I used to be gone drinking every Memorial Day. It was tradition. I was pretending to have so much fun in pools and boats. Some of it was fun. Some of it was not. I am not faulting the company that I was in. I thank the hosts so much for their generosity. The problem wasn’t with them, the problem was with me.
I didn’t know myself. I didn’t know what I wanted or what I needed. I wasn’t comfortable anywhere. Truth be told, I loved the excuse to drink all weekend. I think everybody did. I am not sure anyone drank as much as me, but that’s not my business.
I was anxious.
I woke up with hangovers and shame and did it again on repeat for 3 days of the holiday weekend instead of two.
I needed to start the summer with a big splash. Literally, lol.
I needed to prove we were having So. Much. Fun. I needed my drinking, around others, in the daytime, to be super normal. I needed to compare myself to other drinkers so I could say “See? I am ok.”
I wanted to be ok.
Don’t we all compare ourselves to the people around us to make sure we are on track. Don’t we love it when someone is “worse” than us, so we can be not “that” bad? I was probably that person for some people.
I don’t know how you justify better or worse on the drinking scale. Maybe consequences? Physical injury? Number of drinks? Outward drunkenness? Hangover? Ability to wake up early? Energy level? How annoyed is your family and are they talking about it out loud? How accomplished are you in your life? How much weight have you gained or not? Are you slurring your words? Forgetting your train of thought? Staying up late?
In any case, there were definitely some good times in the sun and some great memories made. The way I felt on the inside was always unease, so it didn’t matter where I was, I wasn’t content. Being around others and fearing judgment, care, concern, and opinions added to my anxiety and probably still do in a lot of ways.
Sobriety has taught me to tune into myself and give myself what I need. I have less to prove to the outside world. I take more care to comfort myself. Last week was one of the busiest with my youngest daughter’s 14th birthday, 8th grade dance, and 8th grade graduation ceremony plus party. This all happened before Thursday, giving the phrase “is it Friday yet?” real meaning!
Thursday night is typically my Girls Night Out. I recognized how exhausted I was from my week and realized, more socializing (usually a welcome relief to any work week) wasn’t what I needed. I was still zooming mentally and emotionally from all the celebration. I needed to get grounded, not energized. I took my book to the rooftop pool at my bougie gym spa and read in silence.
When the sun set I went in for my hot tub, steam room, sauna, shower routine. My kids had gone out to dinner and brought food home for me. My whole family was at a friend’s house and they asked me to come. No thanks! I snuggled in early on the couch with my dog and ate my food (which was actually two appetizers and no real meal) in front of the TV.
I never do this. It might make me sound like a big prude or something, but I would never allow myself to sit there and gorge on restaurant appetizers (two instead of one at that!) in front of the TV. So this felt like a big treat to me! Letting myself relax a little and just be! #sobernotboring LOL!
The next morning, my usual spin class was full, so I returned to Surrender Yin Yoga. This is just what I needed, long stretches in the dark with my Pranayama breathing before the start to my workday.
After work, I went to Costco with my oldest daughter to fill our house with food for the long weekend so we could avoid crowds and enjoy eating al fresco! Running errands or crossing something off the task list doesn’t seem fun and exciting holiday weekend activity, but it does bring peace of mind. Being disciplined enough to do this on a Friday afternoon set me up for success and gives me a sigh of relief for the rest of the weekend. As a drinker, not having food in the house or a meal plan would be a major source of stress. I could find a way to hit a liquor store or convenient store for wine, but actual groceries was too hard sometimes when I was burnt out and overwhelmed.
I went to dinner with friends that evening and then went to live music at our local brewery. The brewery now has a few great Alcohol Free Beer choices. Saturday morning I woke up early without an alarm. The birds were chirping and the morning breeze was coming in through my window. It was such a welcome wake up! No hangover, no anxiety, no sleeping the day away.
After I finished my coffee, I went to a pumped up spin class. I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon lounging by the pool, before going shopping with my youngest. My husband was slow smoking ribs on the grill. We all ate outside together for the first time this season. It was such a lovely start to summer.
Sunday, we made a last minute decision to go to the Coldplay concert at Soldier Field with our teenage daughters. We purchased tickets on the second level right side, but never received them. We ended up on the floor with General Admission. Smack dab in the middle of the energy with the band. It was freaking incredible. It was a spiritual transformation of a show. After constant bad news streaming at every moment, to be in a stadium with 53,000 other people singing and dancing brought tears to my eyes. The heightened security and large rifles across the chests of the police force was not lost on me. On the eve of Memorial Day to be in Soldier Field, an actual tribute to the armed forces, was honorably recognized. For a few short, long. hours, I was absolutely able to escape and get high with my kids. No need for any substances. We splurged on ice cold bottled water from a local’s cooler on our walk back to the car. We made memories to last a lifetime and there is no drug better than that.
Today, I am cooking up a storm and lounging at home. Taking it slow. We will head to a Cubs baseball game tonight. I love living near a big city! So many opportunities for fun. I love going out and having a blast and always trusting myself to make it home safely. No more worries about how much I will drink or what kind of behavior will come out. No more sneaking around. No more obsession with drinks and more freedom to enjoy my moments exactly as they are. No need to exaggerate the good time or numb myself from feeling anything. If you are looking to make your life easier and more beautiful, schedule a complimentary call to get a start on ditching the drink.