How Drinking Suppressed my Joy

I was using alcohol as a tool to suppress the joy in my life, because I had been taught that expressing joy was dangerous.

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

I’m proud to say that I’m happily sober. After many years of taking little baby steps towards sobriety- a few days here, a couple weeks there- I was finally able to take the plunge into an alcohol-free life one year and 9 months ago. …


vintage Mother’s Day card with flowers and a horseshoe and text that reads “To the best of Mothers”
vintage Mother’s Day card with flowers and a horseshoe and text that reads “To the best of Mothers”

My teen son and I have a great relationship. We laugh, we talk, we hug, and we high five. We go for walks and we cook together. We tell each other we love each other. But for a long time, I thought maybe something was wrong with me. Why doesn’t he adore me? I would think to myself. Where is the poetry, the flowers, the love notes?

When I was a child, I constantly showered my mother with love and affection. “I met an angel, that angel is my mom.” So ends the poem I wrote in 3rd grade for…


A Clearheaded Tenderness.

Overhead view of a blank journal and pen laying open on a wooden table
Overhead view of a blank journal and pen laying open on a wooden table

An encounter with my younger self, in the form of finding a long-forgotten journal in quarantine.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to encounter my younger self. Would that nerdy, rebellious girl languishing in the suburbs be comforted and reassured knowing that she turned out pretty much OK? Would she feel less confused by the world, knowing that her aim was true, and not a delusion, as she was told? …


In the year that will live in infamy known as 2020, I did a lot of quitting.

A folk-art boat on a shelf in a colorful room. The boat’s name is painted on the hull: Immaculee
A folk-art boat on a shelf in a colorful room. The boat’s name is painted on the hull: Immaculee

In February, on the heels of quitting drinking late in the previous year, I quit my job as a marketing director at a local non-profit. It just seemed that, after doing such a hard, life-affirming thing as getting sober, there was no time or space to tolerate abuse from my boss, a grade-A communal narcissist who had me in her crosshairs. I gave up on winning the fight or fixing the situation and I bailed, then I took out a loan and enrolled…

Clio St. John

Survivor, enthusiast.

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