You can build a house out of almost anything…

I spent a lot of years building a house out of expectations (placed upon me by myself and by others). I built a house that I thought I was supposed to, following a floor plan that I hadn’t made but somehow felt obliged to abide by. This is a house with the weakest of foundations.

As humans, the need to belong is one of our most basic instincts from the moment we’re born… completely vulnerable and in need of those around us. Beyond sheer survival, it also becomes an innate human desire – to belong, to be part of something and to be accepted. I crave community. And the easiest way to be part of a community is to mold yourself and “build your house” that fits in.

I’ve built some flimsy houses made out of a whole lot of bullshit!

And then I built a boozy house, and felt right at home… sort of.

Life revolving around alcohol has become such an expected part of being an adult that my desire for acceptance, my place at the table (or the bar) that I’d carved out for myself, left me feeling stuck… I craved community, and it’s why I resisted for so long on something I felt so drawn to. I questioned my drinking, I questioned my character, I questioned my parenting, but I honestly saw it as the way of adulthood… and unfortunately for my husband and kids, I just wasn’t as good at it as some others. I felt like I belonged. I belonged here, in the world of Rosé All Day… that was my community and no amount of regrettable mornings would make leave. Trying to wrap my head around a new community, one where rosé on ice wasn’t almost the same as a seltzer? Well, that was enough to make a girl drink… a lot.

Drinking is the norm, it’s acceptable and expected. I make no judgment on that, while also recognizing the number of times I’m struck by scenarios (real or on TV) where not drinking seems off to the storyline of adults being adults. Would this make the sober version of me off in these situations? Celebratory champagne, breaking open that fancy wine or scotch… proud moments marked in austerity by the booze accompanying the occasion. When I would see these scenes play out, in real life, in movies, on TV, it reinforced my biggest fear. Where would I fit in to each of these scenarios? I want to be part of that community, and yet I wonder if the sober version of me would still be relevant.

And then I realized, I had built that house, in that community. And I could build another.

And so I sought out community. I found people who created a world that gave me the freedom and the confidence to stop drinking.

The worlds are not mutually exclusive. I still go to bars, I still go out for drinks, I still belong to my old community, but the support of a whole other world that I never knew existed allows me to be there on my own terms. I’ve written about this in Follow The Leader, and the notion of seeing something done, imaging yourself in the scenario is so very powerful!

When I first read the words of a woman I admired and looked up to, knowing her only through social media, as she spelled out her relationship with alcohol and her journey with sobriety, I think my jaw hit the floor. That’s a thing you can do??? And still be all of the amazing things I admired her for? It led me to explore resources she’d talked about, it led me to reevaluate my decisions and brought about a different perspective and an enormous amount of hope.

With that, and to mark TWO YEARS SOBER AND ALCOHOL FREE I am offering up a new community and an opportunity to connect. I’ve followed an Instagram page called 1000 Hours Dry for a while, it offers insight, acceptance and resources for those who are alcohol free, even if only temporarily. The idea – 1000 hours alcohol free… 42 days for anyone who’s counting. Pick a day and see what you can do in the next thousand hours. I’d encourage anyone, especially if you or someone you know is sober curious, to check it out. The page often features live videos in the stories, which, for me at least, proved to be both empowering and reassuring… seeing people who I can relate to and imagine myself being friends with, talk about their alcohol free lives gives reassurance, validation and confidence and taking each coming step.

I just started a local Westchester page for anyone looking to connect, anyone thinking about changing up their relationship with alcohol into the new decade, or anyone who is curious. You don’t have to live in Westchester, so come say hello!

XO, Lauren…

#soberAFfor2years