I shared on my IG stories the other night about the backstory of giving up alcohol in September of 2021. The outpouring messages and connections made my heart drop. I know this is something SO many women (and men) deal with.
I hate what alcohol did to me and I in no way wanted to make it part of my identity (by talking about it often or calling myself 'sober'), but I understand the value of women in my world KNOWING this part of me so they can trust me and hopefully inspire themselves if that's what they need.
So, this is the one stop shop for my story of how I gave up alcohol (for what I think is for GOOD!).
I grew up with members of my family heavily drinking and there were issues that came from it. When I turned into a teenager and others began drinking, I honestly steered away from it. I was convinced that ONE SIP would turn me into an alcoholic. I also had a terrifying phobia of throwing up and it was in my head that one drink would make me barf (LOL). While dramatic, these concepts kept me from drinking too early in my teen years, so I'm grateful for it.
My first drink was a sip of Mikes Hard Lemonade on New Years Eve when I was 17. It wasn't an instant love or feeling with booze. I was like "ehhh ok that's what everyone had been talking about?!". Throughout college, I of course binge drank but could go nights or weeks without it if I chose.
After college, I definitely saw my drinking amping up. Meeting up for Happy Hours. Acting like I was still in college. Trying to forget the 9-5 insurance job that I absolutely HATED. Oh, and I was dating an alcoholic bartender at the time..so had to numb that feeling too.
However, once I began my health and fitness journey (at home workouts and nutrition shakes) I began scaling WAY back. I took control of my health and that got me out of the toxic relationship, I eventually quit the shitty job and I was dropping the friends that only had drinking in common with me. I felt like I had "a balance" with drinking which lasted for several years.
Things changed when I was in a relationship with a British Yacht Chef (sounds cooler than it was). We met on vacation and had a relationship for over a year. Whenever we would meet up, it would be vacation for him..which meant champagne popping by 10 AM, drinks every night for weeks on end and really just having a free for all whenever we had visits together.
At this time I was running my 6 figure coaching business and it was such a chaotic balancing act. I was trying to be this symbol of 'health', yet I was running around Europe, the Caribbean and the east coast of the US binge drinking with this dude for weeks on end and then restricting and 'getting back on track' whenever he had to go back to work.
It was exhausting. I definitely didn't love the way I felt. I know I didn't need to be 'perfect' in my industry but it was on the boarder of feeling fraudulent. Eventually, the 'real life' doorbell rang and that relationship ended. VERY shortly after, I went on a 2 month trip with my parents from PA to Jackson Hole, WY (had no idea what this place was). I remember so vividly I was doing 'sober February' on our trek out there.
I met my now husband, Spencer, in JH 3 weeks before I was meant to leave. We fell in lovvvveee. I went home to PA and then a month and a half later moved to WY with all that I could fit in my car and only knowing this dude for about a month (love is fun like that LOL).
I don't think I realized until later how much this move truly affected me. It was new and exciting but I was also leaving ALL my family, friends and more to be with a man I had only met and been with for a few weeks. I was leaving pop culture concerts, eclectic dining, the ocean, convenient flying, my team of coaches in PA and so much more. It was A LOT.
But I mean, is there any place better to move to than the mountains of Wyoming?! (spoiler: no). However, this is a vacation town and with that comes everyone (including a lot of locals) acting as if every day is vacation: with drinking.
Spencer won't mind me saying this, but he used to drink like a fish. Every day a Coor's was cracked. And I followed suit with wine and other drinks (he NEVER pressured me to drink with him btw). Everything we did, was done with a drink in had: skiing, hiking, camping, driving (not proud of this one), eating, reading, walking the dogs. In a town that was so transient, alcohol had become my stable friend that never wanted to leave.
For my first summer there, I wasn't worried about it. I was trying to fit in, be more social, enjoy the place I was now going to call home. BUT let me tell you: drinking at 6300 ft altitude was a whole other monster. I forget the math but drinking one glass of wine is equal to 1.5-2 instead. It's just a lot harder on my body.
To speed this up, alcohol was getting harder and harder to go days without, especially given who I was hanging out with. I knew deep down that at some point I was going to have to scale way back. I would try things like "no drinking on the weekdays" or going 3 weeks without it. But no matter how much I tried that, I always went back to drinking almost daily to deal with the craziness of moving cross country, with a man who was also drinking, being burnt out from my six figure business and not knowing who the fuck I wanted to be in this life I found myself in.
THE EMBARRASSING DETAILS
Ready for the super vulnerable shit?! That's what I'm here for. I am NOT PROUD of any of the below circumstances I found myself in. But when I look back, these are the things I think "fuck, that was a warning sign lady!"
