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“I’ve been a gray area drinker for a long time and have had stops and starts but finally quit 3 months ago after i wrote and published an article on women and drinking. I know it’s the right decision but I have to say I don’t really see many changes and it’s felt disappointing. I haven’t had any pink cloud moments or noticed any other major changes really. I’m trying to stay unattached to any expectations but I feel like I’m sitting here twiddling my fingers wondering why I stopped sometimes. I am an integrative medicine practitioner currently living in France for the year. It’s been very contemplative. My husband quit drinking right after me. It’s all so complicated. I’m doing the work - reading, meditating, all of the things and am considering adding on sobriety coaching to my women’s hormonal business that I’m building. I understand it all cognitively, it’s just felt a bit depressing recently. Just feelin all the feels over here. I don’t necessarily want a pink cloud because that ultimately ends. I feel and confident about this decision for many reasons. I’m fortunate to have several coach friends and I’ve been able to go on a breathwork retreat and have lots of help in my journey. I just know the brain lies to us, which it’s currently doing to me, telling me that I didn’t really have a problem and why can’t I just go ahead and have that glass of rosé because the weather is so beautiful and I’m living in France, for God’s sake!! All of the justifications and lies“

Dear Christy,

I get a fair amount of questions and comments around gray area drinking (GAD), but this one really hit me. I want to start by saying it can be tricky conversing about this topic when I don’t actually know you personally or your drinking history.

(Christy, I do ask that you or anyone else reading this, take my words with a grain of salt, and recognize it may not all pertain to your real life situation)

I recognize your feelings. Being a former GAD myself I know all about the questioning and the back and forth with oneself and if it’s bad enough, will my life really be better, I drink like everyone else I know – so why should I quit?

I went through all these questions when I was on the journey to quitting. I stopped and started many times because I allowed these mind-f*cking questions to get the best of me.

When I finally quit altogether, I knew in my soul the answers to all those questions, and it sounds like you do as well. You are clearly a smart and witty woman, and you know all this, but of course, you are feeling all the feels, you are human.

I love that you are adding in the meditation and breathwork and all the things, but my question is what else are you looking for? And I am not asking that in a “what else could you possibly want” kind of way, but I ask in a way for you to verbalize to yourself and to the universe what do you want your life to look like and more importantly FEEL like?

Of course, choosing to be sober is not always the sexiest, most popular and most comfortable choice. Hell no, but this is where we get to step in and take the responsibility to make our newly sober lives as creative and expressive as possible (whatever that means/looks like to you) instead of letting the disappointing feelings take hold. Also, I have to say, the idea of you living in France with your sober husband sounds so exciting and so full of possibilities that it makes me want to book a trip to France with my own husband.

And you’re absolutely right, pink clouds don’t last forever, but no mood does. And this mood, these feelings right now will pass. Trust me.

I was asked once in an interview what makes me miss drinking. It wasn’t any sort of mood, confrontation or event. It was (and still is) a warm sunny day. Specifically walking around in NYC, when all the bars and restaurants have their windows open, and the music is playing, and you can hear the glasses clinking, and the laughter and the fun energy of it all is spilling out onto the street. This, this is when I feel it. This is when I question why I can’t enjoy myself like those people are? I wasn’t physically addicted to alcohol. Life wasn’t that bad. Why can’t I enjoy this romantic sunny day? I only live once, right?

Then I play it out. I imagine what it would feel like to walk into that bar and slide into a handsome wooden barstool and order a glass of rosé. Of course, there would be another and possibly a third (most certainly a third). The moment I can imagine what that alcohol feels like in my body, running through my veins, I immediately jump out of the romantic bullshit running through my head and I am filled with gratefulness that I am standing there clear-headed, sober and so fucking alive with a day ahead of me that will not be wasted. Not one GD second of it.

Sweet Christy, I love that you were brave enough to write to me with your heartfelt truth. Be kind and gentle with yourself. And please know, you have a very large sober sister brigade routing you on.

xxx Mia

Here are some journal prompts that may help get to the heart of some of these feelings. Often, writing it out can give us a good pause and just the right perspective to keep going.

  1. What prompts me to make the decision that I get to have that glass of rosé.

  2. What would that glass of wine lead too?

  3. What else?

  4. Did I get what I wanted by drinking?

  5. How do I feel the next day?

  6. What would I say to my friends and family? What would they say to me?

  7. I’m drinking again. In a month, my life looks like this.

UNMASKED

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Once one becomes sober it is very hard to ignore all the other masks that we wear every day. One of those masks for me was hair dye. Yep, I was one of the (un)lucky ones and started going gray at age 21. I have been messing with my hair and color ever since, even going as far as coloring every two weeks for the last several years.

NO MORE.

So again, what does going gray and sobriety have to do with one another?

By choosing sober I have become much more in tune with my own bullshit, my own bad habits and all the lies I tell myself and others. For me, hair color was a big ol' lie. Just like with booze, I knew I would stop coloring my hair. Just like with booze, I saw a life that was screaming at me to unveil. Just like with booze, hair color was a mask. Just like with booze, I am relearning who I am underneath. Just like with booze, I am loving the let go. Just like with booze, it's because I truly give a fuck and not the other way around. Just like with booze, it's an awkward learning process. Just like with booze, I am answering all of the same questions from curious folks. Just like with booze, the feeling of freedom is unmatched. Just like with booze, it's the best decision for this girls life.