Dear Ex-Binge Drinking Warrior Mama,
Congrats, you’ve been sober for 200 days. While that’s only just over six months, that’s a big deal for the person who once felt:
- Stressed? Drink.
- Long week? Drink.
- Been good all week? You deserve it, drink.
- Need to relax? Drink.
- Oh God there’s an event and you have to socialize? Drink.
Just like many women you speak to privately in practice, and in your hormone membership program Sexy Lady Balls, I realize you didn’t drink every day. You left it for the weekends when you’d easily polish off a bottle of wine, and still be able to stand and be totally coherent. But you’re not in your 20’s anymore and “drinking the boys under the table” is no longer a badge of honour.
Like many people, you grew up seeing alcohol as the crutch to endure the hard times, so of course you’d modelled that behaviour. As an adult who built her business out of a $20K deficit, and who served and bartended for years just to get by, you busted your chops to build Sexy Food Therapy, which at times felt like you were going through battle that no one understood. So after building multiple programs, pulling all-nighters, having to go on-air the next day and SMILE!, plus editing your own videos for five years (which thankfully you no longer do!), I get it – that wine bottle was like a bottle of water in a desert.
Frankly, it’s how you got by.
In a society where drinking is normalized, I realize that you never felt that you had a problem. But you my friend, were a binge drinker.
And it was killing you.
It became harder to cope with stress (alcohol kicks the shit out of your adrenals), your anxiety increased, and remember those days that you were so tired that it was like you were walking through mud? Your iron levels were continuing to drop, your liver enzymes were elevated, your testosterone levels fell (bye, bye libido!), your thyroid antibodies were high (hello Hashimoto’s!) and it was contributing to your out of whack estrogen levels (hello cysts!). You, could either yell, “My body hates me!”, or take responsibility for the state you put yourself in.
It was time to put your ‘big girl pants’ on and buck up, sister.
Alcohol was just a cesspool of distraction, a place where you could indulge in so-called ‘self care’, thereby dismissing suffering that you’d push aside every time you cracked open a bottle. And why wouldn’t you? Pain isn’t something anyone wants to run to or face! Instead, like love, it’s something to surrender to. So as my looming little voice of intuition would thump away at your chest whispering “it’s time to get sober”, I knew that you’d turn a deaf ear many times over.
But as the pitfalls became greater than the rewards of slipping into a haze of Chablis, you were faced with a decision to make.
If you went public with it (which I realize scared the shit out of you), you’d have to actually go through with it.
One thing I know about you, is that you never want to let people down. I’m proud of you for committing. It wasn’t easy, because I knew that you felt that you’d be judged. But look, it’s been 200 days.
And since then your blood work has improved tremendously! Thank God you know what you’re doing in this industry, because you’ve worked so hard to repair yourself, and hot damn it shows!
Your skin glows, you’ve got more energy, your testosterone levels are back up (*vroom vroom*), your estrogen levels are normalized and you’ve lost weight. Soon you’ll be going back to check your thyroid antibodies (which have gone down since you’ve last checked) and hopefully the nodules you developed on your thyroid will also be gone.
You should be proud of yourself because you’ve done the work, you’re finally getting sleep, and no longer using Netflix for self-care or scrolling through Instagram until midnight. Instead, you’re shutting down earlier, and holy crap, you’re reading a ton!
You may not be consistent with with your workouts or remember to use all the self care tools every day (which frankly can be exhausting), but you’re finally in a full on, loving, committed relationship with yourself. This commitment over consistency model you’ve created is now priming you for continued success.
You’re showing up in life like you’ve never done before, and Christ woman, that’s amazing given this year you turn 40. It’s about damn time. Actually no, scrap that…it’s all been divine timing.
And just look at how much you’ve learned while you got sober:
You’ve had to face your demons head on and feel emotions you would previously wash down.
You’d be faced with making big ass business decisions in these last 200 days that were stressful as fuck.
You’d worry and at times, feeling as though you were drowning in self-doubt, but you’d eventually give yourself the permission to breakdown unapologetically where in the past you’d see breaking down as a sign of weakness (“Dust yourself off woman! Chin up! Tits up! And now go walk it off!”).
Now you know that sometimes you have to breakdown to rebuild something even better. And that’s what you, Ex-Binge Drinking Warrior Mama, did. It was short term pain (*rips off the band-aid*) for long-term gain.
You made decisions that others would have been scared to make. And from those decisions, you created the foundation that you are currently standing on today. And look at the horizon babe…
Remember how Arik always says, “You have to go through battles to be able to sit on the throne”?
Well, your husband was right.
You were never a princess who needed saving. You were someone who needed to save herself, dust off her crown, and step into her role as the Queen of her own domain.
Oy…that still feels like a high title to embody, doesn’t it?
That’s okay, because it’s only been six months, and there are still battles (and thankfully wins) ahead. But at least now you can confidently run towards the darkness and shine.
I know you were scared, but see how that’s faded?
Sure, you still occasionally romanticize about wine, but every time I flash you the darker times it quickly fades, doesn’t it?
And look! Now you can comfortably sit with others as they drink and not be tempted. Alcohol is no longer your fast-track to belonging, or the courage to crack out of that introverted shell of yours. You no longer care if you disappoint others if you’re not that constant, in-your-face personality that they see on YouTube, because trying to be that all the time is exhausting – it’s not your job to constantly entertain or make other people happy.
When you tell people you’re not drinking and they respond with justifications on how they “don’t drink as much anymore”, or egg you on to drink because “come on, have some fun!”, or sound disappointed by your decision? Just remember, your decision acts as a reflector for other people’s drinking patterns, connections with alcohol, and deep-seated insecurities for all that the bottle masks. And frankly, it makes them uncomfortable. But my love, as you’ve learned, it’s also not your job to make people comfortable.
Instead, you need to continually discover and love yourself.
And with that growing love, allow it to serve and empower women like you were born to do. Loving yourself means you will have to call yourself out on your bullshit story and then set boundaries, because setting boundaries without being accountable will lead to creating fake ones that will never be of service to you (or anyone else for that matter).
Loving yourself means that you will have to ask for help even when it’s hard, because a Queen cannot rule her domain without a tribe of her own. But always remember to pick your tribe wisely, and know that the best thing you can do with people who have hurt you is to love them from afar.
At the end of the day, Ex-Binge Drinking Warrior Mama, be unapologetically you and love yourself with everything you’ve got.
I know in the past, you’ve given to everyone to the point of your own depletion (which, by the way, is no one’s fault other than your own – you made that choice), but I know that it made you feel like you had more jobs than you could juggle, when really there was only ever one job that mattered.
Which is why, on this 200th day of sobriety, I feel it’s important to leave you with this reminder from Cheryl Strayed:
“The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of love.”
And that, my friend, is your job. Your job is to love. Your job is you.
PS – Now go kick ass.