Today is my 2 year anniversary since giving up alcohol. I can vividly remember the last moment I drank. It was Easter Sunday & our family was gathered around the dinner table.
After our meal, there was some chat around alcoholism. While I casually sipped from my wine glass, I can recall a family member putting me in my place when he said “if you experience black-outs, you’re an alcoholic”. You can imagine I wasn’t overly joyful following this particur comment. That was the last time I enjoyed a glass of Shiraz.
For 2 years, I’ve struggled with the label ‘Alcoholic’. It has been one of my biggest hurdles since living a sober life. I felt(feel) pressured to identify this way. To be completely honest: I still do struggle with accepting it almost everyday. Yet, putting the label aside, I am forever grateful I made the decision to rid my life of alcohol.
Starting when I was 13, I heavily drank almost every single weekend as a teenager. I’ve been afraid/embarrassed/mortified to admit this aloud for most of my adult life. I now see that I believed it was the ‘cool’ thing to do, and the pressures to fit in back then were excruciating. However, I rarely considered the risks+dangers I was taking – how could I while living with childhood depression?
When I ventured out on my own as a young ‘adult’, it took some time to really recognize alcohol as problematic. Although there were several examples I can pin-point now, hindsight is seldom helpful in the heat of the moment! Thankfully, my man stuck by my side despite the difficult times we went through together.
The year before I decided to give up alcohol, my life turned completely upside down. The realities of my unhappiness started to set in and I lost myself in the process. Deciding to seek help was an easy decision, but it was the opening-up that took a little longer than I planned. I attended a personal development workshop called Choices that helped to unveil the Big issues in my life.
The first Open AA meeting I attended completely stunned me. I was confused by the idea that ‘I could be an Alcoholic’. It simply didn’t resonate with me. It took me 3 months to come to some sort of terms that I might be a better person if I give up alcohol. It was not an easy time in my life but certainly, it was essential for growth to become possible.
Here I am, 2 years later: a new mother, a loving spouse & soon-to-be bride, a half-ass homemaker, a better friend, a distant sister, a forgiving daughter, and a stronger Me. I am by no means healed, as you may tell by some of my previous posts: I struggle daily. Though, I feel as if I’m right where I’m supposed to be in my life. It can be a lonely road choosing to live sober and I’m strong enough now to spend my time far away from those social pressures I used to be desperate to cling to before.
For the first time in my life, I wake up each day knowing that I am a whole person. I am Valuable and Worthy. My opinion matters. My voice is heard. When I have a tough day, I can approach it with a clear head. I have more good days than bad. The gross feelings of a hangover are never suffered anymore. I don’t black out. I am proud of the person I have become. The work I do on myself benefits not only me but my entire family. I am even at a place in my life where I can talk about my faults and not be afraid of what people think about me anymore. I am a work in progress. I’m perfectly imperfect.
My daughter will never see me lose myself the way I did with alcohol. She will always recognize Me. Her safety is my #1 priority, for the rest of my life. She will always know how committed I am to being her Mum. Even when times are tough, she will always know that Mommy Is Here. Way back in our College days, Joshua & I made an agreement to give up alcohol when we decided to become parents. Here we both are, honouring that agreement.
Here is to 2 more years of sober living. I’m looking forward to where it will take me and my family along the way.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Maxim Weise at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.