Why I (Almost Permanently) Stopped Drinking
During a recent conversation with the ethereal Elena Brower, she made a powerful statement about living a sober life that really struck a cord with me. Her words uncovered a piece of me I knew had been hiding there all along, but one I’d been struggling to understand. Speaking of living a sober life, she said “…There are more hours in the day. There are more really satisfying works to do, and there’s more time on this beautiful floor to side down and take it all in for a little while, and to take care of myself. What it means, is that you have to examine what life feels like when you're not fully dialed into yourself.”
Alcohol has been a part of my lifestyle ever since I can remember. Red wine runs like the blood that flows between me and my family, me and my dearest friends, me and the majority of my past relationships. And not just red wine, but white and pink, and some really good but mostly really bad beer, tequila, vodka, and the occasional moonshine on my South Carolina back porch.
And I know I’m not the only one here — for the majority of our collective 21st century human experience, we’ve been programmed to believe that drinking is normal — healthy, even, in moderation — and at the very least, just part of being human. It’s how we connect, socialize and simply adapt to the way the world is. It’s how we let go: by channeling a force without as opposed to tapping into one from within.
However, I’ve recently come to realize that we’ve been mislead. There is no without force compelling me to experience anything I don’t want to experience. This is the piece of my puzzle that Elena’s words uncovered — that I have the power to choose the sensations of my body. If I don’t want to finish that glass (or even begin it!) — because I know how it’s going to make me feel — then I am the only one who can choose not to do so. I’ve realized that when I am able to sit and feel satisfied within, I don’t need something without to make me feel “better” or to connect me to others. I’ve realized that no substance or outside force can make me more or less worthy of being in another’s company or change who I am and what I have to offer.
Still, I believe it is important to get on the same vibrational wavelength as those around you, especially in celebratory or ceremonial situations. And drinking is and has always been an easy way to do that. But the truth is this: Alcohol is a very low-vibrational source of energy, especially when it becomes the most common connecting force among a group of people. And while we may think we’re using it to become more of ourselves, we are in fact becoming less so. Instead of connecting more deeply to the present moment, we are actually disconnecting. And just as we all learned in middle school health class, alcohol is a “depressant” — it slows the metabolic system down. Why are we choosing to “depress” ourselves when all we ever want to feel is our very best?
Confession: I haven’t stopped drinking completely. But I have slowed down — significantly. And instead of using it to numb myself or as my only way to connect, I’m reserving it for moments of ceremony; occasionally popping a bottle or passing a joint in celebration of the serendipitous and the monumental.
Otherwise, I seek clarity. Because when I’m sober, there seems to be infinitely more time for me to experience everything that feels so good. When I’m sober, I’m aware of how grateful I am to be alive, and how delicious it feels to be in my own body. When I’m sober, there seems to be this vast space of open possibility, where I become a magic-making machine (#ThoughtsToThings!). When I’m sober, I’m reminded of how perfect I am in this moment, and that I don’t have to get away from myself or my feelings to become something else — something more “worthy”.
So, here’s something for you to ponder: What ties bind you to the present moment — to the people that surround you? If you feel like it’s only the wine and the weed, then maybe it’s time to reassess your intentions and connections. And that’s okay. I propose that we let something else flow more free between you and me. Something that I guess you could call “awareness”… or love. I propose that we don’t make rash decisions about what we do or do not partake in, but rather, make more delicate decisions about the intention that we pour into these interactions. I propose that we neither numb nor overstimulate our sweet senses. I propose that we get clear with ourselves and others, expressing what comes up, as it comes up, with clarity and acceptance. It is in your choosing that you get to decide what kind of space you want to create for others to grow, heal, and blossom.
Me? I’m choosing to create a space of healing for you, without a wall of chemical numbness between us. I’m choosing to be a clear channel for you to express what you need to express in the moment, and to help you turn some of those thoughts into real-life magical things. So, when you need me, I’ll be over here, water (or possibly a glass of wine, if maybe the mood strikes) in hand, reserving space for you to blossom.
Can we all do this together? I really and truly think so.