I’d been on the fence for a few years about sobriety. Could I do it? Would I do it? How?
I started by committing to Sober October a few days early after a particularly embarrassing drunken night at the end of September. I told most people I was doing it to see if I could even get through a month. I wasn’t sure I could so sometimes I’d say Sober October-ish as if to give myself a caveat in case I gave in. Other times I’d say I was just taking a little break. I wasn’t sure what I was doing but I knew I needed a break to reevaluate my lifestyle.
While away on a mini trip to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on the 23rd of October, I was talking to a friend on Facebook Messenger about my confusion. Would I go beyond October with my sobriety? Could I? I know how addictive my personality is. I know how hard it is to change. I especially know how hard it is to break a habit, no matter how beneficial it may be for me to do so. I truly wasn’t sure if I could continue on being sober.
I journaled about it. I pulled cards from several oracle decks. I talked about it with my husband and girlfriends. I had no answer.
I didn’t trust my myself to never have a cold beer on a hot summer afternoon again. I couldn’t imagine a girl’s night out without bottles of wine in hand.
How could I live a sober life when I don’t even know what a sober life looks like? Even among people I know, I only know a handful who lead sober lives. Truthfully I always found it weird but oddly enthralling, like a guilty pleasure of wanting to know more because it seemed so foreign to me.
But someone or something must’ve heard my pleas and prayers because on October 24th, I got my answer.
I was officiating a wedding for friends of friends that day. I know the bride and groom, Brett and Kelsey, but not overly well. I did know Brett was sober though and had been for a couple years. I found his sobriety heroic and brave, especially for someone so young. Because of Covid and the subsequent restrictions, they invited their guests to stay after the ceremony for speeches. I was invited to join this as well. I was elated as speeches are my favourite part of a wedding reception. The best man Ryan, a tall, long haired, handsome man stood up to deliver his speech. It was heartwarming and funny and unbeknownst to him, his words would forever change my life.
While listing the many extreme sports Brett had accomplished he ended with Brett’s biggest accomplishment: “and now we have sober Brett. Congratulations on your two years buddy.”
Those words struck me like lightning, hard, bright and electric. My sight narrowed in on Brett’s family, tunnelling my vision towards their beaming faces as I was looking at them down a hallway. My heart thudded in my chest. My breathing quickened. All sound abruptly silenced: the only words I heard coming from within: I want that. I exhaled slowly and everything returned to normal.
My heart sang with certainty. My soul thrummed in acknowledgement. I had my answer. I wanted THAT. I wanted two years of sobriety. I wanted my family to be proud of me and beam at me like Brett’s did for him.
I wanted the congratulations for accomplishing something so frickin’ hard in a society that praises, accepts and applauds intoxication.
I wanted a sober life. And like a switch flicking on and off, to drink or not to drink, it finally switched off for good. A finality I have never felt settled in my heart and I knew in that moment I would never drink again.
Sometimes the answers we seek don’t come immediately. Sometimes the Universe needs time to set the players and scenes in place to lead us to our own epiphanies. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. After years of uncertainty, I was lead to that wedding on that day to hear those words I so desperately needed.
I don’t know what the future will look like but I know it will be rich with laughter, good times and meaningful conversations I’ll actually remember. But I’m also a little scared too. I’m afraid of the hard days where I would usually turn to wine to lessen the stress and what that will look like now. I’m worried for social settings where drinking games rule the night and bar tabs ring higher. I’m fearful of my own self: who am I without alcohol in my life? Without the crutch, what does standing firmly on my own two feet feel like? However, in the same breath, this trepidation reminds me I’m human. I can know I won’t drink again but I can still wonder how I’ll handle it. I look forward to seeing where this takes me.
My wish for you: Ask your questions, plead with your god, beg the Universe. Whatever you seek will be revealed to you at the time you’ll be most receptive to receiving it. Keep your ears open and your heart open wider. The answers to your soul’s questions could be in a best man in a wedding in the middle of the Canadian prairies.