top of page

My accidental sobriety

You know how you watch a movie and when someone is having a dinner party, the guests bring a bottle of fine wine or champagne? That’s my dinner party. Except, it’s not a formal dinner party. And it’s not wine or champagne. It’s hard liquor. And it’s every single time my husband and I would host anyone. (To be clear, I do not blame my friends for anything but wanting to have a good time. Also, I am aware they don’t like to show up empty-handed.)


We set this precedent. We were used to hosting and showing people a great time. But something was missing. These moments quickly started to feel very impersonal for me.


So, for my birthday last year, I asked people to get me a non-alcoholic gift. I wanted to open gifts that were well-thought out, gifts that were based on a memory. It could have been candy, gift cards, an old book. Anything.


This really opened my eyes to my relationships with everyone. And more importantly, it made me realize that perhaps I haven’t been living this entire time.

This really opened my eyes to my relationships with everyone. And more importantly, it made me realize that perhaps I haven’t been living this entire time. And that realization was the best gift I could ask for.


I’ve spent a great amount of my young adulthood under the influence of alcohol. And if I’m being honest, memories made while sober as a teen were few and far between.


So, although I had wanted to be sober for years past, I made it a mission to drink far less than what I was known for in order to shift my relationship with those I surrounded myself with. I wanted to be immersed in our time together. I wanted to get to know them and them, me.


So, when a friend would call to ask what they should bring, I can only imagine their facial expression on the other end of the call when my request was juice or ginger ale.


But there was no immediate shift in the dynamic of these friendships, if any at all. Ultimately, I had feared that things would change between us all because of the questions "Can she have fun without drinking?" or "Is she any fun?"


Welp, we were surely about to find out.


But the shift internally was radical. Resisting the urge to drink amongst friends wasn’t hard, but I struggled to break the habit of needing a drink when I was alone. I had to focus on the reason I chose to drink. But, the line between wanting and needing a drink was blurred a majority of the time.


I had graduated from the idea that I drank because of my kids. They didn’t force me to drink. I chose to drink when I couldn’t properly navigate parenting and when I had yet to learn a way to decompress in a healthier manner.

I had graduated from the idea that I drank because of my kids. They didn’t force me to drink. I chose to drink when I couldn’t properly navigate parenting and when I had yet to learn a way to decompress in a healthier manner. The same applied to work stress and familial relationships. I lacked boundaries in those areas and because I allowed them to drain me, I would have a drink to cope.


I had so many questions for myself. “Can I really do this?” “Is stopping really that hard?” “Am I am an alcoholic?” That last question had rested in the back of my mind since college. My roommate in college flat out told me she’d go to an AA meeting with me. What?! She was concerned, rightfully so.


Had I not been in control? I knew I consumed way more than someone my size should, but I was always cognizant, aware of my surroundings. Hell, I’d even taken care of a girl who clearly had alcohol poisoning at a college party. But in hindsight, I’m sure that was more like the blind leading the blind. I’m disgusted even thinking about those times.


So, I challenged myself to stop drinking. That’s it. Just stop. But just like any addiction, I needed one more time. Oops, I meant two more.

And, suddenly, I was a member of the sober-curious community. I posted on Instagram that I decided to sober up and received so many messages of support. Companies wanted to work together. Other women were commenting and messaging me about their own sobriety journeys and lending words of encouragement.


There’s an entire world out there for people who are thinking about sobriety or have been sober for some time. This is the world for me.

There’s an entire world out there for people who are thinking about sobriety or have been sober for some time. This is the world for me.


I had reasons for stopping, but what I did not have were firm boundaries concerning my sobriety. But, I do now.


I don’t drink. Period.

I cannot be around anyone, and I do mean anyone, who insists that I drink. ("No means no" applies here.)

I don’t judge those who drink. I mind my business. I am not anti-alcohol.

I may slip. But that’s my business. If I do have a drink and someone has a negative reaction, we are no longer connected. Period. Shame isn’t productive.


The sweetest moment in all of this is when I met with a friend for dinner a few months ago. She asked what I was drinking. I told her I’m not. I would just have a mocktail. She apologized for forgetting about this new part of me and switched her drink to a non-alcoholic one as well.


Support really can be that simple.

What started as a way for others to see me for me ended up being a beautiful way of life. Not the suggestion of going to AA. Not even being drugged in a bar.

What started as a way for others to see me for me ended up being a beautiful way of life. Not the suggestion of going to AA. Not even being drugged in a bar. I'll keep that story for the podcast. It took a while to get here but I truly do not miss alcohol. I miss the moments of the past that I missed because I was drunk.


If you are sober-curious, do some research and start your journey when you are ready. This isn't linear and you get to decide what works best for you.


If you or someone you know needs help with alcohol or substance abuse, call 1-800-662-4357 or visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline for assistance.


Want to find an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting near you? Visit https://www.aa.org/find-aa.

86 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page