Friday, April 26, 2013

Aha! This is who I was meant to be...

A little more than two years ago I was struggling to live day to day without a blood alcohol level. I didn't know who I was without a beer in my hand or a bottle of wine breathing on the counter. The early days of sobriety were highlighted by physical and emotional challenges.

Physically I experienced mood swings (i was a bitch), insomnia (thank goodness for Netflix), tremors (same as I would with a hangover) and a relentless preoccupation with alcohol (did that server just ask if I'd like something form the bar?). Many of those uncomfortable symptoms of detoxification were treatable with beer...however that wasn't the plan, so a bit of Valium served as a replacement (that's another story).

Retrospectively, I would identify the emotional upheaval I experienced as the most difficult part of choosing sobriety. I had an identity crisis. I doubted that there was a place for me in the world without alcohol. My friends drank and the social circles I travelled in were rooted in alcohol. My distorted perception of what a good life was, lead me to believe that as a sober girl, I would never have fun again.

Last Sunday I ran the Toronto Yonge Street 10k race and it was better than fun. It was rewarding and inspiring. Running my a** off has replaced partying my a** off (true story) and I am having a blast. There are the obvious rewards like feeling great physically and mentally, but I have also happened upon a few things about my new life that I did not expect.

Over the eight week period leading up to TYS10k, I was part of a circle of people, gathered by Canada Running Series, known as #digitalchampions. We were given the task of blogging and tweeting about the upcoming race. My first reaction after being invited to be a #digitalchampion was disbelief. I thought they were confused about who I was. I am not a decorated champion runner. I don't hang out with elite athletes. Jenna Pettinato at CRS assured me that they were right in choosing me.

It would seem that they remembered a post I made when I was a contestant in the blog contest hosted by My post highlighted my experience at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (half marathon) in 2012 Once it was confirmed that there was no mistake, I began to enjoy tweeting and blogging about the upcoming event.

Last Sunday I dragged 2 friends and my husband along to the race. My husband is always race support as the farthest he runs is the distance between bases, and @TamaraConroy3 and @PaulaVollick were just lucky enough to get conned into running with me. We all had great races. The event was well organized and the course was fantastic. You can't beat running down the middle of Yonge Street with thousands of other runners. It is uplifting to hear only the sounds of footsteps hitting the pavement in a place that is usually so full of the sounds of traffic.

I am learning every day that there are so many things that make up who I am. In the early days of giving up the booze, I had no idea that there would be days ahead that were better than being a drunken party girl, but those days are now. The lifestyle I identify with most now, is one of health, fitness and friends who are like minded. I have discovered that I love to write and I love to inspire others. I was ashamed to tell my story at one time, and now I realize that sharing my experience is what has released the burden of shame. I wouldn't give a moment of this up for even a sip Keith's (even though I can imagine how good that would taste). My future and my family's future is so much brighter because of the choice I made to break up with Ernest and Julio Gallo and their friends. I miss those guys, but I am truly better off without them.

Thanks to CRS for giving me the opportunity to digichamp for TYS10k. Your belief that I had something valuable to offer the running community is humbling and empowering.