Would You Like A Drink?  How to answer the never-ending question.


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“If your path is clear then it’s not your path.”  Joseph Campbell

I like clear.  I like to play it safe and think that I have the power to control the outcome.  If I just think about it long enough, come up with all kinds of different scenarios and associate how I feel about them, then obsess enough-I think I can manipulate my life.  It doesn’t work like that does it?

When I first stopped drinking I obsessed about how to answer the questions of “would you like a drink?” and “why not?”  Depending on the social situation, my relationship with the person, and my mood the answer was always a little different.  Sometimes it was a white lie, sometimes it was an intense “No!”, and sometimes it was just a lingering “I’ll get something in a bit.”  And almost always, it was awkward.

I had no idea how to approach the situation.  It was always met with both enthusiasm to get to tell my story and disappointment that I wasn’t able to fully articulate what I wanted to say.  And there’s always an underlying frustration that with every new encounter I have to keep “coming out.”  There’s never going to be a time when every single person I meet will just automatically know that I am alcohol free.

But, I think I have finally learned a few tricks that have helped me check my expectations, learn to be okay, and fine tune that “no thank you” so that no one (me) is left feeling awkward.

For starters, no one cares that I don’t drink.  I don’t mean that no one cares about me.  They do care about me but no one wants to hear about my journey to sobriety ESPECIALLY at a party/bar/setting where everyone is drinking.  So it’s best to go ahead and stop romanticizing about this enlightened conversation that will never happen.

Next, because no one cares there is no reason for a weird response.  “No thanks” will literally do the trick.  But, if you really want to seal the deal make sure to always have a drink in hand.  I walk into settings with a coffee, a sparkling water, a tea, anything.  That way everyone will assume I already have a drink and won’t ask me if I want one.

Next, understand that someone might want to know why.  I know I already said that no one cares but someone might be intrigued.  That someone could be the person who is in need of a change and you are the one about to help them make it.  You owe no one an explanation and can just say something like “it’s personal.”  However, if you get a feeling that this person is kind and genuinely interested feel free to tell your story.  Tell it proudly and without hesitation.  There is nothing to hide.  

Finally, because we associate significant stigma around alcohol use-you can go ahead and assume that some people will think that you are a drunk.  They’ll make up some kind of story in their head about how bad things must have been for you through their lens and perspective.  I know this because I used to do it all the time.  I would think “Poor Sarah, who can no longer drink..Something really bad must have happened to her.”  Based on years of conditioning and millions of subliminal ads in our face every single day we have a tendency to put people into two categories-those who can drink and those who can’t.

Maybe you were a drunk, maybe you were a gray area drinker, you’re trying out a new diet, maybe you don’t have a clue what you are but you just don’t drink right now.  All of that is ok.  Remember that the labels are not necessary.  You belong exactly where you are and there is no right or wrong way to stop drinking.  Your answer for why you don’t drink is always correct.  Every single time. I’ve heard time and time again that alcohol is the only substance that we have to continually justify not using. (Don’t worry, I have a whole post on this subject…..)

These days I can honestly say that the feeling I get when asked if I would like a drink is no different than the feeling I get when someone asks if I would like a frog leg.  “No Thanks” I say,  as I make my way through the room and enjoy myself throughly.

When I stopped drinking I had no idea where I would end up.  I didn’t know what would happen.  I didn’t know if I would be successful.  I didn’t know what people would think.  In other words, my path was not clear.  But as Joseph Campbell said, it was mine.









Let The Body Talk Begin

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It’s summer. Do you want to know what that means? We’re going to hear a ton of messages about our bodies.  Some of those messages will be very positive.  They will tell us our bodies are beautiful and strong.  Some will offer guidance on how to get our bodies in better condition.  Some will be totally offensive making anyone who doesn’t have a perfectly airbrushed body think that they are not worthy of sun.

Regardless, everyone will have an opinion about bodies.

So, here’s mine.

