The Key

The decision to become sober is the most life changing decision many of us will ever make. For a lot of drinkers, it takes life getting absolutely unbearable; perhaps a legal issue (DUI) that threatens our livelihood, a serious alcohol-related health issue, or some form of rock bottom before we wake up to our self destruction and decide to make a change. For me, I was experiencing The Devil’s Bookends of anxiety and depression on levels I had not endured previously. For many years I tried to become a moderate drinker, and although I could succeed for a time drinking only on weekends, or only three nights a week, it never, ever lasted. I would slip right back into drinking more often, and inevitably the quantity was increased along with the frequency. My peak of drinking was about 2/3 of a bottle of wine or 3 cocktails most every night. I fell sound asleep in my big leather chair pretty much every night, missing the movie or the YouTube music video or whatever I was engaged in, as I snoozed. I was loving my Happy Hours and looked forward to them regularly, not realizing how much of a dependence I was forming on booze.

At the winery where I work, all the less-than-half-full bottles of wine are either dumped down the sink, or taken home by employees at the very end of the day. This is a quality issue, they want the wine to be as fresh as possible for the wine tasters to enjoy. We have a reputation of excellence that is crucial to uphold, and pouring wine at its best for our guests is a vital part of that. Sometimes there are 3-4 partial bottles of several wines remaining that we can marry together and bring home. There were days when no one else cared to take any wine home at all, so I would happily acquire a large collection, some of which I eagerly shared with friends, some I kept for myself. The wine is world class and excellent. I have my favorite varietals and blends, some quite elegant and expensive. It felt like a festive occasion to drink those highly regarded and expensive wines. Many people celebrate all the money they save when they stop drinking. I wasn’t having to spend a dime on fine wine, and what I was drinking was world class. Wages at wineries in my area tend to be near minimum wage. Employees depend on wine club sign ups and most importantly, tips from our customers, to increase our revenue and pay our bills. That reality means bringing home beautiful wines to drink is a huge perk of working in the industry.

While I was immersed in the wine industry life with access to so much beautiful, amazing wine, it took an act of extreme courage and willingness to quit drinking. To be ultimately successful in sobriety, it takes a “WHY” so great it pulls us toward our new sober life like a magnet, with a vision of a better tomorrow. This is vastly opposed to the act of desperately running away from the devastating effects an alcohol addiction causes in our lives. Running away, trying to escape our self-induced alcohol-dependent miserable life, is never as effective as moving toward what we know we want, what our soul longs to experience. Moving toward a thing is always exponentially more effective than running away from a thing. For me, I desperately wanted to feel energized and full of vitality once again. My beloved business, Active Chick, is all about the active life with an acronym for active that spells out all the values I most uphold. Vitality is the signature. I knew my business didn’t stand a chance of succeeding if I continued to feel lethargic, struggling just to get through each day, experiencing debilitating anxiety and depression.

Many people are sharing that COVID 19 has brought blessings and some enormous changes in their lives. I remember drinking my last cocktails on April 14, 2020, the three margaritas that I barely even tasted and certainly did not enjoy. I felt disgusted with myself. I admitted to myself for years that it was going to take my willingness to change if I was going to live the life I desired deep in my heart, if I was truly going to become my best self. It struck me like lightening that day, on April 14, 2020, it was time to take the leap, that paralyzingly scary leap into the abyss of the unknown, into sobriety. The time had come to give up drinking and allow healing and detoxification to cleanse my body, my mind, my soul. I had to be willing to break up with alcohol, to slay that damn Booze Bitch once and for all. I could march forward to do that, or accept the fact that I was never going to love myself as completely as I knew I should/could/would. I had lost so much trust in myself in my failed attempts to moderate my drinking and the subsequent unfinished projects that resulted due to my dependence on alcohol. I had struggled to get going in the mornings, and procrastinated about most of the necessary steps I needed to complete in my daily rounds. Enough was enough. I was willing to fall into the arms of the sober life and trust that I would be guided and held, free falling into the bliss of sobriety.

The first forty days were mostly hell for me. The exhaustion, lethargy, body aches, extreme brain fog, misery in all my muscles and cells, was excruciating. But even though I mostly felt like crap, I knew without a doubt that returning to booze would only restart the dreaded hamster wheel, and I would basically be handing myself over to mediocrity. I am not one to live a mediocre life, I could not stand myself if I settled for that. I thrive when there is magic, love, happiness, creativity and inspiration in my days. I knew I would eventually heal enough to return to my natural state of joy.

It was pretty much on the dawn of Day 41 that I started feeling like a million bucks. I felt the light start shining from way inside my spirit, the way the sun shines blindingly bright and fresh after an intense storm. I had been through my storm and reached the other side. Now I could shine, baby, shine. It has been that way ever since. I certainly have lots of struggles, but I have boundless energy and vitality. I cannot believe the amount of energy I have every single day, even though I am only getting about 5-6 hours of sleep. I am bursting with inspiration and creativity. Joy oozes out of every cell of my body and it shows. I know I am a magnet of feel-good vibes, I see it on the faces of those I encounter. As I have expressed, the other extreme is emanating from me too, when negativity assaults me unexpectedly. I am in my happy place, how dare you try to destroy my joy?! I am learning to temper my emotions as my awareness increases. I am making an effort to ground myself and shield myself energetically. I know I will never drink again. I have slayed the Booze Bitch and buried her in a very deep grave. I had to be willing to change. Willingness is the key, the key to a new life filled with unlimited opportunities. I invite you to come when you are ready. You will know.

Published by Judes

After working decades in Hospitality and businesses related to drinking, I am making the choice to become sober. Here are my musings on the adventure. Thank you for being here with me!

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