Last week, I had dinner with some of the sober babes that I met on a sober hiking retreat in Sedona, a month ago. Most of us live in Chicagoland. From the larger group, four of us were available to get together. We picked the most central spot for dinner. Lucky for me, that landed close to home.
I was the last to arrive and when I approached the table I was welcomed immediately. Everyone got up out of their chairs. We hugged and squealed with delight at our reunion. It was so wonderful to see each other again. We were familiar with each other, having spent days and nights on a soul filled retreat together. We were also brand new, having taken off our hiking boots, and donned our pretty sundresses for the occasion. It was a thrill to be meeting up again, in real life, so close to home, solidifying the beginning of meaningful new friendships.
Our dinner lasted as long as it possibly could.
We ordered drinks. A round of the signature mocktail...
Yesterday I met Mt. Evans of Colorado up close and personal and accomplished a big goal of mine = to climb a 14K mountain.
Climbing a mountain is a big feat.
Climbing a mountain of this elevation is a big feat.
Climbing a mountain at this elevation, as a 46 year old woman from Chicago, was a real challenge.
You know what else is a huge feat and a big challenge?
You guessed it, getting sober.
Throughout my entire climb I was trying to find the metaphors between getting sober and climbing a mountain, but they didn’t come to me, until the day after my climb.
I am first sharing my climbing experience with Mount Evans. Then, I will share the lessons I learned in retrospect. Let's start at the beginning.
I commited to climbing a mountain a year ago, after a hike with a friend in Colorado. We decided to accomplish this goal together and we decided on Mount Evans. We got a parking permit, and put a date on the...
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...
Happy National Sober Day!
I celebrate today because I am 3 ½ years sober.
I wasn’t always so enthusiastic about ditching the drink.
Believe me, sober was the last resort for me.
I tried everything I could to keep drinking.
I successfully completed 3 years worth of sober challenges.
I participated in Dry January, Sober October, Dry July, and more.
All of these experiments were to prove that I could keep alcohol in my life.
Afterall, if I COULD quit drinking, then I didn’t really HAVE to quit drinking.
Time and time again, I had a long term failure to moderate.
At the time I thought moderation was my biggest life goal.
Now that seems too small for me.
Why would I want to live by a set of rules.
Why would I want to abstain and never get as much as I really want?
I was talking with a client last week and she mentioned the weekend might be hard.
Because it’s Labor Day, a three day holiday weekend, and the end of summer.
It hit me that I hadn’t even thought about that.
I did have a trip out of town for my Aunt’s Funeral services at the end of the week, prior to the weekend's start.
I was performing the eulogy, so I was heavily distracted, to say the least.
My oldest daughter had a volleyball tournament,
so we had no plans for a for a last hurrah.
It actually felt like a regular weekend, with an extra day added in.
Less plan, and few obligations.
No forced family fun, which admittedly I shove in sometimes.
(don't we all?)
More time and space.
It was just what I needed, considering the emotional weekend I had endured.
I started the summer in an opposite way...with a BANG! on Memorial Day.
We enjoyed a weekend at a lake house,...
What do you do on the weekends when you are sober?
Isn’t it boring?
It’s relaxing, productive, and fulfilling.
I had no idea how to spend my time when I first quit drinking.
I was antsy, irritated, and annoyed.
Alcohol had removed my ability to find pleasure in anything but alcohol.
For the first time in a long time, this weekend I had few plans and obligations.
I thought this would be a perfect example of what a “normal” weekend looks like.
Saturday I woke up early and had coffee with my husband,
in our quiet living room, while the kids sleep in.
I welcome the spring sun and the bird song, in the morning these days.
I had gotten in a habit of sleeping in during the dark, winter season.
I prefer an earlier rising, so I am happy to wake up early without an alarm, even on a weekend.
It starts my day off right.
I welcome the day, instead of curse the day, because (Hallelujah!) I am not hungover.
When asked what I do, I tell people I help others take a break from alcohol.
Then I launch into a definition of gray area drinking, coaching, and ending the stigma.
People usually respond with, yeah you don’t have to quit forever though, right?
You don’t work with like really bad alcoholics?
There’s a difference between someone who can never drink again and someone that does Dry January.
Then I rant about alcohol being toxic substance that creates dependency.
I talk about it being progressive, and blah, blah, blah.
But here’s the thing:
What if alcohol was poisonous for everyone and not just some of us?
What if anyone had the potential to become an ALCOHOLIC, because of alcohol?
What if anyone, whether ALCOHOLIC or not just decided to stop putting poison in their body?
What if anyone, no matter how much alcohol they consumed, just decided to start looking internally instead of externally for their own peace and happiness?
What if not drinking ever again led...
Shame on you Big Alcohol.
How dare you market your poison to Mothers.
You are selling us a carefree afternoon with a crisp chardonnay in the sun.
You are selling us a sip to take the edge off a long day.
You are selling us relief from the high stress of parenting.
You are selling us deeper connections with our spouses.
You are selling us empowerment with each other.
You are selling us glamour, luxury, and a vacation from the daily grind.
These are all the things we desire and none of it comes from alcohol.
You know that.
You know that you are selling lies.
Your lies take away our power and hurt our future generations.
It’s the worst thing you can do.
I don’t know how you sleep at night.
You suggest we need wine to help us parent.
You tell our kids we are drinking because of them.
I was sold, hook, line and sinker on your promises that never delivered.
I was duped.
I drank your wine.
I sucked down that elixir and waited for the magic to happen.
Change of Season
The cooler weather and shorter days are calling to wrap yourself in cozy solitude. This sweater weather reminds us to tuck in early, be introspective, and self soothe with quiet comforts. One main concern for people taking a break from alcohol is their social life. As the buzz of a social summer winds down, September is the perfect time to ditch the drink. The hygge lifestyle of fall encompasses a feeling of wellness and contentment. Being alcohol free aligns with wellbeing. As the weather changes, so can we. We look to nature to guide us. It’s a season of letting go. Like the leaves of a tree, we can release the things, like alcohol, that no longer serve us. We see the beauty in transformation of trees and serves as a reminder to us. Transformation is welcome. It’s ok to try something new. Let nature be your guide and try a break from booze.
The Real New Year
The start of a school year is an invitation to get organized, start...
Will I lose weight if I quit drinking?
This is one of my most asked questions.
I can’t guarantee anything about the scale, but I can share my experience.
When I quit drinking, I let myself eat whatever I wanted, with abandon.
I didn’t have a sweet tooth until I gave up alcohol.
Without wine, my body craved sugar and I indulged.
Alcohol had a hold on my brain and giving it up was hard.
I let myself consume whatever I wanted, craved, and needed.
I only had one exception: no alcohol.
That was the only simple rule imposed.
For me, this was the only way to make it through the first hours, days, weeks and months.
Giving up alcohol was enough.
More than enough.
This was my life’s work.
To grab a Twizzler instead of a drink.
This simple type of transformation is profound.
If you know, you know.
I went out for coffee and dessert instead of drinks.
I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
Whatever tasted good and whatever comforted me.
I allowed it.