Sober Milestones and Graduations

This weekend was my first born daughter’s high school graduation.

My sobriety made everything so much better.

In some ways it felt like a stress test:

Host a party for 50 people.

Pray for good weather.

Say hello.

Say goodbye.

Introduce people to each other.

Lose sleep for 3 nights in a row.

Get the cake out at the right time.

Whoops you’re too late.

Host my family for 6 days.

There’s light bulbs out in the basement.

We need more coffee.

Host a houseful of in laws for a day.

The kids like root beer and Cherry 7 Up.

Get it.

Oh we already had it.

Father in law, Pops likes Diet Pepsi.

Bottles, not cans.

The kid is gluten free.

Remember both corn and flour tortillas.

Get the surprises for Lily out.

Do it now.

No wait.

Don’t do it.

Do it now.

Is everyone here?

Stay calm.

Don’t get sucked into other people’s emotions or stories.

Don’t control what you don’t control.

Woah a blast from the past comes out of nowhere.

I have feelings about that.

Put that to the side.

What is going on over there?

Don’t talk about this.

Don’t let them talk about that.

He said so.

Get out of the way.

Get them out of the way.


What did this cost?

Buckle Lily’s shoes, tie her dress.

Be here.

Now be there.

Someone needs a bobby pin.

Do you have one?

Help her with the tassel.

Take a picture.

Pose like this.

Like that.



Not like that.

Call them.

Where are they?

How much time do we have?

Enjoy the moment.

Hold a spot.

Stand in line.

They left without saying goodbye.

Is everything ok?

Is there room in the car?

We need more water.

We’re out of plates.

Did you say thank you?

Spend time with this person.

That person needs you.

Give her some attention.

Now her.

Now them.

Is the music working?

Turn it up.

Turn it down.

Emotions are high.

We need these pants ironed.

I don’t have an iron.

I’ll steam them.
Did you get the dry cleaning?

We need more peppers.

This will not feed a crowd.

Don’t be so critical.

There’s a bee.


Fix the fire table.

It won’t light.

Listen to this story.

Tears in Grandparents eyes.

We know the milestone.

Hold it.

Don’t freak out.

What do they think of you?

What are they thinking?

How can you get them to think differently?

What impression do you want to give?

Is this your business?

Bring the flowers.

Bring the tickets.

Get the extra one.

Don’t be late.

Take your seat.

It’s starting.

The orchestra begins.

I hear the first note and I know.

It is our wedding song.

I grab my husband’s hand.

I look at my cute girl in the middle of the graduation class of 600.

Honor cords around neck.

Big smile on her face.

We did it.

We freaking did it.

I managed this entire week with emotions running high and without resentment.

Without arguments.

Without a meltdown.

Without jumping ship on myself and my emotions.

Without alcohol.

How did I do this?

I put my mind to it.

I decided how I wanted to be, and then for the weeks leading up to this moment, I prepared for it.

I prepared by tuning it.

Taking what I could off my plate.

Doing things in advance.


Moving my body.

Checking in, not out.

Keeping my goal in mind.

I can’t describe all the shifts in my patterns and behaviors. Maybe it was subtle, but it was recognizable. I am not the same person I was.

I have blossomed. I have bloomed. I have emerged from the cocoon of self doubt, shame, codependency, people pleasing, overfunctioning and perfectionism.

It took a lot of effort and 5 years of deep healing in sobriety. I feel like this weekend was the finale and it was grand.

Of course there is no finale, as it is a life in process. These were just moments and I am proud of my daughter and of myself in these moments.

It wasn’t just what I did or didn’t do on the big graduation day or the day before at her party, it was how I prepared. In my drinking days, I would quick want to make a good impression the day of a big event. I would want to cover any flaws and not really show myself. I was ashamed. I would drink to tolerate the event and the discomfort.

Now in sobriety, I prioritize my mental health all the time.

I listen to myself honestly.

I have taught myself to take care of me, in ways that haven’t come natural to me.

I give myself a break when I need one.

I don’t keep pushing.

I stop expecting perfection.

I stop assuming I control everything or that I am in charge.

I say what I mean and mean what I say.

I use this rule of engagement for others too.

Milestone events do bring up a long history of emotions, relationships and stories I tell myself. So many thoughts and feelings have cycled through me in the past few week, intensifying in the past few days. Regrets and resentments. It is human. I was able to manage my internal world. I was able to keep a state of equilibrium. And now that it’s over, I know how to take care of myself in the aftermath too.

It’s clumsy and awkward and uncertain. There is so much internal chatter. Emotions without warning. This hit wrong and then that did too. What do I confront? What do I let go? Where can I forgive? What do I need right now? How do I take care of myself? Is there another way to think about this? Can you give someone the benefit of the doubt? Check yourself before you wreck yourself. I am learning. Learning, learning, learning. Less blame. More accountability. Less expectations of others. More taking care of myself. Less about what is going on around me and more about what is going on inside of me.

This is exactly how I help my clients navigate their alcohol free journey. It makes a difference. It makes all the difference. Schedule your complimentary call.


50% Complete