Grief Sucks, But Not as Much as Grief With a Hangover

Mindset, Podcasts

July 25, 2022

Today’s episode is a very personal one. 

When I stopped drinking in January 2020 I had no idea that the pandemic was coming or that I was about to lose my father. Had I known, I don’t know if I would have decided to get sober.  

However, I am so happy that I did.   

We drink to numb our pain and feelings, but the only way to truly find your way through grief is by feeling the feelings in their fullest. 

I don’t know if there is anything worse than grief, but if there is? It’s grief with a hangover.  

I want you to know: You are strong enough to handle your grief. 

Join The Sober Mom Life FB group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1542852942745657

This Naked Mind – (affiliated link) https://amzn.to/3PaCM7V

Speaker 1: (00:04)

Hi, welcome to the sober mom life podcast. I’m your host, Suzanne of my kind of sweet and the sober mom life on Instagram. If you are a mama who has questioned your relationship with alcohol at times, if you’re wondering if maybe it’s making motherhood harder, this is for you. I will be having candid, honest, funny conversations with other moms who have also thought, Hmm, maybe motherhood is better without alcohol. Is it possible? We’ll chat. And we’ll talk about all things sobriety and how we’ve found freedom in sobriety. I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. You don’t have to either. Maybe life is brighter without alcohol. I hope you will join us on this journey. And I’m so excited to get started.

Hi guys. Hi mamas. Welcome back. I am so glad you’re here. This episode is gonna be a little bit different. I have done a few solo episodes before, but this one is probably the most personal, which is funny, cuz this whole podcast is very personal, but this episode is one that I’ve been wanting to do and to share, but I’ve been scared and I’ve been putting it off. I’ve been dreading it. This topic is not an easy one for me to talk about. I don’t think it’s easy for anybody to talk about grief sucks and it’s hard and horrible and all of those things. And I just don’t think we talk about it a lot for those reasons. It’s not fun to talk about hard things. So first before we get into all of that fun grief stuff, I did wanna just say thank you to everyone who has been listening to the podcast who has been sending me feedback and comments.

I am so heartened by your responses and your ratings and your reviews. It makes me so I don’t know guys, like I I’ve been a creator. I don’t call myself an influencer. I don’t even know what the hell that is. I did not set out to influence anyone, but I guess that’s what I am. But I’ve been doing that for so long and talking about, you know, clothes and how things fit. And if they run big, if they run small, if they’re on sale, what you would style it with. And that, that stuff is all fine and good. And I, I still love doing that. And that’s part of who I am. Style will always be that, but I have been always searching and wanting to go deeper and to connect on a deeper level. And that’s really what this feels like. This feels like we have something special here that I can connect with other moms who are questioning their drinking or feel lonely in sobriety who feel like maybe your sobriety doesn’t fit.

If it doesn’t fit in AA or if it doesn’t fit with anyone else that you see. And I’m just so glad that you’ve found a home here because that’s what I really wanted the space to be. So just thank you. Thank you so much for all the support and the messages. Also, if you want some more support, I did start the sober mom life Facebook group. So I will link that in the show notes of this episode. So please come and join us. It’s just other sober and sober, curious moms. You don’t have to be sober to join. Like you don’t have to consider yourself powerless to alcohol. You don’t have to stand up and say, hi, I’m Suzanne. And I’m an alcoholic because what the fuck does that even mean? You don’t have to do that. You just have to keep an open mind.

You have to be supportive and be kind to other moms who are trying to figure out this alcohol free lifestyle. And so far I’m loving it so much. The dialogue is just, it’s just so nice to be able to have a space where we can talk honestly and openly about everything, about how hard motherhood is about what we do. If our spouse still drinks. There’s a lot of that conversation about first sober vacations and everything. There’s so many, it just, I just started it this week and you guys already, already, it’s been just, I, I, I love it. It’s already become such a special place. So once again, I’ll link that in the show notes and you guys, I think I’m stalling. I think I’m trying not to get to what this episode is about. So this is about grief and sobriety. And if you didn’t listen to that first, my first episode where I shared my sobriety story, you can hit pause on this and go back and listen to that, or maybe listen to it later, or, you know, not at all, if you’re not interested, you’re just here for the grief.

I get it. But I’ll just give a short rundown. I quit drinking in January of 2020, obviously the pandemic hit. That was a shit show. And that I think in itself, we grieved as, as an, as a nation, as a country, especially as moms, I grieved my village. I grieved, you know, helping or having, having my help that I would have most days. I think we need to take a moment and realize what we lived through, what we lost in 2020, whether you grieved, you know, a family vacation, a family reunion that was canceled, a wedding that was canceled, baby showers that were canceled. Being able to have your husband in the delivery room with you not having the birth that you wanted, maybe grieving that first year of your baby’s life. Wasn’t the way you thought it would be. I mean, all of those things are little losses that might not seem, you know, in a pandemic.

