After we moved in with Misty and her family I did my best to build a solid foundation for my daughter and I. I truly had the best intentions when it came to being a strong mother and role model for my daughter, but alcohol had other plans. No longer living under the same roof as my ex-boyfriend felt like permission to indulge, and this meant learning how to relax with wine. I had never been much of a wine drinker until motherhood, and now it seemed like everywhere I turned there was another “this might be wine” mug and “mommy wine time” t-shirt. I couldn’t escape the relentless marketing of skinny wine, pink wine, rosé for days, and purse-size minis. I allowed drinking to become a part of my new identity as a mother because I believed the narrative that moms deserved a drink.
At home, Misty was a normal drinker, but occasionally the two of us would go out when my daughter was with her grandparents. Misty would drop her kids off with her mom and the two of us would spend hours getting ready, never without a drink in our hands. Those nights always led to trouble. There was an undeniable aura around us wherever we went. People gravitated to us, bringing all sorts of energy. I was not used to having the freedom to talk to strangers, after being in such a controlling relationship. Misty and I took risks, we trusted people we should have never even looked at, we made reckless decisions while under the influence. Living out of alignment in this way manifested an internal battleground. The morning after a messy night out with Misty would bring with it heavy feelings of guilt. I swallowed those feelings with big gulps of wine, hoping that they would just disappear. Drinking is supposed to be fun and carefree, isn’t it?
During those first couple of weeks at Misty’s, my mom was in town, helping my daughter and me transition out of the old apartment. She rented a U-Haul storage unit where we started piling up some of our belongings. Mom came over to Misty’s for Halloween that year. The extent of my memories of that night is a handful of mirror selfies of the two of us. We’re making silly faces and laughing, but that’s where the details stop. At the time I didn’t find the holes in my memory too concerning, I often heard other people talking about their drunken memory loss. I chalked it up to being wasted and a bit depressed about my recent break-up.
Moving in with Misty marked my true foray into dangerous drinking territory. I wanted the world to see that I was okay. In my head I created the illusion that I was a scrappy single mom, just fighting for a good life. Some days the only thing getting me through my pain was my carefully constructed persona. She knew how to succeed in life, even if I clearly didn’t. I cherished that persona, she became my shield in a world that was far too harsh for my super-sensitive self. But, becoming her came with serious consequences for the rash decisions that I made when she lived in my body.
This week, I am celebrating two years of continuous sobriety. On November 1st, 2020 I surrendered to the fact that alcohol could no longer play a role in my life. I had tried to make room for it in so many ways, but none of them worked. I always ended up back in the same place, only a little bit deeper in the pit of despair. Nothing about how I was operating was reflective of the woman I wanted to be; a woman of dignity with respect for herself and others. My drinking led me to slip into lying, and manipulative behaviors and my actions eventually caught up with me.