By Molly Patrick
I used to drink. A lot.
I was 14 the first time I got drunk. It was at a New Year’s Eve party and my best friend and I snuck pink Carlo Rossi from a box until the numbing effect of the sweet nectar led us outside to the cool night air where we laid on the damp grass, looked up at the sky and laughed until we cried. As I looked up at the night sky, it hit me. For the first time in my life I wasn’t overwhelmed or scared when I looked at the sky. My heavy thoughts were gone. I could contemplate the universe without breaking out into a cold sweat. I felt light. The world felt comfy. I had made my ongoing existential crisis take a nap, and I couldn’t wait to do it again.
This was the beginning. From this point forward, I always made room and exceptions for alcohol. It was my boo. Because as long as I was drinking, I had self-confidence. I was outgoing. I felt pretty. I could make people laugh. Without alcohol, all that went away and I extracted into my awkward shell. So I drank. A lot.
Over the years, the role of alcohol shifted, as all things do. It went from fun to an obligation that I had to keep up with. It went from a happy friend who you’re happy to see to a sinister family member that you can’t say no to. It went from appetizer to main course. It went from a social vice to a full-blown addiction.
I always knew that one day I would have to quit, but the thought of that day terrified me and I couldn’t even imagine it. Not only was it alcohol that I would have to say goodbye to, it was alcohol’s sidekick, cigarettes that would have to go too. So I kept putting it off.
My wake up call wasn’t a loud scream in my ear. I never had a DUI. There wasn’t an intervention. I wasn’t fired from my job. My relationship wasn’t in jeopardy. I was never hospitalized. Nope. I was very functioning. My wake up call was a gentle whisper that informed me that if I quit drinking, my life would be spectacular beyond my wildest dreams. And if I kept drinking, I would never live the life that I was put on this planet to live.
And so I started the process of saying goodbye to my sidekick of 21 years. This process came with false starts, try agains, anger, sadness, rage, depression, emptiness, learning, awakening, growing, stretching, holding on, letting go and ultimately, pure and utter joy. And a life that is spectacular beyond my wildest dreams.
It has been two years since I’ve been sober. If I had to pick one thing to share with you about my recovery, it’s this. Drinking didn’t bring me joy. It brought me pleasure. And pleasure and joy are two very different things. Pleasure comes from outside of you. Joy can only come from within. And contrary to what most people think, too much pleasure is certain death to joy.
So seek joy, my sweet one. You are deserving of it and it feels better than any pleasure you will ever experience.
A true modern hippie, I lived in a teepee as a wee one, then moved into an adobe house that my parents built by hand. We didn’t have indoor plumbing growing up, so it was outhouse city until I moved away for college. While I still have the free spirit, I also have a love affair with my Instant Pot, Netflix and indoor plumbing.
Most people can’t believe that I’ve never had a bite of meat in my life, especially when they hear I live with an omnivore. I was raised vegetarian, then I went vegan in 2009, and now I live a Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle. This doesn’t mean I do rain dances in the woods, or that I macrame my own sandals… it’s just an awesome way of eating that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds, grains & legumes. I started on this journey the same way anyone else has, by making a choice, and sticking to it. Now I get to help others become plant-based bosses. Through my no judgment approach, I have helped people across the globe eat more whole plant foods and less of everything else, through my weekly meal plans and Saturday emails.
I hold a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University in conjunction with the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. For over a decade I have been working in the plant-based field, and I am overjoyed that so many people are turning to a Whole Food Plant Based diet. I would love to help you on your journey too. Come check out how you can become a dirty gal or guy here. Don’t worry, we don’t bite… hard. You’ll also get all the love and support you need in the best group on facebook. Join us here for encouragement and support without an ounce of judgment.