When I look in the mirror and see my smallish body, with a stomach covered in stretch marks, and legs that won’t show muscle no matter how I hard I work out-I don’t feel all that positive.  Actually, let me rephrase that, I don’t think to myself “I love my body.”

I love that I am strong and I feel grateful when I can carry all of the groceries in the house in one trip.  I love that I can run with the kids on my back and that I can hike in nature for a long time.  I feel badass when I do push ups and I wouldn’t be able to write a single word if it weren’t for running (that’s where I get my inspiration).  That’s all great, but it doesn’t equate to me looking in the mirror and thinking to myself “Man, I’ve got a banging body!”

Maybe this is because I lack confidence?  Maybe it’s because of years and years of the messages telling me that I need to have a perfect body? Or, maybe it’s the truth?  I literally do not love my body.  The same way that I don’t love carpool line and work meetings.

Here’s the thing, I don’t have to love my body to love myself. I am tired of being brainwashed into thinking that I do. You know?  I love my husband and children with all of my heart and soul.  But, do I love it when Drew chews his food right into my ear while I am working?  No.  Do I love it when Kate picks her nose or when Max makes that angry sound every time I ask him to do the smallest of things?  No.  Does that interfere with my overall love for them?  No.  Not at all.

You see? We are too focused on the wrong thing.

I recently saw a quote that said something like if we were as focused on tweaking our souls, fine tuning our minds, and nourishing our relationships as much as we were with our bodies we would be a whole lot happier.  Exactly.  If we poured the same amount of time, money, and effort into ending hunger as we pour into how to diet without feeling hungry I am confident that we could solve all of the worlds problems (and then some).  

I’m over it!  I am over thinking about the shape of my body.  I am over listening to the messages about body image. I am over trying to love my body enough to love and accept who I am.  I am over the diets, the workouts, the outfits.  All of it!!!  It just isn’t going to be the thing that makes me the most happy.  My body shape won’t set me free. My waist size won’t grow my relationships.

So, if you are looking in the mirror and telling yourself that if you were only skinnier, or if your body were only fitter, or if you looked better you would love yourself more-you are lying.  A certain body does not make you happy.  The shape of your body is completely irrelevant.  Or, at least it should be.

Go look outside.  (Like right now).  Walk over to a window and look up at the sky and down at the grass.  Look at those trees, weeds filling in between the concrete, the flowers, the garden.  Notice the shapes.  You see how everything is completely different? No blade of grass is the same.  No leaf is exactly the same as the next.  No cloud is shaped perfectly. Are you thinking “well, if that leaf were just a little thinner, the whole tree would look better?”  No.  Because that would sound insane. There is no “right” one. They all serve their purpose which is a vital part of what keeps them alive and thriving.

Contrary to popular belief, you are actually not what you eat.  You will never wake up one day and be a slice of pizza, or a donut, or even that kale salad. However, you are exactly what you think.  And, if you think you are lousy, ugly, and worthless then how you appear outwardly?  How will you show up for yourself?

You are meant to look like exactly what you look like.  Including every single scar, flaw, weird mole thingy, lazy eye, gray eyebrow, pimple, and dimple.  It is what makes you unique. You don’t have to love that piece to love yourself.  Instead, you can give your soul a nice warm hug and give your mind peace from the constant scrutiny. 

When I look in the mirror I have to learn to look past the skin, bones, muscle, and fat.  I have to learn to look beyond the shape of my face, stomach, and legs.  I have to look deep into my heart.  I have to love my inner self.  And as a result I am softer, kinder, more respectful, and I take care of myself, the earth, and others.

Our bodies are the form in which we live.  They are the house for our function.  The body is completely separate from your inner self; your being. When you think about it this way it will start to make sense.  Stop hiding behind your body.  Look right on past that shell.  Look deep into your soul and let your heart shine through. That’s where the answer lies, where the happiness comes from, and where you’ll find that beauty you’ve been searching for.