Grainy pic of me in my kitchen last night. 🖤
As I type this, I’m sitting in my home office, right off the kitchen. They call it a “Mother’s Office” because apparently a woman belongs in the kitchen, but if she can’t be in the kitchen, she’d better be as close to it as possible, just in case.
I can hear my 4 year old playing with our babysitter. They’re sitting on our couch in the family room. The same couch, in fact, that provided me little comfort as I nursed my very last hangover 4 years ago today. (Wait. To be clear, the actual couch is the same, but the slipcover is new. The last one fell victim to the great stomach bug of 2023 and I draw a very firm line at cleaning shit and puke out of fabric. It’s a no go for me.)
If I close my eyes, I can go back.
I can see her, lying there, unable to participate in the full life she has worked so hard to create. I am hovering above, like the Ghost of Sobriety Future, watching her, waiting for her to jump. Knowing that she will have so many questions. So much fear. So much doubt. But in the center of her, where all the good things live, she will also have just an inkling of hope.
I see her get up, assessing the damage around her and inside her. The toys and lunch remnants are easily picked up, put away, thrown out. The shame inside though, is a different story. That will take months to excavate, diffuse, disassemble, only to rebuild slowly, line by line, story by story.
She starts in the kitchen, of course.
The sink is filled with dirty dishes, the counters sticky and smeared. She gets to work, knowing no better place to begin. What she doesn’t know now is that this will become a ritual that she will return to every single night. As the sun sets and the world goes silent, she will clean the kitchen and prepare her home for another day, all while listening to the latest Quit Lit book and applying the lessons she’s learning to her own life, her own past.
Night after night, she returns to the heart of her home and what at first felt insurmountable, with time becomes sacred.
This happens for her in sobriety and seems to be a sort of theme. What at first feels confusing and nebulous becomes clear and certain, and what she once considered a cage feels exactly like freedom.
The next four years of her life will bring with them the greatest loss of her life, along with the sweetest joy. She will learn to trust herself again, or maybe for the first time. She will feel childlike wonder and a grief so deep it it settles into every bone in her body to stay forever.
And she will feel it all. She will learn to welcome those feelings and use them as a key to unlock her greatest needs and desires. She will set boundaries and speak aloud words that she would never dare utter before this.
Her voice will waiver and her heart will race while she records her first podcast episode. Slowly, she will build a community of women who all show up to tell the truth about alcohol and its tricks and share their own stories of shame and hope.
Not yet, though.
She doesn’t know any of this yet. She has far more questions than answers running through her mind as she hears herself tell her husband: “I’m done.”
Right now, she stands firmly in the kitchen, wiping, scrubbing, listening. She will trust that the jump is a leap of faith, rather than a fall into despair. She will move forward, step by step, moment by moment, night by night.
She will go out and adventure and share what she’s discovered, but she will always return to the heart of her home.
She, the heart of her family, belongs here.
Cheers to a lifetime of sober nights, peaceful early mornings and a clean kitchen. ✨