Sometimes you have to see it done to know what’s possible…
Sometimes, through the most random of circumstances, a complete stranger will fall into your lap (or social media feed) and bring with them everything you never knew you needed. A few years ago, this very thing happened and I found myself Facebook friends with a woman who lives clear across the country and who I would never have had a reason to meet in real life…
She was smart, funny, successful, had a whole bunch of kids and an interesting/ inspiring social media feed… so I followed her, and thought nothing of it.
Until one day she posted about being sober… not drinking alcohol. I paused and took notice.
A woman, the mother of a gaggle of kids, living in the suburbs, working in direct sales, socializing with friends AND SHE DIDN’T DRINK. I did a full on double take, triple take and screen shotted her posts about not drinking (so that I could easily find them to re-read again). It was that spark of curiosity that makes your ears perk up, your eyes widen and then you glance around to see if others took notice in the same way. Friends – that spark happens for a reason, don’t ignore it! The things that take your breath away for a second, catch your attention in an unexpected way and then linger… the things that stick around and set wheels turning in your brain for longer than it takes to swipe your finger and scroll to the next Facebook post… those are the things that you should take notice of. They’ve touched a nerve and they’re lingering for a reason. That curiosity is usually the start of something meaningful.
I don’t consider myself to be an alcoholic, but I also don’t think I have a healthy relationship with drinking, AND I don’t believe that you need to be an alcoholic to benefit from sobriety….
I’ve always known that I drink too much. From high school to college and well beyond… most of the time, when I drank, I got drunk – and I don’t just mean Saturday nights out with friends… I mean Halloween with my kids, family holidays, kids’ birthday parties, snow days, book club, PTA meetings, a Tuesday… you get the point. And yet, I always felt like it was both normal and expected, and there wasn’t really an alternative. I wasn’t the type to say no to that third, fourth, or fifth glass of wine, no one does these things WITHOUT drinking, right??
I was BIG TIME sober-curious about how this lady was doing it. It’s like the story of the four minute mile – sometimes you just need to see it done in order to know it’s possible. You need a leader to follow, but not in a step-by-step, my journey will be exactly as yours and I must follow a strict path. Rather, a leader who has made it to your destination, understands the obstacles, understands the journey and is reaching back (physically or not) to help you along. Having seen this done by a real life person was incredibly valuable and validating.
I’m not one to judge, so please believe me when I say that I am 100% NOT judging anyone for drinking or for their relationship with alcohol. But if you’re curious, ask questions, find resources and people (there’s a plethora of both)! This world of a sober community spreads far and wide! Below are a couple of links to Instagram account I follow and two incredible books… and there are so many more, depending on how you process information. I like people and stories – real and relatable, in my face for me to see how they’ve done things. Others like science and facts and details, that’s out there too. If reading this post, or others like it, has sparked a curiosity in you, a what if that’s sticking around, I am here to tell you that you are not alone!
Emily Paulson is the woman I mentioned above; she has an enormous sober/ recovery community on Instagram AND she wrote a freaking book (links to both below)! She wrote a book that is quite possibly the most honest and raw thing I’ve ever read. It’s her lifelong journey and struggles. She is a a true leader in this realm, laying it all out on the table and basically saying yup, shit can be bad, and you can still make it out the other side! I had the privilege of being on Emily’s advanced reading team so I’ve been keeping the secret of just how amazing her book is for a month and I am so happy to share that everyone can get their hands on it NOW. If you struggle (with anything), if you know others struggling, this book is heartbreaking and hopeful and so powerful in breaking the stigma of all the things that make us damaged and human.
My last drink was on November 11, 2017. November 12th was an ordinary Sunday where I begrudgingly woke up, checked my phone to see what kind of nonsense I’d posted on social media, checked to see if I’d sent any boozy texts or emails and then curled up on the couch to waste away the day, ignore my kids and shovel carbs and coffee in my face. Feeling embarrassed, a little depressed, guilty… The emotional angst of the shame-over was so much worse than the physical ramifications of the alcohol (though those were also ever present). It wasn’t an uncommon weekend occurrence. Except that after months, possibly years, I thought maybe I don’t need this anymore!… And so, I decided that my curiosity deserved recognition and follow through.
You don’t have to be an alcoholic to stop drinking. You don’t have to hit rock bottom to start moving up.
Also, I’m still fun… so you can totally invite me out for drinks, but don’t laugh if I order something silly like hot tea at a bar 😉 Actually, you can totally laugh at me!