For the longest time, I couldn’t imagine my life without alcohol. I privately wrestled with what to do about my drinking. I had a lot of good reasons for wanting to learn how to not need alcohol as a crutch, but without fail I always came back to this one thought:
Does this mean I won’t be able to have a glass of champagne at my wedding?
It might sound silly, but the idea of not having a glass of bubbly to celebrate that moment was really painful.
The interesting thing was that getting married was not something I had always dreamed of. Truthfully, I was skeptical of the institution and often told people I didn’t see myself headed in that direction. Why then was I so obsessed with not having a champagne toast at an event I didn’t even think I wanted?
It took me a long time to understand what was going on. I wasn’t fixated on the champagne toast because I had always pictured my wedding (I hadn’t) or because I loved champagne (I didn’t). I was fixated on a champagne toast because of what I thought it symbolized.
Getting married and raising a glass of bubbly was just what everyone did. It was normal. If I chose to stop drinking, I wouldn’t be able to take part in a time-honored ritual. It made me feel broken.
I work with women on the stories they have around drinking not only because these beliefs often act as barriers to change, but also because most people have never considered how deeply ingrained they are.
Understanding what your stories symbolize for you goes a long way toward making them less potent.
When the day came, and my husband and I toasted to our union, the contents of my glass didn’t matter at all. Some of our friends and family celebrated with champagne. Others, like me, didn’t.
The decision not to drink on my wedding day wasn’t fraught and it wasn’t a struggle. I didn't feel like I was missing out because I finally realized how little sway this story had over me.