Start Making Sense –
November 3, 2019 – At 30, I’d realized my life had become a predictable cycle of detox/retox on the weekends … and it was all completely socially acceptable. There was no one suggesting I needed to control my drinking or take a break. On the contrary, the world around me reinforced that I needed a cocktail to relax on a first date, to celebrate, to take the edge off, to curb social anxiety, to fit in; the list goes on and on. Sometime during my first year in my 30s, something started to tug at me. My hangovers started getting worse. I’d spend the day laying on my sofa, feeling physically ill. Worse, my brain would be in a mental fog. I’d feel emotionally heavy; as though I’d done something wrong. The feelings would fade, but even as I entered the week, I still felt pretty drab.
There was a small part of me that wondered if there was something more to life than the hamster wheel of social obligations I’d found myself in. A bigger part of me was terrified to re-build an identity that didn’t include alcohol as a social lubricant. You see, like many young women (and men) out there, I’d subconsciously used alcohol as this magic elixir to help me socialize, date, celebrate & reward myself for surviving whatever first-world problem I’d encountered that week. I bought into all of the “Rosé All Day” memes and truly believed that having fun looked like throwing back a few cocktails on the weekend.
I also fell victim to a darker set of beliefs. I believed that people only quit drinking when they had a problem. I believed that “rock bottom” was the sole path to sobriety. I imagined myself in a dimly lit basement, uttering the words, “alcoholic”…it didn’t seem authentic for me. In fact, just a few years ago, there was a serious lack of support and community for people who just wanted to quit drinking for the health of it. All signs pointed to two paths: keep drinking because it’s normal, or admit you’re an alcoholic and start down the path to recovery. Now, I want to be clear about something: there is absolutely nothing wrong with the latter mentioned path. I have many wonderful friends who sought the support of AA and recovery programs and are thriving in life. The thing is, I didn’t feel in my core that I had a “problem”. Admitting I was powerless over alcohol didn’t feel congruent for me. However, that doesn’t mean traditional recovery isn’t an absolutely valid path if that’s what resonates with you. It is. That being said, it wasn’t the path for me and I honestly think it’s part of the reason I kept up my party girl lifestyle for so long … why quit if I didn’t “have a problem?”