Sunday February 25, 2018 was the first day of the rest of my life. I was hungover…again. This was a familiar scene, so I was used to the feeling. I knew that I just had to make it through the day. This time was different though. I didn’t know it then, but it was the last time that I would ever feel like that.
My life looked a lot like your average 30-something mom’s would. I worked on weekdays and on Friday nights I liked to relax with an alcoholic beverage in hand. A lot of the time I’d drink more than I had planned, and spend the rest of the weekend being hungover. I’d reluctantly get up and go to work on Monday, be productive all week until the weekend hit, and then I’d do it all over again.
In February of 2018 I went into work on a Monday still feeling a little icky after another weekend of drinking too much. Along with an upset stomach and a headache, I felt defeated. “I did it again” I thought. That day I read a blog post that changed my life. It was written by a mom that doesn’t drink. As I read her words, tears welled in my eyes. That was the moment I realized that I didn’t have to feel this way anymore. I didn’t have to stay in the cycle I was in. The cycle that I recognize now, had taken over my life.
After I read that blog, I optimistically reached out to the author for help. This year I celebrate being three years alcohol-free.
When I started on my alcohol-free (AF) journey, I completely immersed myself in all the information I could. The woman I reached out to gave me a ton of advice. She said “Don’t future-trip,” and “Don’t think about anything but today. Just don’t drink TODAY.” She recommended books and podcasts, and I did it all. Quit-Lit soon became my favorite genre of reading, because I could relate to so many of the authors. Although our stories are different, little pieces aligned and it made me feel less alone. I also created a private AF Instagram account. I was told that a lot of people do this to track their journeys and to get support. I found this to be extremely helpful. The online AF community is amazing. I met many people who were just like me, and I’m still friends with some of them today. Once I felt more comfortable with my new way of life, I stepped away from the online community. I had to figure out who I was without alcohol. I’d been drinking since I was 17, so I had a lot of learning to do.
Today, I’m still doing a lot of work on myself. I’ve done therapy, acupuncture, read so many books, and listened to podcasts. I’ve found new hobbies, and revived old ones. Alcohol is such a big part of our lives, culturally. We drink to celebrate, to relieve stress, and to mourn. We drink at baby showers, weddings, sporting events, and play-dates. Because it is so normalized to involve alcohol in our daily lives, I’ve had to figure out what to do when I am in these situations. It wasn’t easy at first, but with practice it became my new normal. Now I’m more comfortable in my own non-drinking skin, and I can honestly say that today, I’m thriving. I’ve never been happier. In fact, since I have gone AF, I’ve been able to feel (and remember) what real joy is like. And boy, is it amazing.
I want to be clear: I’m not anti-drinking, I’m just pro-happiness. I don’t look down on anyone who chooses to drink. Drinking just stopped working for me. Honestly, I’m beginning to question if it ever worked at all. I had to remove alcohol from my life so that I could be who I deserved to be. It hasn’t all been unicorns and rainbows though. Removing alcohol from my life was a huge life change, and I had to figure out who I was without it. I don’t always have good days. It’s just that my stress-relief looks a lot different now that I don’t drink.
In December of 2020 I started a new Instagram account to blog about my AF life. Shortly after, I was asked to host on the 1000 Hours Dry Parents Instagram page @1000hoursdryparents. On Wednesdays I share informative and inspirational posts with their followers, and support anyone who needs it. I’m having a blast with my new hobbies, and I’m excited for the future.