Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath oh Fresh Air

Hearts and Thoughts

on March 28, 2015

A little over two and a half years ago, I made a decision that changed my life: I stopped drinking alcohol.

My inspiration to do this was external (although truth being told my internal voices felt vindicated). I have a strong (you say addictive, I say you’re right) personality; so when I like something, good OR bad, I go all in. So, for me, getting all out was life-changing, and easily one of the best decisions I have made to date.

Cutting out alcohol for me was like finding the out door to the rabbit hole, leaving behind the chaos of the (long island iced) tea party. Just saying no was a catalyst to a new world of yes; to a better version of my life, one I may never have been present for without taking that step.

Last weekend, I was out with a good friend I have known for over twenty years. We were out having what I thought was a great time. And then he said to me, “I miss the old Jen”.

I wasn’t caught off guard completely, as I had experienced feeling this (without it actually being said) when hanging with friends from my partying past. It’s like they don’t know “how to act around me” anymore, and am not sure if I am going to “still be fun”. Conversations are sometimes awkward (or maybe we never had much to talk about anyway).

But this guy had the balls to say something, which I can choose to be mad about or respect. Truthfully I go back and forth on that one, but a few days of reflection and I can see now that his statement was more about his state of mind, his own reflection, versus being about me.

But I understood what he meant… I get the nostalgia, and sometimes I feel it too. The girl I was could let go and jump into the hazed and infused without looking back. She could get crazy and forget about life for a while. The girl I am today doesn’t do that. She chooses not to.

All week I have been thinking about this: did quitting drinking just change my life, or did it also change who I am? Or did things just finally become clearer, encouraging and allowing me to become and grow into the person I have always been?

I wouldn’t, and I can’t, change where I have been; those experiences, good or bad, drunk or sober, helped me meet and realize me. And when I say that, I come to the conclusion that I changed by not changing at all.

I am comfortable in my own skin. I am all here and all in on this part of my journey. I am in awe of the people in my life I have the privilege to love. I am right where I want to be, and I am right where I am supposed to be. Unhealthy distraction is simply unwelcome and unnecessary.

I am the girl who I have always been; I just no longer need a vice to ignore her or to be her. I have confidence and a healthy self-esteem. I am present and accepting; I am grateful and forgiving. I work each day to be compassionate and genuine. I may not be the most humble person, but it’s because I am too excited and really damn proud of the girl I am today. And in spite of all this and because of all this, I think I am even more fun to be around.

I haven’t changed, but I have begun the process of  self-actualization; to align who I am on the inside with the person you meet on the outside, and introduce myself (and the world!) to my potential.

This is the girl who has staying power; she is both old and new, and she will not fade away. This is the girl you love if you love me. All in or all out; that choice is on others to make for themselves, as my choice has been made.

11 responses to “Hearts and Thoughts

  1. mtlewellen1 says:

    I am proud of you, and love the girl you are today! “I know our love will not fade away!”


  2. Jen says:

    It is no small accomplishment. I am proud of you and agree, it makes you a better version of who you have always been. You don’t need alcohol to be who you are inside. Good for you Jen!


  3. nancy says:

    thank you jen for sharing. i’m glad i got to know you even for so short a time.


    • jpearl19 says:

      Nancy – thanks for reading and your comment. this could be just the beginning of how we know each other… you are about to start a wonderful journey yourself and I am excited to see what develops for you. xxoo


  4. julie j says:

    I respect and love your story. The journey to find yourself isn’t easy and to reflect on your life, where you are, what youve learn and who you want to be is even harder. Keep up the blog I love reading it and can relate on multiple levels.


  5. Ute Westphal says:

    Even though we have never met face to face, I hope we will soon, I feel I know you a little bit- and there is only one you.
    This post is incredibly brave and I am humbled to be on your list to share this with. As you know, I am slightly older than you, a good 30+ years or so. In my experience, when our life circumstances change, we change and not every friend can handle that change or accept the outcome for many different reasons. The main reason however, is about them, rarely about your change! That is why we should never stop seeking people in our lives to whom we can relate, even if it is only in certain aspects of our lives.

    My best,


    • jpearl19 says:

      Hi Ute!

      I am glad you liked this, thanks for taking the time to read it. I am lucky though.. in this case I can still can still call this guy one of my best friend’s, and probably will for a lifetime… his reflection just became mine in a way. I found that in re-reading this for the 101st time, that didn’t come across well, so I revised it just a bit.

      That said.. there have been and will be others that will just be in my life for a “season” or “reason” (there’s a poem about that I need to find and write about). I agree with you though that a “change in season” usually brings about new connections and or disconnects older ones.

      I hope all is well with you. Again, thanks for your kind words and support.


  6. jpearl19 says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I am committed to the thoughts I post here. That said, even as I struggle to get the right words out the first time, sometimes it is only in hindsight do I realize there was a better way to say something.

    The friend I talk about in this post; it is important to me that you know that he is truly a good friend; I did not mean to present him as otherwise.

    In my original post, I said “his statement was more about his problems and about him than it was about me”. It would have been more accurate for me to say that his statement was more about his state of mind, his own reflection, versus being about me. This means that he was feeling the nostalgia I go on to talk about, and it was this that inspired me to reflect on if I had changed or not.

    He is still with me on this journey – Shirley Temple or Long Island in hand.

    So I have edited my original post, and wanted to be transparent about it 

    Thanks for understanding, and for reading!



  7. […] interrupted –some (didn’t wish for but in retrospect blessing in disguise) experiences helped me grow out of my party dress, and suddenly life got to a point where (for the first time) sobriety was my […]


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