Anxiety + Alcohol

This week marks my 2 year re-sober* anniversary. BUT I’ve decided to count ALL of the years. So… minus the brief affair that woke me back up, I am celebrating TEN years total. Bam. TEN!

*Although I prefer the term “alcohol- free” because sounds more like a choice that brings freedom. And it most definitely has.

TEN years of clarity.

TEN years of gift-giving to myself and the ones I love the most.

TEN years of an easy/difficult choice. Easy because I know myself better. Difficult because society doesn’t approve. But that doesn’t bother me anymore.

The gifts I’ve received in exchange for not drinking are numerous, but the “big one”, is my mental health. The anxiety that I used to suffer with daily is almost non-existent. And that is un-medicated and in the middle of a pandemic! Don’t get me wrong- there have been times that I’ve desired an escape. Fantasized about just one drink. But for me, there was never one drink.

And I know that if I were to start drinking again- even in moderation- anxiety would laugh and show up at my house. Uninvited, but sitting on the welcome mat, grinning by the door I left wide-ass-open.

Many women who struggle with alcohol also struggle with anxiety and depression, and I think there are many women who don’t see the correlation. Plus, alcohol is so mainstream in our society, it doesn’t seem like a negotiable option in living life. Many think that alcohol makes them feel better. For me, the first glass made me feel “better”. But I realize now that the first glass was just getting me back to a state of equilibrium that I had eroded over time with constant (albeit small) consumption.

When I decided to quit again, I reached out to two sober friends and they both recommended I read THIS NAKED MIND by Annie Grace. Wow. Such an eye-opener about the reality and truth about the substance and social acceptance of one of society’s most dangerous drugs. I finally understood that alcohol negatively affects me physically, mentally and spiritually, and I knew it had to go- again.

I love what Dr. Caroline Leaf says: Anxiety & depression are injuries not identities. They are injuries that flare up when you are not doing something right or when something around you is not right.

My mind, body and spirit all tried to tell me. Alcohol is not right for me. Anxiety (which leads to depression) flares up when I drink alcohol even in small quantities over time. My mental health is not worth the momentary escape of alcohol. The negative effects linger and erode who I am at my core.

I hit the ground running with “all of the things” I knew to do to get in a better mental space when anxiety showed up again in my life, but I believe that the most impactful, simple and yet difficult choice was giving up alcohol again. I had re-introduced it when I realized that a belief I had held on to was faulty: I thought that as long as I didn’t drink, I wouldn’t have panic attacks or debilitating anxiety.

When the structure I built that belief on in my mind crumbled and I started to experience panic again- completely sober, I made the poor choice to start drinking again. Why not? But the truth was this: while sobriety didn’t safeguard me from panic completely- it greatly reduced my anxiety for 8 years of my life. (now TEN!!!) Years that I’m positive would have been devastatingly different had I continued down the path I was on.

Believe it or not, I am not anti-alcohol. But I am anti-alcohol for me. Maybe it doesn’t effect you negatively. Like my wise Life Coach Vikki tells me at every one of our meetings, “If something I say resonates with you- sow it your heart. BUT if it doesn’t, throw that shit out the window when you leave.” I love her.

Maybe this isn’t for you. But maybe the hardest thing will be the simplest.

If you are struggling with anxiety and depression, maybe you should find out. Take a month off. Read This Naked Mind. You owe it to yourself to do whatever is in your power to maintain your mental health and positive well-being.

“When you know better, you do better.” – Maya Angelou

But you owe it to yourself to know.

Love and Light,



When it’s time for me to write, I light a candle. It was a suggestion from Bob Goff’s book Dream Big, not specifically (he puts a hat on), but a piece of writerly advice to signal the brain that it’s time to write. I love it because it also reminds me of why I write. To be light, and through my writing, give light (hope) to others.

It’s only a small single flame. Not much light at all- especially during the day. But interestingly enough, if I were to take my candle into my closet and surround it with complete darkness the flame wouldn’t dull. In fact- and you know this- it would be brighter.

Because darkness can’t eliminate the light when it’s shining. It can only accentuate it.

New Years Eve was so different this year. The images of New York with masked MC’s and people in spaced out pens reminded all of us watching that 2020 has been a shared experience that no one will ever forget.

But even with the evident changes in celebration the overall spirit of welcoming the New Year seemed palpable- especially this year. The sentiment seems collective: Good riddance 2020! We’re counting on you 2021!


It is necessary for survival.

I have ALWAYS loved New Years Day. A New Beginning. A New opportunity to choose again. A fresh page on a new planner. A new HOPE that THIS year will be better than the last. (They should probably sell 2021 planners a month a time with all the “pivoting” going on. 😉 Maybe the “month of the month club”?)

But there was a part of my spirit that was hesitant. A tiny thought that maybe 2021 won’t be better than 2020. What if things don’t change? What if they get worse? I quickly silenced that voice. They have to.

The truth is, I’m not sure what the future holds for the New Year. But I do know, that we have to HOPE.

