If you've been around a while then you may know that on Labor Day of 2021 I decided to quit drinking. I have been calling myself "sober" since this time because well, I was. After continuing to educate myself on sobriety (I'm in Al-Anon) I realized that identifying as sober may not be the best choice as it suggests that I was an alcoholic. I've certainly engaged in some disordered drinking habits throughout my life, but I don't think it's fair to say that I was an alcoholic. So, I will simply say "I don't drink" because this feels closer to the truth.
Not drinking alcohol for 10 months has been amazing. I've enjoyed feeling more energized, clear headed, stronger, more confident and suffered from way less anxiety symptoms. And let's just say the bedroom situation has improved too cause ain't nobody over here passing out or losing their mojo! I'm more energized and well, the blood is flowing better ;) Frankly, life is so much better without alcohol that it's been easy to abstain from drinking.
Over time, I've become so fiercely committed to only doing things that improve the quality of my life which means that the idea of getting drunk and being hung over has zero appeal to me. I also realized recently that I finally like myself and I no longer want to do things that take me away from being my authentic self. There is no denying that drinking takes me away from myself (hi, that's why I always did it) so, it just feels like self deprecation at this point. I don't want to say or do anything simply because I'm drinking.
The interesting thing about not drinking in a culture of drinkers, is how this affects everyone else. Me not drinking is like a direct offense to a lot of people... like some how me choosing not to drink is a reflection of them. For the record I would like to say, I don't care if you drink and I don't judge you for drinking. If you're my friend I won't even be annoyed by your drunkenness and I might even vibe with it. Not gonna lie, I'm still working on loving compassion for drunk randos though. Personal space!
So, while all of this is true, I surprised myself recently by choosing to drink alcohol. About a month ago I went over to an acquaintances house for a party. By the time we got there the liquor was being passed around. And I'm not talking about any ol' liquor.. I'm talking some really nice bourbon. I have to say whiskey/bourbon is the one alcohol that I've actually craved... I love a good Hot Toddy in the winter, hmmm, mmmm. I could not stand watching my husband and all the other men tasting these rare, expensive bottles. Long story short, Mama sipped with the menz! I had about 4 sips of various bottles and I quite enjoyed myself. I wasn't drinking to get drunk, I was drinking to sample which I have NEVER done before. Even at wine tastings in the past I was always drinking before, during, and after! Again, I've certainly had some disordered drinking patterns!
The next morning I felt a tiny bit of shame for drinking alcohol because I've so proudly claimed being sober. But then, I let it go because I trust myself to make good decisions for me. I used to feel so out of control with food, alcohol, relationships, spending, and time management. And all of this disordered behavior had to do with social anxiety and worrying about what everyone else was thinking and doing. At this point in my life I feel that I have boundaries and habits in place that allow me to thrive. I don't need numbing mechanisms like alcohol to simply survive as I did in the past. Feeling confident, healthy and vibrant is a feeling that I've worked for and I know I won't go back to the artificial version of this that getting drunk brought me. Lord knows that I can't feel like I'm taking good care of myself when I'm constantly dealing with the side affects of drinking alcohol. I like my life way too much to be wasting days hungover y'all! This is why my retreat is going to to chem free. We're not spending any our time away feeling sick, lethargic or foggy headed. We're going to do things that feel empowering, energizing and loving!
Maybe you remember how a while back Alicia Keys publicly announced she would no longer wear makeup. At the time she meant it and believed it to be true. Well, low and behold she started wearing makeup again and got called out on it. Her response was "I can do whatever I want and wear whatever I want." If you've read her memoir then you know she explains that not wearing makeup was part of her self love/self discovery journey. She had to strip it down to her raw self to make peace with her imperfections. Once she was ok with herself, she could consciously choose behaviors, such as wearing makeup without diminishing herself.
I like to think of my relationship with drinking alcohol in the same way. I've been on a journey of self love and I've arrived. I had to quit drinking and change many other habits in order to get to my core. I don't have any "buffers" left at this point. It's just me and all my imperfections. Turns out, this is what I've been searching for my whole life. Now that I trust and love myself, I know that if I choose to drink or eat a whole pan of brownies in two days, it's ok because I'll never let anything stand in between of me and me ever again. Not to mention, I can do whatever I want.
If you want to explore "not drinking" and other wellness habits, please join me for my upcoming retreat at the end of September. Click below for more information:
Thanks for reading,
There's a song for that: "This Girl is on Fire", Alicia Keys