To all the mamas out there who feel sobriety is the change they need…
My name is Summer Leigh and I’m a 35-year old Christian mom on a journey to find sobriety from alcohol. I’ve been drinking pretty regularly since I was 15 and there is hardly anything I can remember in all those years that didn’t involve alcohol as a crutch to how I was feeling, a way to get through something, a way to socialize, a way to enjoy events, a way to spend time alone, a way to drown out my anxiety, stress, fear, sadness, anger. It didn’t really matter how I felt or who I was with or where I was, there was always an excuse to drink. If I didn’t have a drink in my hand, I didn’t feel comfortable about anything in my life, period.
Then for the first time since I was 15, I had to spend the longest I ever had, mostly abstaining from alcohol. I had tried countless times to quit, knowing it was wrecking my life; I think the longest I ever made it was three weeks. Although I still struggled with the idea of quitting completely, I had experienced a period of cutting back some. I attribute this to being during a timeframe of finding faith in God/Christianity, after years as an atheist. Reading scripture for the first time in my life and developing a relationship with my spiritual side, did bring a peace and control to my life I had never known before.
When my husband and I became pregnant, I was in a very solid state of mind to control myself for the sake of the condition I was in and that somehow gave me the resolve to do what I never had before, although I didn’t abstain completely. But being pregnant and feeling sick often, gave me plenty of reason to cut it out almost completely. I would drink half a beer here and there, or a small glass of wine. I promised myself that’s the person I would stay once my child was born, someone who only indulged once in a blue moon.
Experiencing a tragic loss in our family the same week our daughter was born and the journey into parenthood, coupled with all the assortment of usual struggles life will throw your way, my faith ended up “on the backburner” as I would say sometimes, but in all honesty, it actually had fallen way off any burner and sank to the darkest depth of murky waters possible. I sometimes believed I had been wrong to even think I should have faith in anything again. I found myself slipping back into my old standby and proved to myself once again, there was no such thing as controlling my drinking.
Alas, motherhood made me feel I had all the more reason to return to drinking on the scale I always had. Any anxiety, depression, frustration, guilt that I had in life before felt amplified by 100. Being overwhelmed was an understatement. I began to feel even more intensely an excuse to drink lay in all that I was now facing, I just had so much on my plate, how could I ever give up drinking? Besides, didn’t I deserve a drink? Mommy’s little helper, right?
I’ve known for the past year and a half of being a mother that this isn’t the life I wanted to still be living in my mid-30s, let alone after I had become a parent! So begins my journey for the countless time, of trying sobriety. I hope that by creating a blog of my sobriety journey, it can help me stay accountable and give me a platform to grow in this journey. I hope I can help other mamas out there to feel less alone, to feel encouraged no matter where they are on their sobriety journey even if they aren’t quite on it yet but thinking about it, to feel inspired to try.
Full disclosure here: I’m no expert in substance abuse and I’m no professional writer. It’s been ages since I’ve journaled and I’ve never had a blog before. I’ve hardly written anything of importance since my thesis in college and that was 10 years ago. I may not sound the most succinct, clear or clever at getting my words across these pages.
But whether it’s coming here to get my emotion out for better or worse, talk about things I’m doing to replace alcohol’s importance in my life, or share resources and wisdom that I find help me along the way, I look forward to finding a voice for myself as a sober mom. I’m eager to find a tribe of other mamas to share this journey with along the way, whatever that may look like!
I feel timid and shy at the prospect of having this kind of online presence, but the passion I so desperately feel and long to make into a lifelong journey of positive and healthy change by the removal of such a toxic substance in my life, gives me the courage to take this plunge into a brave new world. I don’t know about tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year, but I will not drink today and that is enough for now. Who’s with me?