Oh the obsessive behaviors of my 20s and how it led me to the place I am in now. If I could turn back time (cue Cher), my only wish would be to have done the inner work sooner to focus on self love and self care. Could I have made things less complicated? Definitely. Did I think I was going to make it to where I am today? No, not at all. I was drowning in many areas of my life! I felt so lost just like many other young adults. Growing up very shy took a big turn in my road as an adult. When I felt like I had no control over myself, I tried to control other areas of my life even harder than what they ever needed to be.
Today, I’m sharing more of my story regarding my experience with partying in my 20s. Parts and pieces have been mentioned before on Instagram so I’m picking up those pieces in hopes to inspire because we are never alone as many times as we may sit there and think that we are. None of the things you are about to read are worth risking your life for. EVER. I’m tearing up as I type that sentence.
This isn’t an attack on drinking. This isn’t to say I dislike people who drink. I also do not hate the people who I used to party with even if we may not see each other anymore because that is not true either. I’m simply sharing my own experiences. I’ll start by saying that what I think drinking really comes down to is your mindset. Some people are ok and do it for fun while other people have different stories.
I welcome you to my story if you need help learning about yours. I’ve been asked many times to share this especially from the younger generation of girls, so I’m leaning into a braver side today because I know of many people who are trying to break themselves out of a similar cycle as well. Also, this isn’t to say I’m completely sober today. I encourage you to keep reading on if you’re struggling right now. There is hope if you keep pushing through.
In high school I was just like any other teenager wanting to go to the fun parties. Maybe even throwing a few of the parties… All things which felt pretty normal at the time. I suppose drinking began because everyone else was doing it. All pretty common teenager stuff especially in my hometown.
Then, college came around and I started to drink a hell of a lot more. Like way too much for my own body to handle and staying up until the sun came up many nights. Sounds pretty typical as well, right? I was lost like any other young adult. I didn’t know who I was because it felt like I was given a new chance to be me! These are all common things that I know others have experienced as well. However, writing up messages about not wanting to live was NOT normal especially at such a young age.
One day I felt really unwell, but I couldn’t describe what was wrong. Nobody knew about these messages at the time because I used to bottle up my feelings a lot back then. In fact, nobody, not even myself, really knew what was wrong until I walked into the doctor’s office for a check-up. In this session, more tears than words came out as I tried to put sentences together. And so, the doctor diagnosed me with depression.
At the time, I didn’t take it seriously which was very silly of me. Being young and naive, it was incredibly hard for me to believe that I had depression. I thought maybe I was just having a really bad day because I didn’t exactly look like a sad person on the outside. Time went on as I continued to maneuver through life ignoring it and thinking that I was ok. Thus, things started to get worse.
I have some really bad stories from there as I slipped away into more partying. I truly did not know how serious it was at the time which is why I’m sharing this story. I’m also choosing to spare all of the details as they are triggering. Many of my life lessons have come from this entire process. Once I started to really turn inward and find help, I found out that my reasons for drinking were led by past trauma, eating disorders, depression, social anxiety, and overall, lack of self-control and not knowing who I really was for too long in my life. I constantly went with the grain of all things in life and I never questioned the reasons for my actions. This all led me to some good times, but also some not so best of times.
Many of the stories I have were prior to crossing paths with Braden. I’m not kidding when I say Braden has saved me in many ways. I strongly remember this one night when I stormed off trying to drive home very drunk (as unfortunately I had done many times in the past). Braden, who was sober that night, jumped onto the front of my car like Spider Man (No kidding) to try and stop me from driving off. As he banged on my windshield yelling at me to get out of the car, his ring accidentally shattered my front windshield. In a complete shock of realization, I stopped the car and got out. That night was a big wake up call.
At the end of this whole partying battle, I wasn’t pleasant. I became too brave. I felt invincible. I had an alter ego, and honestly, it was a very mean alter ego. I was a miserable person on the inside when I was sober, so I can see why things were the way they were back then. The hardest part was the gossip that got back to me with people talking about how much I had changed as if I was a better person before. Sure, I may have been out and about socializing in what people might assume are the normal ways but deep down, I was very sad doing it in those ways. Alcohol really became my crutch for socializing as I pushed through my social anxiety and those were some of my saddest days despite my big happy drunk smile.
WHEN TO GET HELP
Here’s the thing: If you think it’s a problem, most likely it is a problem. I kept jumping back and forth in my mind, “Well everyone is like doing it. This is normal.” I get it! You probably want to do the normal things, but there’s a bigger question you really have to ask yourself : What draws the line between what is normal in society vs what is normal for YOU? Define your own norm.
