6 months ago, I decided to stop drinking…
Let me start by saying that I am not against alcohol or those who consume it. It’s all good.
During the last few years, I had this feeling, this thought in the back of my mind telling me that the way I was consuming alcohol, my reasons for drinking weren’t healthy and went against everything I was trying to accomplish.
Because I’ve seen alcoholism first hand and knew the slippery slope that moves people toward that direction, I always had rules for myself regarding drinking… no drinking alone, no drinking and driving (not even a sip), no drinking while feeling sad, angry, or upset in anyway…
I stuck to these rules religiously until about the end of 2017.
I was in a weird mental space… we had moved to the east coast, I started working at a really stressful place, I was trying to make friends, I knew I wanted to do something else-something more meaningful with my life, but I couldn’t figure out what or how to get to this “something else”. I started feeling uneasy all the time, unable to pinpoint what was wrong or how to fix it.
Due to my knowledge of yoga, reiki, and meditation, I knew what I was “supposed” to do. I knew there were healthy steps to take to find comfort, clarity and insight. Did I take these healthy steps?... No, I did not.
Instead, I numbed myself. I felt like that was the easiest thing to do. I felt like I didn’t have the energy or the time to do anything else.
It started slowly… a couple drinks a week after work… just to take the edge off.
Then a drink every day after work and more on the weekend.
Then several drinks every day after work and going to breweries, wineries and distilleries on the weekends.
At this point, Robi (my husband) started mentioning the fact that I was having more than one drink every day of the week. He started asking questions that I just didn’t want to answer. So, I decided to wait until he was out of the kitchen on the weekday evenings and then I would make my drink in private. This drink was probably about 4 drinks worth of hard liquor with just a splash of juice to help disguise it… this was my “one drink”. Robi had no idea and he got off my back. Excellent, my plan worked.
As this continued, I started to feel weird if I wasn’t drunk. I felt like I was looking at myself from the outside, like I was separated from my physical body. Of course, I didn’t like feeling that way, so I started drinking even more to mask that weird out-of-body feeling.
I settled into this “Rachel likes to drink and be silly” reality and version of myself.
All of my decisions started to be based around booze. And that became one of my top priorities. It was fun… I thought I was truly enjoying myself. My relationship with booze was solid. I never had a bad experience with alcohol and I thought that was a good sign.
I was tapping into a part of myself that I thought didn’t exist without booze. I wanted to feel the way I did when I was living at home with my sisters as young adults…the staying up late, laughing so hard our abs hurt and happy tears rolled down our faces. Feeling whole, complete and safe. Feeling so unbelievably happy and high on life without the use of alcohol or any other mind-altering substances. I missed that, I missed those days, I missed my sisters, I wanted to feel that way again and the only way I knew how to do that, or at least get close to that feeling again was with booze. I thought that being drunk was the only way to access that part of myself. I didn’t realize at the time that that part of myself… the unbelievably happy, high on life version of myself was always there… it was just buried and all I needed to do was dig it out.
As I began my separation from the toxic job and spending more time in nature… running through the forest, asking the universe for guidance, and making my way back to yoga and meditation, I started to see that I had a legit problem, but I didn’t want to give up alcohol yet. I just figured I was still in control and I was enjoying myself and I loved the warm and tingly feeling and I still craved that numbing feeling. I didn’t want to face the uncomfortable emotions. I didn’t think I was ready, and I was scared.
So, I continued on…ignoring the nudging urge to stop.
After spending a year and a half on the east coast, Robi and I moved back to California, life was good. We were closer to family and friends. I felt happier than I’ve been in a while. The weather was warmer, I had easy access to the ocean, I was teaching yoga. It seemed like everything was falling into place, yet I was still very dependent on alcohol. I still planned my days around drinking. Every little tiny moment of stress set me off and all I could think about was when I was going to drink again.
Of course, I kept all of this to myself. I felt ashamed. I felt like a fraud… here I was, a yoga instructor telling my students that all they need is already within themselves-happiness, love, peace... I never took my own advice.
Then, at about 5am on the morning of April 23rd, 2019… I woke up. Wide awake, lying in bed, I decided today was the day. Today I was going to stop drinking. Enough was enough… it was time. My cousin texted me… asking if I was awake (she was in Italy at the time and was well into her day already). I was stoked! I told her all about my thoughts and feelings within that moment. I confessed everything. I shared with her my tight-bond with booze, my wanting to stop but my fears of doing so and my feeling not ready to face everything I was suppressing. She was so comforting and encouraging. Exactly what I needed at exactly the right time… thanks universe!
I usually don’t share personal things like this on social media, but I felt like I needed to tell everyone so that I could be held accountable. I figured if everyone knew that I stopped drinking then I wouldn’t be tempted to drink because I wouldn’t want to get caught.
Later that day, I posted a picture of redwood trees I had taken a few days before and added this caption:
“I want to be fully present at every moment of the day. I want to feel all of my emotions instead of suppress them. I want to be in control of my life and my reaction to the world around me. I want my mind and spirit to grow and expand instead of stay still, numb, and stagnant.
I am not going to participate in the consumption of alcohol any longer.
This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time now but I’ve been afraid that my willpower wasn’t strong enough and I was afraid of the feelings and emotions that would surface in the moment where I would usually decide to pour myself a glass and I was afraid of how it would affect the relationships I had with the people in my life.
But I feel like I’m ready now to face that challenge and all the emotions head on and to offer my entire, unpolluted self to world and to those around me.
6 months have gone by.
It’s been weird. It’s been emotional. It’s been eye opening and mind blowing.
I’ve realized things about myself that I had no clue about before. It’s terrifying and difficult to face my demons head on, but I have never felt more empowered and strong in my entire life.
I’m pumped about this journey and I’m stoked about my future… good things are coming, my friends. Very good things.
The love and light in me honors the love and light in you, namaste.