fbpx

Our culture is making you drink: Here’s how to hit pause

Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch a Facebook Live where I share more about my story.

This post inspired a front-page article in the January 2022 edition of Tampa Bay Parenting magazine.

After another bad hangover, I finally said I’m done.

It’s not the type of thing you want to talk to a stranger about.

It’s embarrassing.

It’s messy.

It’s a little shameful.

It’s the story of why I decided to pause my relationship with alcohol about 9 months ago.

But when a writer with Tampa Bay Parenting reached out with a story idea about Dry January, I immediately said yes to an interview.

I wanted to help get the message out that it took me years to realize:

You don’t need alcohol to parent.

Here’s part of our conversation.

What are your thoughts on Dry January?

Reevaluating your relationship with alcohol is always brave. There are no rules on how to do it and, if a 31-day pause starts the journey, just promise yourself today. Soon, you’ll proudly have a few todays under your belt. 

When does drinking become a problem?

It’s an issue when you feel it is.

When it’s out of alignment with who you are.

If numbing uncomfortable emotions is the intention, that’s problematic. Let go of alcohol-as-crutch and get to problem’s roots. Is there sadness? Feeling alone in a marriage? Left out of friend groups? Confused about what you’re doing in life? These are real feelings and valid issues. Listening to questions is key because life’s stresses aren’t vanishing.

I was coming home at 2 am, not remembering my night out, that’s an issue. Needing alcohol to make things fun screams, “Reexamine!”

I wanted my friend, alcohol, at the fun stuff. Our culture includes alcohol in everything. Check in with yourself; determine why you need alcohol to enhance events.

Why did you stop drinking? 

It was March 28, 2021. I had a really rough hangover. We were camping with kids. The worst place to be hungover, period! And I could barely function. I drank to escape sadness from an upsetting incident the night before. I ended up throwing up in front of my kid.

And I thought, ‘I am so done with this.’ I saw that my love of drinking wasn’t getting me the thriving life I wanted.

Overdrinking is about fixing problems in the best way we know how. Our culture applauds it. Messages that “mommy needs a drink” are validated. The habit doesn’t work.

Have your social groups changed since you stopped drinking?

Alcohol-centered friend groups went away. If drinking equals belonging, do you want belonging in that group? Thinking we’ll be the big bird in the room if we aren’t drinking is paralyzing.

Realistically, no one cares.

My closest friends are genuinely curious because they love me. I’m not stopping anyone’s good time. Wanting acceptance is innate.

Still, I’d rather disappoint others by not drinking than disappoint myself in my journey.

Why was the day that you stopped drinking the first day of the rest of your life?

I’m living and standing in my own power. Alcohol weakens that. Relying on alcohol to get through the day makes me a powerless victim.

I no longer have the constant noise of ‘what am I going to drink next?’ I feel better and I’m proud of myself every morning.

I’m enjoying the simple fun of just watching my kids. I’m dealing with emotions in life-giving ways.    

Why don’t you use the words alcoholic and sober?

Labels hold people back from reevaluating their relationship with alcohol.

Not shaming past behaviors is helpful.

Sharing my story is shedding the shame, which is frequently hidden. Telling your story is empowering.

Consider yourself curious enough to pause the relationship with alcohol and uncover why you can’t go without it.

I understand what it’s like to be a stressed-out mom who needs to take the edge off, but there is another way. I offer weekly coaching calls and in-between support through text and Voxer, plus all sorts of other support, including the brand-new 6-week Your Best Body Challenge which starts January 31 and focuses on healthy eating, exercise and mindset. Let’s connect!

Leave a Reply