Wicked hangovers. Scary blackouts. Ugly fights with friends. The results of binge drinking weigh heavily on Lisa May Bennett. She tries repeatedly to savor “just a few” glasses of wine—only to find herself passed out on the couch again.
Lisa has a bucket list full of exciting adventures with zero check marks next to them. Her anxiety and self-doubt are crying out for real solutions, not more booze. And her dream of becoming a published writer is fading away. She worries that her love of a good buzz will keep her stuck in this rut. Can she take charge of her life, or is she headed for a disastrous rock bottom?
This touching and funny memoir explores the childhood experiences that paved the way for Lisa’s drinking habit. She examines her complicated relationship with her mother, her experiences as a late bloomer, and her ongoing search for validation. In an engaging and relatable voice, the author shares how she began to “unfurl” without alcohol holding her back. But will she stay sober and discover how to truly thrive? Anyone wondering if they'll ever burst out and follow their dreams will find My Unfurling compelling and hopeful.
How I Reset My Life by Quitting Drinking
For many years, decades actually, I was an enthusiastic drinker. I couldn’t imagine a Friday night, a fancy dinner, or getting together with friends without an alcoholic beverage. It helped me relax after a stressful week, and it made the good times seem even better. You could say that drinking was my main hobby, along with watching TV and cooking (both of which could be done with a bottomless glass of wine).
Sure, I often drank way too much, which resulted in some bad nights. I was no stranger to blacking out, getting into nasty arguments, or making a fool of myself. But I always thought quitting drinking was for people whose lives were totally falling apart. We hear about those big “rock bottoms” people hit—losing your job, getting in a car accident, discovering your health is at risk, being arrested, or losing custody of your kids. These are the experiences that are supposed to send you straight into recovery.
I didn’t hit one of those rock bottoms. So, every time I pondered whether my relationship with alcohol was toxic, I concluded that it wasn’t that bad. Except for that one time. Oh, and that other time. But otherwise, I was good, right? When I hit middle age, I started wondering if there was more to life. Was my routine way too routine? I had a bucket list of fun things that I wanted to try—none of which were getting checked off. Most importantly, I had dreamed of becoming a published author since I was a kid, and that had gone nowhere.
I did a lot of thinking about what was standing in the way of these things I desired. Watching less TV would definitely open up more time, and cutting back my social media scrolling was a no-brainer. But after going alcohol-free during a 30-day food elimination program, quitting drinking started to emerge as the potential key to resetting my life. Several more years passed before I finally made the decision to part ways with alcohol. I don’t know if I had been waiting for a serious rock bottom. A different kind of sign—an online essay kind of like this one is what finally pushed me off the fence.
Once I stopped, a reinvigorated life began to unfold. I checked off many of those bucket-list items, and I’m still adding to the list. I finally returned to my writing, and I authored and self-published a memoir. (And I’m working on book two.) Maybe I never would have hit a true rock bottom. Maybe I didn’t have a “real” problem, as some people close to me have suggested. But I think it was a problem that I was more attached to drinking than I was to fulfilling my dreams.
So, if you’re looking for a sign, take it from me—you don’t have to wait for a big, scary one. Maybe this is your notice that life can get much more interesting than you ever imagined once you give alcohol the boot.
About the Author
Lisa May Bennett is the author of the memoir My Unfurling: Emerging from the Grip of Anxiety, Self-Doubt, and Drinking. She had a flourishing career in marketing and communications for more than two decades before finally embracing sobriety and chasing her dream of becoming an author. Her upcoming book will demystify the self-publishing process, and she hopes to encourage more people to tell and publish their own stories.
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