Entertainment, Katie McDowell

Sobriety is possible, even enjoyable — I swear

Katie McDowell
Katie McDowell

Sometime back around 2013, I was put on a 10-day course of strong antibiotics to battle an infection I had.

When prescribing the drugs, the doc was adamant: I was to stay away from alcohol the entire time, as ingesting it while taking the pills could make me “super sick.”

“I mean it,” I still recall her saying. “Not even mouthwash. You will puke everywhere.”

“Got it,” I told her. “No sweat.”

The truth, of course, was that I was sweating it very much, indeed.

I hadn’t gone a week without a drink for long, long time — never mind 10 whole days.

Not that I was waking up and chugging vodka every morning — I was never that kind of drunk. But at least a few nights a week there was a beer or eight firmly in my hand. Or a couple bottles of wine consumed with friends — both of those bottles being all mine, of course.

The prospect of going booze-free for the next 240-plus hours was not an exciting one, but I was and remain a gal who hates to barf. So I mustered my will and carried on.

By the last two days, I was Googling every version I could conjure of the query, “how many hours after finishing metronidazole can I drink?”

Once given the green light by Dr. Internet, I invited some buddies over and was back to true blackout form.

It was the longest stretch I’d experienced sans alcohol in probably decades and would hold that distinction until 2017, when, on April 22, I threw back my last cocktail, for hopefully ever.

Today, I’m happy to celebrate a solid five years sober. And I can tell you, without any bull—, my life is better in every way.

I’ve written about my drinking on numerous occasions in this space — during the Before Times and since going dry. So I hesitate to get too in the weeds with the details of the how and why and what of deciding to stop.

Suffice it to say it was a long time coming, and my most overdue break-up to date (which for me is saying something).

Getting sober is one of those things that’s somehow completely unique to each person and also fairly universal for those who have done it. The exact situations leading up to the decision, and the precise steps taken thereafter, certainly won’t be identical. But few of us likely thought it we could do it, or made the choice to try lightly.

For me, it hasn’t been that difficult. For others, it’s a day-by-day, hour-by-hour, moment-by-moment struggle.

Interestingly, April is National Alcohol Awareness Month — a fact I only recently found out, and a coincidence I enjoy, given its significance in my life.

I hope it may also serve as inspiration for anyone out there wondering if now might be the time to end their troubling drinking cycle.

I promise you one thing: It is possible.

You need only start with today.

For help, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 24/7, at 1-800-662-4357.

Katie McDowell is the managing editor and lifestyles columnist for The Dominion Post. Email kmcdowell@dominionpost.com if you need a pep talk on this subject.