And now! The exciting conclusion. Continued from Part 3
Like I said, my truly horrible, very bad, no good night in New York only slowed me down for a month. I remember calling my mom the next morning, crying about what I was doing to myself. She suggested that I probably wasn't that happy with what was going on in my life. I denied this vehemently. I was living in New York! I had my dream apartment! I was going to my dream school! Unfortunately, all these awesome things didn't make up for the fact that I was unsettled in myself.
I moved out of New York that summer, which by the very nature of now having to drive again, meant I couldn't drink myself into a coma anymore. That was the beginning of my story arch back down to sobriety. I still had a long way to go.
I got settled into my new place and promptly started dating an alcoholic. Like a real one. That didn't help. While my unhappiness grew and grew and I kept smothering it in beer- other things started to look up. I missed New York but the pace of small town life was much more appealing. I worked at a wine store and made friends. I had my dog back and all my other stuff that I had left behind to move to NYC. Eventually I broke up with my last LAST unhealthy relationship (after a night of drunken crying of course). I remember thinking for the first time that something had to change. No more of these unsatisfying relationships, no more not working where I wanted to be working, no more gliding through life on beer foam ignoring the fact that I was almost 30 and not doing ANYTHING I wanted to be doing with myself. My friends had satisfying jobs that paid them enough money to go on vacations, they were getting married, having kids. I was nowhere near any of this because I had banked my entire 20's on being the life of the party.
I signed up for a 4 mile race training program. I joined eHarmony. I quit my job to focus on designing. And I kept drinking. But I became so committed to running that it actually stopped me some nights from going over the edge because I knew I couldn't run as well I as I wanted to the next day. I backtracked some days and made progress others. I met my husband (not on eHarmony). I got an actual job in my actual field of study. I kept drinking but not as often or as much.
Then I got sicker and sicker. And finally sobriety started creeping into my life as slowly as drinking had years before. I became more interested in trying to coax my body into being awesome again through food, through running, through acupuncture, through yoga, through anything and everything I could think of. None of it worked. The time of ignoring, pushing, torturing my body into being who I thought I could be was over. Who knows if the drinking led me to my current state of fibroid craziness. I'm sure it didn't help.
I never thought I could be a person who never drank. Despite progress there were still the random nights of drinking too much. But too much was now 3 drinks, not 7. And it wasn't every night or even every week anymore.
After 9 months of pregnancy I've never missed it once. Not even at events where my anxiety would have formerly put a drink in my hand the minute I walked in the room. Not at Christmas or New Years or my birthday or anytime else. Even though my current days aren't as fulfilling as they were or will be in the future - at least I have my days. I have no regrets from the night before. I have all my memories. I realized that my anxiety can be soothed simply by holding a drink in my hand. Any drink. Especially one that has sugar in it. Like a coke. And I really really love it.
I don't know how alcohol will fit into my life post-pregnancy. Obviously, it simply will never be like it was because I will be taking care of a tiny human and I take that seriously. Will I have a glass of champagne at a party? Probably. But I'm pretty sure it will be one glass not half a bottle.
I don't have a moral for anyone else but me in this story. I try to work through my regret every day. I work on forgiving myself. I work on thanking my body for still chugging along and making a healthy baby despite how I treated it. I work on self-confidence. I work now to be able to give my daughter the healthy self-esteem I know she will need to get through that first offer of beer when she doesn't really want it. I work to be able to help her embrace herself even if she still wants the Happy Meal toy at 15 with no apologies.
Hopefully, since I've been there, that will help her for the better. These experiences do make me grateful (when I'm thinking clearly) for my new knowledge about healthy eating and living and this can only help us both. I would most certainly not be the person I am today without my 20's and I like her a lot more.