I hope it goes without saying, this is a no judgement zone here. I hope as I won't judge you about what you've done in the past, you won't judge me either. And I'm sharing all of these things to hopefully INSPIRE and CONNECT with anyone who may be feeling shitty about their relationship with alcohol at the moment:
I would often pregame drink a whole can of wine before skiing at the mountain resort here. I would also buy those mini shooters of wine and have them in my ski bag to have on lifts or gondola rides. I spent many a days getting drunk at the bar and only doing one ski run.
Every time I turned on to my road or driveway and I knew I was going to drink that night I would open a white claw while I was still driving. I would also drive very buzzed throughout the valley (NOT proud of this).
Many times I would go through the last of my white claws and I'd get so anxious that I wouldn't have anything left for the rest of the night so I would buzz drive up the road to grab more.
I would drink alone- ALL THE TIME.
Spencer and I would get in the most intense fights when we were both drinking and scream at each other. Because of that, if I start crying at a movie or anything today our dog Leo is so traumatized that he'll leave the room
I was asked to workout on stage with a celebrity trainer on a cruise for work and I was so hungover the next day and thought I was going to pass out on stage
blacked out at my sisters wedding reception
drank so many mimosas before a flight one time that a person had to wake me up to tell me the plane was boarding
got so drunk that I threw an avocado at Spencer during a fight camping in front of friends
missed half of Beyonce's set list at her concert because I kept going to the bar for drinks
drank by myself in front of my dad (who is decades sober now) when there was absolutely no need to
if I didn't have to work, hair of the dogs would be drank if needed in the very early hours of the AM
There is so much more I'm sure, but these are the 'wtf' moments that stand out to me when looking back at the past few years where I thought "I should probably stop", but didn't.
There were more times than I could count where I wanted or tried to give up drinking. In my first 6 figure coaching career I often did workout programs with a set calendar and usually I could give up drinking for those set times. But afterwards, it just kept creeping back in and I couldn't keep up that 'balance' I once had. I struggled with desiring the lifestyle of 'sober' because of certain people I've seen in that lifestyle or term (it's just MY experience). I feel like that inadvertently kept me from relating to an alcohol free lifestyle for so long.
In the months leading up to my wedding in 2021, I wanted to obviously feel my best and there was no doubt that drinking was adding on the poundage I was gaining. I gave it up for 3.5 months and FELT AMAZING. However, I knew it wasn't realistic to give up the booze for my wedding itself (which to be fair, I'm glad I didn't put that pressure on myself).
But the 2 weeks surrounding my wedding, while blissful AF, were ROUGH energy wise. I was shaking EVERY AM from withdrawal and no quality sleep. I was anxious AF and couldn't drive without a panic attack. The only thing that kept me going was DRINKING. I would get a drink as soon as I could to just stop the hungover feeling.
Did I want to keep drinking? NO. But it felt like a physical withdrawal I had to keep feeding because I wasn't in the position to give it up the days around my wedding. I told myself I'd clean it up after the wedding but summer had its heavy hand on me with activities, camping and socializing. So I just kept going.
I remember it was Labor Day. Spencer and I had gone camping in a state near by, possibly looking for land to purchase in the future. It had been a freaking SHIT SHOW. We had not found camping anywhere desirable all weekend. We couldn't find any of the lots that we were trying to investigate for land. For me, it was stressful for not being in control because I wasn't driving. It just sucked. I remember grabbing dinner when we were on our way back and slugging drinks (also had been drinking this whole weekend). I slightly 'browned out' on the way home, then fell asleep when I got back to the house. When I woke up I was beside myself (as seen in this photo)
WTF was I doing with my life?! What happened to the girl who was INSPIRED, who DREAMED, who was DETERMINED?! She had FLED my body when I moved to Wyoming. She wasn't there thanks to alcohol.
At this point in my life, none of my friends who lived in WY drank, Spencer no longer drank (I hate gout, but he got it and he gave up drinking which I'm thankful for), and many family members didn't really drink anymore. WHY WAS I STILL GOING?!
I had a few more weeks of 'getting it out of my system' and then I reached Sept 20, 2021. I was so fucking done.
It would be important to mention that in the BEGINNING of 2021, I began using a fun calendar (the Color by Habits Calendar that I created). I would color in each day that I DID NOT drink alcohol. It was a silly little tracker, but it ended up being powerful AF for me.
By September, when I was really toying with the idea of taking alcohol off the table for good, I looked at my calendar. I had spent a few months not drinking and seeing all those bright spaces colored in filled my heart. And then as I got closer to the wedding stuff, seeing less spaces colored in, I saw a total pattern.
The days not colored in were definitely times I didn't feel my best. I was also disappointed in those days around the wedding and in summer that I wasn't coloring my days in. I felt let down.
