As I celebrate my 12th year of sobriety, I have come to realize the true impact the decision to not drink alcohol has had on my life. When we make the conscious choice to stop drinking alcoholic beverages, begin to overcome the obstacles in front of us and work towards a more mindful life, the lens through which we see ourselves changes drastically. Before I chose sobriety, I had no idea how to love, respect, trust and defend myself. To choose myself was a concept I didn’t even know existed and was the most difficult to put into action, especially after almost a decade of escapism, self-sabotage and destruction due to addiction.
It really isn’t about the drink, to be honest. In no way do I blame alcoholic beverages, but it is the alcohol, the mind-altering aspect within these beverages, which wreaked havoc on my life for almost a decade. I just couldn’t control its outcome once I had that first sip. I tried; I really did try. Yet, I couldn’t shake the claw-like grip it had on my psyche. Each time I drank, its hold clinched tighter and tighter as the consequences of my own actions piled up.
I am grateful to say I was able to jump off the tumultuous roller coaster ride on July 7, 2010. Since then, I have allowed myself to heal, and by doing so, I have learned to love, choose, defend and, most importantly, trust myself. This trust I have cultivated for myself is what led me on the path to where you find me today, working towards my WSET Sommelier certification and founding a non-alcoholic wine company, Teetotaler Wines.
Yes, I am a recovering alcoholic, but when I was drinking alcoholic beverages, I genuinely enjoyed a good glass of wine. It was the only aspect of drinking I missed. Please note that I have worked for over 25 years on and off in the hospitality industry as a server for some of the top restaurants in Toronto, so I developed a deep passion and appreciation for good food and wine and that all-encompassing dining experience. I didn’t drink just for the “buzz” as some do. My addiction was the result of consuming something I gained so much pleasure from, which additionally had a mind-altering aspect to it that led to my addiction and the consequences suffered thereof. I see it as two entirely different components.
Wine Without the Consequences
When I discovered non-alcoholic wine about eight years into my sobriety, it was a game-changer! Finally, after living without something good to drink for so long and especially not having something to enjoy while socializing or pairing with dinner, I have found what I have been yearning for! WINE! An adult, non-alcoholic beverage with complexity and delectable flavor profiles that I could pair with my favorite dishes. The pleasure I had gained from the ritual of the dining experience has returned and I wanted to share this with everyone.
Teetotaler Wines are a representation of my own passions and pleasures in life. The company was born out of wanting to create an adult beverage option for those of us who do not want to consume alcohol, be it for one night or permanently, but want to partake in the ritual of the dining experience, especially with dishes only wine can be paired with. I do not have to live without the pleasures of good food and wine, as non-alcoholic wines are just as pleasurable.
I am quite grateful for the obstacles that were placed in front of me so long ago, as I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without them. I have worked extremely hard over the past 12 years to feel safe within the wine space, be it with alcohol or not, as I have full trust and love for myself to continue to make the right decisions. The sense of inclusivity, validity and connection has finally returned, and my goal is to ensure others feel the same way, one sip at a time!