I found my own freedom from the “do more, be more” mindset and the alcohol that seems to make the hustle easier, and now I’m here to share words of encouragement with you.
Cozy up with some tea for my reflections on finally, blessedly, living and loving life by simply figuring out the next right thing.
reformed people-pleaser, former gray-area drinker, and Senior Certified This Naked Mind Coach.
When I finally came into awareness that wine was taking up way too much space in my life (not just the actual time spent drinking it) but even more so the large amount of mental real estate that was occupied by wine, I did what anyone does when you discover a problem. I looked for the solution.
It was simple.
Problem = drinking alcohol. Solution = stop drinking alcohol.
But of course it’s also not that simple. I had made many attempts in the past to take breaks from drinking through Dry Januaries and weight loss cleanses. Not only did I never make it to the full 30 days without drinking, I also found that despite many positive physical benefits of not drinking alcohol, I still felt deprived. Felt like I was missing out.
And maybe like I was missing some thing. Why couldn’t I just choose to quit drinking and never have to deal with it again?! (I’d much later discover that my “problem” wasn’t actually with my drinking – my problem was with my thinking.)
But I didn’t know that then so at the time the only thing I could come up with was that I hadn’t had a rock bottom yet. People who didn’t drink were people who couldn’t drink. You don’t just choose not to drink. That’s crazy. And impossible. You have to be forced. You see it in the movies all the time. The people that don’t drink anymore are those who ruin their relationships, jobs, lives with alcohol, hit rock bottom and then they “get sober.” That’s how they become non-drinkers. Maybe that’s what I was missing.
Because I didn’t have any outward detrimental effects to my life from alcohol and because my drinking looked very similar to everyone else it must be that my drinking just isn’t bad enough yet. I guess I’ll just have to wait for it to get worse because…errr that’s what makes it better, right?!
I hatched my plan.
Step 1: Wait for my drinking to get worse.
Step 2: Have a rock bottom.
Step 3: Go to rehab and/or join AA and try every day for the rest of my life never to drink again.
Steps 1-3 = relief and freedom. Except it didn’t really sound like relief and freedom to me. It sounded miserable. And shameful. But never mind that, I was desperate.
The plan was in motion and to hurry the process along one morning, in the fall of 2019, I did something super bold. I fell to my knees and prayed out loud. Please Lord give me a rock bottom so I can finally get relief from this crazy-making drinking cycle I am stuck in. Make it a rock bottom that doesn’t hurt anyone but please let’s hurry this along, give me my rock bottom so I can finally head towards relief and freedom.
Ok that should do it.
One night when I was tucking my then four year-old into bed and I leaned in to smother her with kisses like I did every night, she dramatically pushed me away and said “Ew Mama, no kisses tonight. You stink. Your breath smells like wine.”
My first reaction was – Ouch! And wait did my four year-old just call me out for drinking?! Also mind your own business kid!
It wasn’t until later that evening that I saw the reality of what had just happened.
My four year-old not only didn’t want me to kiss her but also could clearly identify the smell of wine on my breath. And because most nights at this point in my life I had wine, my breath probably smelled like wine every night. How long had she wanted to tell me that she didn’t want my stinky kisses but had put up with them anyway?
The Lord didn’t deliver me a rock bottom. Praise for that!
He gave me something better.
He gifted me a moment of radical honesty and clarity through the honesty of my daughter that while super painful at the time ended up being a moment for which I’ll always be grateful. It’s through that clarity that I saw how my relationship to alcohol was getting in the way of the relationships – with my kids – that were most important to me.
Freedom from alcohol doesn’t come from waiting for a rock bottom and being forced to do something about it. At least it didn’t for me. Gratefully!
Freedom from alcohol came because I had courage. The Lord gifted me the courage to meet the truth of the sadness I felt in that moment that I tried to ignore with my learned go-to response of defensiveness (in an unconscious attempt to not feel what was too painful to feel). The courage to meet the truth of the sadness that I was prioritizing time with wine over time with my favorite people. The courage to see the truth that my once favorite time of day with my kids had now become one I couldn’t wait to rush through so I could go get another glass of wine. The courage to see that wine was no longer the thing that I thought was helping me survive motherhood. It was killing any chance of being the mother I hoped to be. The courage to not beat myself up for where I was feeling stuck. The courage to offer myself grace and compassion for how I’d “allowed” wine to take up so much space in my life. And in time, the courage to face all the fears that came along with daring to imagine my life without alcohol.
Courage to see differently, to feel differently, to show up differently leads to discovery. Shortly after this not-so-rock-bottom night, I discovered another gift, a book called This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. And the discovery continued when I learned that I wasn’t addicted to drinking. I was addicted to my thinking. Changing our thinking, changes our drinking.
I found freedom from alcohol over three years ago. In those three years I haven’t had a single drop of alcohol which is great. But bigger than that is the fact that I haven’t had a single desire or temptation to drink alcohol. Not one. No desire, no temptation means total freedom.
My freedom form alcohol journey didn’t come from a rock bottom. Thank you, God, for that. Freedom from alcohol came after I first found freedom with my mind. Freedom with my mind gifted me my effortless and blissful life as a non-drinker. I’m free from alcohol and it just keeps getting better.
As a freedom coach, writer, educator, and speaker, I empower others to find freedom from the alcohol habit that’s keeping them stuck so they can discover who they are, reconnect to their true self, and create a life of their choosing.
senior certified naked mind coach