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My Rock Bottom—Finally Living Fully.
Rock bottom is when we finally become willing to be honest with ourselves.
I quit drinking over 397 days ago. When I decided to quit, I wasn’t sure if I would even make it six days.
Now, I’ve made it past two sober Christmases, two alcohol-free New Year’s Eves, and two hangover-free New Year’s Days.
The thought of quitting had been with me for quite some time. Really, it had weighed on me for years.
The thing was, my “problem drinking” looked a lot different than the problem drinking we see portrayed in movies, TV, and books. It wasn’t whiskey in my morning coffee. Or vodka and orange juice in the console on the way to my kids’ school.
There was no wine in my Starbucks cup at the little league game. Mini vodka bottles did not weigh down my purse. I never woke up in strange places or with strange people. No lost jobs. No stereotypical rock bottoms.
My drinking problem was not like that. I clung to the tameness and the normalcy of my drinking for a long time before I was willing to be honest with myself.
I told myself I was fine. My drinking, for the most part, was not extreme. I did not usually have a glass of wine until dinner. If I did have one earlier, it was a glass or two of champagne or a few chardonnays at a ladies’ lunch.
But, then I started to have ladies lunches a lot more often and a mimosa or a glass of wine or two on my early flights. I never brought drinks to track meets. But there were a few times I thought about it.
Sometimes I did school pick up after a couple of glasses of wine, but it was only a couple glasses. I always woke up where I was supposed to. I had no rock-bottom moments.
I had a successful career, a beautiful family, a lot of friends, and a beautiful home. By all accounts, my life was a success story.
This is no judgment on the ones who got to the point of living the extremes of drinking. As is often said, we are all just one decision or moment away from a totally different life.
But even if I seemed normal and tame compared to the cautionary stories we hear and see, my drinking was hurting me. It was holding me back. It was making me work harder for every success. It was robbing me of true connection. It was making me think less of myself.
I knew it had to change. I knew my life could better. I knew I could be better.
I was spending so much time thinking about wine.
When can I have some? Do I need to stop and get some? Will they have wine there? When will they come to refill my wine? Maybe I shouldn’t drink today. I am definitely not going to drink today. I want a drink. I need a drink.
These thoughts dominated my mind. When did I let this perfectly normal thing take such control of my moments and my being?
It just gradually took hold.
I had always been a social drinker. A party girl. A lover of people. A seeker of fun and excitement.
Until one day, I became just a drinker.
Someone who anticipated the glass of wine at the end of a long day more than anything else. Someone who mindlessly finished at least one bottle of wine while watching TV.
Someone who always ordered just one more when out, and then maybe just one last one. Someone who extinguished uncomfortable feelings by pouring wine on them.
Someone who placed the blur of a buzz right in the center of her memories and connections. Someone who was diluting her essence with cabernet.
I could have carried on that way. No one else seemed to notice, but I did.
I was losing myself. I was less of a mom—less of a friend. I was degrading the connection I craved so much. I was devaluing my joy. I was starting to be only part of me, instead of the whole me—living halfway instead of wholeheartedly.
And I knew I was only a moment away from a totally different life.
I had to make a change before mini vodka bottles began to weigh down my purse and my soul. I had to decide that I did not want wine in my Starbucks cup, now or ever. I wanted to be sure that I would always wake up where I was meant to be.
This was my rock bottom. This is what I had to be willing to be honest with myself about. I wanted to live a whole life, not just half a life. I am grateful that I told myself the truth before I had lost too much of myself to find again.
Now, as I’ve celebrated a birthday, two Christmases, and two New Year’s alcohol-free, my life is not only whole; it is full.
Full of love.
Full of joy.
Full of connection.
Full of highs and lows.
Full of the whole me.
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