Sober in an Alcohol Soaked Society

alcohol free Feb 28, 2022

In an alcohol obsessed society it is so hard to be sober.


As a child growing up in small town Wisconsin I had no alcohol free role models. 


Every adult I knew, minus two family members, drank beer. 


It was my understanding that the two people in my family who no longer drank beer “were alcoholics”. 


They were not living a happy, glamorous, alcohol free life. 


They were sad and deprived and did a bad job at drinking so could no longer do it anymore. 

It was somehow their fault, and growing up to be like them was something to avoid. 

Having to not drink was something to avoid.


Drinking on the other hand was something to be celebrated. 


I watched my lovely Grandparents get buzzy while pregaming for the Badgers. I had never seen them so happy and loose before. It was entertaining and fun filled with so much laughter.


Alcohol was included in all holiday parties and family events. As a child who went to bed early, I didn’t notice anyone stumbling over drunk, but I did notice the festive feeling and celebration. 


My Dad was a bartender and sometimes I was allowed to go behind the bar with him and eat maraschino cherries from the garnish tray. This felt special. Everyone thought it was cute to have a mini bartender and I got a lot of attention, as I filled my kiddie cocktail with the soda gun.


Drinking beer from kegs in barns and fields in high school was a typical coming of age activity from my hometown. I participated fully. 


My college, like most, had a full street dedicated to watering holes. This was where I spent much of my time, along with everyone I knew.


Happy Hour was an easy way to make friends in a new state, when I started my first real job. 


Mommy Juice playdates with neighbors was an ideal way to survive long days with small children and a spouse that traveled for work.


I fell into all of it. 


I loved most of it and even led the charge. I was the first to suggest adding alcohol to every event possible. Follow me, bring wine.


It wasn’t until I got sober that I had new eyes to see my obsession with alcohol, and to see that I wasn’t alone. 


Imagine for a minute that a loved one is struggling with a heroin addiction. 


They are trying to break free from this dependence so they are staying in. 

Every TV show they watch has people shooting up. Every book they read talks about glamorous heroin. There are articles everywhere stating the benefits of heroin. 


They reach out to connect with loved ones. On every phone call they make, they get questioned about why they would stop heroin? Do they have a heroin problem? 


When they do decide to go out to get a bite to eat, they are questioned if they want to start with some heroin. Heroin is set down in front of them. Everyone around them is doing heroin. 


They take the plunge to start new hobbies and habits. They try to make new connections with health conscious people and head to a yoga class. Heroin and networking is offered afterwards.  They go to a spin class and the instructor teases there is heroin in his water bottle. This makes everyone laugh


They are invited by co-workers for Afterwork Heroin. Friends no longer call or invite them, because they are going to do heroin. They are not invited if they don’t do heroin too. They are labeled as no fun, a prude, a person who couldn’t control their heroin, like normal people can. 


This sounds insane, doesn’t it?   


Now replace heroin with alcohol. That is what it is like for your loved one to quit drinking. 


This is what it is like for me to quit drinking in a society obsessed with alcohol. 


You might be thinking heroin is much worse and much more dangerous and this is not a fair comparison.  


You are right. 


Because alcohol kills more people than heroin and any other drug combined. 


Alcohol is the 3rd leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Heroin, combined with all other drugs, is ninth on the list.


I have made it my mission to set an example for my children and their friends to see me thriving in sobriety. 

I educate and train workplaces and organizations on creating safe places for people in recovery and for people getting curious about creating a more alcohol free lifestyle. 

Quitting drinking is something to be celebrated, not ashamed. 


As someone told me when I quit:

 “nothing bad ever happened because someone decided to quit drinking.” 


Kudos to you if you are evaluating your relationship with alcohol. It takes so much courage and bravery to go against the grain in an alcohol obsessed society. 


Cheers to you if you are working to create safe spaces for others to show up and drink less or none at all. 


I am here to support you, reach out for coaching support, workplace training, or becoming a certified coach or facilitator yourself.


50% Complete