Op-Ed: A Scary Mommy Post Changed My Life

by Blair Sharp
Scary Mommy and Jamie Grill/Getty

Three years ago, I was checking my email on my lunch break at work. I opened up the Scary Mommy newsletter to see if anything would catch my eye. On that particular day, something did.

I read the title, “Other Moms Tell Me To Drink, And This Is Why It Matters” by Katie Bickell.

I clicked.

I didn’t know it then, but that moment was the first in many to follow that changed my life, and the author is a person to whom I will be forever grateful.

In the post, she wrote about a time she was shopping with her daughter for a slumber party they were hosting. They filled their cart with all the necessities and got in line to checkout. The two women behind them were watching and started up a conversation. They joked with her that she’d need a few bottles of wine to get through the party. They joked about her having alcohol in the coffee cup she was holding. As I read, I really didn’t think much of it. As the author continued, I was intrigued. “Those strangers didn’t know I am a sober person,” she wrote. Her words stopped me in my tracks.

I continued to read as she shared her story about her relationship with alcohol. As I read, my eyes filled with tears. She was writing about me. Her struggle was my struggle. I felt her words deep down in my soul.

I don’t remember much about that day besides what happened next. I felt like I needed to talk to this woman. I had to find out if what she was saying was true … did she really not drink? Did her life still make her happy without alcohol? How could this be?

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I put the author’s name into Facebook and started to type. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I realize now that it was a cry for help. I hit send. To my surprise, she responded shortly after. Suddenly I was talking to a total stranger about my struggle with alcohol. We didn’t know each other but I felt like she knew exactly what I was feeling. “She gets it,” I thought.

That day Katie gave me so much advice. “Don’t future-trip,” she said. “Just worry about today, don’t drink today,” she told me. This is some of the same advice I give to people now. I tell them to read Annie Grace’s book “This Naked Mind.” I tell them to start their own private Instagram account for support and to track their journey. There is a whole alcohol-free community on Instagram, and it was so helpful when I went alcohol-free. I’ve made so many friends from that platform.

As I write this, I am a few weeks short of celebrating three years alcohol-free. I can honestly say I am THRIVING. I’m getting to be who I was meant to be. I am doing things I never would have done had I kept living in the same cycle of drinking I was in. In the past three years, I’ve read over 30 books. I applied and was accepted to be a contributor for a blog in my city where I’ve written over 20 posts, one of which was the site’s most-read for 2019. It was about my choice to remove alcohol from my life. Recently, I created an alcohol-free Instagram account to write about my life. I am a host for the @1000hoursdryparents page and I am loving every minute of it. I am finally living a life that I love.

Alcohol messaging is everywhere. It’s on the shows we watch and the clothes we wear. It’s a mom’s wine glass that says “They whine, I wine.” It’s a t-shirt joking about day-drinking. It’s a part of motherhood, a right of passage. “Congrats, you had a baby! … You can drink again, here’s a bottle of wine!” And so on, and so forth, for the rest of your life as a parent. Because you deserve it, right?

The big secret is, it’s all a lie. I had to step back to see the full picture. I’m so glad I read that Scary Mommy post that day. If you’re struggling to figure out what your relationship with alcohol is, or maybe you are curious about a life without it … check out my page @sobrietyactivist. Remember, it’s never too late to start living your best life.