This Is What Made Me Take A Closer Look At My Drinking Habits

by Emilie Smith
Luisa Sancelean / EyeEm / Getty

I’m going for full transparency — and I have to admit, I have some reservations about opening up on this topic — but I’m going to take a deep breath and share. There’s power in sharing the hard things (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself).

Dry January posts have been mixed in with my daily news feed since January 1st, the topic of several podcasts I have perused through, and it’s been top of my mind for awhile now.

I joined a sober/semi-sober private Facebook group last week.

Sober. Semi-sober. Not drinking.

Who the hell would want to do that?

That’s what I used to think.

I started cutting down on drinking a few months ago. I have been conscious of the absence of alcohol in my life every day that I haven’t consumed any since then.

I never really had a reason to look too deeply at my relationship with alcohol; drinking is something that is deeply woven into the culture of my family and my community.

I have an addictive personality, and I’ve used alcohol as a medication for many years; to treat stress, to dull the feeling of self-consciousness at social events, to help with coping, to soothe loneliness and unhappiness.

It’s not just my crutch during the low points, however. Every celebration calls for a few glasses of wine or a 4-pack of double IPA. The best days on the lake, my favorite place to be, always involve summery cocktails. “It’s a marathon not a sprint.”

Drinking has become a widely celebrated ritual for women, and for moms; a badge that we earn at the end of a long day, whether it be at work, or a day at home with the kids, we deserve that damn glass of wine, that vodka soda, that gin and tonic, that beer, and however many follow afterwards.

A few months ago, I was at an NHL hockey game in Montreal. It was my youngest daughter’s first NHL experience. My husband and I celebrated that with a few rounds. I lost count of how many.

I got sick. Really, really sick. I spent the majority of that night in our hotel bathroom. I couldn’t function the next morning. I ruined our plans to have breakfast out in the city. My daughter, age three at the time, wasn’t really aware that her day had been altered in any way, but I was so extremely disappointed in myself.

Since that night, I’ve been focusing on being conscious of my consumption. What I found wasn’t pretty. I was drinking every day. I was getting home at the end of the day and simply cracking a beer or pouring a glass of wine out of habit. And I never stopped at one.

I haven’t quit drinking, but I have realized that it was affecting me – it was hurting me – every single day. The mornings that I hated to get out of bed, the sloggy feeling I attributed to just not being a morning person, the lack of energy, the lack of clarity.

I still have an affinity for booze. I have to make a conscious effort to not open the fridge when I get home every day. I’m not necessarily looking to give up drinking, but am focusing on curbing my daily consumption and gaining control.

Every morning that I wake up with a clear head and the ability to roll out of bed easily is a day that further enforces my resolve. I have been nailing my water intake goals. I look forward to sipping my warm turmeric milk with honey and cinnamon at night. I’m loving the effect on my overall health, well-being and wallet.

Cheers, from my steaming mug.