Growing up in Wisconsin, alcohol was omnipresent.
My parents met in a beer tent.
I met my husband in a bar.
I had a lot of fun drinking days with just a few embarrassing moments and a couple of painstaking hangovers sprinkled in between.
Just like everyone else.
When I became a Mom, I was adamant in keeping my party girl identity shining through.
Lucky for me, Mommy Juice Wine Culture was on the rise.
My drinking was totally normalized.
I brought my breast pump to happy hours in bars.
You do what you gotta do.
Mom’s are people too.
Make no mistake, I love my kids beyond measure.
Their health and safety is my top priority.
I never drove after drinking.
I have lost friends from my hometown that way.
I wasn’t reckless, careless, or stupid.
Neither were they.
As time went on, I was becoming more and more unhappy.
I was out of alignment with my career.
I experienced the tragic loss of 3 loved ones 3 years...
Kudos to all you parents who got a first day of school picture of your kids at 7 am, all dressed and sitting on your doorstep with their laptops ready for e-learning.
I commend you. I really do.
My perfectionist and competitive nature wants that picture, so I am a bit jealous.
In my quest for mental health and inner peace over perfectionism, we decided our schedule would work best to stay in our pj’s until around noon.
We plan to shower and get ready midday.
I am hoping to get a walk outside before then.
This is the routine today that works for me and my family.
I will take my kids back to school pictures before dinner tonight instead. It irks me a little because it won’t match all the other early morning back to school pictures I have saved up through the years, but it is what it is.
None of us wanted a picture of us right when we rolled out of bed this morning.
We had a mix of feelings...
Mama’s, I know you are stressed out.
School is starting and the kids aren’t going anywhere.
In addition to your job at home, as carpooler, housekeeper, chef, and CEO of family scheduling, you are now expected to also act as teacher’s support, tech support, early education childcare, and more.
Your multiple kids need to be logged into multiple meetings with hundreds of links, passwords, ID’s, and emails.
It’s a lot to keep up with and you likely have your own demanding job.
Many of you have kids who need special assistance in any number of ways.
It is overwhelming.
Your feelings of overwhelm, panic, anxiety, and exhaustion are valid.
If you feel like you are losing your mind, I don’t blame you one bit.
You need and deserve a break.
"Me Time", as they say.
You need time away, time alone, and time to focus on you.
This is often advertised as a woman in a bathtub with a glass of wine.
For a long while, I've struggled with drinking to have fun and drinking to relieve and escape some of the monotony and fatigue of the day-in, day-out routine of working full time as a database developer while also trying to be "everything" for my three young children.
Sometimes a glass of wine seems like the only way to get through a dinner with a screaming toddler who doesn't want to eat, homework with older kids, dinner, bathtime, storytime, etc. It exhausts me even thinking about it, but I knew the wine was also increasing my exhaustion, my anxiety, my daily internal struggle that I wasn't doing my best either at work or at home because of what I was holding onto: wine.
With my older kids now 9 and 7, they were beginning to see things in me that they hated when I was drinking, and my entire goal of being an amazing mother was falling away from me. I was putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect, using wine as an escape from that pressure, and then failing at the very...
A year ago I was between jobs.
I was interviewing at a few companies.
I was rising as the top candidate for a few positions.
The openings were for jobs that I was qualified for and that I had done before.
I was good enough at these jobs.
I visualized myself making a decision about these positions and my heart sunk.
I had a year of sobriety under my belt.
I made huge gains in my personal development.
The result of my efforts, was that I no longer fit into the corporate puzzle.
I couldn’t see myself going back to these jobs that, were never meant for me.
I wanted to do something that made my heart sing.
I wanted to go back to my social work roots.
I wanted to inspire and help others.
I wanted to share stories, connect, and create.
I wanted to work with people that share a passion for mental health.
I took a leap of faith.
I let go of a paycheck.
I decided to have relentless belief in myself.
Something I had never...
One of the greatest gifts of sobriety, for me, has been the ability to feel joy.
