If somebody had’ve told me 8 days ago that I’d be writing this today, I probably would have poured myself another glass of wine in defiance and laughed. Anyone that knows me, knows I love a drink or three, (ok, or ten), so the decision I’ve made has taken me a little by surprise. But then again, it hasn’t.
What on earth am I talking about you ask? Well it goes a little something like this…
I’ve always admired people who don’t drink alcohol at all. Thoughts they’ve inspired include: “Wow! They must be really strong”; “How amazing to not need it to relax and be sociable”; “They must be saving SO much money”; “They seem really confident in themselves”; “They must be so productive every day”; “How great to never have a hangover”! and much, much more. If I’m really honest, I’d have to say I’ve felt envious and wished I could be like that too.
It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a few years now. My inner voice has been telling me to give it up for some time. Since this voice has been talking to me, there’s been a few occasions when I have given myself the chance to feel what it’s like to not drink, for 3 weeks here, or a couple of months there and each time, it’s been nothing but positive. But…I’ve always gone back to it. It’s been too much fun to give up altogether.
However, l recently read Brene Brown’s amazing book ‘Daring Greatly’. It’s all about shame, vulnerability and the human relationship with both and it made me realise many home truths. I realised how much shame I had in my life and a great deal of it came down to my relationship with alcohol.
Now I’ve never been an alcoholic by any means. In fact, when I’ve wanted to, I’ve been extremely disciplined with it. I wasn’t drinking every day either, far from it. I’ve attended countless functions and watched everybody drink while I drank mineral water. BUT, I’ve always been an all or nothing person, so when I’ve not felt the need to be in control, I have totally let loose and after the first drink or two, something inside of me has gone ‘more, more, more’ until I’ve found myself not having an ‘off’ button. The aftermath is ALWAYS shame and that affects how I feel about myself. The result? I don’t like that person. I feel like that person is not who I am and as someone who is REALLY healthy most of the time, I’ve found it hard to reconcile that part of me. THAT is not fun.
The choices I’ve made when I’ve been drinking are not my best work either; like eating when I’m not even hungry as well as eating foods I know my body doesn’t digest well, so I end up feeling like crap physically too. And let’s not mention embarrassing social media posts (that have been deleted as soon as I’ve realised what a dick I was being). Then I find myself asking ‘why do I always do this’? The answer? Because I’m not with myself when I make those choices. I’m not ‘conscious’. Well, life is too bloody short to spend time unconscious me thinks.
I’ve also felt like a fraud. I’m in the final stage revisions of my book, which is all about healing and getting to a place of authentic health but how can I honestly put something like that out in to the world when there is an element of my health I’m still not comfortable with? I can’t!! That’s not authentic and I don’t want to be a liar. I want to be raw, honest and truthful, so in order to do that, I need to make a change.
Last week I happened across a book by a Perth woman by the name of Rebecca Weller. It is called ‘A Happier hour’. I read the first chapter and so much of it resonated with me, so it got me thinking about the whole drinking thing again. Rebecca is a health and wellness coach and the book is about her own journey of quitting alcohol.
A couple of days later, I met up with my best friend Judy for breakfast and we got chatting about it. Judy has been sober for nearly six years and she knows it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I told her I felt like I was preparing myself to give it up… “But I just have this event… and that event …and this event…coming up”. What she said next really hit home. “Yvette, there will always be something. That’s life. But what I can tell you is this: giving up has been the best thing I have ever done”. I could see how much she meant it and thought to myself, ‘I want that too’!
So, I decided I was going to finish the book and see how I felt after that. Only that didn’t happen.
Later that day I realised I was ready. I didn’t need to read someone else’s story first. The only story that matters here is mine. And that was it! So last Wednesday night, I had my last drinks and I didn’t even know that’s what they were. I think that was a great tactic because if I did know, I probably would have drunk a whole lot more, just for the sake of it.
It’s only been seven days (8 if you count today) but already I feel so strong and powerful for listening to my inner voice and making a decision for my physical, spiritual and mental health (not to mention the money I’ll save!). I also have the same sense of ‘knowing’ that I had when I started seeing Jem. I know this is so right for me. I know this is who I’m meant to be.
I’m not thinking of it in terms of what I’m ‘giving up’, instead, it’s all about what I’m gaining. I’m gaining better health; better connections with people due to being so present; more energy; better sleep; better choices in terms of how I fuel my body (as well as everything else); and so much more. So in that sense, I’m not giving up anything at all really, am I?
Love & Light Always,
PS – I think some of you may be falling off your chairs right now!