I need to write about the beginning before I get so far into the middle that I don’t remember. I started a journal on Day 2. The entire entry was listing out all the reasons I don’t have a problem:
- I don’t drive drunk.
- I don’t black out.
- I don’t drink during the day.
- I can make myself not drink for a couple of days.
- I don’t act drunk.
- I haven’t had a “rock bottom” moment.
- I don’t drink if my kids have friends over.
And then I listed reasons why I “might” have a problem… Some of them are too raw to share right now, but one of them was: I know in my heart that I do.
And that is where it began. In my first 5 days, we had a double date night, New Year’s Eve, an event that the previous year I had taken alcohol in my purse to deal with, and our heater broke on New Year’s Day in the freezing cold at 8pm at night. I did not feel excited. At all.
Our first mantra in HSS (hip sobriety school) was, “I start before I am ready.” Then I went into hibernation. Everything was raw and painful. And I didn’t want to be ready anymore. I wanted to go back to December 29th when I laid my heart out to Mike and shove it all back in my mouth. I thought I would quit drinking and in a couple of days, I would feel amazing. I would Benjamin Button myself and wake up fresh and new. Instead, I couldn’t smile. I couldn’t make conversation. I wouldn’t wear makeup because then I wouldn’t have to wash my face at night and that would be one less thing I would have to do. I was pissed off about herbal tea and everything hurt. I would catch myself standing in my pantry and looking at where the alcohol bottles used to be, just staring because I didn’t know what else to do with myself. I just wanted to sleep for 5 years but I couldn’t fall asleep.
I locked myself in a bathroom at a morning basketball game and cried hot shameful tears because I couldn’t remember the last time I was at a morning game for my kids that I actually felt good.
I did all the things because I didn’t know what else to do. I got on the coaching calls and cried and asked why I wasn’t happier. I drank the tea, I did the meditations, I listened to all the lectures and did all the work praying it would work. When you quit using alcohol to numb out, you have to get used to dealing with feelings again.
A little over 30 days later, the fog started lifting. My body started readjusting and my dopamine levels were evening out. And new habits were starting to sink in.
I never ever want to have to acclimate to real life again.
Your band-aid might not be alcohol and your struggle might look totally different than mine but I’m begging you, don’t numb out. The world needs you too much. You are too precious and have too much to offer to not live with your heart. Making a change is hard. Of course it is, pain is always hard. If your kids eat cereal for 6 months for dinner because you need to do the work, slip them a multivitamin and call it a day. They need all of you. WE need all of you. No one else has your voice and no one else can tell your story. But first, you have to show up for your life.
We are all forever in the middle of our stories, myself included. Things are not perfect now. This weekend I had to sit my twelve-year-old down and tell him his mom’s not perfect. *Spoiler alert*- he already knew that. My point is, it sucks. But it doesn’t have to suck forever.
You can start before you are ready. And you get as many day 1’s as it takes. That is the amazing thing about this beautiful life, we all get to wake up to a new day.