Today I am 600 days sober.
Naturally, I have some reflections as I celebrate this milestone.
You are allowed to celebrate everything when you get sober. You can celebrate one hour, three days, 27 days, and two years + 37 days + nine minutes. It doesn’t have to be an even number or a big milestone or anything.
Celebrate your success every single step of the way! You are accomplishing everything by staying sober every second.
I wrote a blog of thoughts on my 500 days milestone, one and a half years, and here I am again at 600 days.
Being sober and adding days still feels like a big deal to me. I hope it always does.
There is a quote that says:
“Sobriety gave me everything alcohol promised.”
It’s so true.
I was thinking about this quote in the shower the morning I woke up 600 days sober.
I am a long way (600 days to be exact) from feeling hungover as I take my shower, but I do remember the agony of waking up and waiting to see how bad I would feel. It seems so far away that I was struggling that hard with my relationship to alcohol, because for 600 days I have been free.
Feeling good and taking care of me is the new norm.
It is rare now that I even think about alcohol anymore.
Thinking back I wonder, why did I want to get addicted to wine anyway?
Here’s the thing. I didn’t, of course, want to get addicted, but I did want an escape. Wine promised me a break from the duties of motherhood. It sold me by taking the edge off my anxiety. It promised to be a good time, give me more laughs, and calm me down.
I needed all of that.
With two young kids, a high-pressure sales job, a husband who traveled, and shaky mental health, I welcomed a magic elixir to remove me from being my stressed-out, overanxious, slightly depressed self.
Wine did the trick.
That sneaky wine snuck up on me by doing the trick. Then to my surprise, it stopped doing the trick.
I still needed it, so I kept drinking it. More of it.
I couldn’t see the dark and desperate spot it was leading me to. It took years of increasing my intake and tolerance. I was getting physically and mentally sicker and sicker in my quicksand of alcohol abuse, but I couldn’t see clearly anymore.
I was choosing wine over everything else in my life that mattered to me.
Wine was my life raft, but it was drowning me and I was too far under to see what was happening.
When my husband tried to tell me, I told him it was his fault.
I blamed him for not listening to me, not picking up after himself, and not caring about a clean house, (which I desperately needed to be clean at all times), so I drank. If he was a better husband, a better dad, and a better house cleaner, then I wouldn’t have an alcohol problem.
Here’s the thing Mamas:
You do need a break.
You need some time away from your house and your kids.
You need someone to make you dinner sometimes.
You need to take a walk for as long as you want, without worrying about the little people who will be waiting at the door with their demands when you return.
You need your husband to listen to you.
But alcohol, and its empty promises, does not deliver a break, a boundary, respect, or good listening ears from children and husbands.
In sobriety, I started respecting myself more, which showed others how to treat me.
I now gently let my husband know when he’s interrupted me. I let him know when he unintentionally talks over me.
I do not tolerate being brushed off and ignored, so when I am talking and I see his face in his phone, I simply tell him to let me know when he’s ready to listen. I can usually do this with a lighthearted sense of humor.
Since I have leveled up by getting sober, this has shifted the mobile and in order to maintain our balance, Hubs has had to level up too.
He has gladly risen to the challenge, and our relationship is stronger because of it. I now appreciate him so much more, and spend a lot less time being resentful. He is a great dad and supportive husband—he always was.
He is also human, and not that tidiest person, and I can live with that.
I do not stomp around angry at my kids anymore either.
They do their chores and pick up after themselves, or they get a consequence. It’s that simple—and it’s nothing to destroy myself over by drinking. If they get a consequence, that helps me out. So either way, I’m happy.
The chores are done on time, or the chores are not done on time and another task is also taken care of. There is nothing to be upset about, and so my anxiety lessens.
Was I seriously drinking myself sick because my husband leaves dirty socks on the floor and my kids don’t wash the counters after they make a mess?
Now, I give myself a break when I need it—a real break. It is far more effective than drinking.
When I don’t feel like making dinner, I don’t. Everyone is old enough now to fend for themselves. We can eat out, or there’s usually leftovers.
I don’t bang my head against a wall in anger about serving my family. I serve them gladly, or not at all. I carry much less resentment. I value my homemaking abilities, and I am grateful for the opportunity to provide a healthy, safe, home for my family.
We all appreciate our home filled with love, good food, cozy surroundings, and a darling dog. We are all proud to invite our friends and family over, but when I am sick of the day-after-day laundry and meal making, I give myself a break.
I don’t drink and destroy myself over it. That never helped. It made me weaker. It ruined my relationships. It didn’t give me break. It added to my problems and stress.
Now, I set appropriate boundaries for myself.
I listen to myself when I am feeling like I need to do something different, and I do it.
I change the channel in my routines. I try something new.
I do not allow myself to live in a Groundhog Day of resentment.
I value my alone time.
I do not get drunk and wait for everyone to go to bed to do this. That kind of “alone time” only wasted my time and usually ended in me crying alone on the couch, only to not remember the next morning.
These days, I leap out of bed before the sun rises. I am eager to start my day.
I meditate, read, journal, exercise, and have a slow start to the day, adding in hours before my family is up. I enjoy coffee alone and get my thoughts together.
When my kids tumble down the stairs, I am ready to welcome them into their day with love too, because I started the day by loving on me.
To all the Mama’s out there struggling, I get you.
I hear you.
I understand you.
I support you.
I know you need a break and I want you to have one.
If you are tangled in the web of alcohol dependence, I don’t blame you one bit for trying to help yourself by taking a magic potion that promised the key to your happiness.
I am here to tell you that you’ve been duped and that potion is poison and it’s hurting you and your big and little loved ones, too.
You won’t know the extent of its damage until you break free.
It’s okay to get help and give sober a try.
You’ve tried drinking. Now try sober and see for yourself.