A little story about the last 12 months of my life…
It’s funny because I’ve been thinking about this particular blog for the last month or so.
What would I say about July 15, 2020?
It’s the day before I’m supposed to have this mind blowing content to my amazing VA (you rock Emily) so she can get it out to the world…
And I’m just now starting it.
Procrastination for the win.
I think it’s because I’m not quite sure what to say, even now as I write this.
So, In an effort to speak my truth without the bullshit censoring that I have a tendency to do, here goes…
On July 15, 2020 I officially hit 1 year sans alcohol.
I don’t like the word sober, perhaps because other than being a non-drinker it means either a) muted in color or b) make or become more serious, sensible, and solemn.
And, my life feels anything but muted in color or serious and solemn (and who even knows what sensible means) since I’ve stopped with the alcohol.
My relationships are better, I am more present, my business has exploded, I feel more aligned, and on and on…there’s so much goodness in living with open, clear eyes.
So, let’s chat for a minute about why. Why did I stop drinking alcohol?
It’s NOT because I consider myself an alcoholic. (I personally find the word disempowering but if it helps you stay off the booze, more power to ya)
It’s also NOT because I hit some sort of rock bottom moment (no you’ll hear nothing here about divorce or endangering my kid, or losing my home, or, or, or–and thank God for that)
Well, I realized that drinking a bottle of wine (let’s be honest sometimes more) every single night was not serving me.
It was making me
And I didn’t want that anymore.
So, I quit.
And now, I guess I’m in what the people call, recovery.
Just NOT recovery from alcohol.
So, what is it that I’m recovering from? Well a couple of things…
First, I’m in recovery from years of shoving my emotions and numbing them (and not just with alcohol but sugar, shopping, and binge watching).
By not drinking I’ve made the decision to fully accept and–dare I say–appreciate of my emotions (all of them…even the shitty shitty ones I try to hide from).
Because..emotions are our guides. Acknowledging emotions is paramount to making informed decisions that will serve you.
So, the questions I ask now are NOT:
- What should I drink tonight?
- How many glasses should I have tonight?
- What show should I binge watch tonight?
But Instead ARE:
- What emotions was I trying to hide from by drinking every night?
- How can uncovering these emotions and the triggers for them help me to live my best life?
- Do I HAVE to do all the things other people want me to do…or can I do what feels right to me?
See here’s the thing…
I’ve spent most of my life, in fact pretty much every day until July 15, 2019 doing what I felt other people wanted me to do, or thought I should do, or thought was best for me.
BUT here’s a little knowing that somehow bubbled to the surface last July:
Other people don’t know what’s best for me. Only I know what’s best for me.
Which brings me to the second thing I’m in recovery from…
And, here’s where I might lose some of you, but frankly I don’t give a shit (not because I don’t love ya, but because I now this truth will help many)–I’m in recovery from an oppressive patriarchal society that says in every possible way and at every possible turn that I am worth-less because I am a woman.
Our society is set up to always tell me what’s best for me and to keep women small.
We are constantly being told:
- How to be
- What to say
- What to do
- How to dress
- That we’re too much
- Speaking our truth is not polite
- Being angry is not feminine
- Being too emotional is bad
- That what we say/do/think is not as valuable as our male counterparts
Basically, we’re being told to sit down and shut up.
Holly Whitaker wrote a book called Quit Like a Woman (a fantastic read and highly recommended). In this book she says:
“This is also the time in which women are drinking more than we ever have before. Between 2002 and 2012, the rates of alcohol addiction among women rose by 84%–as in it nearly doubled…and from 2007 to 2017 alcohol-related deaths among women rose 67% as opposed to 29% among men.”
And here’s where Whitaker really drives the point home:
“Here is the time in history where masses of us women fill the streets to protest against external oppression, then celebrate or cope or come down from it all with a glass of self administered oppression.”
So, my choice to not drink is also my own personal act of resistance against an oppressive system.
I refuse to do the bidding of people who want to hold me down.
If you’ve made it this far and you’re still with me. Thanks. I know this is a long one.
What I want to point out here is that we all have these ways of holding ourselves back (whether it’s the drinking, or the eating, or the shopping, or the gambling, or numbing with TV, or the shitty thinking)…these things are insidious and, often, are also unknown to us, because they are how we are surviving and coping.
The same is true for your clients. Every client in your program has something that they’ve experienced, something they are using to cope with and survive that experience, and it is something that they may or may not share.
So, your awareness of this fact is critical in how to approach and work with your clients.
How did my little knowing that led to me stopping drinking pop up? Working with my business mentor. Yes…somehow in the midst of business coaching I realized that the #1 thing I needed to do to grow my business is to stop drinking. And…well…it worked.
That is why it is so important for us to be out there speaking and teaching our truth, shining our light, and helping others discover that little knowing in them that, once they figure it out, makes them unstoppable.
So, let’s toast (with a delicious non-alcoholic cocktail) to knowing our truth, embracing our emotions, sharing our truth, shining our light, making noise, speaking up for those who are also suffering from the oppressive society we live in, and making the world a better place by taking up all the space we can to do what we are meant to do.
**ONE LAST THING**
While I am NOT an addiction counselor, specialist, or expert (like at. all.) I am here to lend an ear if you’re considering a life sans alcohol but have no one in your immediate circle to talk to and don’t even know where to begin. Hit me up if you need an ear.