I hosted my first gathering of Sober in the Suburbs at my house this week. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew it was time to move forward with the idea. This was something I had been thinking about for over two years, as I had been envisioning it in my head since the day I stopped drinking.
That day, back in November of 2020, I googled "sober moms in the suburbs of Boston," or something along those lines. My search brought up almost nothing. I was hoping to find different options of groups to join - similar to what is offered to new moms in the suburbs of Boston. There was nothing.
I did find lots of virtual online support though, which helped me out a ton in my early sobriety. I stumbled across countless blogs and eventually the sober Instagram community - which was the basis of my inspiration for this blog and my own IG. Maybe that was a result of living in the midst of early Covid - but regardless, nothing has changed around Needham since.
I continued to ask myself, why do we have these wonderful groups that welcome moms to the 'burbs - Wellesley Mother's Forum, Newton Mother's Forum, Parent Talk of Needham, but there is no group to welcome new men and women to sobriety? That seems unfair.
The common thread within these aforementioned groups is parenting. They want to bring moms and dads together that are new to the suburban community outside of Boston. Once Evan and I left the South End, I became a member of all three groups at one point or another, so I got to experience each one individually. The groups focuses are on being a parent and meeting other like minded individuals. All of the groups events celebrate the joys of living outside of the city. Members attend speaker series, weekly playgroups and other fun activities - all in the spirit of community. And at nearly every single event, there was always the presence of alcohol. These groups offer book groups, volunteer opportunities, meals for moms, discussion boards and fancy holiday parties. And at every single event - I drank my face off every single time.
Now, there is no judgment here against these groups and I cannot blame them for the way they do things. They should be allowed to offer alcohol to their members. I just was not in control of how I drank it for many, many years. And I watched others around me drinking, thinking they were all the same as me. I had no idea that I was numbing, avoiding and escaping trauma and pain. I had no clue that I was slowly spiraling, and that I was unable back then to manage my relationship with alcohol.
I was unaware of the fact that I was headed down a dangerous path ten years ago as I drank an entire bottle of wine doing my hair and makeup before ubering across town with a neighbor from Newton to that first speaker series at the Wellesley Country Club. Sadly, a few months later, it was in fact my choice to show up blacked out at the holiday party on Comm Ave. at the Newton Mother's Forum that Christmas. I chose to hide and continue drinking the cheap chardonnay alone in the corner instead of fulfilling my volunteer duties of checking people in at the door.
At the end of the day, I am a far different person than the terrified new mom that was desperate to be accepted in early motherhood. But that doesn't mean that I still don't crave connection with like minded individuals. It is natural to want friendship or to need to share vulnerably or to relate to others in an authentic way. That is what keeps me growing.
It is incredible to finally be free from the concern of how others perceive you when you are no longer trapped in the clutches of alcohol. In sobriety, there is a sense of peace, joy and gratification that cannot be found while struggling in active addiction. It was liberating to be able to connect to others with a clear and sober mind on Wednesday night and to listen to these women open up about themselves.
Ultimately, that is the framework of Sober in the Suburbs - coming together to talk about what it feels like to be a sober or a sober curious person in a booze saturated world. It's about sitting together with others in a sheltered, judgment free space that is safe from the scrutiny or the harshness around us. I hope to harness a sense of comfort in every gathering, just as I felt at my house on Wednesday night. I cannot wait to see this thing grow... speaker series, book groups, regular events and retreats. This is only just the beginning.