People Pleasing and Binge Drinking

I. Introduction.

I’m Nicole. I’m a professional, middle-aged, single mom living in San Diego. I’ve got incredible people who love me and I love them right back. I have a fulfilling, rewarding, challenging profession where I come home every day honestly feeling I’ve helped some people. I have friends who are so hilarious and solid that even on my worst days, I’m laughing. My teenagers talk to me. We’re all really close. I’m best friends with my little sister, my ride or die, the only one who knows everything about me. My fur babies are fun, I’m outside working out by the beach all the time…

So basically, living a dream life.

And it’s the life I came this close to losing. All of it. My drinking was getting more important to me than any of my loved ones, work, or responsibilities. I was neglecting it all. I’d spent my whole life believing that the most important thing, the critical thing, was to be a good girl and don’t rock the boat and make people happy.

I spent my whole life anxiously trying to make everyone else happy. Why would what I want matter? If you’re happy, I’m happy.

So I wasn’t really paying attention to how miserable I was, how I made everyone else matter but me. Sometimes I ate my feelings, sometimes I starved them, sometimes I worked them to death, but mostly (especially at the end), I drank them. I kind of thought of all that wine as medicinal. Drown the sorrows, and all.

Somehow I realized if I didn’t save myself, reclaim myself, my kids wouldn’t have me to count on. Somehow I knew I had to take care of myself and prioritize my physical and mental health. I knew alcohol had to be the first thing to go.

If I hadn’t gotten sober, I wouldn’t have had the will to leave a bad relationship and nurture my good relationships. I’d have let my business slide. I wouldn’t have this amazing community I love so much. Join us on zoom, listen to our podcast, connect with sober sisters. 🖤

Life After Quitting

When I decided to let go of alcohol for good, I was pretty focused on just not drinking. I set up new routines and committed to them. I told my loved ones and asked them to support me. I went to lots of meetings, read books and articles, counted and celebrated days sober.

When I felt solid, I started chipping away at my underlying issues bit by bit. I prioritized my self care, met shame and fear head on, and nurtured the best parts of myself.

I feel transformed, and also exactly like myself. I’d lost my connection with my most authentic self forever ago. I didn’t think I was worthy of a great life. I was wrong.

The longer I live in alignment with my deep knowing of what feels good and right, the more calm and happy I feel.

That includes accepting the parts of me I tried to shift around to make other people happy. It was too exhausting, trying to play different roles in the same life.

Cutting ties with an addictive substance and staying stopped for some time gave me the mental clarity and physical/emotional well being to grow.

It’s so much better on this side. ❤️

Obsession

By the end of my drinking days, it was such hard work keeping a double life going.

I was exhausted.

I’d wake up wishing I could stay in bed all day, then force myself through my work day and parenting.

Alcohol permeated my whole day.

I’d start in the morning vowing to cut down, or take a break from alcohol. Often, I’d passionately promise myself I was just going to quit for good.

I’d run around, hiding any evidence of my drinking. Obsessing that I’d missed something that someone else would notice first.

I’d feel like I was dragging all day. By the afternoon, I’d be obsessing about the wine I’d soon drink to get some relief from all the obsessing.

I don’t even think about alcohol today, except when talking sobriety. It’s like some past boyfriend I only kind of vaguely remember and have no interest in what he’s up to now.

It’s so much better on this side.

sobersisters #sober #glidedonttrudge #soberlife #sobrietyquotes #alcoholfreelife #alcoholfree #nobooze #recovery #odaat #addictionrecovery #addictionawareness

Boundaries, baby

I never wanted to make waves…until I was drunk. I couldn’t stand confrontation and avoided uncomfortable situations at all costs. My anxiety and addiction helped me to become the best avoidant ever. If it was fight or flight, I’d take flight, thank you very much. On the flip, I’d look for confrontation when I was drunk. I’d say, “you want a piece of me?!” in bars. Now that I’m sober I have had to set some boundaries. If I don’t have them in place I risk a relapse- it may not necessarily be that I pick up a drink or a drug, but I could revert into old patterns of behavior that kept me in the cups for so long. I can’t tell y’all how many people I never set boundaries with and then would “have to” make up excuses to blow them off. I knew that some of them were bad for me and would expect me to “bring it” as the crazy ass chick who drank like a fish and was up for anything. I’ve been setting boundaries now for a few 24 hours and it’s such a relief. It’s a moment of an uncomfortable conversation that replaces months or even years of making excuses as to why I don’t want to hang anymore. Today I prefer to have that face to face conversation. Rip off the bandaid and let’s have a chat. I like to look people in the eye and let them know where I’m coming from. I’d the relationship is over, so be it. If it’s a family member, well.. I guess I’ll see them over the holidays. Nothing is more important than my sobriety. If that bothers someone l, it’s on them. Keep it simple today, sober family.

