If aliens exist and mange to tap into our current social media memes, one of the things that they would conclude is that moms on Earth drink lots of wine. I see posts daily of wine delivery trucks, wine-only refrigerators, and over-sized glasses sloshing with vino. If a mom friend posts about a challenging day, it’s likely that someone will comment with an offer of alcohol. If moms are getting together somewhere without their children, chances are there will be photos of alcohol posted to commemorate the outing. I’m not judging nor coming down on the fun, but just noticing how often alcohol plays a role in mom-to-mom online communication.
As a stay at home, American, suburban mom who has also facilitated a book club for over a decade, I fit nicely in the novelty wine glass demographic. And it’s not just now. Through the stages of college, early career and parenthood, I am one of the gals that could be counted on to raise a glass (or two…or three). It’s been a core part of my identity and recreation. I have posted my share of those opening ceremony drink photos.
I absolutely love wine, but a few months ago, I did something I never thought I’d do. I quit drinking alcohol.
Over the years, I’ve intended to cut back but never have. I carry my share of alcohol related baggage, and despite what I’ve known in my gut to be problematic, an inner toddler voice in my head would stomp her foot and yell, “I don’t wanna give it up!” One night I finally said to her, “Sorry, sister. This is it.” I haven’t drank alcohol since.
Some of my takeaways thus far:
- I spent way too much mental and emotional energy analyzing my moderation and self-shaming. I have freed up so much inner space, which is good because….
- The intensity just got turned up a few clicks. I feel the full stress of life instead of softening it superficially. Everything is very real, which feels unsettling, yet right, as it should be.
- Honesty can be brutal. Saying out loud something you know is your problem and your problem alone to fix is daunting, but the problem exists whether you acknowledge it or not. Letting the cat out of the bag can show you how honesty can also be liberating.
- Rationalizations for our choices are everywhere. In my case, wine memes are a great example. I’m just part of the norm, right? Plus, I’ve known some professional alcoholics who make my issues look cute. You can look at someone and think, “Well, at least I’m not like so and so.” However the truth is that while so and so may be in the major leagues and you are only in the minors, both of you are still playing the same game.
- I am so much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I think about alcohol every day, and I choose to not have it. It’s tough, but now I know that I’m tougher.
- Life goes on! The world didn’t end when the alcohol stopped flowing. In fact, the best things in my life have nothing to do with alcohol. And I’m still me, just openly imperfect.
Abstaining from alcohol is certainly not necessary for most folks (enjoy with my blessings, wine-loving moms!), but as I recalibrate my life, I see it is the right choice for me. I walk through scenarios where I would normally have a glass in my hand, and I am tuning in to the motivations of why I drank as often as I did. But the most important reason I don’t want that glass in my hand is that someday I will talk to my children about these issues as a cautionary tale, and I want to inspire them through healthy lifestyle choices instead of being a constant reminder of what not to do.
So bring on the aliens. I’ll share my story willingly over several cups of coffee (cuz a gal’s got to have at least once vice, right? Joke! Sort of.)
Have you changed a habit? What did you learn along the way?
This has been an original post for World Moms Blog by Tara B.
Photo credit to the author.