So, in September on the 20th, I'm not quite sure how it happened but I just decided to start coloring in the days again by not drinking. I didn't make some big declaration (especially not to the public) because that didn't work in the past. I think I only told Spencer.
I simply went day after day without drinking. I told myself "it's just not an option anymore"
But let me be clear and I'm sure you can relate: the thing that was best about that was the MENTAL ANGUISH that vanished.
I was soooo freaking exhausted from thinking "okay maybe just weekdays with no booze", or "is tonight worth having a drink or not?!" "will I, won't I?"; "I deserve it I should have a drink". I was fucking done with alcohol having this much control over me mentally and physically.
Taking it off the table SILENCED those voices and that has been the BEST part (in addition to not waking up hungover AF daily) in this whole process.
I understand I am an anomaly here. Giving up and going about my life has been pretty effortless since. I think between having the support (no one I know really drinks anymore in the way I used to), living somewhere that has so much to do outside, and just being fucking READY--set me up for success.
Everyone has to get to this point in their own way too.
I knew deep down that things I was dreaming of (restarting a new business, having the relationship I desired with my husband, having the confidence I knew I had somewhere) were being held from me because of alcohol.
Once I gave it up: I began my hormone coaching business and it took off; Spencer and I went to therapy and we have the STRONG AF unshakeable relationship I always wanted; I feel amazing and trust myself so much more because I overcame this...and I know so much more is to come.
And believe me, when I would see other people who didn't drink say "I'M FINALLY LIVING" or whatever I would roll my fucking eyes. I was like--how is life fun without alcohol?! I just am not convinced.
BUT I AM NOW. I can't say it enough but life is so much better. I don't have to be scared to drive somewhere at night because I would be drunk by then. I went on my honeymoon and fully LIVED IT UP with no booze in Mexico. I've gone through 2 holiday seasons without gaining weight thanks to no booze. And I can still go out and smash a bunch of Shirley temples and dance off of my sugar high.
I'm present for my nieces and family, I am alert for my clients, I'm a better wife and dog mom--THIS IS WHO I'M MEANT TO BE!
THINGS THAT HELPED ME
What I'm about to share helped me, but definitely isn't the end all be all and EVERY person's journey with this is different and personal. However, I find it helpful to find out what has help assisted others so you can curate a support system of your own:
The books "This Naked Mind" & "Quit Like a Woman" were super helpful books for me. I don't agree with ALL tactics or phrases used in these books but it was super insightful to read and become more familiar with people who have gone through what I was going through. There's countless podcasts out there too on alcohol free life.
Support: like I mentioned, my husband and many of my friends don't drink so temptation especially in social situations isn't very present. If this wasn't this case for me, I would of began making plans with friends around situation that didn't involve drinking: like going for a walk, taking exercise classes together, going for coffee or tea, bike riding etc.
For me, the word sober is not something I relate to because of MY personal history with people in AA and because of my rebellious all or nothing mindset that has gotten me in trouble in the past. First, I do dabble in cannabis gummies here or there (but go months without it) so don't feel like the word sober is honest to me. Also, I've never been to an AA meeting and that's not something I feel compelled to go to (again nothing wrong with it, just my personal experience!). I just don't want a label. I want alcohol to be something that isn't something that defines me any more and so what I've been doing is working so far so I don't feel the need to change things up at this point
Don't skimp on the ritual just because you gave up booze (do this at your discretion). Especially during my first holiday season post booze I would still get out my champagne glasses and pop sparkling cider. I would order cute mocktails at dinner. I'd bring my Poppi or La Croix out to the river or going camping. And I was freaking FINE! Half of the battle is just having that cup in your hand, so keep the cup and change the concoction in it!
Facts that made me say OH SHIT: there is no longer any safe amount of alcohol because it is directly linked to 7 cancers (don't buy into the antioxidant in wine BS); you are drinking ethanol when drinking alcohol; you do not go into REM sleep (restorative sleep) when you drink; your metabolism is put on the back burner when you drink; its royally fucking up your hormones.
Be gentle and kind to yourself. I used to and still to this day eat a bit more sugar or drink more sodas during seasons where drinking are big (summer, holidays etc) or if I'm in emotional distress. It's okay. I don't beat myself up. I KNOW its better than alcohol and I am not going to let it stress me out.
And that's the show folks. I hope my getting vulnerable made you know a little more about me. I'm more than just a cycle syncing coach and business strategist. I've been through shit. And I know the reason I have is so that I can be a better coach to all the women in my world. My clients don't want someone that lives a picture perfect, no bumps in the road life. They want someone REAL who has overcome obstacles and seen some shit LOL.
If that's the type of coach YOU want and need, then check out the ways to work with me here.