In August of 2019, about 17 months ago now, I had my “a-ha!” moment when it came to my drinking. It became so clear to me that I needed to take my sobriety seriously. It didn’t seem like an option or a suggestion anymore. It seemed like this was what the Universe wanted for me, and if I didn’t stop, something bad was going to happen.
When I first moved in with my boyfriend (now fiance) after graduating college, I thought my life was instantly going to get better since I was officially an “adult” now. I got a real corporate job, I moved out of my toxic college environment, I kissed my favorite drinking buddies goodbye, and I was ready to embark on this new era of my life.
However, after continuing to drink weekly and sometimes daily, I realized that just because my living situation changed, didn’t mean that I changed inside. I felt pretty similar. I was still using alcohol as my only way to have fun and deal with my anxiety, and I felt like it was impossible to make new friends without it.
After waking up one morning and feeling dangerously hungover, I made the big decision. I was going to stop drinking, and for real this time. I didn’t drink for 6 months. It was the longest I had ever been sober since I started drinking around the age of 15 or 16. I felt super accomplished, proud, and healthy…but it was still extremely hard.
I relapsed several times after those 6 blissful sober months. And then I got back on the wagon and got another 6 months of sobriety under my belt. Then I relapsed again. And that’s kind of where I’m at now. Bouncing back after a relapse is not an easy task…especially when you’re already feeling vulnerable and life keeps throwing stressful situations your way. The time that I relapsed recently did not turn into a life-threatening bender, and nothing really bad happened at all…but does that mean that I want to become a drinker again?
Truth be told, even if I drank here and there and didn’t cause too much damage in the act, I still want to be a sober person. Being sober is extremely empowering, guilt-free, and overall super beneficial to your life in so many ways. Being sober is what helped me succeed in my new job. Being sober is what helped me be a better partner and future wife. Being sober is what allowed me to foster genuine relationships and be my best self. Being sober is what motivated me to go to therapy to figure out all the stuff going on beneath the surface. Being sober is what helped me build real confidence. I still want to be a sober person.
Being sober is hard. Being a drinker is hard. But if I had to choose my hard, I would choose sobriety every day. Even when I fail, I immediately know what I need to do next. I need to brush myself off and start again at day 1. Relapse is embarrassing. Relapse is defeating. But I’ve come to realize that how you pick yourself back up and start over is more important than the relapse itself. We all make mistakes sometimes. We all go through rough patches. We’re all doing our damn BEST on this floating rock in space that we call Earth.
For my family, for my friends, for my significant other, for my animals, and most importantly…for MYSELF, I know that being sober is the way to go. I can’t be the happy, healthy, funny, creative, ambitious, go-getter of a person that I truly am inside if I go down the dark path of drinking to overcome every uncomfortable or boring situation in my life. It’s a slippery slope and it’s never truly “okay” for me to go back to my old ways. I always know what’s on the other side of that door. Broken promises. Dreadful hangovers. Extreme denial. Gut-wrenching guilt and shame. The list goes on.
The life I have created today is a million times different than the life I had five years ago. I’m engaged, I have a great job, I am a crazy dog and cat mom, I’m building a beautiful new home, and I’m slowly stepping into my power. I’m on a journey of healing, growing, and improving, and I’m not going to give that up.