I Had To Get Sober To Be The Mom I Wanted To Be
Today is a big day. It’s the one year anniversary of the day I decided I’d had enough. I put the bottle down. I sobered up.
What? You didn’t know about my struggles with alcohol? Does this change your perspective of me? As a woman? As a mom?
This used to matter to me. What you thought about me used to mean everything. And in truth, it still does a little. I’ve kept this part of me under the radar for fear of judgement… shame… stigmatization.
I don’t know a lot of things. I don’t know how to stop at one drink. I don’t know when to say, “No thanks, I’ve had enough.” But I do know I’m better off with nothing at all. I do know my family is stronger, happier, and safer when I’m sober. I do know I can wake up fresh and hangover free. I do know my life is more enriched and beautiful when I’m sober.
Is it hard? Of course it is. There were so many tests this year. Breaking a 20+ year habit is hard. I used to drink when I was happy, I drank when I was sad. I drank when I was anxious and I drank when I was bored.
I drank to socialize. I drank to hide. I drank to numb. I drank to feel secure.
Now I don’t drink at all. I’ve had to find other coping mechanisms. But I’ve also had to do it scared. I’ve had to feel the feelings… all the feelings I used to drink to escape from. I can no longer hide.
But this is life! This is what it’s all about! It’s feeling the feelings. It’s doing the shit that scares you. It’s feeling terrified and standing up and stepping out anyway.
Do you know what the greatest part about this past year has been? The release of guilt. The elimination of alcohol-related regret. I no longer wake up with regrets. I no longer look at my kids with the guilt of a mom who drinks to numb the stress of parenting. The stress of them. The stress of this life I have brought them into.
I’m no saint. I still do stupid shit. I yell at my kids. I lose it pretty often, actually. But to parent without the alcohol-fueled buzz? This is priceless to me. I’m a better mother without alcohol. I’m a better wife. I’m a better person.
Can you stop at just one drink? I envy you. Do you linger over your glass of wine and feel satisfied, and say “no thanks” when you’re offered more? I can only imagine. This is not me, and it will never be me. I will never reach a time or place where I can moderate my drinking. I know this now. It’s been a long, harrowing journey but I know this more anything I’ve ever known.
I used to think alcohol served me in some way. It no longer does. It served a different person. A person who wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t ready to feel everything. To be everything. I’m not that girl anymore. I’ve never been stronger. I’m ready to feel again.
But I’m no superwoman. In many ways, I’ve never been weaker. I know alcohol is my kryptonite. I know I’m one drink away from a binge. I know I’m one poor decision away from a lifetime of regret. And I’m so weak, I know I cannot touch booze. I know I must feel again. I have to feel everything again.
I feel good today. Sobriety suits me. I don’t feel good every day though, and I still double glance when the person next to me orders a Cab or Merlot. Maybe I always will. But I never want to go back to day one. I never want to start this journey over again. The first day of recovery is the hardest. Today is day 365, and every day gets better. I promise.
Do you struggle to stop at one? Do you know in your heart you have a problem but don’t know where to start or when it’s time? I have something amazing to tell you. You can change your life today — right now — for the better. Don’t wait for rock bottom. Don’t wait until your health deteriorates, or you drive your kids drunk somewhere, or your spouse leaves you. Beat alcohol to the punch and change your life today.
It will be the hardest day of your life. It will also be one of the greatest. It will be the day you decide to feel again. It will be the day you decide to take control back in your life. It will be the day you can see your kids and partner with a focus and intention you’ve never experienced before. You will never regret it.
This article was originally published on