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I will preface this humble article by quoting one of my favorite authors, Dr. Brené Brown: "Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it is having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it is our greatest measure of courage." When we talk about sobriety, we can't avoid the topic of vulnerability. It takes a lot of courage to give up one habit and adopt another.
I come from a middle-income, dual-income household with two loving parents. My childhood was very typical, not much different from anyone else's. When I was growing up, alcohol and cigarettes were always around. I had an aunt who was an alcoholic who no one spoke to or acknowledged. At the end of the night, she would have to be brought home. Like most of us, I grew up with alcohol handed out at gatherings; no one paid much attention to it. I didn't know I was going to get a taste of the thrills as a teenager. So I became a party girl, working hard on the weekends and surviving college and university lectures during the week. I began to question my chronic partying habits when I felt depressed and lonely the rest of the week. I finally decided I needed to put it to rest.
After having children, my addictions came back to visit. It came back very insidiously. "I deserve a glass of wine. It was a tough day with the kids." I would tell myself as I poured the rest of the bottle. So every day I would happily go buy a bottle of wine and smoke when my kids were in bed. At some point, I realized that the only highlight of the day was opening the bottle. The rest of the day I would be tired and cranky. Not rested and jaded.
I had an Ah-ah moment. You see, addiction comes in many forms. It's not just sitting at a table and drinking 24 beers, like you see in the movies. It's also a depressed but perky looking mom who only thinks about her wine all day and doesn't want to spend time with anyone so she doesn't break away from her precious nightly ritual.
When someone asks me point blank, "are you an addict?" my answer is usually, "no." I was just someone who was questioning my relationship with alcohol and substances. I also wanted to try something new and see how I felt about it. It's been four years now. I had champagne on my birthday and spent an evening drinking with my friend. Each time it made me realize how amazing I felt without it. Imagine not having a hangover anymore? The journey to sobriety has not only been brilliant, one of my biggest learnings in this area is dealing with pressure from others. That's where the courage part comes in.
So I'll leave you with this: imagine how you would feel tomorrow if today you dared to do the thing that scares you the most.
Appeared in Le Studio Boheme Mag