Obligatory black yoga pants, check. Hair color with an intentionally dark root so that you don’t always notice the regrowth, check. A house full of sticky and screaming children, check. Mommy’s special juice in her favorite wine glass…hmm…something’s missing.
I don’t drink. Not a drop. Not a sip. Not ever. I realize that sounds crazy to a lot of people. And before you judge me because you think that I am on some holier than thou power trip, trust me, I’m not. I have no interest in completely abolishing alcohol in an effort to take the world back to the days of prohibition. Put simply, alcohol and I just don’t mix.
There was a time in my 20s when I drank a lot and was probably a lot of fun. I don’t remember much of that, though. I drank for hours on end, smoked enough cigarettes to give several people cancer, and swiped my credit card round after round, tipping generously without a care. I spent many weekend days so hungover that I could barely get out of bed, but would gladly have a little hair of the dog and do it all over again.
There was even a night when my mother found me passed out in the basement and matter-of-factly announced, “Well, she has finally done it. Your sister drank herself to death!” Not dead at all, I awoke and proceeded to eat the cheeseburger that I dropped on my chest when I passed out. Kind of funny, but really, it’s sad. I was spiraling out of control, quickly.
I wasn’t addicted to alcohol. I never woke up with the urge to drink. I didn’t need to have booze to function. I just drank too much. One beer turned into two, which turned into six and a buzz that I really enjoyed. I am not downplaying alcoholism or the seriousness of addiction. It exists and is the cause of unbelievable heartache for so many. For me, binge-drinking was a habit, that had I not quit, I am sure would have become a deadly addiction.
Thankfully, my story doesn’t end with me getting arrested, or killing an innocent family while driving under the influence, or even falling down a flight of stairs and breaking bones — all things that I would have totally deserved for the careless way that I acted.
Instead, I got pregnant and never touched a cocktail or cigarette again. Like many women, those two pink lines meant cutting off my vices for the remainder of my pregnancy. I had every intention of picking it all right back up once the baby was born, except that I never did.
At first, the reason I didn’t drink was because I really didn’t want to smoke, two things that went hand in hand. But the longer I went without alcohol, the more I realized that I was better off without it. I was a better wife and mother and friend. There were no hangovers, there was no extra weight from too many beers and stops at fast food hotspots, my skin looked better and I felt better. I am seven and a half years sober and happy. I am happy without alcohol.
My choices are certainly not the same as most people my age, but they work for me. I still go to happy hour, but now I have a Diet Coke. I no longer have to explain that, “No, I am not pregnant — again!” I don’t care if people drink around me. I cast no aspersions on their behavior. If they can wake up and make it through the day without feeling like hell, God bless them. I cannot. My friends know that this is who I am. And no longer do they have to ask themselves, “God! She must be drunk, or is she just crazy?” Now, they know.