Clean & Serene
Today I am celebrating my 2 year anniversary of a life of sobriety. 🙂
When I first quit drinking I had no idea it would be a forever decision. I initially quit because of health concerns. The last time I drank alcohol I had a major reaction to it… I woke up the next morning swollen to the point that my eyes were almost swollen shut, my abdomen looked like I was 5 months pregnant, and every joint and muscle in my body hurt… I felt like I had been hit by a truck, and the pain lasted almost a week. I decided I should stay away from alcohol for a while, and let my body recover from whatever was happening to it. Giving up alcohol for extended periods of time really wasn’t a big feat for me, after all, for every competition prep I would go 4 months without drinking, no problem. The difference with this time though was I didn’t fill the void of drinking with another activity, such as exercise… I actually had to sit in my sobriety for the first time in my life.
After a couple of months of not drinking I noticed I was a better mother to my daughter. I was more patient… more present. I truly enjoyed my time with her more. I have always loved my daughter more than I could put into words, so I hate to admit this publicly, but there were times I resented being a mom. The pressure and the responsibility felt overwhelming at times, and having a glass or two of wine was an outlet of stress for me. I was never a daily drinker. I would mostly drink on weekends when she was at her dad’s, or maybe a glass or two of wine on the weekends she was home. What I found was the longer I was sober the less I resented my responsibilities, and I actually found a level of joy in being a mother that I had never experienced before… I could feel my whole biochemistry had changed. I had no idea something I did Friday & Saturday night could affect me the following Wednesday, but it absolutely did. So, I decided to stay sober for her, because she deserved this mom in her life.
I had decided I was going to not drink for an entire year, and then I would re-evaluate and decide from there whether alcohol would be a part of my life. So, I told 2 of my closest friends of my intentions, but otherwise I kept my sobriety to myself. I was afraid of being judged… judged as a fitness professional. Judged by others that I was “obsessed” with my body. Judged that I wasn’t any fun. I had always preached about balance in life… so I used drinking as a way to “prove” that I was just like everyone else. What I came to realize is I was sabotaging myself, and what I truly desired, to keep up the facade of being “normal”… because what wanted in life wasn’t the status quo… I wanted more.
I was afraid my friends wouldn’t want to invite me out for social events anymore, as every social event revolved around booze…and it did happen. I had friends stop hanging around me because they said they didn’t want to make me uncomfortable because they drank… which is B.S. The reality is those friends don’t value me and my friendship as much as I value them… that hurts. A lot. But, now I value myself enough to do what’s best for me, instead of doing things simply to be accepted by others. Once I stopped worrying about what others thought of me and my decision, I felt free to do what feels right for me. It doesn’t bother me to be around people when they are drinking. I still go to bars and to parties… I simply don’t drink myself, and I don’t judge others who do. Now I have friends in my life who truly value my friendship. They may drink while we’re together, but they accept me (and my water 😉 lol) and we have a great time together. I’m not expected to do something I don’t have the desire to do just to fit in… and it is awesome. 🙂
I’m not going to lie… giving up drinking was hard. I went through a period of grieving that former life. I experienced all of the emotions of loss – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. I had to learn new ways of approaching life. I had to learn new coping mechanisms, new social skills, new habits. It took a long time for me to get here – happy in my sobriety. My drinking was never shady or anything like that… I was never drinking out of a brown paper bag in the gutter – no, I was enjoying cocktails by the pool, or expensive wine at Ruth’s Chris… and I’ll be honest – I f*cking love drinking. I love everything about it – the way it tastes with my steak, the way it makes me feel in the moment, the courage it gives me to be a socialite…. one of my favorite things to do is sit outside under the stars and share a bottle of wine with someone as we engage in deep conversation, BUT I’ve learned from experience that those momentary times of pleasure inhibit me from having the overall joyful life I want.
The life I want is full of health and happiness… and the person I want to be is productive, purposeful, driven, and successful in life and love. Experience has taught me that I am simply not that person when I include alcohol into my life… even just a little bit. Admittedly it’s been a lonely road at times, as when you change directions in life you often travel solo for a little bit, but eventually I found my path. What I’ve learned from every pivotal moment in my life is – real life begins outside your comfort zone – and I will say that getting sober was definitely a pivotal moment. I still have fun, but just in a different way now… and with people who love all of me – the messy & the clean. Even though it was hard giving up alcohol as it was my liquid courage in social events, and a way to “calm down” at the end of a hard day or week. But, as Brene Brown says… if you numb the bad stuff you also numb the joy – numb is numb. My experience the past 2 years has proven that to be absolutely true. I’ve experienced tremendous hurts such as break ups of romantic relationships as well as friendships, but I’ve also experienced some of the greatest joys of my life – and it’s not the “big things” that bring me joy now – it’s the little, everyday joys that I notice now that have a compound effect into an overall joyful life.
Will I ever drink again? My answer is “no”, but I also know I am human… and I know from experience the moment where I think I’ve
successfully mastered something and I get really cocky about it, is usually when I f*ck things up again. lol… So, for today, I am living with intention of living a sober life…. and that’s all I need to worry about. I don’t need to stress about the future, or “what if”, or anything else. I know that as long as I don’t pick up a drink TODAY, then I’m on the path of where I want my life to lead.
It took a long time, but I eventually I got to a place where I loved myself enough to want this life of sobriety for me, not just my daughter. Valuing myself enough to stand firm in what’s right for me was a game changer… it took me from a place of feeling like I was missing out on something that I loved, to a place where I felt like I was giving myself a gift by avoiding the thing that hurts me. It took me from using sheer willpower avoiding alcohol, to becoming a truly sober person… and even though I still have all of the stressors from before, life is peaceful, happy, and thriving. For that I am so grateful.
I know God has big plans for me, and I know He wants me present and aware to fulfill them… I can’t wait to see what my future holds. Here’s to the many happy, healthy, fulfilling, and sober years to come!