Hi, sweet friends. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you may have noticed that I’ve been sharing a lot more about my sobriety journey. Why? It’s simple, really. It’s the most engaged with and requested content.
This has been a difficult pivot for me, since this space started as a place to share style and motherhood.
But, life had other plans.
I stopped drinking in January 2020, and I did it without any sort of program or traditional support.
I wasn’t a daily drinker, nor would I have considered myself an “alcoholic.” (Although, I soon found out that term just doesn’t really matter and generally does more harm than anything.)
I knew, however, that my relationship with alcohol wasn’t healthy. I had used it as an escape too many times, and it often (always?) failed to deliver whatever I thought it was promising.
On the morning of January 19th, 2020, lying on the couch with a pounding head, I knew I was done with alcohol.
I just didn’t know what that meant.
Everything I had heard about sobriety was tied to being an alcoholic.
Did I have to go to AA? Was this going to be a lifelong battle – one in which alcohol would consume…me??
I didn’t think about alcohol daily, and I wanted to keep it that way. I didn’t want alcohol suddenly to become central in my life, growing in importance because I was fighting against it.
I was scared and uninformed. I needed to get more information about how this whole thing was going to go down. Was it even possible for me just to…quit drinking alcohol without declaring myself an alcoholic?
I jumped online and Googled my heart out.
I wanted audiobooks and podcasts and anything that could help lead the way. I knew I wanted to find the answers from the comfort and safety of my own home, not in the unfamiliar dank basement of the neighborhood church.
Almost 21 months later, I can vividly remember the fear that settled in with that first decision. Now, though, the fear has just about disappeared. Sure, sometimes it sneaks in when I’m tired or anxious, but it quickly evaporates when I lean on all I’ve learned the last almost 2 years.
My hope is that if you’ve made the decision to stop drinking alcohol, or even if you’re just toying with it, this post will help guide you in the right direction and lead you to the answers you need.
Yes, you can just stop drinking.
No, you don’t need to label yourself an alcoholic.
No, you don’t need to go to AA.
Yes, your life will go on and, in fact, it will be brighter than ever without the haze and fog that alcohol can bring.
When I think back to my early days and weeks of sobriety, I’ll think about my kitchen.
Let me explain…
When I decided to stop drinking, I was in full on mom mode. (I mean, I still am.) I had a 4 month old, a 3 year old and a 5 year old. My days and nights were filled with diaper changes and tantrums and breastfeeding and toys and just non stop chaos. The idea that I could take any considerable time to myself to find out what sobriety meant for me was pretty laughable. I had to make it work for my life. The logistics of fitting self care into my days was always a challenge, so how was this all going to work?
I had to make it work.
Enter: my trusty AirPods and the mountain of dirty dishes in the sink.
Every evening after dinner, my husband would take the kids on an outdoor adventure and I would clean the kitchen. (Alright, I realize this doesn’t sound groundbreaking. Oooh, yay! I was able to clean the kitchen without the kids at my feet. But, stick with me…)
This time became invaluable to me.
I would listen to my current sobriety audiobook or podcast, and I would clean our home. The once monotonous tasks of washing the dishes, wiping the counters and vacuuming the floors became precious to me.
Cleaning the kitchen was no longer a chore that I had to slog through to get to the other side, where a glass of wine and the Real Housewives were waiting for me.
Cleaning the kitchen felt good. It felt like I was taking care of me, my space, my family, all while listening to Annie Grace talk about gray-area drinking, or hearing Laura McKowen’s story of drinking and motherhood.
I savored that alone time. I burned a candle that made our entire house smell like home. I tucked away the chaos of the day, preparing the heart of our home for a bright and early morning.
It was in my kitchen that I learned the truth about alcohol.
My eyes were opened to the effects of alcohol on my mind, my body and my relationships. I discovered that my one glass of wine wasn’t helping me relax, as I’d thought. It was actually increasing my anxiety and disrupting my sleep.
I learned that no amount of alcohol is “safe,” and that it’s an addictive substance.
YOU GUYS. I know you’re probably thinking, ummm DUH. But you need to read that again. Alcohol, like sugar, is an addictive substance. That means if you drink enough alcohol over the course of time….you will become addicted. So, it’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN.
However, unlike sugar, for some reason we have decided to blame the PERSON rather than the SUBSTANCE. We think if someone becomes addicted to alcohol, it’s their fault. When really, it’s just biology.
I’ll continue to share more of my sobriety story and journey along the way. Be sure to follow along! And as always, thank you for all of your support. <3
MY FAVORITE QUIT LIT TO LISTEN TO WHILE I CLEAN THE KITCHEN
These are all great books dive into whether you’re sober or just sober curious and wanting to learn more about how alcohol actually affects our minds, bodies and relationships.
THIS NAKED MIND by Annie Grace | If you’re looking for a book that will forever change the way you think about alcohol, THIS IS IT. We’ve been programmed to think that alcohol is good and maybe even healthy (which is so crazy). This book will de-program you.
WE ARE THE LUCKIEST by Laura McKowen | The most beautifully written story about drinking, motherhood and sobriety. I’ve listened to this book twice, and I’m sure I will again.
QUIT LIKE A WOMAN by Holly Whitaker | This was the 3rd quit lit I listened to. And actually, I had tried a few times to start it, but had to give it some time. Holly goes into great detail about why we are obsessed with alcohol, and bashes AA.
THE SOBER GIRL SOCIETY HANDBOOK by Millie Gooch | I listened to this not too long ago, and thought it would’ve been a great read in those early weeks or months of sobriety. It’s a “how to” book, with practical tips on how to navigate this new sober life.
THE UNEXPECTED JOY OF BEING SOBER by Catherine Gray | Catherine’s voice is so soothing and I just love how she writes. This book really breaks down how sobriety has led her to a happier and healthier life.
SUNSHINE WARM SOBER by Catherine Gray | The title says it all. This book was so good for my soul. No more “stone cold sober.”