It's New Year's Eve, 2017. I have been sober for 85 days. This is not my first recovery. This is not my first attempt at cleaning things up and trying to live free of addiction. In fact, I've been working on this stuff, in one way or another, my whole life. Today, I am 85 days alcohol free. I have always thought of myself as someone who had issues with food; overeating, undereating, over exercising, and compulsively dieting and weighing myself and every thing that passed my lips. I've come a long way in that area, but recently found that alcohol and I do not mix. I wasn't really surprised this past summer when I, once again, left my recovery program for food addiction and eating disorders only to drink again. It wasn't food I wanted when I left, it was alcohol. I wasn't done numbing out. I wasn't done smoothing the rough edges of my 30s . . . the years where I became a mother to twins, lost our daughter during childbirth, nearly died myself, and then asked another woman to carry our second set of twins.
Don't get me wrong, I loved drinking. I was sober and in recovery from eating disorders from 2004 to 2014. When that lifestyle no longer appealed to me, I reclaimed a new life full of fun, spontaneity, and day drinking. I had more fun than ever before. I met new friends and we all drank together. It was a blast. Then, like it does for many people with a history of addiction, alcohol became a problem. Wine, my drink of choice, became more important than time with my beautiful children, than making dinner, than buying food to feed my family. I'm what they call a high bottom alcoholic. I never got a DUI or showed up drunk where I shouldn't be. But I drank myself to sleep most nights, and I counted the hours until I could pour that first glass and not look like a total lush.
Despite several attempts to drink moderately, or normally (whatever that is), my drinking always escalated to a place where I was ashamed, angry at myself, and sick. This fall I noticed that my body ached all the time. My whole body itched and I woke up feeling terrible every morning. I knew I needed to cut back on alcohol. It was sucking the life out of me. I decided that when the kids went back to school, I would only drink on the weekends, or maybe when I was invited out with friends, and Sunday day drinking was fine. (See the slippery slope I was on?) Then, I tried to go a couple weekends without drinking. I felt amazing. But I still questioned whether I needed to really quit for good. The decision was finally made for me after an Oktoberfest party at a friend's house where I drank a bottle and a half of wine. I came home, threw up, took off my jeans, and passed out in my bed. This was a family party where kids and adults were invited. I vaguely remember my husband driving us all home, but I had no care or knowledge of how my four children got to bed that night. Of course, my husband took care of me and the kids, but I woke up at four in the morning wondering what the hell happened to me, and it was then that I decided that I never want to do that to myself or my family again. My sobriety date is October 9, 2017
I'm writing and sharing all of this today because I have decided to live 2018 as the truest, most transparent version of myself. I have decided to recover out loud so that others can know the real me and hopefully, I might help others find the recovery they need, and the community they need to feel supported. There is something stirring, a movement. There are hundreds, thousands of women like me who have decided to live without alcohol. Women in all stages of life are deciding that booze has no place in their lives. I am one of them. We don't judge others for choosing to drink, just like we hope no one judges us for being sober. What we are finding in this sober community, found on Instagram and in secret Facebook groups, is that sobriety brings us closer to our dreams, and to our purpose. Sobriety allows me to be clear headed, less anxious, and leaves me time to chase after the life I believe I am meant to live. If you think you would like to know more about sobriety, or you wonder what living alcohol free would be like, just reach out. I'll tell you it's awesome. It might create some shifts in relationships and day to day activities, but I'm okay with all of it. I don't want alcohol to be the thing that my friends and I have in common. Life is way too damn short for that. I'm digging deep with other women who are done with small talk and are ready to live fully, out loud.