Blessed: A Year Without Alcohol

On a particularly toasty summer day, July 5, 2021, I made a promise to myself and to the Lord that I would not drink alcohol for one solid year. It wasn’t because I had an alcohol addiction. It wasn’t because of a brush with the law or any type of dangerous situation. It definitely wasn’t because I was trying to be a good Baptist or holier than those around me.

It was simply because I had no boundaries and was not well-behaved when I would consume alcohol. Specifically, my drinks of choice were margaritas and martinis. It was one or the other, never both on the same night. (Margaritas with Mexican food and Martini with everything else!)

I never really drank alcohol during the week unless it was a social function and I never drank at home alone, rarely ever kept any of it at my house. My favorite way to unwind was to go to dinner with friends and consume as many drinks as it took to laugh my troubles away. Sounds innocent enough but it just wasn’t sitting well with my soul because deep down, I knew that I was not respecting the healthy limits of only having one or two drinks.

I wasn’t drinking because I was thirsty, I was drinking because I wanted to loosen up…or reach a level of relaxation that one drink didn’t offer.

I never realized how hard this past year was going to be and how much alcohol had become a welcomed habit. The first big test came with a birthday dinner for my friend the following fall and the next test came when I went on a weekend-long bachelorette trip with my beloved friends. Then, came my birthday. I tried to reason with that close friend that I truly needed just one Martini to celebrate. It couldn’t be a birthday without a Lemon Drop Martini.

My friend, being the strong woman that she is would not let me fail. My closest friends and daughters knew that I had given up the sauce for a year and they were determined to help me meet my mark. So, no birthday drinking drink for me. Right before Thanksgiving came a wedding for that friend, in which I was officiating, no champagne toast here.

Christmas bells soon began to ring as the New Year was rolling in. Still no celebratory drinks. It was right around this time that I started to worry, it was as if I wasn’t sure who I was social without having a drink. I would leave parties early, I wouldn’t attend certain events where I would normally have a few drinks with friends. I was truly struggling with my identity without a drink in my hand.

As I said goodbye to Valentine’s Day and Easter I felt like I was in the home stretch. I was feeling confident until I took my daughter and her friend to a local Italian restaurant. For some reason, while I was there, I had to the overwhelming urge to have a glass of wine. Just one. One glass of red wine to accompany my dinner. It may have been because the sweet waitress asked if I wanted a glass of wine with my dinner… I don’t know… but I was truly considering it. Just as I was ready to throw away a year’s worth of hard work and reflection, my daughter and her friend said, “You have almost made it one year without one single drop of alcohol, you got this!”

No sooner than these words left their lips, the aforementioned sweet waitress looked at me with the most sincere and supportive face and said, “It’s okay, my mom was alcoholic too and I totally understand.”

Both of the girls at my table looked down to keep from laughing at me but there may have been some truth bells ringing in those waitress’ words. Was I on the road to becoming one? I cannot answer that question but what I can say is that I did in fact make it an entire year without booze with the help of the Lord and some very good friends.

For the past few years, I have been growing in my relationship with the Lord and he slowly began to show me that I did not need the liquid encouragement to have a good time with my friends. I didn’t need the alcohol to merely unwind. My friends and family still loved me regardless of whether I had a glass in hand or not. His love is never-ending, so he didn’t cease his affection when I was drinking too much.

These are lies that the world wants us to believe, we cannot have a good time being a follower of Christ.

Everyone has their own walk, their own salvation story, and their own way of recognizing what brings them close to the Lord. For me, he wanted me to live a cleaner life than I was living and wanted me to walk more closely beside him. This walk wasn’t about just cutting out drinking, it was about relying on God and putting him first.

I am so grateful for my salvation story, even the missing pages or the pages with smudged ink, and crinkled and tattered edges.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – Jame 5:16