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Living the Sober Mom Life

It may be "5 O'Clock Somewhere " but on this side of the computer, I won't be partaking. Wine O'Clock doesn't exist for me nor does Happy Hour. It can be a bit lonely to be one of the singular sober adults in the room. It's often met with inquisitive looks and sometimes the question of why I won't be partaking. While I have no shame in answering, it's not something that most people understand.

The most common uneasiness from people is their assumption that I was an alcoholic so let me clear up a few things: I didn't have a problem with alcohol. I didn't drink endlessly, I didn't get drunk every night, and I didn't have treatment to stop drinking.

I hadn't even planned to not drink anymore if I'm being honest. I, like many others, hopped on the Dry January train thinking that it would be a good time to take a break and give it a go. After 9 months without drinking while I was pregnant, I didn't give it a second thought that I would partake again once the month was up.

During the Pandemic, alcohol sales went through the roof, people had virtual happy hours, and it became pretty normalized to drink since everyone had time to pass. As someone who struggled with the pandemic, I wasn't an exception. While I could go without drinks, it helped to ease my anxiety. A small buzz became a pleasant retreat from the swirling that was happening in my head. My thoughts quieted, I was able to sleep, and everything didn't feel as sharp. On the surface, none of that sounds bad and for all intents purposes, it wasn't. Now looking back though, I wasn't dealing with my anxiety. I was numbing it and then it would come back firey as ever in the morning.

women looking tired with a low battery shown near her
Mom Life Schmidt

I didn't feel good mentally or physically and didn't want to continue the cycle I was on. Dry January seemed like the perfect way to take away a factor and see how I felt. I was a bit ashamed that it was harder than I expected. It had become second nature after the bedtime routine was done to have a drink as a "treat". Instead of having that, I had to sit in my anxious thoughts and try to make my brain stop rolling over all of my worries. It was uncomfortable to sit there and not want the momentary reprieve. Each day got easier and easier. Knowing that I was abstaining became second nature and I was forced to find new ways to try and relax. Yoga, a new show, reading, or even playing a game on my phone all helped to take my mind off of what became "easy" for me.

After January, I wasn't in a rush to go back to the old habit. I decided to see how long I could go without partaking in a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine. 1 month became 2, 2 became 6, and this year I hit 3 years.

I can't say that not drinking has made me a better mom but I do credit it to making me a better version of myself. I forced myself to find different ways to cope with my anxiety and no longer felt the pull to numb it. There have been plenty of times that it's also made it harder to connect with people or fit in. Most mom groups bond over bottles of wine, humor is intermixed with spirits and brews, and most social events thrive off of quenching the thirst. Few others "get" it but it's been a gift to be able to find those that do. Just like finding mom friends in general, it's the Goldilocks effect---some don't fit but the ones that do are just right and will get you for the mom and person that you really are. Living the Sober Mom Life isn't for everyone but for me it's worth it.❤️

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