People say there’s an epidemic, but I say there’s only me, alone, in a dark house. My heart beats quickly and my body feels lead-like, moving clumsy and slow. My hands shake and my head swims. My nose runs. I decided not to take a pill today, but now my body is making a different sort of decision. The same body that helps me type 80 words a minute and paste my walls with poetry has now found a different functionality. My muscles and limbs, turned inside out and lit with a strange sort of fire, cry out for stuff that makes them sing in a way nothing ever has before.
It was my first Mother’s Day as a mom. What should have been a day filled with fresh flowers, Hallmark, and pampering, I instead spent in the fetal position, sobbing my eyes out. I was giving every bit of energy I had to my son, so that I could smile and act like his usual mommy.
Lululemon was my first job outside of a bar or restaurant. When I was hired, I was 28 years old, fresh out of college, and had just moved from my hometown of Waco, Texas to The Woodlands in North Houston. I’ve proudly been rocking my high-end yoga pants for nearly three years now - both in The Woodlands and New York City. This job has been a consistent support system for my sobriety and my coworkers have been some of my most enthusiastic cheerleaders. Here's how the unique work culture has played a key part in my recovery:
The isolation of parenting created for me this perfect bubble of despair. It meant drinking, alone, in rapidly increasing amounts, for the first three years of my children’s lives. It meant sickness, and fear and insomnia and anxiety and depression and weight gain and age... and eventually, liver and kidney pain. It meant hiding vodka bottles in my closet and laundry room. It meant suicidal thoughts on a daily basis.
If you’ve been on the “trying to quit drinking” roller coaster, then you know the harder you try, the more your inner addict tries to trick you into doing it. Your brain will rationalize and give you all sorts of reasons you should go ahead and give in to the craving. I hate to break it to you, but your brain is NOT your friend. Here are the reasons your reasons are wrong.
I shouldn’t like Cat Marnell.
Between gender bias, discrimination against sexual orientation or race, among a slew of other things, there’s no denying that people who don’t fall into a certain category face hurdles in the workplace. It wasn’t until recently that I realized sobriety was one of these.
In early sobriety I drank a ton of coffee. It wouldn't be exaggerating to say that I overdid it. Working at a coffee place didn't help, with its early hours and grueling rushes, but I definitely carried my coffee habit well after I quit that job. These days, I'm trying to reduce my caffeine. (Not eliminate it, but have a saner perspective when it comes to getting my energy from what I drink.) And having a signature drink is just as helpful and comforting now as it was when I was drinking. Actually, when I'm at a work function, or some kind of party with mostly drinkers, it's even more important to know what I'll be drinking. So here's a handy guide to cooking up a new signature drink now that you're living the sober lifestyle. And remember to sound off in the comments with ideas of your own!
Daniel D. Maurer, 45, of Saint Paul, Minnesota might have been serving as an ordained progressive Lutheran pastor in western North Dakota, but his career in “drinking and taking pills,” he says, was more important to him than that job, his own health, and his family. As a self-described secret user and drinker, what began as a way to cope with everyday stress and depression became a chemical obsession that his first inpatient program couldn’t seem to remedy. One third and final try and six years later, he’s since published a series of graphic novels through an imprint of the recovery center that finally helped him heal.