Five Questions that Helped me Choose to Quit Drinking
I have always known that I wanted to be a mom. I couldn’t wait to start a family after I got married. I never questioned it - not a shadow of doubt in my mind whether or not I wanted to be a mom. However, five years after our last child was born and officially moving out of the baby fog and toddler years, I knew something wasn’t right. This is not what I had expected out of motherhood at all. I felt like I was failing in all areas- as a wife, mom and career woman. The struggle was real, and I rarely felt in control of anything in my life. There was so.much.effort. I had defaulted to just getting through the day and waiting for an acceptable time to pour that glass of wine.
After completing a Whole30, and seeing what 30 days without alcohol could bring me I started to examine what was holding me back from feeling free, happy, and content in all my roles - wife, mother, career. I narrowed it down to five questions that I asked myself and urge all Mom’s to ask themselves if they feel like things are just not working.
The amount of effort it took me not to drink or limiting my drinking took all of my patience away. As a mom, the struggle is real with the kids - the tantrums over shoes, bathrooms, food, TV, iPads, the fighting between each other. I don’t need to keep going, we all know. Alcohol had become a third toddler. I get enough negotiating, manipulating, and bribing with my kids all day long, the last thing I want to have the same struggle with my mind too. I want my mind to be my happy place.
Two words: Baby weight. I wanted mine gone. I want to run, do yoga. Actually, want to go to the park with the kids and play with them. I wanted to be up for anything - if I wanted to be 😉 Nothing kills your motivation for exercise like a hangover. Especially, when your kids wake you up before 6 am, every day. Nothing keeps you hungry and craving carbs and sugar like a hangover. Nothing puts you over your calories, points, macros like that third glass of wine at night that turns into four, five, six …
I don’t know about you, but when juggling my life, there are so many things to remember and accomplish in a day. There’s the kid's schedules, the lunches, snacks, meal plans. What they need for this sport, this game, this homework assignment. There are the things for your work, the house projects, the chores, friends. All of it takes up a lot of mind space. My brain was full of the everyday life stuff, but it was overflowing with thoughts about drinking. I was doing mental gymnastics about do I drink tonight or not. How much should I drink tonight? Should I stop drinking? Should I only drink every other night? Can I make it at this party without having a drink? No, I’m not having a drink tonight - stop, stop, stop? I mean really, it just overflowed with endless thoughts about wine.
I mean really. There was so much inner dialogue about alcohol that it was taking center stage in my mind. Forget about my other obligations my mind was always on the wine. Really? What had it brought me? Escape, numbing, fatigue, guilt, shame, unwanted weight and bloating. If it were an actual friend, I would have distanced myself within the first month of our friendship. I wanted my brain back to focus on the things that matter, the Husband, my kids and my work.
The dream of all moms. More time to yourself. Well, when I’m hungover I get time to myself, and mom-guilt, and shame, and headaches, and disappointed kids, and an exasperated husband. I want real time to myself. Time that rejuvenates me. That strengthens me. Empowers me to be a better wife and mom. One of the most common things people speak about when they quit drinking is they get more time. I want time - early morning, the house is quiet, time to myself.
Wow. This was the biggest one for me. Every time I was stressed out, they saw me reach for wine. Every time I was happy and excited they saw me reach for wine. Every time we were with our friends they saw me with wine in my hand. When my daughter started asking to drink my wine or use a wine glass to drink juice - gut punch. Really? I want my kids to feel like they don’t need alcohol to improve any part of their life! I want them to be happy with who they are, but for this to happen I had to show them how to do it. I had to show them that I could be stressed, happy and social without the help of alcohol.
These questions were just the beginning for me. Quitting alcohol isn't as easy as just answering these questions. My journey has ups and downs, starts and stops. However, once you know, you can’t unknow. These questions helped me know that I don’t want alcohol to be a part of my life and that’s the first step - the decision to live a life without alcohol.
Were there any questions you asked yourself that opened your eyes to your relationship with alcohol?