I have been struggling to go public with the proclamation of ‘I never want to drink again’ for quite some time now.
Earlier this year I went 49 days without drinking – the longest I have ever tracked being sober in my entire adult life.
The experience was pretty profound for me. I really wanted to write about it. I really wanted to share my experience and what I was feeling. I really wanted the public accountability of being sober.
But something held me back – and that something was fear.
I was afraid I couldn’t stay sober.
I was afraid I would lose my friends.
I was afraid people would judge me.
I was so scared about what everyone else would think about my decision for my own life that I allowed my fear to keep me quiet. Who knows what magical sh*t I would have written back then if I had just let myself. Who knows how many more days I could have gone without drinking – because not only did my fear keep me from writing, my fear led me to drink on that 49th day and break my sobriety.
Now that I find myself sober again (at 47 days), I’m not going to let fear stop me from talking. I’ve hinted many times that the subject of alcohol in my life deserves its very own post – so here it is.
I never want to drink again, and here is why.
Disclaimer: The following is very personal and could be triggering for some people. I ask that you keep an open mind, free of judgement, and allow me to tell my story.
I started drinking when I was 14 years old.
I still remember the first time I got drunk. I was always full of stress and anxiety as a kid because of my toxic home life so being drunk felt amazing in comparison. When I drank, my limbs felt warm and fluid and my mind was relaxed. I felt like a grown-up and I felt so cool. I wanted to feel like that all the time so I drank whenever I could – which thankfully at age 14 wasn’t that often.
But as I got older, alcohol was more readily available to me. When I got my first serving job, an entire new world opened up to me. Everyone would stay after work to party and drink together. I had never had such easy access to booze before and I was in heaven. I loved that all the older servers and bartenders wanted me to stay and hang out and get drunk with them. I was more than willing to stay and party as opposed to leaving and facing life at home. I stumbled to my room wasted so many times from that job. I remember one time I came home and my Mom called to me from her bedroom asking if it was me and if I was okay. I answered with barely enough time to make it to the bathroom before throwing up everything I had consumed in the previous 24 hours.
Once I moved away from home I started dating and living with people older than me – so alcohol was always around. I’d do really ridiculous things like open bottles of Parrot Bay or Jager and just put a straw in them – carrying them around for the night as my beverage. I took drinks with me in the car, into the movies – if I thought it’d be more fun with alcohol there, I’d bring it.
As the years went on and I progressed into my 20’s, partying was just what I did. I had a full-time job, bartended and DJ’d during this time so I’d drink every single day for one reason or another. After work 5PM cocktails, pre-gig drinks, drinks to get me through my show, drinks afterwards to unwind – it was nonstop. I never really thought I had a problem until I started dating someone who was not okay with how much I imbibed. Looking back now, she was the only one who really called me on my sh*t. She didn’t pacify me like the rest of my friends and ex’s did. She tried to get me to face my problem with alcohol – especially when I started mixing prescription pills with it. But I just wasn’t ready to give it up and our relationship eventually ended.
The combination of losing my relationship and continued family drama only amplified my addiction. I started drinking earlier and earlier during the day. I started putting vodka in my water bottles and taking it to work. I’d bring drinks to my sister’s dance recitals. I was drunk more than I was sober at any given point during the day. I never really felt ‘hungover‘ because I never stopped drinking. Being drunk was my new normal. I started experimenting with more drugs and hanging out with sketchier and sketchier people. I was in so much emotional pain, I just wanted to drown it all out – literally. I didn’t want to be sober long enough to feel anything. I didn’t want to stop drinking for anyone or anything, so, I didn’t.
I didn’t stop drinking when I scraped the entire side of someone’s car leaving a bar parking lot one night.
I didn’t stop drinking when I collapsed onto a patio table at a bar and got a black eye.
I didn’t stop drinking when I came home to find my sister, wasted, puking into a trash can on my living room floor.
I didn’t stop drinking when my dog went missing, because I had been too drunk and too high to notice she was gone.
I didn’t stop drinking when someone who I thought was my friend, drugged my drink and watched as her guy friends sexually assaulted me.
I didn’t stop drinking when I got pulled over and charged with a DUI after blowing almost 3x the legal limit.
I didn’t stop drinking when I cheated on my partners, lost my relationships and broke hearts.
I didn’t stop drinking when I had an alcohol monitoring device in my car – I’d just get sober friends to blow and start my car for me.
I didn’t stop drinking when I was literally homeless, with nowhere to go.
None of the horrible things that have happened to me because of alcohol were successful in getting me sober because I simply didn’t want to believe that I was an addict.
I have spent the last few years of my life trying out this thing they call ‘moderation.’I thought if I could learn to manage it, I could continue to drink and my life wouldn’t turn into a complete disaster like it was before. I literally could not imagine living the rest of my life without ever having a glass of wine, or a mimosa or tequila ever again. I mean, what would I drink on my wedding day? What do I give people when they come over for dinner? How would I hang out with people? What would we even do??
I didn’t truly come to terms with the fact that I’m an alcoholic until 47 days ago. I had already been sober for 2 weeks when my boyfriend at the time and I decided to go out on a date. Immediately on the way to the restaurant I started to get that familiar anxious feeling. My mind started racing, knowing there would be alcohol there, knowing I would want it, but knowing I shouldn’t have any. My boyfriend told me to ‘just have one, you don’t have to go crazy, just have the one and you’ll be fine.‘
So I did, I had one – and THAT is when it hit me.
I realized in that moment, after that first drink, that I am indeed an alcoholic. One is never going to be enough for me. I want to be able to drink as much as I want at any given time – and that’s just not normal. Because ‘as much as I want at any given time‘ is usually 4+ drinks, an entire bottle of wine, a 6-pack, etc. I realized that I am completely incapable of moderation.
If I can’t have 100 and I don’t want just 1 – I have to have zero.
Zero drinks is what is going to keep me (and others) safe.
Zero drinks allows me to be 100% present in every relationship, every interaction, and every experience.
Zero drinks makes me a better friend, partner, sister, daughter, coach and employee.
Zero drinks will make me a better mother someday.
I used to think that giving up alcohol would be impossible. I never would have believed that life could be fun without drinking. But now I’m surrounded by people in my life who also plan on maintaining life-long sobriety – and we have a blast together. We laugh, we dance, we share stories – and we’re actually creating memories together because we remember everything the next day.
I thought giving up booze meant no one would ever want to hang out with me but I’m starting to realize that I’m pretty freaking awesome. I don’t need to be drunk to be fun. I don’t need to be drinking in order to hang out at parties, go to concerts and go on vacations. My true friends still invite me to hang out, even if they’re drinking, because they just want to spend time with me. And I want to spend time with them. And the friends who feel uncomfortable around me because I don’t drink anymore – those aren’t really the kind of friends I need to have anyways.
Thank you, whoever you are, for reading this and allowing me to share my experience with you. Alcoholism isn’t something that everyone struggles with and I fully understand that. I’m happy for the people who can have their 1 glass of wine per night and go on living their life – but that’s just not me. And that’s OK too.
If any part of my story resonated with you and you want to get in touch with me to talk some more, click here. I’d love to hear from you.
I have tried my best to make amends with those whom I have hurt in the past, but if you are reading this and you were personally effected by my struggles with alcohol, I truly apologize. Reach out to me, I’d love to hear from you too. And to my ex-girlfriend – thank you, for always trying to help me. I’m sorry I didn’t appreciate it back then. I still love you dearly for your kindness and compassion.
Alcohol is the #1 thing that has caused the most heartache, pain and trauma in my life – I’m not going to give it that power anymore.
I never want to drink again, and now you know why.