This may sound silly, as alcohol is sold as a rip roaring good time.
I had some good times in my drinking days.
The good times, however, were often clouded by my own shame and fear.
Now that I am sober, I have re-learned how to feel childlike joy in everyday moments.
While drinking, I grew to be afraid of joy.
It was like if I acknowledged feeling joy, then it would be taken away.
If I looked at my kids sleeping and felt overwhelming gratitude and love for them, it was immediately replaced with “what could go wrong?”
I was afraid to be ok, happy, content.
It was easier to complain, than to recognize that in this moment, all is well.
We aren’t supposed to feel happiness.
Who do we think we are?
It felt like bragging to say,
“things are good, I am happy, healthy, lucky...hashtag blessed!”
It was as if there is only so much of...
Along with another chaperone, I took my 15 year old daughter and 5 of her girlfriends, to a lake house in Michigan, for a long weekend.
The weekend away was like a mini vacay.
A sober, alcohol free, rated PG, delightful vacation.
Is it possible to have fun without drinking?
When I was drinking, I didn't think so.
When I was newly sober, I wasn't sure either.
Now my vacations have gotten even better because they don't revolve around alcohol.
When I was drinking, alcohol crowded my thoughts.
Bringing drinks, mixing drinks, getting more drinks, keeping drinks cool, finding the right tool to open drinks, starting to drink, counting drinks, drinking more, cleaning up after drinking, replenishing drinks, rationing drinks from others, and recovering from drinking, were the center of my vacations.
This Girls Trip with my daughter was nothing like that.
Here's the play by play:
Stop for dinner on the way up.
Order the fried pickles/frickles.
Realize everyone in the...
If you are newly sober, or giving alcohol a break, the upcoming holiday weekend can bring on anxiety. How will you party sober? How will you turn down a drink?
I understand these fears. In fact, I was sober for months and feeling good until I found myself completely unprepared for a Fourth of July Booze Fest.
By 10 am I had mimosa in hand and by the time the fireworks started I was a disappointment to everyone including myself.
You can learn from my failure. Here’s my best tips for thriving an alcohol free holiday weekend!
1 - Plan to succeed or prepare to fail
You cannot go into a party with a “wait and see” attitude. If you think maybe you’ll have a drink, you are guaranteed to have a drink. As a drinker, our brain is wired for it. Our default mode is set to alcohol. You have to go into the weekend with a sober mindset. You can tell yourself “I am not drinking today.” You don’t...
You can live a big, juicy life without alcohol.
I am 900 days sober and living a brave, and adventurous life.
Day 1 and Day 900 look completely different.
On Day 900, I still drink.
I still like to over indulge.
I love going out and having a good time.
I don’t need alcohol to do it.
In fact, alcohol took away from all my fun for years.
Getting rid of alcohol has been the most fun and liberating experience of my life!
Just last night I was at a happy hour where I enjoyed two craft cocktails free of spirits, followed by dinner with my husband where I enjoyed a Hoppy Refresher.
I was relaxed, free, and present.
Last weekend I played cards with friends and had 2 NA elderberry gin and tonics with extra lime.
I was not always comfortable socializing without alcohol.
I grew into my alcohol free confidence.
In my first month year sober, I had a lot of anxiety about going out and socializing without alcohol. ...
My friend, Becky died a year ago today from alcohol.
It is so sad and it is not fair.
Becky and I were just casual friends, but we had a lot in common.
We both come from the same small town in Wisconsin.
We were both on the Poms squad in high school.
We married good, steady guys who loved us dearly.
We both gave birth to two daughters, a few years apart.
Being a Mom was the most important role of our lives and meant the world to both of us.
We were as proud as peacock’s of our girls.
We were closest to our own Mom’s, and everyone knew it.
We looked just like our Mom’s, who were our very best friends.
We were both friendly, although I think Becky was way more likable than me.
We both drank wine.
We both drank too much wine.
We stayed in touch casually over the years.
We were big fans of each other from afar, in a mutual admiration club of two.
I really liked Becky, and I think...