Confessions of a TWO wing THREE: Yesterday was Day One

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*Warning: Vulnerable Post!!

I feel some already rolling their eyes at yet another New Year’s resolution blog (I am joining you in the eye roll), but just because something is cliché doesn’t mean that it’s not helpful or even important. At least that is what I’m telling myself. Don’t give up on this post. It will even be Enneagram educational!

There was a funny COVID meme going around awhile ago that said something like “When quarantine is over, some of us are going to be overweight, alcoholics or excellent chefs!” I am really butchering that, but it certainly rings true for me. It’s not food that I indulge in; it’s alcohol! In all honesty, there were only a handful of days in 2020 when I didn’t have a drink. At first it was a funny joke. “Oh, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” jokingly said at 1 pm because…[insert ALL of 2020 here!] Finishing half a bottle of wine a night became a whole bottle and then more. Since I was cooking at home significantly more, I started turning on music, opening a bottle of Cab and pouring a glass while I cooked. Then continuing at dinner and into the rest of the night. No, I didn’t feel drunk, I wasn’t mean or abusive; I felt relaxed and like my mind could stop going over all of the $hitty things that were happening!


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Around September, when I realized that this pandemic wasn’t going away after Easter, then summer, then back to school, I started praying about this steep decline in my drinking. With no condemnation (Romans 8:1), God said, “ You have used this as a crutch for awhile and there’s forgiveness in that. But there will come a time when it will stop working for you. I’ll help you to freedom when you get to that time.” This is the God of love that I serve! There wasn’t a harsh word spoken to me, just a gentle reminder to come back to freedom when I was done with other things. A smart person would have dropped everything run to that freedom right then and there, but I kept telling myself that I was functioning just fine.

In October, my 15 year old daughter and I had a deal that she wouldn’t drink caffeine during the week if I didn’t drink alcohol during the week. This is my free-spirited, fun SEVEN daughter. She laughs easily and doesn’t let life get her down. That’s what I feel when drinking, free and easy-going. Not the overly helpful, need to get everything done, need to be perfect, need to control every situation, need to perform, need to compete, need to succeed…person that I usually felt like. I only made it ONE DAY! I felt like such a failure that I told myself that I wasn’t going to try that again! Then every time I opened a bottle of wine, I saw the look of disappointment in her eyes. That is what slowly got me to this point.

What made me feel the highlighted description up above? I have discussed TWOS strive to serve and be needed but not as much my Enneagram wings of ONE and THREE. What are wings? We all have a dominate Enneagram type that is our default. Wings are the numbers to the right and left of that dominate type. For example, a NINE can have an EIGHT and a ONE wing. And out of those two wings, you usually have a dominate wing, although we can all dip into the strengths and weaknesses of both wings. When talking about your type and wing, it is usually expressed as type 2w3. ONES are the perfectionistic improvers. They see imperfections in themself and the world and they have a very loud inner critic that most of the time WILL NOT SHUT UP! THREES need to win and win at all costs. They are extremely goal oriented, see inefficiencies and will avoid failure at all costs. Can you see how I have a need to perfect, serve and avoid failure? I have noticed that the healthier I get in my TWO type with self-awareness of my weaknesses and pulling on more of the TWO strengths, that I am leaning into my wings more. Remember the goal of the Enneagram is self-awareness to become more like Christ who was the perfect human; God in flesh.

There were so many times in 2020 that I felt completely out of control of any decisions that I used to make very easily. This virus was making all the decisions for me. I wanted to help everyone that had a need arise. I wanted to visit my recently widowed neighbor who is in a wheelchair with many health problems by bringing her dinner and visiting with her like we used to do, but we were restricted because of those health issues and quarantining. I wanted to control and make perfect this world and my home environment, but that quickly went right out the window the second week of quarantine when my older daughter’s graduation, prom, senior trip, EVERYTHING was cancelled. And there was no way to “make the pandemic look pretty!” The places where I used to shine, I no longer could shine. And with my THREE wing wanting to avoid failure after losing the no drinking challenge, I felt very frustrated, empty and void.

