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...
At 44 years old, I might be at the halfway point of my life.
My Grandma just passed away at 88 last week.
No one is getting any younger.
My kids are teenagers and I am middle aged.
I am not sure how this all happened so quickly.
Just yesterday I was in high school, and somehow my first born just completed her freshman year.
I know the older I get the more people I will lose.
This is heartbreaking in so many ways.
I also know age is a gift and not everyone gets it.
I have lost friends and family my age and younger.
Losing people that I love has changed me forever.
The silver lining of grief is the ability to cherish what you have , when you have it.
Death is inevitable.
Because I have experienced so much loss, I know my moments matter.
They could be taken away at any time.
Nothing is guaranteed.
Loved ones have been unexpectedly ripped away from me without warning.
This broke my heart.
It has also given me an added...
Black Lives Matter.
I want to openly admit how racist I am, and what I am doing about it.
This might surprise you to hear that I am racist, because I am, without a doubt, also anti-racism.
I am a kind, accepting, open, loving white woman.
I believe and vote for equal rights for all people.
My neighbors are black.
My best friends are black.
I am from a white family, in a white town.
I went to a white college.
I grew up in a very nice, loving, accepting white family who believes and votes for equal rights for all people.
How could I be racist?
Because I grew up in a racist society with massive inequality.
I don't know what I don't know.
A few years ago, a young blonde girl was shooting a skunk in our local park in broad daylight.
I was scared and taken back at first, but when I saw who it was, I was relieved.
If that was a black man or a black teen, I might have been scared and called the police.
Before you start with the wine jokes for Mother’s Day.
Wine has been sold to women as the cure for parenting stress, and it’s a lie.
I know because I tried it.
I wanted relief during the nightly dinner time, bath time, bedtime routine.
I wanted something to take the edge off of me, being me.
I was anxious that our house was never clean enough for me.
I was worried that I was never good enough for my kids.
I was trying to keep up parenting and working.
I was always overwhelmed.
Often my schedule required me to be in two places at once.
I was not able to manage this impossible feat.
My attempts caused me so much stress.
That magic wine elixir did work at first.
It took the edge off.
It soothed my nerves and made me feel like everything was ok.
I started to look forward to my first evening sip.
Then, I started to depend on it.
Then, I started to panic when there was not enough of it.
I am surprising myself with how well I am able to handle the current global crisis of COVID-19.
I feel perfectly prepared for this however, because I have increased my resiliency by getting sober two years ago.
I was a high functioning drinker who never hit a rock bottom, and still when I decided my nightly wine habit was hurting me more than it was helping me, I had to work hard to increase my coping skills, manage triggers and cravings, and learn how to handle uncomfortable emotions.
I learned to stay present and not overwhelm myself by winding myself up with false stories and fear.
I learned to prioritize my mental and physical health.
I learned to listen to what I need, which was often to move my body, to write out my feelings, and to simply come back to me, by listening to my breath.
My self care routines are now firmly in place.
I have set myself up for resilience on the inside, no matter what is happening on the outside.
I am not seeking happiness outside myself anymore.
How do you want to come out of this quarantine?
I think it is helpful to keep your end goal in mind.
You are presented with an opportunity to learn about yourself.
You can day drink, sleep in, get lazy at your job, neglect your parenting duties.
You can use this time as an excuse to skip workouts and eat what you want.
You can binge on Netflix.
You can soothe the discomfort of sitting in silence with online shopping, alcohol, porn, or whatever vice takes you away from the moment.
You can forego hygiene, beauty, and self care routines.
You can stay up late.
You can come out of quarantine more tired, sick, bloated, antsy, and wound up than before.
That is your choice.
Or you can use this time to take care of you.
You can spend time with yourself getting to know yourself.
You can find what is your energy calling for today, and then give yourself what you desire.
You can find new ways to move your body.
With the news of COVID-19 you might be tempted to stock up on alcohol along with toilet paper to survive the pandemic, potential lock down, and save your sanity.
If you are a drinker, one positive thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you, is ditch the drink.
Alcohol negatively affects your health.
To be your strongest and healthiest, being alcohol free, is the best line of defense.
Alcohol and Overall Health
Alcohol affects your health in many ways. Most people are aware that excessive drinking can damage your liver and cardiovascular system, but did you know that it can also damage your digestive system? This leads to malnutrition and even increases your risk of cancer. Many people see these conditions as problems for the distant future. You may be less aware that alcohol also damages your immune system, increasing your risk of potentially fatal illnesses such as pneumonia, the flu or even the recent health scare, COVID-19. There are a...