Look into your family history when it comes to alcoholism. If it’s in your family history, you have to be extra cautious and aware of what’s going on because it really depends on YOU. If you’re struggling with your mental health, not everyone knows what’s going on inside your mind 24/7 especially if you don’t speak up. You are the only person who really knows. I rarely saw my parents pick up a drink my entire life and for that, I’m grateful. However, it can still get passed down in your family line.
WHAT DID I DO?
I don’t know why it always seems to happen this way, but sometimes it takes a terrible thing to happen to know that something is no longer right for you. I had hit enough lows to realize it was certainly a problem, especially the meaner I became. So right then, I knew I had to stop and I did. I quit alcohol cold turkey after a big scare. I started trading after work beers for long runs at the beach cliffs which eventually turned into taking Pilates classes. It opened up an entire new gateway that I needed at the time.
For the first time in my life, I fell in love with the way exercise made me FEEL! When I started to increase my exercise routine, my drinking began to decrease. You know why? Because I was replacing going out with late night workouts. I continue to see exercise as a gift to myself and now a gift that I have the privilege of sharing with others as a teacher. I learned that I really just needed to just sober up to get curious about my real self and relieve stress through exercise instead.
As I continued to put each foot forward, day by day, it led me to my favorite practices — Pilates and Barre. I continue to release those endorphins through barre, pilates, dance, walking, hiking, and beach cruising. You can apply that to your favorite exercise or hobby! The key is just putting in a little more effort baby steps at a time!
Exercise has helped me tremendously. Is exercise the answer to everyone’s and even all of my own problems? No. However, it opened up my door to self care and made me realize that I had a problem. I stopped obsessing over body image because I was focusing on the challenges of exercise and the way my body could move. I stopped worrying about the past as much because mentally it helped me move forward and grow as I got stronger not only in my body, but in my mind as well. And when I became a fitness instructor, it helped me overcome social anxiety more than anything ever has because it pushed me to step up and use my voice to be a positive leader for those trying to learn. Again, I’m not perfect and I still have to put in the work every single day just like many of us do!
Exercising while trying to connect the body to mind is a big deal in my opinion. Moving my body has been a form of therapy my entire life starting with dance classes as a toddler. I gave it up during some harder times in my life without knowing that it’s just a part of who I am. It may have taken me a long time to see a clearer path because I didn’t feel deserving of so many things, but it led me here. For that, I’m grateful.
Along the way I’ve also learned that constantly seeking validation from others is dangerous so remember that YOU are worth it. YOU DESERVE IT. You are deserving of anything you set your mind and heart to. Try not to listen to any negative thoughts or noise that surround you. Shame on those who try to dim your light or make you feel guilty for wanting to chase after the things that make your heart beat in all the good ways. Only YOU know the deeper reasons for where you need to go next in life.
HOW I MANAGE TODAY
Truth is I’d rather be at the Barre than being in a bar. Overall, I don’t care to drink much anymore, but I will drink occasionally with friends and family. That’s also not to say that when I get with friends I drink every time. I’ve made friends along the way who are on a similar path/are supportive of this, which has helped me stay on track.
After a lot of inner work and consideration, I have chosen to drink in moderation again because I’m in a way better mindset after learning about myself during a sober process. I understand my limits much better and I know what’s best for me at this point in my life. I’m a human and still slip sometimes, but it’s always going to be ok! I try not to beat myself up about it anymore and just move forward.
LITTLE THINGS THAT HAVE HELPED ME MANAGE
- Learning how to get over FOMO (=fear of missing out). Phew! That was a big one at first.
- Revisiting old hobbies as well as finding new hobbies.
- Making cute mocktails.
- Holding something in my hand at an event, even if it’s just water.
- Hitting up the snacks and appetizers at gatherings. Yes, I might steal all of your snacks!
- It goes without saying, always eating a meal beforehand.
- Just listening to music and dancing.
- Going for a lower % alcohol.
- Overall, surrounding myself with those who understand the type of support I need.
This process has not been an easy one, but every hard aspect has been incredibly worth it. I wake up everyday asking myself, “How can I make it a good day not only for myself, but for those around me as well?” I strongly encourage you to get help if you find yourself struggling. I hope you know how amazing you truly are and how many people really do love you whom are willing to listen even when you are in the darkest of places. Realizing that you have a problem (whatever it may be) is the biggest step and half of the work! Talk to somebody. Once you let it out, you will most likely begin to feel better from there and learn where you need to go next.
Your vulnerability is a superpower. Don’t forget it and keep making brave moves because it will only make you stronger. I’m always open your questions, so don’t be afraid to reach out. Let’s stay connected ❤️