I used alcohol to turn off the noise in my head.
I had a very loud inner critic and anxiety about nearly everything.
I love the boozy, woozy, relaxed,
“everything will be ok”
feeling my first sips of wine gave me.
What a relief! From myself.
It honestly felt like the only way to get away from the demanding, persistent, never good enough tape running in the background of my head.
When I quit drinking, I was left to deal with this and it wasn’t pretty.
I can still feel anxiety rising up like a lump in my throat sometimes but I have learned other ways to escape.
We need to run away sometimes.
Alone time is a #1 tool for my clients working towards ditching the drink, and it was for me too.
If you are new to ditching the drink, you might not know any other way to get an escape, other than alcohol.
It has likely been your mindless “go to” for as long as you can remember.
Here’s a list of other ideas to try.
We arrive in Cabo.
We walk off the plane, down the steps, into the Mexican earth.
The kids and I feel like we are getting off of Air Force One and wave to the mountains, as if it they are our adoring audience.
The process of getting into another country is stressful, even as a visitor.
There’s forms to fill out and never enough pens.
There's too many germs.
There's confusing repeat questions.
The airport is full of tired travelers, crying babies, and not enough air flow.
My main goal in these situations is to exercise my strong project management skills.
Most strangers aren't getting with my program and have not received my mental memo.
This arrival feels a bit more intense because of COVID.
I had more than usual big emotions, because I recently finished a book called, American Dirt. American Dirt is a story about a Mexican woman who had to leave behind her life and escape as an undocumented immigrant into the US. (highly recommend)
Anywho...I was feeling...
My #1 question this week is, "How was your vacation?”
Thank you for your interest and curiosity!
Normally, I share all my comings and goings in real time on Instagram so my followers can literally follow right along with me. I haven't done that for this vacation so it's no wonder people are curious to know how it went.
I am typically an oversharer. I like expressing myself and letting people in.
In this moment however, I have taken a social media break, and it is uncharacteristically taking me longer to share this vacation in a blog post too.
I suggest reading them all (of course) to get the breadth and depth of my past vacation experiences, and how it has changed over time.
I love to provide encouragement, inspiration, and support to others going on alcohol-free vacations.
Here’s a few thoughts on why it might be taking me so long to share this vacation.
I have been...
I am annoyed when people over explain their relationship with social media and here I am doing the same.
I think it’s arrogant to think anyone really cares, but it turns out they do.
And I do too.
I am a solopreneur building my coaching business and Instagram has been a wonderful resource for me.
I inspire and support people in ditching the drink.
The growing sober/alcohol free IG community has been a great tool in my own recovery.
It has also offered a cost effective place to market my offerings.
I love it!
I started like any regular person with one unimpressive post and 1 follower (me).
I wondered what to post, how to add value, what to share, what not to share, and how to capture anyone’s attention.
How could I be of service and understanding to the great wide open of anyone who might cross my path?
Would anyone care what I had to say?
To my delight each day my following grew.
I started to meet people that I really...
I was driving home this morning from dropping my daughter off at her summer job, and I was thinking about our upcoming all inclusive family vacation.
It hit me that I hadn't thought about alcohol on this vacation yet and it is quickly approaching.
Alcohol was not a thought in planning it, booking it, or packing for it.
I remember taking a similar vacation a few years ago.
I was excited, anxious, and fully prepared to accomplish my first all inclusive sober vacay.
You can read about it here.
I have also unsuccessfully attempted sober vacations before.
More on that here.
It took me by surprise, this morning, to realize the very thing that used to be my one track mind, was nowhere to be found, as I was planning, preparing, or anticipating this vacation.
This is incredible, awesome, and absolutely how I live my life!
I celebrate this!
Even as a Recovery Coach, alcohol takes up less headspace for me, than it ever did while I was drinking.
I’m in my 4th year of sobriety.
It was painful to get out from under the grip of alcohol dependence.
Time and space from alcohol has changed me, my values, and my priorities.
I am a different person today, than I was on my last Day 1.
I continue to choose to live alcohol free every day.
I have no desire to drink alcohol anymore.
I thought being sober was going to be sad and boring.
I thought I would always feel like I was missing out.
I expected to be jealous of friends that were still drinking.
I am happy to report, that is not at all how I feel.
I do not feel like I am missing out on anything.
Sobriety does not feel like deprivation to me, it feels like a gift.
Not only am I not drinking, I also do not want to drink.
Sobriety feels like the world’s best kept secret.
It feels like the ultimate super power.
I no longer seek outside myself for comfort.
I have everything I need within.
There is so much freedom that...
There was a moment this weekend where I picked up a glass of whiskey,
so I could wash the table underneath so we could play cards after dinner.
I put my nose in and smelled it.
It smelled so good!!!
It gave me a warm, boozy, fuzzy feeling just to sniff it.
I knew I would love the burn going down my throat.
Whiskey wasn’t my drink of choice, but I always did like it.
Did I want a sip of whiskey?
Did I want that happy burn and fuzzy buzz to come over me?
Yes, I definitely did.
I know now what that would mean for me.
Alcohol is a big head game.
I am so glad to not be playing anymore.
Ultimately, I don’t want what alcohol brings.
For me, alcohol brings disappointment, dependence/addiction, hangovers, and shame.
It hijacks my brain into a one track mind with only one thought - drink now.
It clouds everything that is beautiful and free about me.
It makes me anxious, and depressed.
This weekend we will be on a lake.
I heard an interview by the band Old Dominion about their new song titled,
“I Was On A Boat That Day”.
It’s a super fun song and I love Old Dominion’s music.
They said they were drinking when they recorded it because they wanted it to sound free and loose, like the meaning of the song.
I totally get that.
I love that too.
It gives me a jolt.
I want that kind of two beer buzz they talk about in the country songs.
This could give me a strong craving because...
I want that all summer long, but let me tell you…
...alcohol didn’t do this for me.
Maybe for one second I felt the loose, free feeling...
...but it was always followed by heart palpitations, worry, and insecurity.
I wasn’t really loose.
I was acting loose and inhibited because I had something to blame it on = alcohol.
I had my first drink at 12 years old.
This was my toe dipped into the ocean of alcohol back in 1988.
I slammed a Busch Beer in my room alone.
Then I acted “crazy" with myself.
I journaled with sloppy handwriting, so I could prove to myself (and later my best friend),
how drunk I was.
How bad I was.
How out of control I was.
How troubled I was becoming.
How rebellious, dangerous, and grown up, I was.
I hid the empty can in my closet for approximately 12 hours.
The next day I told my Mom what I did.
I think I blamed her for my bad behavior.
From there, I would sneak a few sips while babysitting with friends, or staying at a friend’s house.
I always over exaggerated my behavior to try to act crazy and drunk.
The goal was to prove how drunk I was, and how outrageous I could be.
I was never actually drunk.
I was always just waiting for the alcohol to take effect.
I wanted it to be as good as they say it is, and...
A rarely advertised fact is that alcohol is the third preventable cause of death in the US.
That is not how it is marketed to women.
Alcohol is sold as “Mommy’s Helper”, or “Mommy’s Juice”.
It is advertised as a break for Mom.
It is sold as “Me Time” for women to escape the responsibilities of parenting, which women desperately need, in these challenging times, when they are expected to be on all the time.
Parents, and especially women, do need a break from parenting.
They need rest.
They need time away from their responsibilities.
They need resources and support.
They do not need alcohol.
Alcohol is scientifically proven to increase anxiety and depression, which is the last thing parents need during tough times.
The problem with the message that women need wine to relax or get a break from parenting, is that it’s true that Mom’s need a break, but alcohol is an addictive substance, that creates more...