It would seem I’m in the minority. It would seem I am alone in the sea of cute bedazzled wine glasses and happy hours with pedicured feet, beer cozies and a pool view.
I am the sober mom. I am a mom and I don’t drink. I am the mom who CANNOT drink. I am the mom who chooses not to drink.
This is a lonely place to be at times when it seems every mom on the internet and every mom on your block is partaking. The pictures on social media are enough to make me want to drink, if I didn’t have a solid foundation of sobriety.
It is a heavy responsibility to be the sober mom. I don’t take it lightly. But it doesn’t mean I strike fear into anybody or make it their issue. I just stand firm in my sobriety and nobody gets hurt. This is my deal, my responsibility, nobody else’s. And in NO WAY am I a downer. There’s a difference between taking care of yourself – knowing what’s best for you – and putting your problem on somebody else who doesn’t have your problem.
Most folks can let loose and relieve their stress with some drinks. As the sober mom, I don’t have that option. So I can either choose to be bitter about it OR I can be the best mom I can be in spite of it. BECAUSE of it. I get to make that choice every day. Am I grateful or am I bitter with resentment? I’ve tried it both ways, and choosing to be grateful is SO MUCH EASIER and joyful than the alternative. Being bitter and resentful is a lot of work. I’m not into it, man. Not anymore.
Would I like a drink to loosen up and forget my troubles a bit? OF COURSE. Actually no, I don’t want a drink, but sure, it would be so very nice to not be so damn sober all the time. Still. It’s been almost 13 years and I still want it. I will always want it. That’s the disease. That’s the obsession. And it would take only one to spark it back up again. Maybe not immediately, but the obsession would start in and I would eventually be doomed. That’s why one is too many and one hundred is never enough.
Luckily for me, I’ve accepted that I can’t ever drink like these other moms. I know it and they know it. There is no judgement from me and hopefully no judgment from them. The only people who give me shit about my not drinking are the folks who usually have a problem themselves. The rest just let it roll off like water down a duck’s back.
I’m trying to think if I knew any moms who didn’t drink while I was growing up. I remember all kinds of parties for my brother’s soccer team and drinking was the main activity. I don’t remember anybody being openly sober that I knew of. That may be simply because it wasn’t so openly discussed back then. But you know what? I’m going to be that mom. I’m going to be openly sober and talk about it – when it’s appropriate – with my kids.
My job is not to scare them or tell them they can’t or shouldn’t drink. That’s no way for a kid to grow up. Just because Mommy is an alcoholic does NOT mean that they will be too. Neither of my parents are alcoholics, and here we are. But my kids will be aware of where they came from. Who their mama is. They should have the facts and be able to talk about it and ask questions and know that they are safe. They will make their own choices ultimately, but I am their guide. I will lead by example. Whether that’s a good example or a poor one is up to me. I hope they are proud of me – even if not right away. Their father sets the example of being able to drink moderately (WHAT?) and lead a responsible life. So we have the best of both worlds in our family.
It’s not always easy being the sober mom. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to say, “I don’t drink” when somebody new offers me a drink in hospitality and make it all awkward, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Maybe just maybe, I’m a beacon to somebody else who needs it out there who is just watching. Not all moms drink to let off steam. Or even if you do feel like you NEED to you don’t HAVE to. Once you live sober for a while you find other outlets for your stress and your happiness. And it is so good. We are not alone, us sober moms. I’m honored to be in this position with you. One day at a time.