Friday, August 12, 2016

There are a lot of things that happen in life that are out of our individual control. On the other hand, life is also made up of many choices. On August 12, 2013, I made a difficult choice (cold turkey)... and I haven't looked back since. 


Now, don't go feeling bad for me, thinking that I no longer have fun or know how to enjoy life. Trust me when I tell you--in addition to having Sebastian, marrying my husband and attending Penn State and law school, it was one of the best decisions of my life. 

It wasn't an easy decision but it was necessary and doing what's necessary is very often difficult. Though brought on at the lowest time in my life, I made the conscious decision to turn sobriety into a positive life event. After all, it has taught me so much. 

I know how to be a leader. Before, I'd join the crowd in slinging drinks back. I'd try keeping up, only to (very often) surpass all others. I was a follower and in doing so, I'd embarrass myself and sometimes those around me. I'd get into unwarranted arguments. I'd disappointed myself and loved ones. Most times, I wouldn't remember a thing. Now, I do my own thing (along with Tim if he's with me since he's been sober for nearly two years!). I follow my own healthy, happy lead and I have fun doing so. 

I used to think (mostly in college) that I needed to drink to have fun. I'd even judge others who didn't drink or drank very little. As an adult, I've come to the responsible realization that I don't need alcohol to have fun. In fact, I enjoy my time more now. I can dance to my favorite song and still feel on top of the world. I can have a great night out with friends and make memories that I'll remember forever.

Choosing not to drink alcohol is a decision I make whenever I am confronted with it, which is often. I am an expert at exercising self control in this aspect. Whenever I am out to eat and I am told of the drink specials. Whenever I go out to bars or clubs...yes I can still do that and not drink. Whenever I think back to my favorite drinks. 

I now know how to live my best life. I have much fewer apologies--neither to myself nor others--to make. I am safer and can take care of myself. I do not have to rely on others to make sure I get home, to keep "creeps" away, to make sure I don't fall and hit my head, to carry me. Now, I can rely on myself and that feels so good, so liberatingI live a much healthier lifestyle, void of excruciating hangover headaches and episodes of dry heaving. I can wake up early after a night out and watch the sunrise or go for a run. Waking up early after a night out feels amazing in itself. 

If given the chance to go back in time and have life pan out differently, I'm not sure I would want to. I truly believe God brought me through the tough times to teach me how to love myself and my loved ones better... and to get me sober. 

These days, I celebrate my life. I no longer resent the reasons I am sober; I am actually grateful for the journey that brought me here. I always knew I would have to cut back on or eliminate my alcohol intake and thought it'd probably happen when I had kids. I thank God it happened much sooner. 

After all, sobriety has made me a better parent, partner, friend, family member... and person. 

*If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP; or speak to a therapist or people whom you trust. It's okay to ask for help--even the strongest people need it sometimes. 


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