Back when it was January 1, 2020, I said that for me it was the year of vision and focus. Not sure I would have declared that so strongly knowing what I know now. However, 2020 DID make me focus. It was the year when things that I thought were important were stripped away and things that are actually valuable were around me ALL OF THE TIME! Before March 13, 2020, I was in the house all day, everyday by myself, getting the work done that I needed to without any questions or distractions. For me, it was very frightening when everyone was home all day, everyday. I was used to running the household without 10 other eyes watching and questioning everything that I was doing. My husband went from traveling every other week to being home 24/7. I felt like they were all questioning what I was doing, why I was doing that, when I was going to do something they wanted me to do…the critiques when on, and on, and on. Between that and not being able to plan anything like I was used to, I felt very out of control.

That was a VERY long journey of words to get back to the fact that alcohol had a way of numbing this empty, void, out of control, frustrated critic that I felt like the majority of 2020, and in all honesty, the majority of my adult life. This is not a blog that I even want to begin to get into the science of alcohol or even labels and definitions. For me, I realized I needed to stop when I reached about 4-5 justifications for continuing to drink, whether it was one more glass or one more day. “It’s 2020 and I am so overwhelmed” “I’m not that bad” “At least I am not downing whisky at 8am and drunk by noon”……… on and on the justifications and excuses go! Noticing how my drinking affected the people I love was also a deciding factor. Whether my daughter’s disappointment in me was real or imagined, I noticed that I was trying to hide drinking from her. As I became aware of that behavior more and more, I finally told God that I was done! I would drink up until January 3rd and then stop. I know there are other ways to stop bad habits, but I am going to give this one a try. I started recognizing after the new year that wine just didn’t taste as good to me towards the end of the night. I was pouring out the last half a glass and going to bed. And I am praying that the appeal will continue to go away.

So what is my plan you ask? I am going to avoid the pitfalls of other new year resolutions. I am surrounding myself with friends that have similar goals (I already sent out a ‘help, it’s 5 o’clock and I want to open a bottle of wine!’ text to my Sober Sister text group). I have also told my ONE wing that goals aren’t about perfection. I may have alcohol at some point and that doesn’t mean that I abandon the whole goal. I also told my THREE wing that having a glass here and there isn’t failure and also doesn’t mean I should abandon the whole goal. There can always be another Day One.

Matthew West writes these thoughts so perfectly in his song, “Day One.”

Well, I wish I had a short term memory
Wish the only thing my eyes could see
Was the future burning bright right in front of me
But I can’t stop looking back

Yeah, I wish I was a perfect picture of
Somebody who’s never not good enough
I try to measure up but I mess it up
And I wish I wasn’t like that

I wish I wasn’t wishing anymore
Wish I could remember that nobody’s keeping score
I’m tired of throwing pennies in a well
I gotta do something
Here goes nothin’

It’s day one of the rest of my life
It’s day one of the best of my life
I’m marching on to the beat of a brand new drum
Yeah, here I come
The future has begun
Day one

I’m tired of trying to be perfect (ONE), tired of keeping score (THREE), and tired of not being, serving doing enough (TWO)! Now my main question is “Who is my authentic self without alcohol?” Who is the healthy person that I can be without needing to be numbed from life’s pain, sorrows, imperfections, striving? And I actually have no idea! This is the part of the Enneagram, self-discovery journey that I am on right now. Yes, I am scared and yes I want to snap my fingers and just be that person. But at the age of 40, I now know how God works in my life. He first gently calls me and when I finally make a decision to follow in that way, He walks with me and gives me friends that will walk with me to provide encouragement and support. It’s slow and sometimes painful, but I am willing to take that risk. There may be several day ones and I am okay with that. There may be a need to change other habits and behaviors and I am willing to take that on as well. I know that “it’s not by might (I can’t will this to happen), nor by power (I can’t force it to happen), but by [His] Spirit” that I can do this! Holy Spirit, help me to become who you made me to be! So yesterday was day one and today is day two and it’s going to be a good day!

If this is tugging at your heart at all, drop a comment below or send me an email at hello@oneeightyenneagram.com and I would love to join you on this journey. We can encourage and support each other.


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MEET BRITT

Britt is a licensed Enneagram coach and is in the process of pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling. Through the pain of self-discovery, she has found healing from the chains and shame that held her captive for decades!

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