Sober with Gratitude:
Discovering Sobriety in my 50's
Surviving Sober in a City of Wine Moms
I live in one of those places that is not quite a big city, and not quite a small town. There is definitely the six degrees of separation effect here along with the haunting tune of the Cheers’ theme song ‘Where ‘Everybody Knows your Name’ playing in the background.
Everybody drinks. If this town had it’s own motto it would be “Only Wine Moms allowed”. We drink at ball practices, we drink on the golf course, we drink on patios, on driveways. We do cycle pub crawls so we aren’t driving. We workout like fiends and celebrate with wine. We train for half marathons and Spartan races and celebrate the finish line with wine. We make fabulous, HILARIOUS posts about ‘needing’ wine on our social media accounts and everyone, absolutely everyone thinks it’s funny.
Heck it’s not bad enough we consume it daily and call it ‘mommy juice’, we take pride in supplying our under-age teens with coolers for their parties to celebrate their passage into the booze culture. Because life just isn’t fun enough without booze right?
Do you get the picture?
Well, just as it’s all fun until someone looses an eye, pouring wine over my head wasn’t so funny any more. I drank a bottle of wine a day. A DAY. Oftentimes more. To perpetuate the lie to myself that I didn’t drink any more than that, I would start my evening off with some low-carb coolers. Start my buzz with lighter drinks so I can ‘save’ my good buzz for the wine. Then the evening got underway, sitting in front of the tv, slowly anesthetizing myself until I either ‘fell asleep’ (because calling it passing out wouldn’t help my denial), or if I was so fortunate, to engage a family member (usually my kid) in conversation which I wouldn’t remember a word of the next day. It got so that I could anticipate that I wouldn’t remember the conversation the next day so I would write notes to myself in my phone so I wouldn’t be accused of not remembering a work shift or an important story about my daughter’s day. I had to remind myself about talking to my child. How sick is that?
Of course there was all the other stuff: Waking at 3 am filled with self-loathing, waking in a fog the next morning. Planning drinks with friends and always starting with one before I left home. Watching peoples’ drinks, waiting until I could ‘reasonably’ order the next one. Shopping at different wine stores, even if I had to pay more, so my ‘normal’ merchant wouldn’t see me in there every day.
I allowed that type of behavior to go on for almost the last 16 years. Before that I drank, of course, but at least I was sober enough to put my young children to bed.
I quit drinking July 1, 2020. My mentor said she started a blog to help her get through her tough days early on. I have also been posting on instagram since the beginning (@sober_with_gratitude) but felt drawn to blog my journey as well. Some of my posts are taken from emails I sent to my sober coach - which were sometimes written in a fit of emotion. I hope that if you see yourself in between these lines, that you reach out to someone to start your own journey.