I had always admired those women who have led the sober movement. As of today, I’ve officially surpassed a year sober. Yea, a FULL year.
When I wrote that piece in August 2020, I have to be honest: I didn’t think I was going to make it. I had a lot of doubts and emotions and getting to 34 days at that time was a big deal for me. We were nose deep in a global pandemic and I was stuck indoors with two teens.Life got tough for everyone for a while and amid the isolation, my drinking habits became glaringly obvious.
The shame, guilt, and embarrassment of my behavior became this self-perpetuating cycle. I wasn’t being a good role model for my kids and ultimately, I was hurting myself. I felt like I was stuck and in a dark, lonely place.
Something had to change.
So I took it a day at a time. I reached out to friends. I made new ones. I started doing self- help work. And I didn’t pick up a drink. A day at a time.
Throughout this year, there have been good days and bad. Life happens. My kids and I have experienced two meaningful matriarchs in our family pass away within months of each other. We have had some difficult conversations surrounding mental health. We had fits of laughter that made our sides hurt. Sometimes it felt like the days blurred together and other days where time seemed to stop.
On top of all this, as a mom, I tend to put myself last on an ever-growing to-do list. My kids and responsibilities always came first. When I stopped drinking and did some inner work, I was able to put myself higher up on that list. It didn’t come naturally or easily, and this is something I still struggle with.
Under it all, I used drinking to cope with and numb uncomfortable feelings and stress. I found out (rather quickly) that I needed to do something other than simply ignoring or pushing through it. I had to gain a different perspective and know that I was deserving of my time too.
So I did what any level-headed single woman would do. I replaced my bed with a hammock. I also invested in books. I dove into podcasts. I consumed everything Brene Brown. I journaled. I got into therapy and actually took the suggestions. I danced. I laughed. I cried. I did the work.
It was messy and soul gripping but incredibly freeing.
And it’s not over. The healing journey is a continuous one. That’s ok with me today. I’m right where I need to be.
I knew that not drinking would have health benefits and an overall positive impact on my relationships, but I had no idea of all the joyful things in my life. The moments when my daughter can open up to me at any time of day or when my son needs a ride to or from his friend’s house late at night.
The moments when I can sit with a book and read for enjoyment. The moments where I can look at my bank account and not wonder where all my money went. All these moments today, I can focus fully on the present. That, in itself, is the ultimate joy.
I write about this because the stats are showing women consuming more alcohol is on the rise, specifically through the pandemic. I was part of that statistic and have made the choice to be transparent about my journey. While my drinking wasn’t “as bad” as perhaps someone else’s, it affected me in ways I’m still discovering.
Today looks and feels different than it did last year. Today I have deeper, meaningful friendships. I have a closer bond with my kids. And I put myself higher on the list.
If you would like to join Beth Montgomery on her “What brings me joy” challenge, you can find her on
TikTok or Instagram. You can also find her at: www.SingleParentsProject.com