Alcohol Held My Brain Captive

I rationalized my drinking for years. “Look how sloppy Mary gets,” I’d think. “I’m not that bad.”

I’d run through checklists. I don’t drink before work, or shake in the mornings. Sure, I don’t sleep well, but that’s obviously unrelated. Name me a mom who sleeps. I’ll wait.

Of course I pop open the wine the minute I’m home from work- did you see how many things I had to juggle? I didn’t even have time to eat! (No, I’m not hungry, just go get the corkscrew.)

Everyone in my family drinks. We’re just good at it. What is that, a crime?

I was having these thoughts every day. And in the deep, knowing part of me, I was well aware having alcohol on my mind that much definitely pointed to an unhealthy attachment. At the very least.My brain was held hostage, turning more and more attention to how and when I’d be drinking, how to cover up my secret and keep playing the roles I constructed, and, of course, how to tell myself it was fine, I’m fine.

My mind has cleared after some sober time. I’m much calmer. I don’t have stories to tell other people (or myself) to justify strange behavior. I can focus on work while at work. I’m able to give my kids undivided attention. I’m proud to say I have some control over my mind nowadays. I’m not going to drink today. I feel better alcohol free.

#sobersisters#soberquotes#sobriety#sobrietymemes#alcoholrecovery#glidedonttrudge#addictionawareness#alcoholicsanonymous#sobercurious#wedorecover#soberlife#sobrietyissexy

Shine On

We used to seem to attract negativity in our lives. Situations were challenging. People were negative. We had too much to do and too little time. Now we know that we attract the energy we give out. When we FINALLY put down the drink we could work on ourselves. We weren’t sick and tired all the time.

Now it seems like we can handle situations so much easier…with grace. Like ladies. We aren’t surrounding ourselves with selfish, self-seeking people. We choose to embrace those who have positive attitudes and energy. When life throws us a bit of a twist we take it in stride. No matter how challenging something seems to be, we know that adding alcohol to the mix will only add fuel to the negativity fire. We rise and shine every day. Keep it simple, sisters.

Covid Thoughts

If I wasn’t working a recovery program I know for a fact that I’d be losing my mind during these uncertain times. I don’t know what work and school will look like in the fall. I don’t know if I’ve been exposed. I don’t know when it will end.
It’s been such a stressful time but I’ve been using tools I’ve learned in my 12 step program to get through. I wake up and make a gratitude list of five things I’m grateful for today. I pray to my Higher Power when something doesn’t go the way I think it should. I try to be of service to other recovering alcoholics. I thank my Higher Power each night before I go to bed for another sober day. I choose to believe that nothing happens in this world by accident. I turn my fears into faith. Some days are better than others. I’m still a work in progress but I know that adding alcohol to my stress or anxiety multiplies it by 1000.

I love my life and know that “this too shall pass”.
keep it simple, sisters

Always Have an Exit Plan

Always Have an Exit Plan

Tonight I could be celebrating an old bestie’s milestone birthday at the cutest getaway cabin, with women I’ve know going on 17 years. But instead, I’m staying home. I’ll go to a recovery meeting, do regular mundane mom kind of stuff, baby my dog who has a little injury. I’ll work, getting my business ready to reopen in a pandemic. I have a mammogram.

I could have ditched it all for a reunion. For sure. But I’ve been trained in sobriety to check my motives before making any decision. This celebration was going to be just girls, in a cute cabin far from home, getting shitfaced. That’s just the kind of situation my alcoholic brain craves. I love these girls, but watching people get loaded isn’t fun. Plus the addict in me could easily cave-who would know? Just this once. No big deal. And there goes years of sobriety, circling the drain. “Staying stopped” is WAY easier than starting over.

I ALWAYS need an exit plan. Sure I’ll go out to a birthday dinner, have a piece of cake, support and love my friends. And then I’ll go on home, sobriety and dignity intact. Any time I go where there’s alcohol, I think it through, and decide if there’s a valid reason to go. And I plan my exit IN ADVANCE. The FOMO will pass. And I’ll be here, strong and serene.

Contagion

Contagion

Hey everyone! Happy Wednesday. A very good friend of mine told me today that the Sober Sisters is spreading like crazy online. She said we’re like COVID in that way – we’re becoming contagious. I love that we are reaching so many people out there. It’s especially cool because the metamorphosis of this whole project was super organic. It started out with sharing stories with my sister and laughing our asses off. It’s exciting to be able to share these with you, too. We aren’t trying to change, convert, or influence anyone. We are, however, here for you if you do choose to live the sober life. It’s working for us.