My journey with alcohol
Do I drink alcohol still? This is a question that I'm frequently asked. If you've been following me for a while then you know that I used to drink heavily all through my 20's until I got pregnant with my first son at 30. But lets back up a bit.
Starting at the beginning I remember having my first beer(s) in high school. The group that I hung out with was really into drinking. Several of my friends parents would let us drink at their house and even buy it for us. Looking bad it really angers me that a parent would enable their child (and their friends) to drink. So I drank throughout high school like all my friends and like most of the kids at my school, or so I thought. I have always been extremely shy and lacked confidence. Drinking really opened me up and gave me that little boost I was looking for.
College came and I continued to drink at parties and at bars using someone else's ID. I'll never understand how I got served anywhere, I really looked like a baby. I also started having major anxiety and depression when I started college. I think it was a combination of starting something new combined with a really traumatic event that happened to our family dog. (That's another story in itself). Deciding to study abroad in London really intensified my drinking habits. The drinking culture over there is insane and my English boyfriend drank heavily as well. I went right along with it, drinking pretty much every night. I gained about 15 pounds whilst living there. I guess that will happen when your diet consists of beer and cheese. Seriously...
I moved home about three years later and my habits continued. I was single and my inner party girl was unleashed. I also started working at a bar as a waitress. I worked about 4 nights week waiting tables in the bar and dining room. We were able to drink pretty much all through our shifts. I would even do shots with my customers. This was definitely the lowest part of my life. I was stuck in this vicious cycle of being wasted every night and hungover every single morning. I drank every night while I was working, and my nights off were spent doing the same. My anxiety and depression was at an all time high. I was taking medication and drinking on top of that. I thought that the alcohol was helping me feel better, but it was making everything so much worse. I constantly felt like I couldn't breathe, like my throat was closing up. I would have panic attacks and call in sick to work. I remember calling in once and my manager said "It's always something with you." That really stuck out in my mind. I definitely take responsibility for my actions during this time, but alcohol really lead to so many poor decisions. I look back at some of the guys that I dated and I cringe at myself. Not only were they losers, but they also treated me poorly. Totally not looking for any sympathy, just really trying to be as honest as possible.
Unfortunately this was how I lived for years. I know that I wouldn't be where I am today without these experiences, but they're still painful to think about. I wish I wouldn't have wasted so many years working a job that was going nowhere, and poisoning my body with copious amounts of alcohol. Sometimes I truly wonder how I made it. I remember trying to close out my tickets at work one night and count my money, tip everyone out, etc. I was so wasted I couldn't even do the math. One of my friends had to help me. I remember thinking at the time that this was not good. Shortly around this time I started dating my old boyfriend (now husband). I continued living like a party girl for some time. It really wasn't until after we got married and then became pregnant that I stopped drinking completely. Even my wedding was a complete shit show. I barely remember it, which really breaks my heart.
Getting pregnant & being sober was wonderful!! I started sleeping better than ever, and would wake up refreshed and full of energy. My skin was better, I was happier, and my anxiety was slowly diminishing. At this point I'd stopped taking medication, and I really felt like my old self again. I didn't have a drop of alcohol while I was pregnant with my first son. After having him I do remember wanting to feel like myself again and would occasionally have a drink at home or out here and there. I never felt like I had to drink, or that I couldn't stop with just one, but I did want one here and there. Well after Joey I became pregnant with my second not long after (they are 19 months apart). Again I didn't drink at all when I was pregnant, and would have the occasional drink after he was born. Three years later I became pregnant with my surprise baby and I really stopped even wanting one drink. By this time I was really into fitness and nutrition, and I regretted it every time I would even have one drink. It would cause me extreme anxiety (yes even one), I wouldn't be able to sleep, heart would race, it was just awful. I've gone months & months without having a drop, and I don't miss it at all.
Now to get back to my original question, do I drink? I used to feel shame to say that I would occasionally have even one drink (and I mean one or two a few times a year). But I never wanted to say that I didn't drink at all, because that's not entirely true. I'm now at the point where I really do not drink at home, pretty much not ever. I will have a drink (sometimes 2) on special occasions or on vacation. I'm 100% ok with that. Sometimes I regret even having one, and then I go back and tell myself that I should just stop entirely. But then I remind myself to take the pressure off, and go easy on myself. I've come a long way and I'm confident that I would never be where I am today: Mom of three, works full time outside of the home, runs a business on the side, in the best shape of my life, happy & confident; if I was still drinking every night, or even every weekend.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading! If you have any questions, or want me to elaborate, shoot me an email or comment below.
Thank you for being here,