No, I’m not pregnant. Nothing bad happened, and yes, I have a #momlife without wine. I’m certain that I’m a better mom because I choose not to drink. For me, that’s what works. You don’t need to have a “rock bottom” moment to decide you want to make a change in your life. Life isn’t black and white, and neither is one’s relationship with alcohol. There’s a grey area, and that’s where I’m at.
In February of 2018, I chose to remove alcohol from my life. My son, who was 18 months old at the time, was one of the biggest reasons I made that choice. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made and I’m so proud of myself for making it. I got sick of parenting with a hangover and I was tired of having the mom-guilt that came with it. I wanted to give my son the mom he deserves, for our family, that’s a mom who doesn’t drink.
My friends and I love to get together and have a good time. Usually, that involves alcohol. In the past, it was normal for us to go to happy hour, have a night out that lasted until bar-close, or have a Sunday Funday. After having my son, the way I thought about alcohol changed. Drinking lost its appeal because I knew that I’d regret it the next day. I had another human to take care of, so any selfish thoughts had to go out the window. Since giving birth, my body was different too. I wasn’t able to drink as much as I could before, and I could feel the effects much sooner. It was no longer fun and those late nights weren’t worth it. This feeling is different for everyone, and some people can moderate their drinking better than others. For me, I knew it was best to cut it out completely.
Alcohol is the most easily accessible drug, and it’s the only drug we have to explain not using.
No hangovers are a game-changer, people. Let me say that again for the folks in the back…NO..HANGOVERS. My son is an early riser, which forces me to be one too. Let’s be honest, that sucks no matter who you are. Of course, sometimes I wish he’d wait until at least 6 or 6:30 to start his day, but I have no choice! ((waves to selfishness as it goes out the window)) Since I removed alcohol from my life I’ve been sleeping better, so those mornings aren’t as bad as they used to be. I’ve also noticed that I have more energy, my mood is better, and I have more money. I never have to worry about drinking too much and saying something stupid, how gross I’ll feel the next day, or having to piece together the previous night’s events. Some things haven’t changed. I still get excited when it’s nap time because that’s my nap time too! I still get stressed out and have bad days; I mean, I do have a toddler, people. The difference now is that I have healthier ways to unwind and relax.
Most of us have grown up thinking that drinking alcohol is normal and everybody does it. In college, it’s a right of passage. As an adult, it’s our stress relief. We’re told that we need alcohol to have fun and it will help us relax. It’s common to post pictures to Instagram of your glass of wine as you’re enjoying a Friday night in. We celebrate with it, we mourn with it, and we even have it at our kids’ birthday parties; I did anyways. Yet, as soon as someone says they want to quit drinking or “take a night off,” we want to know why. We’re conditioned to think that something bad has happened. How dare someone turn down a drink! Alcohol is the most easily accessible drug, and it’s the only drug we have to explain not using. It’s widely promoted to us in movies, on TV, and on social media. If you walk into the liquor store, you’ll find wine in a can. They’ve made alcohol taste like sparkling water, and you can even buy a flask that looks like a bracelet. I used to think it was funny and I often shared the “mommy needs wine” memes online. The big problem I have with this is that it’s promoted as self-care, and it’s often targeted at women. I don’t know about you, but my self-care does not include waking up at 3 am, filled with regret, a headache, and a dry mouth. I’d much rather get a good, full night of sleep and be fully present with my son, ready for whatever he throws at me (literally and figuratively).
So what, I don’t drink, right? What’s the big deal? Well, I’m writing this about why I decided to cut alcohol out of my life, and why it was a problem for me. I’m not saying that everyone should make this choice, or saying that I disagree with your choice to drink. You do you! I’m only sharing my perspective as a retired drinker and putting it out there in case someone needs to hear this: If something isn’t positively serving you, it’s OK to take a break from it or cut it out of your life completely. And on the flip side, find out what makes you happy and do more of it! If your thing is wine tasting or going on a pub crawl, that’s great! But for me – no thanks, I don’t drink.