On Sunday, September 4th, I celebrated my four year alcohol-free anniversary! What a huge milestone for me to hit, one where four years ago, I absolutely could not imagine. When I woke up the morning after Labor Day in 2018, I was completely exhausted from all my heavy drinking over the summer and felt utterly beaten down from being stuck in the continuous drinking cycle for more than half my life. I felt so ashamed for the role model I was being for my three young sons, and I was sick from the constant pit I had in my stomach.
I had NO idea that making that one decision in my life would take me to where I am today!
I decided to share my “before” and “after” photos so you can see how much I have changed since I stopped drinking alcohol. I have never shown anyone my “before” picture up until now. I was very embarrassed for the obvious reason that I look horrible, and was full of shame that I had been hiding so much pain inside for so long. You can see in the “before” photo I have a look of sadness and fear, my eyes tell the story.
The sadness was not because I was sad to give up alcohol, it was because alcohol was making me feel so sad and miserable inside. I did a very good job at covering that sadness up in front of others, and it kept me stuck in the addictive cycle of drinking heavily throughout my adult years.
Was I scared to make this change? You bet I was! I had NO idea how I was even going to do it or if I would be able to. What helped me move forward? Having hope that I could change and would be able to figure it out. Getting curious and excited about how my life might change. I knew that something had to be different this time, and I was open to a new approach.
Two years prior, I quit drinking and did it by getting support from AA for about two and a half months, but ended up leaving the program because I realized it wasn’t for me. I didn’t agree with much of what is practiced in the organization, and felt worse after attending meetings, and they made me think about alcohol even more. I continued on with being alcohol-free for another four and a half months on my own, and then ended up going back to drinking, thinking and wanting to believe I could moderate. That sparked me into going back to my heavy binge drinking for another year and a half.
What was the difference between my first attempt of staying alcohol-free for seven months and now being alcohol-free for four years? In 2016 I used a program that didn’t resonate with me, and I did the seven months alcohol-free purely based on willpower. In 2018, I educated myself on what alcohol does to the brain and body, found the proper support, shifted my mindset and started to make self-care a priority. I also had a life coach who supported me during this significant life transition.
I can proudly say that I am 4 years alcohol-free, and I never imagined my life being what it is today, and it feels SO good! I feel so blessed to have found total freedom from alcohol, and didn’t realize how much alcohol was holding me back in life until I finally kicked it to the curb and promised myself that I would figure it out. My life has transformed from living stagnant to finding my authentic self and finally living within my values. I discovered a love of learning, went back to school in my 40s, achieved two Masters Degrees, and completed five certifications. I started my own business, supporting other moms in upgrading their health. I am coaching in multiple programs with This Naked Mind. There is NO way I would have done any of that if I was still drinking. Zero percent chance!
I have unburied numerous layers over the past few years and have grown so much both personally and professionally. I have found my true purpose and passion in life, helping other moms find freedom from alcohol and supporting them in making themselves a priority.
I want to share the very important message that there is nothing wrong with you, there’s something wrong with the addictive substance society has been conditioned to believe is necessary to have in life in order to have fun, relax, and to deal with the difficult times. When I was a regular drinker for all those years, I believed that to be true, among so many other beliefs about alcohol. When I became open to seeing a different side of things that I was completely unaware of my entire life, everything started to shift for me. Having hope that I could change and being excited about how my life could be different helped me move forward in creating a much fuller life than I had ever imagined.