Updated: Jan 12
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and although totally unplanned, I’ve found myself contemplating my relationship with alcohol…
I started drinking alcohol in middle school. My friends and I were stealing from our parents and sneaking around with it. In my early teens, my parents were very open about alcohol. Lovingly, they wanted to keep me safe and ensured I was using it responsibly. I vividly remember my mom warning me that alcoholism, addiction and mental health disorders run deep in our family. But alas, it was cool to drink. It made me feel free, fun & numbed experiences I wasn’t ready to deal with. Before the legal drinking age I had already been in trouble with the police twice. It took almost a decade of a really rocky relationship with booze, two hospital visits, damaged friendships & relationships, countless memories lost & who even knows how many dollars and hours wasted until I could take an honest look at the relationship I had with alcohol.
As I moved through my twenties I started to drink less and less. I started to find spirituality, healing, professional therapy & people and experiences that allowed me to embrace who I was and what I desired. In my mid-twenties I had just begun to talk about my relationship with alcohol, and remember reaching out to a friend, Amy, who I had seen share about her journey with sobriety. I was really inspired by her, and curious as to what life would look like without alcohol. We discussed how alcohol was impacting my relationships at the time and I knew it was no longer something that was serving me. But I kept it in my life. Everyone was doing it and it was everywhere - even at wellness events I frequented. Often I caught myself minimizing my negative experiences with self-talk like, “it isn’t that bad” or “everyone does it” or “I don’t drink alone so I don’t have a problem” yet still, there were times I would excessively consume alcohol to the point I could not remember most of the night. I often felt lost, frustrated and confused by this complicated relationship alcohol and I had.
I’ve always known myself to be an extremist, all or nothing energy, I either drink hard or I do not drink. And clearly loved the most massive bottles of wine of all time? I’d go through spurts of this pattern in my drinking but in 2020, life changed drastically and I found myself at a crossroads. It was so easy to go back to numbing the stress I was under with alcohol, even just one drink and I feel it all melt away. But I could also literally feel the addiction in my veins. I knew I needed to be even more mindful about my consumption. Though this wasn’t easy, I am proud of this decision because I know if I took the other road things would look very different two years later.
My last sip of alcohol was February 23rd, 2022. It wasn’t intentional that day. It just so happens that I got sick a few weeks later. I knew my body needed to heal, and that a toxic substance like literal ethanol was not going to help. St. Patrick’s Day memories from university appeared on my newsfeed around this time and they just hit differently. It reminded me of all the hurt I felt during those times. I wish I could hug that girl and tell her that one day she won’t be so lost. Tears fill my eyes writing this as I realize that others are not so lucky. That addictions are real. That alcohol is truly everywhere and that it is actually very difficult to go against the grain and do what is best for us in this society.
While this has been a slow process of shedding alcohol from my life, I am proud to stand in this current space of curiosity 56 sober days later. I am grateful for my friend Amy, who I have recently re-connected with as I explore what "Sober Curious" means to me in the context of self-care. This conversation is incredibly important to me and to the collective. I am still navigating what to say when people ask what I want to drink, or how to explain why I am not drinking, or how to not follow up with "and no, I am not pregnant". It's an interesting experience. While I do not know where this journey will lead me, perhaps I will drink again one day, or maybe never again, I know that right now I am filled with contentment about my decision. And, I remain compassionate to those that choose to consume alcohol. Please know that just because I am choosing this for myself right now does not mean I think any less of your choices. We all have a different story and path. But, it is interesting what happens when you have these conversations. They can be so confronting. Right now, I just try to remain curious...
If you are reading this and feeling at all called to explore your own relationship with alcohol and your self-care I want to let you know that I am right here with you. In it right now and I don't have all the answers but I am deeply curious. As such, Amy and I have co-created the space for a workshop to help us feel supported in this exploration. Amy is a Sobriety & Mindset Coach, Speaker, Writer & EFT Practitioner who is so passionate about this topic after her own journey to sobriety led her to this work. For me (and maybe you too) this is scary, it’s vulnerable and it’s possible to be curious at the same time. Thank you for allowing me to share this story with you. If this is resonating, please let me know in the comments below. You are not alone.
To learn more about the workshop or to join us click here:
Until next time,