This Is Virginia Kerr

How I outed myself to find accountability, freedom and joy. A life without alcohol.

I only write here on the days I have the discipline, strength and guts to do it. Everytime I write I get a vulnerability hangover.

I go back. Reread what I wrote. And always want to delete it.

Why did you say that? What will people think? I leave it be.

So it stays. Sits here for all to see. Dirty laundry flapping in the wind.

I thought this season was depression, then I was afraid it was self-sabotaging isolation then I was again convinced it was depression.

I just couldn’t catch the feeling. I couldn’t put my head around it. I’m not sad. Just aware.

The other night I took my son to a movie. We ordered hamburgers and were both looking forward to sitting in the big fancy chairs. The kind that recline.

As I took a bite of my burger I was confused. Why did it seem as though I’d never eaten this before? I knew it had been a while. But this was my fourth or fifth time here and we always ordered burgers. Every time.

Then it hit me. I always ordered my son a burger but no food for me. Instead I would get a double Chardonnay to start and maybe eat a few fries of his. Wouldn’t want a full stomach to prevent my buzz.

As sick as that was, when I realized that while chewing my bite of burger – I was so proud of myself. So proud of how far I’ve come.

“I would never drive my son while under the influence.” That was a rule of mine. One I broke last year.

For someone who has a relationship with alcohol like I do: drinking rules will always be broken..eventually.

And in that moment I realized I had not even thought about the theater bar or drinking the entire day until then. I didn’t want to drink. I was ecstatic to be present with my son. And thankful that I could be.

Ditching alcohol has cleared my mind but the not-running has quieted my head. Tuned out the white noise. I don’t just feel- I listen too. I hear the voice I was trying to drown out for so long. The voice of self reflection. The real me buried under denial.

Quitting drinking opened up a pathway to something that I’ve been avoiding for so long.

I was on the phone with a man this summer. It was a business call. He said something that may sound like a compliment but it seared into my brain as a harsh judgement.

“You’re not typical.” He said. “You do big things. You don’t stop until you reach your goal.”

I took it as though he was saying I was not approachable, relatable or accessible.

I didn’t know how to respond. I accepted his description. After all he doesn’t really know me. I simply replied, “yes, when I believe in something I go full throttle to see it through.”

And that is true. But is that completely true?

Or is their another reason I run so much. Juggle? Do? Fix?

Yes. Quite a few reasons I believe. Fear. Shame. Anxiety. Self doubt. Pride. They’re under piles of rubble. They are what lie beneath.

Reach another goal…you will be happier.. gain another will be admired. Complete another project…you will be content.

But I never was. There was always another project. Another goal. And the thought of not reaching them..well I didn’t let that happen.

I said yes to everything and everybody…because I didn’t want to let them down. I kept myself so busy that I was numbed out morning to night. And then the wine would shut my mind off so I could sleep.

Last year when I failed to quit drinking something inside me changed. I didn’t see it as a failure, I saw it as practice for when I really quit. I knew deep down that a switch was flipped. That the game was over.

This life of running and chasing and wishing and hoping. Denying. Was winding down. In fact the motor was off..the mental hamster wheel was losing its momentum. The train was slowing to a stop.

The energy to run was dwindling. Pair that with the fact I stopped drowning my thoughts each night in alcohol.. I now had nothing but time and truth.

I really don’t know who I am. I’ve been so consumed with making sure everyone else approves or is impressed..that my reputation as a doer and achiever is intact..that I never really asked what I think about me..because I didn’t want to know the answer.

And so I am here. In the purest, rawest most vulnerable state I’ve ever been. And while it is extremely uncomfortable and confusing and quite frightening..I’m excited.

This is what rebuilding is all about. I had to turn off the sound machine of distractions. I had to be still.

I had to get down far enough to reach my foundation. That’s where I have to start. With the Core. With my soul.

Everyday I lay another brick of clarity and make sure it’s securely layered in grace and forgiveness.

Funny thing is, I’m anything but lonely. I’m enjoying this time. I don’t allow pressure. No expectations. No deadlines.

God is preparing me for something.

He has greater plans. They may not be significant in the world’s eyes but they will be meaningful nevertheless.

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