Over a year ago on August 21, 2016, I finished my last beer. It was on Sunday night following a five day vacation. I had spent those vacation days relaxing with my family, drinking beer, and reading about and planning for my first (and hopefully my last) Day 1.
The previous Tuesday I had gone to a sixth grade parent planning meeting at the local pool. Someone brought a hodge podge of beers and half a bottle of wine for about 12 of us. My first thought was, “This will not be enough…”
I picked the beer with the highest alcohol content…biggest bang for my buck I reasoned. We started talking about the year’s events. About 20 minutes in as I super slowly nursed my beer, it was gone and I was ready for another. But they were all gone. A bottle of luke warm white wine sweated in the sun…i spent the next 15 minutes thinking about if I should ask to have it passed to me, but no one else was even done with their first drink. What would they think if I went for my second? I spent the last 15 minutes super annoyed at the meeting. Why were people asking such dumb questions? Why wasn’t this meeting over with yet? Couldn’t we have done this over email?
I asked my friend to leave 10 minutes early. We had a sushi making party to attend and I didn’t want to be late (for my next drink). We arrived to a large group of friends who I quickly passed by to the beer fridge. A custom made beautiful beer fridge…i opened it up excitedly and the beer in it was crap. I reluctantly chose a Bud Light Lime and took a swig…it was WARM!!! I felt anger rise up…I quickly finished that beer and grabbed a Corona Light. WARM TOO!! Are you kidding me? Who installs a beer fridge and keeps warm crappy beer in it (maybe people whose lives don’t revolve around beer?) I made sushi and small talk and finished off a third beer and then figured around 9:45 that this wasn’t going anywhere and I might as well go home. We were leaving for vacation the next day and I planned to get up at 5am for my 530am workout as I did every weekday morning.
When I awoke, something was off. I wasn’t necessarily hungover (4 beers…not exactly a rager in my book!) I was tired, overwhelmed about vacation prep, and probably a little hungry (sushi doesn’t exactly fill you up.) But there was a gnawing sense that somehow I was missing the point of all this…that maybe, just maybe my life was focused in the wrong direction. I went to my workout but towards the end started to get tearful. I left at the end and drove to the grocery store…I had to get carpet cleaner for a spot on the stairs the dog had peed on a month ago that smelled terrible (there were a lot of loose ends like this that seemed to be piling up at the time!)
As I got to the grocery store entrance, it started pouring…rain and then my tears. (Crying in Kroger at 630am may be a red flag!) As I walked down the bright aisles, I had a sudden humbling thought, “There has to be an easier way to live than this!” And then the sobs came…in Kroger. And then the next frightening thought emerged…”Oh my God…I have to stop drinking.” Tears were running down my face and I turned around in the aisle, and on the end display there was a sign, a plaque…and it said GOD WILL HELP. In KROGER.
I spent the vacation days on the internet and finally found the words I needed. From Belle at Tired of Thinking About Drinking (wow…how that rang true!) And from Jeanne at Unpickled…successful, classy, funny women that had quit drinking not because they reached some horrible rock bottom, but because they realized they were living a smaller, less fulfilling life than they wanted to be living. I found The Bubble Hour podcast (listened every day on the way to and from work) and my girls, Glennon Doyle Melton, Ellie Strong, Holly Whitaker and Laura McKowen whose vulnerability and honesty set me on fire and made me want to be part of their tribe. It has not been an easy journey, but God has kept his promise and helped by bringing these wonderful people into my life. And my life as I glimpsed it could be for that brief moment is now so much more of a life I want to show up for each day. Thank you to all that have supported me this year. You will all never know the impact you have on people’