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 “I think I always knew that my relationship with alcohol was not healthy. I mean, as a side note I don’t believe alcohol is healthy for anyone. But, I think that my relationship with it, the way that I was affected by it was just different. I had grown up with alcoholism in my family, I had always been aware of alcohol being a potential issue from a genetic, familial standpoint. But then I also just always detected within me something different. I have two sisters and neither of whom have the same type of relationship with food or alcohol that I do. I’m a lot more likely to overeat all of the cookies, or to eat the whole pint of ice cream. I’m more of an extreme person in that way. I think I always knew that alcohol was a problem for me, but I liked what I- I liked being able to escape in it. I didn’t like a lot of parts though. The impact of making decisions, or saying things, or acting in a way that wasn’t consistent with who I wanted to be in the world. I didn’t like being hungover. There were so many negative impacts from it, but from a cultural standpoint we are-women are- an emerging market for the alcohol industry at this time. We are inundated with messages of how glamorous alcohol is. Just the way we were inundated with cigarettes being glamorous and beautiful. There is so much marketing and influence. Even now, if I see a story on Instagram with someone drinking Rose, it can make me feel nostalgic. I notice that craving at times. There are other triggers, like at sunset, I’ll want a glass of wine because, well, it’s sunset. Or circumstantial things, like if I’m out and feel social anxiety.

I had started working out, and following trainers on Instagram. They were talking about sobriety in a positive light. That was the first time I had ever opened my mind to seeing sobriety as a beautiful life choice. Instead of, there’s something wrong with me, or you can’t control alcohol. You know, you think of alcoholics, hitting rock bottom, drug addicts, it was just hard for me to identify with that kind of label. But when these doors opened of having a sober life and how beautiful it was —I started thinking I could actually do this. Then on a whim one night I sign up for this course, Hip for Sobriety. I was drinking that night. I suddenly felt this pull to do it. Honestly, I think it was my mother. I think it was the hand of my mother who had died a few years before. I believe she was coming down to basically save me. That’s what I think, because I knew I wasn’t happy, I knew I needed to change. Nothing major had happened in my life. I didn’t get in a car accident, I didn’t pass out in a club. I was a single mom, and I was lonely. I was drinking partly because of how lonely I was, and partly because I was socially anxious — I mean so many different things. Although I had this strong urge to change and get control of my life, I felt conflicted. I knew I was going to be giving up something that had been a companion to me, had been my escape for many years. Which at this point, had been 25 years give or take. But I felt compelled. You know, there are certain things in your life where you feel like this is just something that you have to do.

Choosing to change my relationship with alcohol and removing alcohol from my life for the most part has just had the most profound effect on me. It’s allowed me to be more consistent in everything that I’m doing. Everything from exercise, to work, to relationships. It was pretty much the beginning of the rest of my life. It was the beginning of me uncovering the truth of who I am. And it’s been a process. It’s been 3 and a half years, and it’s still in progress. But I feel like more of who I truly am than I’ve ever been, except for maybe when I was a very young child. I never would be able to do this if I was drinking. Alcohol consumed so much of my time and altered everything in a negative way, especially my relationships — what kind of connection to myself, to others did I have if I was constantly escaping with alcohol? I remember learning sobriety is not the opposite of addiction. Connection is the opposite of addiction. True, authentic, vulnerable, connection. And it started with the connection to myself.”

Shared by: Bianca Erickson

Transcribed by: Julia Michael

Valeria Alvarez