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On January 1, I shared on all the socials the one year anniversary of my freedom from alcohol.
I admit that I originally hesitated about sharing “publicly”. Was choosing to not drink alcohol every day for a whole year, the year 2020, worthy of a simply designed post to my humble following? Was the unknown of how the world outside of my circle of close connections would react worthy of exposing myself as someone with a drinking problem?
To date, I had been kind of vague about my decision. My sharing usually went like this:
…What started out as a “Dry January” continued into February, the shortest month of the year. I started to really like sleeping better, and waking up without a hang over. I knew I could not drink for a long period of time because I had done it in 2015 while I was training for Ironman. So I kept not drinking in March just to see how long I could go. And by the time the pandemic hit, I had not been drinking for long enough that I didn’t want to break the streak. Had I not started this year with my “Dry January“, I would probably have been drunk by Noon every Saturday in 2020, and probably many of its evenings. And likely alone… So time just did what it does and here I am a year later. The end…
That was usually enough for people to go: good for you! The truth was, I wasn’t exactly ready to go deep into it with anyone, including myself. Those who know, know how much I like to drink. Always the first one to order a bottle: champagne, Riesling (Trocken – don’t knock it until you try it!) or beer. Usually at the center of the party.
First, I had to mourn this identity.
As 2020 rolled by, I was peeling the layers of my simple yet complex relationship with alcohol. I was looking for my place on the broad spectrum of alcohol use and misuse. I discovered a tremendous admiration for others who had stuck with their choice to end their relationship with consumption of alcohol. I wanted to be like them more than I wanted to be drunk. I am grateful for your inspiration.
So I decided: my desire to celebrate this significant milestone was stronger than my fear of its repercussions. After a year of practice with those who deeply care about, supported and listened to me as I slowly opened up about why I was making this choice, I felt ready to explore and expand my voice.
I was surprised by what waited for me on the other side of this post. First, an incredible outpouring encouragement and words of support. Words of affirmation being my current love language, I felt the love.
Then, a series of intimacy-building moments with people who reached out to say: me 2, welcoming me into a completely new community of people connected by a common choice. And those who wanted to confide that they were also toying with the idea of giving it up, looking for hope and inspiration. I am so here for that – keep reaching out!
There is one person I am extremely proud to have inspired and proud of for making the same choice. You know who you are. Je t’aime.
The post was so worth it and the journey is just beginning!
Life without alcohol, something I am super excited to keep discovering.
Coming this week, Tuesday February 2, a Gloss Over Podcast episode on the topic. My ride-or-die Meaghan Whalen and I explore the topic some more. Tune in then!