I remember when I was presented with the first remark about me being an alcoholic. It was from a family member as we stood in a bar day drinking, and I was shocked by the accusation.
Are you kidding me?! I don't drink every day; I don't black out every time I drink, I've never been arrested for my drinking, I fully function as a proud functioning alcoholic.
I'm completely offended as I took another chug off of my chardonnay glass.
Let me backtrack a bit before I continue with this story; I started drinking at fourteen, and I was about 43 when this happened.
At forty-three, I probably shouldn't have been as shocked by this statement, but it honestly had never crossed my mind that I may be an alcoholic. I was a party girl, the gal who could drink anyone under the table and get up the next day and do it all over again, until my thirties.
So, when I heard the term alcoholic, I brushed it off and argued my case, and the next day, I Googled, "Am I an Alcoholic?"
It was a punch in the gut that no one had ever brought this to my attention before this day. I was going through life as a mom, wife, business owner, and midlife woman just trying to keep her head above water - I had to drink. It was my right.
The flood of emotions that came in was deeply rooted in shame. The shame of not paying attention to my drinking and imagining everyone I knew talking about my "problem" with drinking before I realized I might have one.
It's the question that we all face multiple times throughout life, "why didn't I see this sooner?" I've dealt with the regret of giving alcohol my time and energy for thirty-years and work on forgiveness daily.
The face of addiction in midlife is me and women who look like me.
(Me in 2011)
Mom's, wives, business owners, co-works, daughters, best friends, and people you would never think have a drinking problem.
The stereotypes and stigma of addiction are fading away with every woman who chooses to speak up and out.
I don't call myself an alcoholic or a binge drinker or a grey area drinker or any other drinking label. I got so hung up on the labels that I held myself back from quitting for two years.
Please don't let this happen to you. It doesn't matter what kind of drinker you are. There is no shame in drinking, and there is no shame in getting sober.
You know, you have thought so many times that if "you could only go back, you would do things differently," well, now is the time to do things differently.
Stand up for yourself and know that you can get to the other side of alcohol and live and love your life in recovery.
Start a conversation with yourself first, and then with someone you trust.
Make this month (whenever you are reading this) to make yourself a priority, not alcohol. Celebrate yourself and the actions you take daily not to drink, and then allow yourself to reflect in honesty about how you feel alcohol-free.
Give yourself the chance to feel better, be prideful, and age alcohol-free.
Please email me if you need support or have a question. You can ask me anything!
September is National Recovery Month. This years theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connection. September is a good time to start living alcohol-free. Ask for help, you deserve it.
I specialize in helping women over 40 combine the powers of aging and sobriety to maximize their health, career, relationships, and personal goals.
I'm the host of the To 50 and Beyond podcast where me and my guests share stories, solutions and support for the midlife experience every Tuesday.
I stopped drinking on August 11, 2013 at forty-five after three decades of drinking to escape life. Today, I live life to the fullest by keeping things simple and fun. I'm so happy you are here. I'm here for you.
I know you can do whatever you want to do in the middle of life. The question is, what do you want to do?
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