I think that we compared everything to death, right? And so compared to death and compared to dying of COVID sure maybe, maybe they, they didn’t quite add up, but to your life, that was a big deal in those little losses. We felt those all in 2020 continuing into 2021. And so I don’t want to discount those. I want, I want us to be able to say, yes, we are grieving. We’re grieving. What happened in 2020, whether you lost someone from COVID or not, we all lost something. And so first of all, go us because moms fucking rock. I, I can’t like every time, I think back to 2020, it’s amazing what we did. It’s amazing what we got through. It’s amazing that overnight we lost our village and we kept going. We did what we became teachers to our children. I remember my, I think she was four at the time.

Is that right? I think she was, she was still in preschool, my oldest. And so, and so I was, you know, trying to, I don’t know what the hell I was doing. I think that lasted about a week that I was trying to teach her preschool stuff. I’m like, okay, I’m definitely not a preschool teacher. And you know, I, I said, I said, harp, what’s going on? You, you told me, you loved teachers. When I told her that I was gonna be her teacher for the day. And she was giving me like such attitude, which of course, I mean, and I was like, I thought you, you said that you love teachers. And she looked at me and she said, I like real teachers not pretend teachers <laugh>. And I was like, yeah, I get it. Okay. I am a pretend teacher, what am I doing here?

Can we please give ourselves some credit that we got through that? Like we got through that, however you got through that, you got through it. Okay. I just want us to like, take a moment and realize what we got through. I think that could be a whole other podcast episode. So back to my story, I stopped drinking right before that. I did not know there was a pandemic coming around the corner. I often wonder if I would’ve stopped drinking. Had I known now looking back? I I’m so thankful I did because I know, I know for a fact that I would’ve been turning to a nightly glass of, or two or three of wine to kind of escape and get me through. And I don’t blame any moms who did that because what the hell? I mean, of course, right? We were taught that that’s, that wine is a good escape.

We’ve been taught that. And so why wouldn’t you want an escape? We all wanted an escape. Turns out that wine is not an escape. So I did not have that. I instead just would collapse actually. I’m I’m I record the podcast in my closet, which has become a sanctuary for me. And it really started to become a sanctuary. During that time. It was my retreat. It was my escape. It was a place that I could get away. I could get away from that little hands that were pulling at me all the time, get away from the nursing baby who had me up two times a night, just get away from all the needs. Like I did not want to be needed anymore. And in my closet I could shut the door. I could sit on the floor and I could just like, just get away from it all.

And this place really became, this was my safe spot. This was my safe space. And when my husband saw that I was going to my closet and shut the door and shut the door behind me, he knew, he was like, okay. He, he, he knew what that meant. He knew that meant I need to be alone. I need a moment or an hour just to get away and just to escape because I think in sobriety, you still need that escape. I mean, now that that wine is taken away, even though that wasn’t a good escape, it’s still acted sort of as an escape, you counted down to it. You looked forward to it so that you could just kind of not feel for a while. And that’s what I wanted to do in here. I either wanted to not feel for a, for an hour or I just wanted to feel whatever it was I had to feel.

And so fast forward then to March 20, 21. And I haven’t talked a lot about the details and I, I don’t, I don’t think I will right now. <laugh>, it’s, uh, it’s something that I’m honestly still processing. I’m writing a lot about it. So my father passed away. My dad passed away March 8th, 2021. And he was 71, which I think is young it’s way too young to pass away. And my brother and I always say it wasn’t unexpected, but it was sudden. And so I didn’t know, my dad was gonna pass away. I didn’t know that it was right around the corner. He wasn’t healthy. And honestly he had given up and I didn’t know, he had given up, I didn’t know that he was done and my dad lives in Wisconsin or lived in Wisconsin. And I live on the north shore of Chicago. And so I’m three hours away.

And while God, you guys this hard, this is like a therapy session. All right, here in my closet, I’ve always been very close to my dad. I would consider myself a daddy’s girl. My parents got divorced when I was, uh, six or seven. And I, I really kind of played the role of my dad’s protector. I tried to, he did have a drinking problem when I was little. And then he, he stopped thankfully, probably around the time I was 11, maybe 12. And I, I really thought that it was my job to take care of my dad. I think that that’s often the case. When someone in your family, especially a parent has a, has a drinking problem. I think, I think you feel like you can fix it. I think you feel like, I felt like I had to look out for him. I felt like I had to take care of him.

