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We need to talk about the mental load of alcohol

CELESTE YVONNE via The Ultimate Mom Challenge

Originally posted on SEP 28, 2022

When can I drink next?

Should I have a glass of wine before the party?

Is the bottle of wine for all 5 of us? How do I get more without drawing attention?

Am I slurring?

The mental load of drinking is exhausting. It’s endless. You’re either obsessing about how to get your next drink or stressing over not garnering unwanted attention around your drinking, often both simultaneously.

I cannot believe I lived like that for so long. I can’t believe I clung to that life like I had something to lose if I stopped. Or worse, if someone else stopped me.

How deeply wrong I was.

The exhaustion of carrying the enormous weight of alcohol is something I will never miss. The mental load of alcohol for someone like me is unbearable.

And the sweet freedom that comes when you quit is hard to describe. But I imagine it’s similar to how a bird feels when it uses its wings for the first time.

We have a weekly meeting at Sober Mom Squad for members with 1+ years of sobriety. Today we discussed what changes after the first year because it’s truly magical.

After your first year, you loosen the tight grip of fear and the desire to control. You open your doors to the idea of adventure and possibility. You start to listen to the whispers — the ones you dulled down for so long. The voice that dreamed big and thought with the heart. The voice that dared to make leaps and said “fuck it” to fear of failure.

Remember that voice? She returns in sobriety, though truly… she never left. You simply couldn’t hear her when you drank, or the mental load of alcohol consumed your thoughts.

When I listen to my whispers, they tell me to go for it. To say “yes.” To feel the fear and do it anyway. Early sobriety helped me lighten the mental load of alcohol. Long-term sobriety helped me expand my awareness and see the limitless possibilities of my future. And the future doesn’t just look bright. It feels bright, too.

Sobriety gave me that.

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