I’m actually so nervous - like my body knows the uncertainty that awaits me. I’m feeling resistance and fear. It started in the LCBO when I walked in ready to look for the bottle that would serve as my goodbye to alcohol. As I walked over to the vintages section I felt my breath shorten and my heart rate increase a little bit. I found myself saying “it’s ok”, “everything will be fine”, “it’s not a big deal”, “you can do this”…
But it IS a big deal - at least to me.
For so long, alcohol has been a main staple in my life and even though my entire relationship with alcohol has changed and become much healthier, it’s still been there. At least it has been a possibility at a family dinner - okay, so maybe I’m not drinking five glasses of wine like I used to but even having the option to drink one was nice.
I perused the vintages section for about ten minutes, carefully examining the bottles. I knew I wanted a Cab Sav from California - something full bodied and smooth. I went in thinking of Rodney Strong, Stags Leap and a few other quality bottles but my eyes were drawn to the locked cabinet. Inside was a Stags Leap Cab Sav that I hadn’t seen before and a few others I didn't recognize. I decided to walk to the front of the store and ask for someone’s opinion on the wines I was considering.
I was happy to see that Ann (though she wouldn’t remember me, I remember really liking her any time I have had a wine question) was helping me. As we walked over, I told her this bottle of wine was a little bit special in that it would be my last glass or bottle of wine for the next year. She was shocked but intrigued and spent the next 15 minutes or so with me making sure I selected the right bottle.
With a few options, we discussed my favourite wines and the how the potential selections added up. I told her my fears for going with a wine, what I didn’t want from it and she stood by the bottle as her selection.
I trusted her and out it came. She handed it to me and I’ll tell you, it really felt at home in my hands. Once I saw the label and the name up close, it held even more significance for me.
The label shows a man chained and shackled both by his feet and his hands. Behind him is a deep red sky and his head is bowed.
For years I have felt like a prisoner to alcohol and before that, to weed. I felt that change was out of my control and that the easiest and hardest thing to do would be to continue with my current lifestyle. For years, I woke up feeling like shit from drinking too much the night before, only to drink again the following night.
Not anymore. I have no idea if I want to be sober forever, but I sure am ready to see what it's like on the other side. I'm ready to see what stepping into my full potential looks like.
And with my family there to support me, I took my last sip of wine for a full year.