And also I knew he was grieving from my parents’ divorce and I knew he was heartbroken and I always felt like I had to take care of his heart. And so that continued really, even after he stopped drinking, I was kind of always my dad’s biggest cheerleader, his protector. I wanted to always make sure he was okay. And we were very close. I in college, he would, I went to college in green bay. He would visit me every week after college, I moved to Atlanta. He helped me move down there. He came and visited me a whole lot. And then when I moved to Chicago, we just were always very close. And he was, he, you know, it, it kind of felt like my, my brother and my mom were co cohorts and my dad and I were cohorts, my brother looks more like my mom and I look more like my dad.

So I was always a daddy’s girl. And then our relationship actually got strained for the first time in my life, toward the end of his life. And we were in a fight. I wa I had said some horrible things. I mean, and I’m not gonna say they weren’t warranted, but we were in a fight and we weren’t in a good place and we weren’t talking. And then he died. And as someone who has always been a loving daughter, and I’ve always been my father’s daughter that hit me horribly hard, just horribly hard. It still does. And I was just over. I was, I guess, a year and two months sober almost a year and two months sober. So I, I had had some sobriety under my belt, but I was not prepared for this. I was just not prepared for this. Like, this was not anything that I thought that I would have to ever.

This was an impossibility as far as how my dad passed away and our relationship at the time, I was not there when he died. And so you guys, it was, it was the greatest loss in heartbreak of my entire life of my entire life. And I was sober. I was stone cold, sober, and I continued to be stone cold sober. It actually was not, it just was not in my mind to drink. And I don’t know if that’s because I had kind of UN brainwashed myself at this point. I had, I had listened to so many podcasts and audio books, and that really revealed the truth about alcohol and what it does to our, our brains. This naked mind was probably the one that changed almost everything for me and what I think about alcohol. And it really did what I consider UN brainwashed me.

I think we’ve been brainwashed to believe that alcohol helps with all of these things and helps with life helps with anxiety helps, helps with grief, helps with hard feelings. And it just, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. God, am I, am I so grateful that I, that it happened when it did. And I had already had this foundation of sobriety of knowing of knowing that I could, that I was physically strong enough and emotionally strong enough to deal with that sharp edge of grief that would just cut me to the core every single day, every single day I woke up, it would hit me again, like a fucking tidal wave. And I would find myself on the floor in my closet and I would cry and cry and cry until I just did not have anything left. I would take a break and then I would cry again.

And I think that when I say that turning to alcohol, wasn’t an option. It’s funny because now when I look back, you know, everyone around me and my family was turning to alcohol and I understood it. And so there, wasn’t a judgment of how, how could you, like don’t, you know, that’s wrong that, that wasn’t at all it, because I understood. And I also understood that had I not had this foundation of sobriety and kind of had my mind not been changed. I probably would’ve been right there with them because everyone, everyone was everyone at his celebration of life. Everyone was turning to alcohol and, and I understood, and that was okay. I just knew that that wasn’t gonna be okay for me. And I knew, I knew that the only thing that could make this just heart wrenchingly horrible and hard grieving process worse.

The only thing that could make it worse was a hangover. And I couldn’t do it. I just, I just, I wouldn’t do it. I could not do that. And I’m when I tell you, it, it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy, but I knew alcohol was gonna make it harder. And I would just, anytime I would be tempted, which there weren’t a lot of times, but, you know, anytime I just kind of started to fall back on that idea of maybe wine could help. I would just think of that, the headache and the hangover the next morning. And I, I couldn’t imagine feeling as shitty as I already did, and then adding that hangover to it. Like, I just could not imagine doing that to my body, to my heart, to my mind. And so then I quickly, like once I fast forwarded that tape and went to that next morning, I was like, right, no, that’s not an option.

And so it, it wasn’t even a deciding like, yes, I’m strong enough to do this. It was a, well, let’s see how this goes, but I know that alcohol’s not gonna make it better. And you guys, it was fucking brutal and it still is. It still is brutal. Sometimes I still have moments where I am just overwhelmed by the loss and the sadness of how everything ended. And I, you know, I cry. I think one of the blessings of going through that sober when you’re sober, you’re very in tune with your body. Like there’s nothing blocking your mind and your body. It’s very crystal clear, at least to me what my mind and body needed. And so I, I think that I’ve gotten very good at knowing what I need when I need it. And so sometimes I think that’s only through sobriety. I think alcohol really is a barrier to that.

I think that alcohol is a wall in between you and your mind and your body, and being able to understand what you need and what you truly need to cope and to heal. And so I got very good at figuring out what I needed each moment. And you know, this isn’t not while I was dealing with the kids. I mean, when I was dealing with the kids, I just had to power through. I had to try and be the best mom that I could be while I was grieving. They knew that mama was sad. I, I would always just, you know, stress to them that even when I’m sad and crying, that doesn’t mean I don’t love them. And that doesn’t mean I’m not still me and they didn’t do anything wrong. You know, I can’t tell you how many times I said that, but I did get really good at figuring out what I needed.

