There is an irony that is not ‘wasted’ on me (no pun intended) that this is my millionth go around with trying not to drink. I know I sound like a broken record. Especially, as I try and navigate another ‘new’ beginning.
To get started this time, I have been going through my blog and rereading some of my posts, starting at the beginning and seeing how far I got on the first go around. I passed the 6 month mark for the first time ever three years ago, and although I was feeling good, the devil on my shoulder often let me know that this was just a pre-show.
There would be no final curtain call.
I would not be giving a dramatic bow for my flawless performance.
This was a limited engagement, and I knew I would be purchasing tickets again so that I could hopefully one day see how the show ends.
And then the blockbuster of all shows came our way.
2020 released Covid 19.
And as the nail biter began, we realized that this horror show brought with it a lot more than what we were typically used to handling.
Covid became a one man show and the world became puppets, with the leaders themselves not knowing how to operate the strings. All we really knew was that we were losing and it was winning. People were and are dying alone, scared and helpless….all over the world.
The pandemic had literally brought the whole world to its knees.
Businesses were closed.
Schools were closed.
Family and friends outside your ‘bubble’ were off limits.
And we all had to stay home.
This invisible threat had us all running for protection, but not more so than in the first few months.
When the word ‘lockdown’ was first uttered everyone went into survival mode.
Shelves were bare in all the grocery stores and toilet paper became a commodity we never imagined would be unavailable.
This was all very inconvenient, because this all kicked off in March, and I was still struggling with my New Year’s resolution of quitting…again.
But ‘screw it’ didn’t take very long to be my obvious recourse.
With the news of a lockdown and the uncertainty of what was considered an ‘essential’ service, I bolted to the liquor store and filled my cart like the end of the world was coming. As I was loading it up, my mind was swimming with all the excuses of why I ‘needed’ this. The first was wanting to be a good wife and ensure my husband had what he needed (wasn’t I considerate) and then there was the secret thought. I was going to be alone for 14 days and no one will ever know that I was stocked up and ready to do this quarantine MY WAY – wasted.
I wasn’t the only one though….the store was packed.
Everyone’s carts were full.
Social media was exploding with memes about how wine was going to get us all through this.
I was actually a bit excited about it all.
I could drink and not have to be accountable for a very long time.
But as I loaded up the truck with all the booze (a really nice man even helped me load the truck as it required 2 trips) I did have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
And when I came home and filled the wine rack (which hadn’t been filled in a very long time), neatly put the beer in the fridge and the 3 large bottles of rye in the cabinet I knew this was going to be bad.
But who gives a crap? Right? The world is coming to an end, so I might as well go out blitzed.
But being hung over and trying to home school sucks.
Being hung over and cleaning the house sucks.
Being hung over and getting outside for exercise and fresh air sucks.
Being hung over and cooking dinner sucks.
Being hung over and trying to be the perfect wife and mother SUCKS!!!!
You get the point.
It didn’t take me very long to realize that I literally brought the enemy into my quarantined ‘safe place’.
And after the first week I panicked.
What have I done?
Why did I do this?
Questions that are really easy to ask once the deed is done.
I can’t pour it all down the drain, my husband will kill me.
So, we drink it all.
And I swear that I will never do that again.
Once it is all gone and out of the house I feel so much better again.
I worked hard on moderation, failing most of the time, but giving myself a pat on the back for giving it a go.
Months pass and kids are not returning to school and the summer starts.
We are all struggling. I can see the pressure bearing down on not just addicts but those who didn’t even have a drinking problem.
I scroll through social media and see a theme starting to happen.
As much as there was the mommy groups sipping their wine in their Yeti mugs, there were also the moms starting sober groups. I found online communities with a ton of support from total strangers all over the world!
I joined them all.
There were moms I started to follow that were opening up about their addictions.
When you hear another mom say she has a drinking problem, you stop and you listen.
You listen because moms are not supposed to have this problem…and if they do, they definitely shouldn’t admit it.
I started buying books on addiction and how to quit.
I started following all the sober mommy blogs, along with so many others, reveling in the knowledge that I wasn’t alone!
And it helped.
So, as the year was coming to a close and the world’s relationship with Covid was still spiraling, I decided again to stop drinking.
And this time I felt very different about it.
I didn’t feel weak or fragile.
I felt strong and determined.
And perhaps I have Covid to thank for that.
At first, I think Covid brought out my weakest side.
It brought out my fears, anxiety and worry.
But as the months went on, I realized that like everything else in life, it’s all about YOU.
I have to be brave.
I have to protect my family.
I have to get healthy.
And so much more, that you can only realize when there is the ultimatum of life or death.
Quitting this time may save my life.
Covid is out there and will not be going away for a long time.
My heart breaks for all of those who have lost their most important people, and couldn’t be with them in their last moments.
All of it is so horrific, that if you can’t quit now, when will you?
And that has been what’s been going on in my head. I have deteriorated my body so much over these past 20 years that if I got Covid…it would take me down. There is no question about it.
Quitting drinking is in my control.
Quitting drinking will make me healthier.
Quitting drinking will better my mental health.
Quitting drinking will help me make the right decisions for may family.
Quitting drinking will save me money!!! Woot!
So, I reflect back to when I started this journey.
It was 3 years ago when I launched The Female Project.
It began as a way for me to release all of the thoughts that clogged my brain.
One of the posts that has been read the most was 17 Years Drinking vs 17 Days Sober. And that was in 2017.
3 years later I am at my longest stretch of 20 days sober starting the last few days of 2020.
It was important to start before the year ended. I wanted 2020 to know it didn’t win.
And my prayer is that the silver lining of Covid will be that we will all begin to value the little things.
Because what I have learned from the start and stop of sobriety is this:
It is the hardest, but most important thing I can do.
No matter how many times you fail, try again.
Be kind and forgiving to yourself…but make sure to have a stern conversation with yourself and get back to it.
We are not failures; we are warriors who never give up.
Fill your social media feeds with the sober movement.
It is real.
There a millions of us out there.
And the more that I dive into it, I am seeing that there are more women than men.
Mommy and Alcoholic just don’t go together.
And as 2021 looks like it is going to be the same shit show, if not even worse than last year, packing my house full of booze I have now learned, is definitely not the answer.
Healthy, mindful and grateful…that is the ticket you need to get into the show of LIFE.
Make sure you consider what you want your story to be, because you are the only one who can write it.
Here is to going into day 21 of 2021.
There has never EVER been a better time than this moment in time to just DO IT!!!