444 Days Alchohol free -
I do love a number sequence..
I haven’t spoken about this journey, because I didn’t really know what it was.. but I’m going to share some of the things I’ve noticed.
firstly, I’ve never labelled this, I never said never again, I just decided to have a month off and here I am 444 days later not having wanted to drink.
Which is strange for me, it has begun to feel alien, when it used to be firmly entrenched into every fibre of my life!
So I don’t really identify as ‘sober’ or ‘tee total’ ( I just don’t like labels)I keep thinking that maybe I’ll have a glass of red at Christmas, or at this special occasion or that.. but so far these occasions seem to come and go, and I just haven’t wanted to, but who knows 🤷🏻♀️
I stopped, basically because it makes me anxious - and something huge had arrived, a global pandemic, as an empath, the global collective shock and fear was so palpable that I didn't need anything else adding to my already overthinking anxiety riddled mind.
Then, I noticed, that the thought of disallowing myself a nice glass of wine made a fear arise in me, could I do it? And that question bought with it the stark truth that, it shouldn’t be a question, should it? if I couldn’t stop drinking for a month, then it’s a problem isn’t it? If we’re really honest with ourselves? A mild addiction?
So deeply entrenched into our society that’s it’s normal.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is MY journey, and this post isn’t meant to preach, you do you, your journey, your way, but my own personal experience of going from a huge lover of and often abuser of wine has brought with it some clarity, and honestly, a hard look at my own truths.
I was definitely using wine as a reward, to soften anxiety, to self medicate, and at a party would often take it way to far, I didn’t really have an off switch, and hangovers would plunge me into a dark depression of anxiety, guilt & shame, sometimes for days on end - the shadow of a toxic relationship with it in my twenties lingering.
That mindset of, deserving a glass of wine, needing a glass of wine (insert, I've had a long day, hard day, stressful day, I need/deserve a glass of wine) that was hardwired in for me - but now I would rather lean into my practices, to allow whatever I'm feeling to be fully felt, and use my practices to still my mind and calm my body.
And trust me, you cant meditate with a hangover.
I've always been around it, since childhood, family parties were always boozy, it was just part and parcel of socializing, and that pattern continued into my adult life, always using drink and other substances to socialise, only ever about partying and 'letting my hair down', and never really truly feeling anything clearly.
Truthfully my twenties were spent messily and unhappily binging & drinking heavily through toxic relationships, jobs, traumas and a stuck life, back then it was a problem, always a substance to cover the pain - I was miserable.
I had a toxic relationship with alcohol, and have witnessed it first hand Both destroy, and even take lives.
As I grew older, and outgrew these behaviours, and grew happier with myself and life, I leaned into wellness and discovered more peace and happiness than I'd ever had - wine was just what grown ups did to relax, I was drinking in-frequently and in very small amounts, but that occasional ‘session’ would still arise and plunge me into darkness - the toxic relationship still lingered.
Why did I need to essentially poison myself until my faculties were altered and then have to recover from it?? it seems like such a strange thing to do to ourselves - a strange this to become normal
When I think back now to the times that I didn't want the party to end, when I examine that now, the times when I would slurrily pour another glass of wine, when enough had been enough hours ago - it feels attached to something far deeper, a need for comfort, acceptance, validation, escape.
Don't get me wrong, I still love a party, being around people, singing, dancing, Music, playing music, being loud and overtalkative, maniacally giggly, and daft - it just turns out that I never needed booze to be these things!
When you don't mask it, its amazing how intoxicating it is just to be around people, the warm fuzz is still there.
And I'm still completely happy in an environment when everyone else is drinking, like I said - you do you.
So I never actually intended to give up drinking, but it seems to have happened, I lost interest, maybe it was just that the time was right for me, But without it, I feel free, that’s the thing I really didn’t expect, freedom, freedom from wanting it, freedom from feeling I couldn’t socialise without it, I can leave a party when I’m tired, and go running in the morning. I can ALWAYS drive home.
I no longer associate foods with it either, that was a weird thing for a while, noticing how much we attach alcohol to things, food, sunshine, everything!
It was a big narrative shift.
I’ve also noticed how uncomfortable some people are with me not drinking - I’ve been called boring, weird, “you still doing your tee-total thing? eye-roll", and some people will spend a lot of energy trying to convince me to have one - (I get it - I've done it myself) - and some people just don't invite you anymore.
But stepping away from it after drinking since my teens has been like lifting a veil, remember when you’re a kid and you don’t really get why the grown ups are pissed? - well that comes back!
When you just played and ran around and didn't need anything else, buzzing off your own life force energy, that all comes back, obviously deepening our spiritual practices, meditations and stillness amplify that effect, but I feel so much more in touch with that child like version of myself now on the approach to my fifties than I have done since my youth.
And who knows, maybe there is a glass of red wine in my future, maybe there isn't but I know one thing for certain, I will never again choose to be drunk, or altered by alcohol.