On April 16th, I had my first drink in 106 days. There is no regret. It was done in moderation. My first beer was consumed in the presence of others (socially distant, of course). I had said that once I got to 100 days (which did change form my original plan to re-evaluate at the end of April), I would take it day by day. On the 107th day, I enjoyed the taste of an adult beverage. It was a beautiful night by our fire pit. I appreciated every little detail about the night and was thrilled with achieving my goal moderation.
Once the sun went down, I got into bed around 8:30pm which is totally normal for me since I wake up at 5am each day. As I started to settle in, my daughter came into my room and began to sob because the reality and effects of the pandemic finally hit her. Addison’s birthday was the next day. She missed family, her friends and just the sense of normal she once knew only 6 weeks ago. She cried and cried and I did my best to comfort her. Honestly though, I told her I felt just like she did. We both agreed that this whole thing sucks and that we would feel the feelings and do our best to make the most of it.
I was so grateful she was open with her feelings and she felt comfortable to confide in me. What a gift. It was an honor to hear her share her words and be there for her. Had I consumed any more beer than I had, I can guarantee that this moment would not have happened. I could have been dismissive, sloppy with my words, or any number of things.
In the moment my daughter left the room, a light went off and I reconnected with why I should not drink in excess or even at all for that matter. When alcohol is present (or when it had been more present in the past) there wasn’t space for those tough conversations. Many of us, myself included, have used alcohol in the past as a way to have those hard conversations because we have liquid courage and all of a sudden alcohol is our armor. We know deep down that it really prevents us from showing up as our most authentic self.
For years, because of drinking, I have missed so many opportunities to have those hard conversations with people. Moments were missed to do a deep dive or be vulnerable. I always thought drinking would help me be clear and give me the courage to say the things I needed to say but that was never the case. Who wants to listen to someone when they slur their speech?
In the last several months, I have learned that not drinking is what gives me clarity. I am able to live in the present moment better, live truthfully, own all my faults (and there are many) and live in a more authentic way.
Since last spring, I have been working on this not drinking thing and as a part of that process, I have written letters to folks where relationships had been strained in part because of my relationship with alcohol. It felt important to say “I’m sorry” and “I did not show up the way I would have liked or wanted to”. I want to own my faults and the part I played in the relationships that changed. Beautiful, heart felt conversations have emerged from this process and for that I am grateful. It felt good to be open, to be raw, to be honest, to apologize and to ask for forgiveness. I continue to be so appreciative for those that love me, walk through through life with me and help me become a stronger person.
There is no changing the past, sadly. What I know for certain is that I don’t want to miss moments in the future for meaningful conversations. Alcohol will never serve as armor and I won’t ever miss those moments that I can’t get back. XO