9 month sober baby
I officially have been sober the longest I have ever in my adult life. 9 months. This is the most amount of time that I have gone without alcohol in my body since I was 15. The most days spent not using a cancer causing substance to just feel. A substance that I relied on to get me through the days of my life.
Over the past 23 years, I used this substance to avoid truly feeling. That was how I experienced my life. I didn't know how else to do things without it. I drank to feel rebellious in high school. I needed it to make me feel confident on a Saturday night in college. I drank to fit in. I used it to feel courageous when facing people I was intimidated by. I drank when I was angry at my boyfriend. My friends. My family. I drank at parties to celebrate other people. Weddings. Baby showers. Birthday parties. Celebrations revolved around it. Funerals. Memorials. I drank when I was tired and exhausted and needed to just relax. I drank with my baby in the carrier on walks with the other moms. I drank when I felt defeated as a mother, when the days felt monotonous and life felt overwhelming. I drank joyously with Colby friends when we were reunited after years apart. I drank alone on the couch when I was angry at my husband. I drank at my children's baseball games on a Tuesday night, along with all the other parents. For so long, I didn't think I was doing anything differently than anyone else. The entire time, I was never really truly feeling or experiencing. I was avoiding, hiding and eventually alcohol only made me feel worse. And for years and years, I had no idea that the thing I kept turning to for comfort was turning on me.
I stopped drinking for 9 months only three times in my life, and that was for my three children. And every time, I went back, each time with more earnestness and intensity than the last time. I needed alcohol to escape feeling at times and other times to feel more. To experience my life. Neither worked. I only ended up numbing myself more and more. Little did I know, that I was completely missing out on truly knowing how it is to live a joyful, present life.
This weekend, we went into Boston by train and visited the Seaport with the kids and their cousins. We walked around through the bustling streets, feeling the pulsing energy of the city. The weather felt cool and fall like, as there was a chill in the air, and the heat and humidity of summer felt like a distant memory. We stopped for lunch by the water, and we came home shortly after. We went bowling at Kings in the evening, playing arcade games well past their bedtime. We spent a lot of downtime in our yard, fishing together as a family, enjoying the sounds and comforts of nature. On Sunday, I played a full round of 18 holes with my boys on the golf course, walking every hole, for a full four hours.
My mind was not consumed with drinking this weekend. I was not hungover and cranky around my kids. I was not drunk for any of it, checked out and inattentive to my children's needs. I felt like a child again in the arcade, taking turns racing them each in Mario Kart, instead of searching for the waitress for my next beer. In the past, I would have been itching to get home and get the kids to bed so I could keep drinking. It was nice to enjoy them, enjoy the moment and just be. In the past on the golf course, I would be waiting for the 6th hole just to get to the drink shack. It was so freeing not to feel shackled to something that held me down. I was happy, laughing, present. Yes - there were moments when the kids fought and complained throughout the weekend and I felt tired and frustrated, but never once did I think, "I want a drink." That is a good feeling. So freeing.
Yes, I have a 9 month sober baby, and there is so much I am grateful for because of it.