Over a year ago, my daughter was leaving to head back to college. As we hugged goodbye, she whispered in my ear, “please don’t drink anymore mom, please stop drinking.”
Her words were the exact words I would say to my dad as a little girl, a teenager, an adult.
Although what she said to me was very impactful, it wouldn’t be fair to say that I stopped drinking because she told me to, her words were just the final straw, and I knew it was a long time coming.
I have always had a love-hate relationship with alcohol, ever since I was a young kid, I just never really came to terms with what alcohol had done to my entire family.
I come from a long line of alcoholics: my dad, my grandmother, grandfather, and as the story goes, my great-grandfather, who was found dead, intoxicated, in a gutter. Fun fact: both my dad and grandfather both worked as bartenders in San Francisco. My dad eventually became a quality engineer, and left the occupation.
I always referred to my dad as a “functioning alcoholic”, it wasn’t as harsh in my mind. He was a great provider, a rock in my life, he always told me, “I will never let your ship sink”, and he never did. His drinking has always been very complicated to me.
That’s the funny thing about alcohol, it’s complicated, and two-sided: on the one hand, alcohol was a part of many of my happy childhood memories, gatherings with the entire family during the holidays, my mom cooking amazing meals, just being all together. But the reality, the evening usually fell apart quickly, the happy turned to anger, and the night was ruined. The funny thing, this was all very normal to me.
I knew I had a problem, I knew I was drinking too much, I knew that I was becoming a part of my family’s story, another member swallowed up by alcohol. I would wake up in the middle of the night and say to myself, “what are you doing, do you want to be just like grandma?” I was fifty years old, I had a problem and I had to stop. I had to stop the cycle and make the change.
It was difficult, and humbling to shine a light on my problem, to be open to everyone and to say, I won’t be drinking for right now, I have a problem and I need to get it under control. But, after a few weeks, then months, it was empowering.
Alcohol ruined lives and relationships within our family. I didn’t want my daughters to feel and go through the same things I did, I had to stop the cycle and I feel like I did.
After almost a year of taking a break, I see alcohol very differently. I approach it cautiously, and with accountability and moderation. It has worked, especially having a partner that keeps me accountable as well. It has been incredibly liberating, empowering, and honestly, I am a way better mother and wife without it.
I talked to Anthony about designing a coin that could help others with alcohol and accountability, based on my own journey. I realize that everyone has their own story, their own journey, and their own goals when it comes to drinking. Some need to stop completely and forever, and others just want to prove to themselves that they can stop for however long they feel they need to, regaining their power and accountability.
It’s a great thing to be open and honest about our problems, because the end result is beautiful and liberating.