And I would say overall, the majority for like six months, the answer was sleep. And so while yes, I did yoga, I exercised like that was all very essential. I cried on, like I said, I cried on the, the floor of my closet every single day. I talked, I, I talked to my husband openly. I did therapy. I found a grief counselor. I talked about all of the hard things, but man, when I tell you I slept and when I didn’t know what I needed and why just nothing sounded good. I knew it was sleep. I knew that sleep was always the answer. And so I slept, I slept so much. I went, I would go to bed at eight. I would wake up whenever the kids woke me up, there was no more like early morning, 5:30 AM. I I’m normally an early riser. No, just fuck that.

I, I just, I wanted to just sleep. And so I, I don’t know guys, I, I, I don’t have the answers. I’m not a grief counselor. I’m not an alcohol counselor, a recovery. I’m none of those. Like, I’m none of those things I’m not qualified to, to, to do any of that. And to give you advice on anything, the only thing I can do is just share my story of how I got through the absolute hardest time of my life. And I was able to do it sober. And not only was I able to do it sober, but I’m so thankful I was sober. I think, I can’t remember if it was Brene brown or maybe it was in this naked mind that she said you can’t selectively numb alcohol, numbs, everything. Right. It numbs our senses, numbs our memories. It numbs touch. That’s why sex isn’t as good after you’ve drank it, numbs it even numbs like taste like the idea that they’re pairing, like wine with food doesn’t make any sense.

Cuz it makes food not as good. It just numbs everything. And so I always knew, I would always go back to that and say like, would I like to numb this horrible pain? Sure. But then I’m also gonna numb the memories and the joy I have of my dad and all of the good stuff. And, and you know, right. When someone passes away, I don’t know if there’s what you’re really left with is love. I mean, and that love is like distilled to the most concentrated level, I think right after they pass that’s when you feel the closest to them, at least that’s when I felt the closest to my dad is right after he passed. And it was just, I was just so connected to him in this weird way that I C if I numbed that, that would’ve, that would go away too.

And I, I wasn’t willing to do that. I just couldn’t do it. And now I, I am so thankful that like that horrible, just the, that the year of grief is over my grieving continues. I don’t know who said it, but they said grief lasts as long as love lasts. And that is just, I, I have found that to be there couldn’t be anything more true. And so also 2021 sucked you guys. I mean, 20, 20 sucked, but my 20, 21 personally, my dog of 18 years. So my dad passed away in March. My dog of 18 years passed away in April of 2021. And then also my grandma passed away in December of 2021. And so that was just man. It was just the year of grief and loss. It felt like it was just, it felt like I was being pummeled by grief. But now over a year later, I, I can say that I’m here.

I’m I survived. I am still sober and that’s not by accident. And I just, if you are grieving, if you’re going through loss and it doesn’t have to be this monumental loss, like my dad, and like, like what I experienced, like don’t minimize the losses that we went through in 2020. Cause those were huge. And I think some of us are still feeling those or don’t minimize any losses that you’re feeling in your life. And, and grief is hard. You guys, grief is so fucking hard. It’s such a complicated, personal emotion that I was just not prepared for, but we’re strong enough. You’re strong enough. I was strong enough to do it. And I, I didn’t wanna be tricked by alcohol. I didn’t wanna be tricked into thinking that alcohol would help because dude, like I said, I don’t know if there’s anything worse than grief, but if there is it’s grief with a hangover, <laugh> put that on a t-shirt can you, oh guys, I don’t know.

I, I kind of just speaking of alcohol, I just blacked out. I don’t know what I just said that whole, this whole episode. I don’t know what I just said, but thank you for being here. Thank you for listening to this personal story. That was just so hard to tell. And I hope that it helps someone, someone who’s grieving. I also wanted to share this story because our whole community is grieving from the Highland park. 4th of July shooting. You know, we’re, we’re a community in mourn, but we’re so strong and connected. And I just want you to know you’re strong enough. You’re strong enough to get through it. And there are other escapes that you can use that are so much more effective and better than alcohol sleep is the best escape, I think. All right guys, I’m not sure how to end this. It was so personal. I feel a little exposed, but that’s okay. I’m vulnerable and I’m scared and that’s okay. So come and join me in the Facebook group. Let’s chat. Thank you so much for catching me when I jump. I just, I, I can’t thank you enough. Just keep going, keep going. Okay. I love you guys till next time. Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the sober mom life. If you loved it, please rate and review it wherever you listen. Five stars is amazing. Also follow me on Instagram at the sober mom life. Okay. I’ll see you next week. I’m gonna go reheat my coffee. Bye.

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