its own.
The last night I rewarded myself with a drink was nothing out of the ordinary. I wasn’t out on the town, compromising custody of my children, developing a rap sheet with the police, breaking into crazy fights or stumbling and black-out drunk.
I was just tired of feeling broken on that hamster wheel.
So, I got off that hamster wheel.
Not gracefully, that’s for sure. Coming off that wheel after being on it for so long took some getting used to, finding my sober legs didn’t come overnight. Truthfully, it’s only been 34 days into this journey, and I’m still getting acclimated to this new world.
What I have discovered so far venturing into this new land of sober living beats anything I’ve experienced in any alcohol induced escapades. Sure, it’s not all sparkles and Pinterest-esque experiences, but I’m finally able to be fully present.
Being present can mean different things to everyone, but for me it means rediscovering who I am and how it relates to how I can be a better parent to my kids. It means I can grow in body, mind, and spirit. It means that I can be a more authentic and transparent me.
It also means that I can find the joy in life without the crutch of a substance.
I don’t want to create a false perception that things are all rosy over here in sober land. Trust me when I say those emotions that I covered up with a drink are felt with such ferocity that it brings me to my knees. But any of my bad days now are significantly better than any of my good days when I was drinking. Plus, I have the help of a therapist and a solid group of supportive friends.
I cry, I laugh, I get angry. I’m human. We’re all human. We’re meant to feel emotions and experience life. Sure, I wish I could just decompress and detach for a bit with a drink, but when my daughter and son tell me they’re proud of me for being sober, it makes it all worth it.
Besides, I only have a few more years with my kids before they’re adults. I want to be able to remember this time and be around for them while they’re doing the becoming adult thing.
This past month as a sober adult has been difficult, and wonderful, and stressful, and freeing, but I also feel like it’s totally been worth it.
And with that, I cheers you with my seltzer.
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