I woke up this morning with the closest feeling to a hangover I’ve had since I quit alcohol 89 days ago. The kind of hung over feeling that makes you want to eat chocolate cake and french fries and unblock ex-boyfriends. The slightly increased heart rate, an upset stomach, and a mild feeling of dread that’s so under the radar you don’t even notice it until something doesn’t go right and dislodges an emotional avalanche.
Thanks to God, I’m not actually hung over; just tired and a little dehydrated. Feeling slightly crappy most of the time was normal when I was drinking. Even just one glass of wine could make the next day a living hell. But I was used to it.
I was used to the living hell. When I was in it, I couldn’t imagine being out of it. And now that I’m out of it, imagining it is powerful defense against pouring myself a glass of wine. If I’m tempted, all I need to do is think forward to how I’ll feel the next day. It stops me in my tracks. I never want to feel that way again.
I finally got to a place where I realized there was nothing left for me in drinking. Nothing worth having anyway.
Drinking stood in the way of the life I dreamed of having. I think I always knew this on some level, but I wasn’t willing to let go of the familiar close friend that alcohol had become. A big part of the living hell was the shame that came with knowing I couldn’t both drink and live the life of my dreams, but choosing to drink anyway.
“A big part of the living hell was the shame that came with knowing I couldn’t both drink and live the life of my dreams, but choosing to drink anyway.”
Stringing together 90 continuous days is a milestone in the world of alcohol recovery. And because God has a sense of humor, I went to church today with a sleep-deprivation “hangover” and - get this - the sermon was all about wine.
“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.”
There’s a mandate on my life - and in everyone’s life - to flourish and refresh. God is a God of blessings and change. But He can’t do new things in me unless I’m prepared; unless I’m new. He doesn’t put new wine into old wineskins.
The mandate is on ME. As a believer, I have a responsibility to be the vessel. I have a responsibility to be a living example of His love. I’m on assignment. To do this work, I need to be clear, new, and fresh. I need to be sober.
I get fearful that my business might suffer if I’m open about my struggles with alcohol. That I might confuse my readers when I write about recovery as often as I write about kettlebell swings. I get scared that I’ll lose respect, lose clients, and lose everything I’ve built if I’m open about my sobriety.
But then I remember the mandate on my life. The greater good. The higher purpose. The REAL work. And my fears about being a Jesus-loving-sober-fit-trainer-chick are washed away … with the old wine.