When I first quit drinking one of the hardest things for me to overcome was fear. I was fearful that I’d miss out on experiences.  I was nervous to be in situations without alcohol, because I never had to be before. Alcohol was such a big part of who I was. I thought that removing it would change me as a person. I didn’t know myself without alcohol. I worried that my friendships would change or that my marriage would be different. What I didn't realize was that although change is scary at first, over time it gets easier. As time went on, I realized that the changes I was making were going to make my life ten times better. I was going to live a happy and fulfilling life without alcohol.

Something inside of me told me that it was time to remove alcohol from my life. I needed to stop the cycle I was in. I was binge drinking with days of regret, shame, and feelings of worthlessness to follow. I was a new parent and there were days that I felt like I had let my family down. I wasn’t being the mom that my son deserved. I often wondered why I kept doing this to myself. Why couldn’t I drink like everyone else?

It was time to change, so I took a chance and jumped in headfirst.

In the beginning, it wasn’t easy. I worried about missing out or not being fun without alcohol. I took it one day at a time and tried to focus my energy on not drinking. I immersed myself in the alcohol-free community through social media, books, and podcasts. As I built up more time without alcohol, things got a lot easier. I put my energy into being alcohol-free, and I grew into the best version of myself.

I started to feel true joy.

The first place I noticed this joy creeping in was when I spent one-on-one time with my son. With the thinking about drinking getting less and less, I could give him my full attention. Watching him learn about his world and get excited about little things made me so happy. I've been able to feel this overwhelming sense of purpose when it comes to being his mom. I know I’m right where I'm meant to be. I am my son’s whole world, and it’s so nice to be able to show him that he’s mine.

Now, at over three years alcohol-free, I’m thriving as myself. I’m doing things that make me happy because that’s what I find most important. My happiness is mine to create. It takes a lot of work, but nothing worthwhile is ever going to come easy.

Sometimes we get stuck being comfortable. Change can be scary. That fear can hold us back from making changes in our lives. It can keep us from feeling the joy that we deserve. Staying the same is easy, making a change takes work. To create a life that you love, you have to take a chance on yourself, and in the end, you’ll be better off...I promise.

Blair is an alcohol-free wife and mom from Minnesota. She works full-time outside of the home and also does freelance writing. Her writing was recently featured in Scary Mommy, and you can find her creating on IG @sobrietyactivist and on her website www.blairsharp.com

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