What I’ve learned about myself and others in relationship to alcohol!
After one of the silliest and random dreams I’ve had in a long time, I decided to stop drinking for at least a month! The clear message when I woke up was “Stop drinking for at least a month.” Having been on my spiritual journey for a long time now, I’ve learned to pay attention to clear messages no matter how ridiculous the messenger may seem. So here I am…a two and a half months into this no drinking journey…and it’s been very interesting!
The dream and the main message received
If you’re anything like me or more like any of my friends you’re like, “WTF was that dream about that made her make this crazy choice?” Here’s the super silly but impactful dream…
Guy Fieri, (super random and I hadn’t watched the Food Network) doing a cooking demo and I had the best seats😎
I had great seats but kept getting up to get drinks because the people in the audience were not my cup of tea😧
Every time I got up to get a drink I would lose my seat😡
Drank so much I black out, loose lots of time and my dog (who almost always represents moral choices in my dreams, or fear of losing myself)😲
Enter stage left, my best friend to fill in the blanks😫
the loss of time and my dog felt horrible but more than that the reason for my drinking…to cope with others behaviors and energies around me😱
It became apparent to me that in my dream and in my awake life, I was starting to drink to cope with other people’s behaviors and energies. This is not ok, especially as an energy practitioner/healer, I need to be in tune and as sentient as I can be to help others tap into their intuition and self healing powers. I am grateful for this dream and this realization, it’s what’s given me the motivation to change my behavior around alcohol. Alcohol was making my body feel horrible, especially as I’ve gotten older, one drink or more than one drink it didn’t matter, I’d feel like crap the day after. That had not been enough change my relationship with alcohol! But this dream did…
Throughout the years I’ve had my love affair with alcohol. In my 20’s alcohol was a good friend, until it wasn’t. Train wreck relationships and a couple of poor choices were made, but that’s all part of young adulthood. Alcohol allowed me to have some great experiential adventures in my 30’s providing lots of fun and adventure. I’ve made many great friends and our bonds have grown stronger because of alcohol, so I hold no ill will towards alcohol. But, when the relationship changes and there are no longer any real benefits, it’s time to do something different.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far on this journey:
It was definitely harder than I thought it would be.
To be honest if it weren’t for the impact of the dream I may have given in days into my no drinking journey. I started this journey on August 18…still almost a month left of summer, even though the pumpkin spice crews will disagree with that.
Walking into a liquor store 2 weeks into the journey was interesting. I was going to check out the non-alcoholic options they had because I was going to an outdoor show with my BFF. Outdoor live music is one of the places I would indulge in alcohol consumption, sometimes a lot! When I walked into this huge liquor store I felt a twitch in my body and my automatic thought was “All of this alcohol and I can’t have any of it.” I said that a couple of times to myself and then I realized, It’s not that I can’t have it, it’s that I’m choosing not to have it. That was an aha moment for me (or a reframe as most therapist, including myself, would say) and made me more determined to see this through.
I then thought my biggest hurdles would be:
- brunch with my best friend✔
- any meal at a restaurant with my BFF✔✔
- outdoor concerts, particularly Will Evans https://willevans.com/✔✔✔
But it was neither of these…it was a very good friends cookout…these very good friends are also very good drinkers. To say peer pressure was fought off that night is an understatement. All done in love, for sure, but maybe in love for the drink? The comments I received from people at the cookout were initially supportive, but when they heard the length of time was 1 month, most if not all people responded with “ooh that’s a long time!” or “ugh why would you do that for so long?” or the one that made me more determined and a little sad was “I don’t think I could go that long.” 😲
We as a society don’t celebrate not drinking…it’s labeled as boring!
I’m as wild and fun as they come, at least I have been wild in my youth, but I know I’m still hella fun! But for some reason people seem to think that you can’t have fun if you’re not drinking. What I have observed from this no drinking lens is the urgency for people to get drunk when they drink. It’s like feast or famine. This has blown my mind how people’s goal is not to drink socially, it’s to get waisted to be social.
To be honest, at first, my ego put me in a position of feeling like an outcast, like I was boring. I quickly tossed that idea aside because, I know I’m not boring, I just have to learn how to be fun in my own skin again and not in my inebriated skin. This has been a bit of a re-learning.
Drinking is Everywhere
Pretty much everything we do as a society revolves around drinking. At my last job before my private practice, I was the Happy Hour organizer and we had great times and I have lifetime friendships with my former co-workers. You go to a party and what do you bring most of the time? A bottle of wine…or two? Kids parties with adults, there is sure to be alcohol. I even heard of someone having a sober party for their friend and all the guests got shit faced🤔. There’s something really wrong with that!
We need to take a look at ourselves and examine why we need to put on the mask of alcohol to be ok around others. We as a species are not doing something right if we can’t tolerate being around each other without substances.
Mocktails are Amazing
What has made this process easier for me is that almost every restaurant has mocktails on their menus now and if they don’t bar tenders are always willing to concoct something for you if you ask!
Apparently I’m not the only one looking at alcohol differently. Since I started this part of my journey and started saying it out loud, I’ve seen way more mocktail companies pop up on my social media feeds(because our phones are always listening), but we know this already. What is really annoying is that they are more expensive than alcohol. If they rally want to promote a healthy alcohol free lifestyles they should price their products more reasonably. What this tells me is that these mocktails are trendy and designed for fun not to truly help people maintain a sober lifestyles. I want to see a celebrity create a mocktail line that actually helps people live a sober life.
Is this forever?
I really can’t answer that with a yes or no just with a “it’s for right now!” I’m not sure if I’m done drinking all together. I have been telling people “I’m not drinking right now”, today I spoke to someone and said “I stopped drinking.” This was the first time I said it that way. I can say this, my body feels💯better-no heartburn, not feeling so bloated and sleeping better. I have contemplated having a drink and then I think about the kind of alcohol I would chose and all of it reminds me of how yucky I feel. So I guess…Only time will tell🥰
I challenge you to take a look at your relationship with alcohol. Has your motivation for drinking changed? Ae you using alcohol to numb or deal? How is your body feeling during and after you drink? What is recovery time like? Is it worth it? My choice to stop for now, is my choice and by no means am I saying you have to stop drinking, but just be curious. Can you be more present, joyful and connected in life if you change your relationship with alcohol?
If you truly need help reach out to your local AA meeting or consider detox options and rehab options:
Call 211 in CT for more information or click on the link below
Blessings & LOve