I thought it was about social media. But it was about all of it. It was about being on, all the time. Being connected, and open to connections, and available, and expected to respond and expecting to get a response, and creating thousands upon thousands of tiny slivers of interactions to “connect” and “be productive” simply because I could. It’s actually worse than that. I had fallen into a very intentional trap laid by tech companies who only make money if I keep picking up my phone and putting my eyeballs on their apps.
I remember so looking forward to drinking again once I had her. I missed the release, the inclusion, the socializing, the softening. Almost immediately after she was born I went back to it, joining in at parties with my husband and baby in tow, having my girlfriends over or going to their house for wine like we had been doing for years. One time, just a couple weeks after she was born, I walked in a snowstorm to my friend’s place a few blocks away, just to try and feel like my “old” self for a few minutes. I barely drank one glass of wine before I felt so ill I had to trek home. I had mastitis.
Since November 2015, I have completely changed my life. I’m nearly 3.5 years sober, I made the leap from my career in advertising to write and teach, I live in my dream location (basically, as close to the ocean as I can get without actually living on a boat), and I’m publishing my first book this September. My life is by no means perfect, but it is mine. It makes sense. It feels like home.
I mean, you know that commercial with the staples button that says "that was easy.” Getting sober is the hardest-best thing ever, but is there ever a time when you can hit cruise control and sit back and enjoy it? I know I'll never get to push that staples button, but can I at least get one that says, "It's getting easier?”
This is basically the reason I started to drink in the first place, and I’m pretty sure it’s the reason people have drank since the beginning of time: to feel more comfortable in their skin. Now, they probably didn’t quite use that language while sitting around the fire or dinner table or watering hole (I’m sorry, I have to pause here: imagine Jesus saying to Luke, I don’t know, I just feel so…uncomfortable in my own skin sometimes, man.) but that’s why. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions and smooths the chatter of our minds and some of our minds are really, really loud and mean.
Today marks 1,000 days since September 28, 2014. The day before, I drank. Again. On that day, I was also the Vice President of Marketing at a PR agency in Boston, a not-yet-divorced-but-newly-separated single mom of a five-year-old girl, 37 years old, running and doing yoga regularly, and outwardly doing just fine.