Elaine is sober and she is now present, awake, and free
I started drinking in high school. I was a binge drinker in college and spent my 20s in a bar. Becoming a mother twice didn’t slow down my drinking. Playdates, girls’ nights out, and happy hours were a necessity in my 30s and 40s. I always considered myself just a social drinker. I saw no problem with drinking a few glasses of wine every night. I was a high-functioning, college-educated woman with a full-time job. I worked out regularly and had a healthy diet. I just needed wine to relax, have fun, and take the edge off.
Until it started getting in the way of my life. I was becoming obsessed. I was constantly thinking about when I could drink again, how much I could drink, and if I had enough wine at home to make it through the night. I couldn’t tolerate activities that took me away from my bottle of wine. The constant hangovers were even worse. Wine was making me sick, emotionally and physically, but I didn’t want to give it up. I couldn’t imagine life without alcohol. I tried at various times to moderate my drinking by promising myself to only drink on the weekends. If I made it through the week, I felt so deprived by Friday that I would binge drink, and so start the cycle of drink, hangover, drink all over again.
I had to do something. I couldn’t keep living this way. I was tired of the constant cravings, the constant wanting, the love/hate relationship. I would feel both relieved and guilty every time I took that first sip of wine. I was tired of the hangovers. I was tired of not being able to remember experiences. My life was slipping away from me. I didn’t want to wake up in another 5 or 10 years and realize I had missed it all.
On June 24, 2016, I quit drinking. Identifying as an alcoholic or hitting the proverbial “rock bottom” were not required to know that alcohol was ruining my life. I didn’t go the traditional AA route. Instead, I found other ways to stay sober, recreate my life and be successful on this path, including SMART recovery, yoga and meditation. I’ve also been reading book on sobriety and listening to podcasts that focus on recovery. The resources are out there, I just never knew where to look.
My advice to others would be: IF YOU ARE ASKING YOURSELF IF YOU DRINK TOO MUCH, YOU PROBABLY DO. So many people have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, but they don’t think they meet the definition of an alcoholic, so they stay trapped. Everyone’s rock bottom is different. If alcohol is keeping you from living a full and authentic life, it’s time to stop.
I have been sober for almost five months now. I’m still a wife, mother, sister and friend. My daily life hasn’t really changed that much. Except it has. I’m present. I’m awake. I’m free.