A while back, I made the decision to stop drinking.
It’s not like I ever drank in excessive amounts or had an alcohol problem. I went through phases of going out every weekend, going out everyday of the weekend and wednesdays and thursdays, to not going out very often atall and alcohol made less of an appearance in my life.
I stopped drinking because I got to a point in my life where I didn’t know what I was doing.
Things I had always done, things that I grew up with, things that are seen as normal, didn’t seem quite right to me anymore.
In fact, I was wondering how I had lived 24 years believing they were ever right.
Was it really ‘normal’ to have a glass of wine every night?
Was it really normal to spend every weekend buying clothes, plastering your skin with chemicals and pouring poison into your body?
Is it healthy to ‘need a drink’ after a stressful day?
Is it okay to drink alcohol as a form of fun?
Is it acceptable for alcohol to act as a release?
Is it healthy, for a substance to hide, draw out, accentuate or suppress any part of you?
After considering all of these questions, I decided the answer, for me, was no.
No it’s not healthy, no it’s not okay and regardless of whether it is ‘normal’ to everyone i have ever known, I do not want it to be my normal.
It wasn’t hard for me to stop drinking, I woke up one day and said ‘I am not going to drink anymore’.
It wasn’t something that I had been thinking about, I just decided. This meant that most of the things I had always done, I didn’t do anymore.
No More sitting in beer gardens on sunny days.
No more going shopping for clothes I don’t need, to wear to a place I don’t want to go.
No more wasting nights away drinking pointlessly.
For me, it was not a problem.
I hadn’t realized previously, that I had spent many years doing things I didn’t actually like, nor want to do in any way. I did them out of habit.
All of the above fell away like collateral of the disaster that my life had been. Even more of a disaster was the fact that I hadn’t been aware that I was amongst it, and ignorantly continuing and enabling the toxic way I was living to become my normal.
The ease and relief I felt from letting go of alcohol and all that came with it was freeing and enlightening. The tension and judment I felt from everyone else was unnerving.
During this time I heard the phrase ‘you have changed’ more times than I care to admit.
What was the issue?
‘Yes, that’s right. I don’t drink! No there’s nothing wrong with me. No i’m not a buddhist, and actually, I haven’t changed at all’
but this is a whole other story in it’s self.
So, my decision to stop consuming alcohol was easy and difficult.
It was easy because to be honest I never even liked the taste of it and I no longer wanted it in my life.
It had a negative presence in the life of many people I know, it had been a container and enhancer of abuse, mistrust and abandonment in generations of my family.
Alcohol and weed had been a tool for me to numb myself just enough to be in the presence of certain people and certain places.
It enabled me to ignore my feelings and my intuition, just enough to stay trapped in those damaging patterns I had lived in for years.
Instead of choosing to go to those places and be with those people, to numb and hardly be aware of my decisions and the detriment of them, I stopped going to those places and being with those people.
I chose myself, I learned myself, what I liked, what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be and why i made the decisions I did.
And so the years have passed like this.
In the clarity, in the space I have given myself I have learned more than i knew there was to learn.
On 1st of January 2018, I had the first drink I’d had in years. I decided I was going to see how I felt about it all after discovering so much about myself, I thought I’d see if I felt differently about it.
Apart of me also wanted to see if I liked the person I was when I was drunk, see if there was some element of fear of who I became when I was drunk.
Throughout the year I had a few drinks, I got drunk a few times. I didn’t put too much thought into it, just, if I felt like an Espresso Martini, i’d have one.
Now in the first month of 2019, I have decided that I like myself, drunk or not.
I like waking up early to allow time for Self Sadhana.
I like to be with me, without the influence of any substance.
I like the productivity of a clear head and I like the adventures of long days free of hangovers.
I have let go of what I thought alcohol meant, I have let go of the story that it influenced my childhood and therefore my life. Whilst it may be the truth, it does not have any control over the way I live my life.
All I know is, I can drink, I may drink if the mood takes me, but ultimately, I prefer to choose me.
I prefer to be fully present, with myself, with the moment I am in, in the place I am, with the person I am with, in whatever I am doing.
And that is that.