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Today, I’m exactly 19 days from my one-year Soberversary.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I would do or say when I hit 365 days, and to be honest—as I sit here writing about it, I’m still not sure what to say.
I could start with why I think I slowly progressed to drinking a bottle of wine a night—easily, and sometimes, oftentimes, more. Or, I could talk about the deep grief and heartache I now know I was trying to bury.
I could point to “mommy wine culture” which I loved and embraced wholeheartedly until it just started looking like a sh*tty marketing ploy to prey on women trying to live up to society’s impossible expectations.
Don’t worry mamma! When you fail to bounce back or days feel like eons, you can always turn to mommy’s little helper. Forget having actual help—wine is a great substitute for support and compassion—just get a bottle and a bumper sticker.
I could talk about my fears around giving up the only thing that brought my anxiety and depression, albeit brief and ultimately destructive, any relief.
I could share the deep regret I carry on the backs of blurry nights rocking babies to sleep or heart-piercing shame of half-conscious arguments and slippery-tongued conversations that still haunt me.
Maybe I share how many “last drinks” I tried to have or rules I put around my nightly escape in order to prove I could trust myself. Hell, I trained for a goddamn body-building competition to try and force the booze out of my life, believing my body shame was the only thing more powerful than my love for numbness.
Maybe I could tell you how many times I Googled, “How to know if you drink too much,” or signed up for online AA meetings—only to quickly log out, thinking I wasn’t anything like them.
I could tell you how the only thing that kept me going most days was how the second glass of Sauvignon Blanc would be there to hold my hand, keep me calm, support me, and guide me through the witching hour with two young kids and a husband on the road.
Or, I could share how the trip to Italy with the romantic vineyards and crumbling architecture made me feel worldly and whole, until the sun crept up and the suffocating weight of a dull mind reminded me the path to my self-loathing was always paved with empty bottles.
There is so much about my marriage to booze I’m still working out in therapy, in sober mom groups, and in conversation with a few trusted friends. I’m reading the neuroscience papers, the addiction research, and the quit-lit. I’m being curious about my family history, and the unprocessed grief of losing both my brother and my dad in 2017.
I’m considering how a highly sensitive girl wound up guzzling gallons of poison to quench her thirst for stability—instead of using her voice to ask for help.
I’m wondering if a new mental health diagnosis at almost 41 years old could shed some light on my impulse to drink.
What I do know, is that staying connected to alcohol was no longer better than letting it go. I wanted more space in my mind and heart for love and possibility. Getting rid of the shame, obsession, desire, and hangovers opened up room for that.
Something deep inside me told me a long time ago that if and when I let go, I could become the person I’ve always been. I guess I wanted her more than I wanted numbness.
In the end, I don’t know if this is forever. All the old-timers say to take it a day at a time.
So for now, I’m still here, still breathing, still wondering, still full of doubt and hope, and curiosity for the way I will show up for myself today, and one day at a time until forever.