Life IS Better Sober
Dana Bowman is known to her thousands of adoring fans as Momsie. Through this portal, she shares her trials and tribulations as a mother with grace and large doses of humor. As her blog’s popularity grew, so did the feeling that she wasn’t giving her readers the complete and honest picture. She made the leap and came out of the closet as a recovering alcoholic.
By doing this she’s tapped into a deep well of experiences to share. She believes that – yes – mothers can survive motherhood and life without drinking wine.
“I will never forget when the publisher of my book contacted me and asked, ‘Would you write a book about alcoholism and recovery… but, could you be funny?’ and I laughed. Yes, I could be funny.” Wanting to help others with their journey to sobriety, she wrote, Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery which discusses her journey.
Dana told us, “If I can get sober, anyone can do it. But, I fought a fear of failure simply by taking my life one day at a time. Anyone can stay sober for 24 hours. Sometimes I had to break that down into increments, but once I put some days together and started to feel successful? It was working.
Dana Bowman’s drinking history wasn’t one that spanned from her teen years into her thirties. Her compulsion to drink was small and controllable during her twenties, which for many alcoholics seems like the short runway to a major wasteland. It was in her thirties, with a toddler in tow and adoring husband by her side, that her fight with alcohol was raging like a hurricane.
Her sobriety came with help from lots of others, and literally hanging onto it, one minute, one day at a time. As dire a subject as it is, Bowman keeps it light and her happiness in sobriety shows through her words. Her life mission now is to inspire others who need that extra push, prod or kick in the rear to get off the fence and make a commitment to sobriety. “I know you’re out there, you tired mommies, who might need this book. I hope reading it helps you as much as it helped me to write it.” Bottled walks the reader through her path into sobriety and captures her early months in sobriety. Her words offer empathy, comic relief, and encouragement for moms everywhere.
Recovery is hard and it doesn’t always stick the first time. Dana Bowman experienced relapse and once again found the gumption to go through the process of giving up alcohol again.
She told us, “I relapsed after some years in recovery and I feel it was because perfection had started to ‘rev up’ in my recovery again. Perfection is so hard to see — we think it’s kind of good and righteous and sort of okay to have it — like we’re padding our own resumes by telling people our main flaw is perfectionism, all the while knowing that it is actually a good thing.”
She continues, “Perfectionism is sneaky and it steals joy, and for me, that’s when I started to hurtle towards relapse when I started trying to make my family, my marriage, and even my recovery look ‘perfect.’ Knowing that she next wrote How to be Perfect Like Me, where she shares her story about the journey back to sobriety after relapsing. Dana Bowman’s books shed light on parenting young children while managing her recovery.
What is Momsie reading now? She told us:
“Re-reading Drinking a Love Story for the millionth time – Caroline Knapp.
The Art of Work by Jeff Goins – “just a really inspirational book about finding your creative voice, which really happened to me after I got sober.”
Girl Walks Out of a Bar by Lisa Smith – “I’m re-reading because I became friends with the author Lisa Smith on social media! So cool!”
Catherine Gray also found levity in the face of sobriety. In her book, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, Gray paints a picture of her path to recovery and the sobriety she found on the other side. The accessible, warm and light-hearted narrative doesn’t wallow in an endless litany of “drunkalogues.” It does provide enough detail though to make it enticing enough to want to go and grab a cup of coffee with the author.
“I discovered that I was about a million times happier sober than I ever had been while drinking. As were the hundreds of sober pals I picked up along the way,” Gray said.
The most important thing that Gray’s drinking habit stole from her was her self-respect. It was after she changed her view, and started liking herself again, did she see that she was worth saving. Her cravings for alcohol diminished the longer she was away from drinking. She identified how a glass of wine could seem like an instant road to relaxation or a way to tolerate the social anxiety of a dinner party with new people. Reframing and pausing that feeling before acting on it allowed sobriety and the authentic joy that came with it to grow.
Beyond the personal, she shines a light on society’s drink-pushing. Turn on any television show in prime time and especially during the late night shows, and try counting the number of ads for alcoholic beverages. As if the ads aren’t enough, it seems every sitcom involves someone having a glass of wine or cocktail. And during the holidays – one liquor advertisement after another.
David Streem, M.D., medical director of the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center at Cleveland Clinic, said in a 2017 survey that risky drinking behavior and alcohol use, in general, have increased especially in women and the elderly. For the last two decades, this has been a trend experts are keeping their eyes on.
Gray includes statistics and data in her book, as well as some of the neuroscience and psychology involved with alcoholism and substance abuse. Takeaway tips and research to support why sobriety is better are also included.
“I found myself with dozens of more hours in the week, heaps more energy, £23K more money over 4 years, deepened friendships, revived family relationships, better skin, a tighter body, tanned legs for the first time ever, the ability to sleep for eight uninterrupted hours, a bone-deep sense of wellbeing, a totally turned-around positive outlook and an infinitely more successful career. What’s not to like?!”
If you or someone you know needs help with alcohol or substance abuse, please reach out to:
SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-days-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
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