Countless comments. Endless blank stares. I endure this, almost every day.
"You're sober? Like, forever? Like, you'll never ever get to drink again?"
I get it. You think that this is some kind of punishment. You think I lost a tragic bet to myself and now I have to stick to it to save face. Well no, it's not like that. It's much deeper, and structured, and emotive and resonating with spirit and being full and being satisfied and being happy than you can possibly imagine if you haven't tried it. I'm not going to lie, and tell you I have shitty days because of sobriety. I don't. In fact, my sobriety is what has saved my days from becoming shitty. The total opposite of what any normal drinker may believe. I say "normal" loosely, as I don't believe in normal drinking.
Let me explain.
Normal drinkers drink and get drunk and suffer hangovers, just like alcoholics do. Do you know why? Because - drum roll please....alcohol is a toxic drug and as a rule humans are not built to tolerate a toxic drug! The best explanation of this and what really reflected my own attitudes towards sobriety was this article:
"It's not the same ethanol, is it?
Don't we drink something different??"
Yes, it's the same ethanol. The same thing we fuel our cars with, that we take in shots, drink in vintages, and brew up craft style with all the hipsters in tow. (Nothing against hipsters, in fact I LOVE hipsters.) Ethanol. Gasoline. Alcohol is poison and we drink it. Well, some of us do. I don't anymore. I woke up to the possibility of changing my life in a way that was radical. To quit drinking is, a rebellious act for sure. I'm fond of drinkers the way they look at me with a little pity in their eyes. Not in a condescending way of course. I don't demean or judge anyone who still drinks. It's a wide and strange road this path of life. What's right for me may not resonate with the next girl. But here's the thing, I used to be the next girl...the girl who saw the sun rise and set a few times with a bottle pressed to her lips.
Dress it up elegantly. Put a vintage logo on it and make it pretty. Decant! Make that shit pop in the crystal goblet, but it's still ethanol. It's still just gasoline. It's still so bad for you that one person dies from alcohol every ten seconds somewhere in the world. That's a 8640 people a day. That's too many people not getting to kiss their kids, see the sunset, walk in the woods, or enjoy swimming in the vast blue ocean I mean whatever they liked to do, they aren't doing it anymore because they are dead. This is so sad to me.
The memes on social media make it seem so desirable. You deserve it. Mommies who need "______" fill in the blank. Vodka. Valium. Cocaine. Booze. Whatever mommies need isn't more of what numbs life but more of what makes life come alive.
Breath + Meditation.
You could make your own list. You know these things that connect you instead of disconnect you. The connection you feel through drugs and alcohol is wrong. It's not real. The more you create habits of drinking and drugging the more disconnected you get.
Vital fresh air.
We have to stop fearing what it is like to live an awake, real life. One you don't need to get away from. One that makes you happy to inhale that first morning breath when the alarm goes off instead of making you run to the toilet to puke or purge whatever poison your body cannot handle from the night before. Stop doing this to yourself. Stop fearing the fact that you could wake up feeling wonderful. Stop fearing the fact that with a little encouragement and a little hand holding someone could show you a new way to be. A new way to say you matter. You deserve this and not because Mommies Deserve Vodka or that old LIE but because you are such a deeply complex and wonderful human being with gifts to share and a life to repair and you don't have time to dumb down your one precious life with booze. You don't need to fear getting real with yourself and living as authentically as you can without making your health the bottom of the totem pole of your priorities. You deserve health. Happiness. Love. Peace of mind.
I'm not perfect. I have to tell you that I am far from it. Which may be why I did drink all those years! But I did lie to myself. I did think that drinking made my life more fun! Ugh. I did think that my only escape from reality or any deserved break was spent nursing a glass of wine. I still suffer from all the self imposed judgments and critiques that one can put on herself on a daily basis. But now instead of putting a "wine band-aid" on that shit, I pull up my big girl pants and I tackle these issues head on. And guess what? Things tend to mend. They really do. They mend slow and sure and before you know it, that shit isn't something you need to drink away to make it go away. It's still there but you don't compound the problem with alcohol. You find real solutions, no more sweeping this stuff under the rug.
Stop fearing how great your life could be. Sobriety could be the difference between relishing your beautiful days or tolerating your awful ones. Take a deep breath and do this. You can do this.
Stop fearing sobriety. It's not a life sentence. It's a life choice. And it will be the best one you make, I promise.