“Had to have high, high hopes for a living…” – Panic at the Disco

I’ve heard depression defined as the feeling that current circumstances will never change. And as someone who has experienced clinical depression in the past, I concur. Hopelessness is a rabbit hole of mental-ill health and honestly, that has been one of my greatest concerns during this Covid crisis. I worry about people with no hope. And I understand the desperation for a cure, a champion and a solution to our current problems.

Hope comes through each other. It ebbs and flows from person to person and we need to cling to hope even if its source doesn’t come from within us. Especially when it doesn’t. We need others to see and find the hope, he light in the darkness, and pull us toward it collectively when individually we don’t have the vision or the strength.

The good news is: You only need a little. Like my candle in the closet, a little light is enough to show the way out of the darkness. Hope lives on, no matter how small.

If you are a Jesus follower than you have Hope even if you don’t feel it. It is there. Maybe you need to surround yourself with more light-givers. People who will light your path and fan the small flame of Hope in your heart.


It is necessary for survival.

Be the Light.

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:4-5

What star? THAT star?

In December, I had notifications pop up on my phone and social media posts telling me about a rare and natural phenomena that was to occur the week of Christmas. They called it “The Christmas Star” because much like in the story of Jesus’ birth, multiple planets in our solar system would cross paths and appear to almost intersect in the sky forming a larger than normal “star”.

The rarity of event coupled with it happening around Christmas seemed so magical to me, and my heart was filled with joy and anticipation leading up to that week. I reposted, shared and told just about everyone I could to look to the sky when the time came. I felt in my soul this was a gift from God for ALL mankind and just on time as we said goodbye to a difficult and uncertain year.

And then the night came.

My mom came over and I forced the kids into the car to chase down the BEST view of the Christmas Star. I checked the weather channel (and FaceBook) for the time and coordinates, parked the car in a Waffle House parking lot and looked up. There were stars. And a couple of brighter ones. But nothing impressive. Maybe two that were close? I texted an equally excited neighbor and he assured me I was indeed looking I the correct direction. I looked again and asked my kids and mom, “Do you see anything?” “That looks like two stars.” “Is that IT?”

Surely not.

I pulled out my phone to check FaceBook again, and opened my eyes one a time, in an attempt to delay the realization that I was dreading: THAT WAS IT. Friends and happy-neighbor-guy were posting pictures of the same dang thing I saw in the sky: two unimpressive, nearly touching, one bigger-than the other stars that if you crossed your eyes for a moment they may appear as one, but there was certainly nothing magical about it. “Mooooom, is THAT it?” Ugh. “I think that’s it guys.”

Every Christmas movie that I had ever seen had got it wrong.

I was completely underwhelmed and little pissed off if I’m being honest. (Just me?) I was disappointed in the star and also at my reaction to it. I read a few posts from others who were “amazed” and “moved to tears” witnessing such a glorious sight in the skies. They quoted scripture and praised the heavens. What is wrong with me? Did I miss something? That was not at all what I expected or hoped. I was looking for something BIG. Something meaningful. I rolled my eyes, switched off my phone and went home to bake cookies for Santa with the kids- at least that will be exciting.

I kept all these thoughts to myself (because I was ashamed of my bad attitude) but as Christmas came, I wondered if the actual Christmas Star on the night of Jesus’ birth didn’t blow up the night sky like in the movies. I mean, why wasn’t everyone following this star instead of just three men? Maybe because it was lame-o. (Please Lord don’t strike me.) Maybe if the actual Christmas Star was MGM Fabulous EVERYONE near Bethlehem would have noticed (and followed) and Herod wouldn’t have had to ask the Wise Men to clarify the location of the New King/Baby.

And that’s another thing. His people were on the lookout for a Savior. Mighty. Powerful. Someone impressive. A Warrior perhaps. A baby?

Surely not.  

The details of the Christmas story are so familiar to us and glamorized, that we forget how utterly underwhelming it must have been in reality. The King of Glory was coming to earth to save his people and that was it?

No one anticipated a baby.

No one was looking in feed stalls. (gross)

No one imagined smelly animal witnesses.

No one expected dirty shepherds to be the first ones notified.

And only three men were wise enough to follow that sort-of-maybe-brighter-than-the-rest star that night. But unlike the rest of the sleepy town, they had eyes to see and hearts that could hold the message. So they followed.

The Weather Channel, happy-neighbor-guy (and I’m assuming you) were right. The “Christmas Star” of 2020 was a unique and rare sight to behold. (One that won’t show up again until I’m 101). And I’m grateful to have witnessed it, not because it blew my mind. It did not. But because it opened my eyes to see that God rarely shows up in the way we want him to.

But he consistently shows up in the small things of life. The unassuming and the ordinary.

I can only hope to grow in wisdom that I can also see and appreciate the significance of seemingly insignificant things. The grandeur in the grand scheme of everyday life. I don’t want to miss out on any divine appointments just because they don’t live up to my larger-than-life expectations.

I pray that I will be a noticer of small things…

With ears to hear, eyes to see and a heart wide-open to receive the magnitude of each moment.