Tomorrow, the 28th, will be one year since I said goodbye to the vino for good and I am so incredibly grateful to God every day for all of the changes that have come with becoming a teetotaler.
This year has truly been a wild ride.
I have had some of the best experiences:
Live music is one of my favorite things. I’ve gotten to take Sara to see her first real concert, to see Foo Fighters with my better half, and to see Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds in what was one of my favorite shows ever.
Since my voice lesson days, musicals are one of my passions. After a LONG wait, I got to see Phantom of the Opera and it was wonderful. And I don’t have words for The Lion King. So so good.
Sara and I have been on some fabulous adventures: The March for Science, visiting my bestie in Nashville, seeing one of my favorite authors at a women’s conference in Hokes Bluff and meeting another at a book signing in Tennessee, and getting to hear Joe Biden speak. Just some wonderful times.
We got involved in our church and it has been amazing.
And, as you know if you follow me anywhere, Henry Herring joined our family to help me deal with my persistent anxiety and he is just the best little doggie/person. I am so thankful for him.
In addition to those things, I have read over a hundred books, listened to countless podcasts, and am almost finished with my Integrative Nutrition program. I am so thankful to be learning and growing.
But there have also been some intensely painful things this year as well:
Our dear Ryan passed away suddenly and it has rocked our world. It sucks so much to miss him and it sucks even more to want to fix the pain for my bestie, Al, and be unable to. But I am thankful for the BEST memories and I am also thankful to be fully present if I am needed to hold space. Sometimes love and prayers and presence are the best we can offer when there is no fixing.
I took this picture of the Christmas trees at Children’s Hospital when I was wandering around, looking for drinks and snacks in the middle of the night, visiting the ER with our daughter. She was struck with symptoms frighteningly similar to mine this past Fall and I just HATE it for her. I would give anything to take it all myself. We are still trying to sort it all out. In the midst of it, I am thankful, however, that we were able to find a fully state sponsored, accredited home school program for her, so she can be at home (her pain is just too intense to do otherwise) but still do all of her schoolwork. It has been so much better for her.
My own health has been just insane, as I’ve written about often. Long story short, I now I have six broken bones in my feet, I’ve amassed more ER visits than I can count (due to a state of perma-flare), and I finally had to stop working as a nurse last Summer, as I can’t make it through a day without two naps and I can’t walk any distance. Also one day of mild activity lays me out for the next two. It has been really hard, to say the least.
Through the good and the bad, though, I am grateful to have been fully back to myself for it all, whether it was wonderful or awful. I am so happy to have my life back.
In the big picture, I’ve learned so much about alcohol and substance abuse and addiction and also the role that alcohol plays in our society. It has been really eye-opening.
For my 100 days, my friend Aaron worked me in to do this:
My Tt (or teetotaler) is really meaningful to me. To learn more about it, here is the link on Holly at Hip Sobriety’s blog:
Part of my decision to get it was because I decided not to be silent (though I believe with all my heart that it is a personal choice and everyone has their own reasons either way). It is my hope that as I write and speak and share, my words and experiences will be of service to someone else.
And, as I’ve written before, the rate of alcohol abuse among women is rising exponentially. My wine consumption would likely have never set off any alarms as it is perfectly socially acceptable these days. In fact, I recently I got this email from Tone It Up, a fitness brand dedicated to uber clean eating:
And it wasn’t just that I got this email – it was that I had ignored several that were similar to it from Tone It Up that bothered me. So I actually sent them one in response saying as much and unsubscribed. It’s not that wine is a problem for everyone – it’s that is a growing problem for enough people that we need to stop pretending it’s not. And stop seeing it appear in all of the “healthy brands” – fitness programs, wine yoga, mommy wine marathons. It really isn’t cute.
When I found Holly at Hip Sobriety, I started following her on Insta for something (I can’t even remember what) that was unrelated to alcohol, when I still consumed plenty. I got to know her and really liked her. What’s more, I slowly started to see the messages she shared often and started to change my thinking from “I could never give up my wine” to “Maybe my life would be better without this.” And, oh my word, when I decided to leap, has it ever been.
As the AA model is not my jam (but, if it is yours, aa.org – go for it!), I am beyond grateful for the community I found through Hip Sobriety and the teetotalers. And I don’t think it was happenstance – it was a total God thing. My point is there is something for everyone, a way, a resource. It’s a matter of making the decision.
And I want to be of service and share and point others in that direction so they can be free as well.
So, going into year two, that is one of my intentions.
And my other is this:
I actually have two ideas that I am working on, one for children and one for adults, so there are two birthdays I just don’t know yet. But I do know I always wanted to be a writer. And I’m home now and no longer able to work as a nurse. So there is no excuse to not be living my dream.
Here’s to year two.
Thank you, God.
Be well, everybody.
Grace and blessings.