july 24th has become an important day in my life. one of my three darling sisters was born on this date. seven years ago i explored – and continue to embrace – a vegan diet (with the exception of the odd butter tart and seasonal mini eggs of course).
it was also on this day in my history that i declared sobriety. what began as a one-year pledge to cleanse myself of alcohol turned into a 500-day milestone and within a blink of an eye the calendar rolled into two years.
730 days sans moonshine. i continue to count because each day is a badge of honour for me. a glimmer of pride. a commitment to my mental health. a hallmark in my personal growth.
we all have our reasons why we do what we do. decisions are made based on our personal intentions and resolutions. we abstain from something or someone to nurture our well-being. we withdraw to experiment if we really can do without. we let time in because we need the space to distant ourselves from our demons. we contemplate our vices to truly test our desire and strength not to succumb to them.
i resolve that i’m living more freely and openly in the past two years because i’m not hazed by a crippling hangover. i abstain because i don’t want to meet the fall-apart-fall-down-i-don’t-recognize-myself girl that once wreaked havoc on my relatively virtuous life. i withdraw because i still yearn for the taste of tequila or blood red wine but i appreciate these from time to time temptations because it puts my will and decision to the test. i contemplate if i’ll ever drink again but what tipsy beverage pairs nicely with a vegan main anyway?
of course, i miss the festive champagne and flights of craft blondes. i miss the hops of an ale and dirty molson stock. but i’d miss me even more if i allowed for my shadows to creep into my light. i’m living my best life. and if i decide to put my lips to a glass of cherry white one day in the future abyss i won’t judge myself because it’ll be my drink to kiss.
i revel in people asking me questions about sustaining my sobriety. its a relationship that i’ve lusted and menaced with for two decades or more. but my sober self is my better self. my dance moves are more footloose; my conversations deeper; my hair curlier; my smile brighter; and my friendships greater.
i’ve had my carlsberg years but i’m enjoying these new years of learning to gracefully love myself. from cocktails to mocktails and sangria to san(s)gria, i’m continuing to discover and understand what sobriety truly means. it had been a long time running (not tragically hip).
rock legend stevie nicks says of her sobriety, “i learned that i could live my life and still be beautiful and fun. it’s just me, and its my choice.”
so, raise your glass and here’s a toast to choosing to live a life that is exactly that – your own. beautiful and fun.