When I was 11 years old I first tried alcohol. Some friends were over at my parents farmhouse in Vermont and we stole a canned beer out of the fridge and took sips out of it.
Then we were out on the front lawn in the sunshine giggling and rolling around in the grass. It was such an exciting feeling to know I could just take a few sips of something and it would change my whole reality.
Now over 20 years later taking a few sips of alcohol is still one of the simplest ways to quickly shift reality. It “takes the edge off”, it immediately changes the mood. It provides relief, constructs a sort of barrier against the events of the day.
Plus it’s so common, so socially acceptable and encouraged, that we rarely question this choice. It’s even kind of weird not to drink.
I have never had a problem with alcohol to where it overtly damaged anything in my life. I don’t like to get too drunk. I know when to stop and go home. And because I don’t have a “problem”, it makes the ways that alcohol is problematic much more insidious.
The Ways Alcohol Dulled My Days
What I have realized is that having a couple glasses of wine may not damage my work the next day, but it takes a lot of the joy out of it. That little flood of toxicity in my system dulls my enthusiasm, and makes it feel like I have something to overcome.
While sipping the night before it seems like it’s bringing me ease. Or if it’s a real party night, it seems to be making something exciting happen. But it ultimately makes the things I love less vibrant.
I realize that the vibrancy necessary for different professions varies. When I used to have a desk job that demanded little vitality (and intelligence) it didn’t seem to matter in the slightest if I’d had a drink the night before. But that’s because I was only using about 8% of myself to do that job. Which sucked. It wasn’t fun to do a job that asked so little of me.
Now that I teach yoga I spend my days shooting online videos lead trainings and classes, the effects are more real. Every drop of a toxin the night before seems to take a drop away from the passion and presence I have for the teaching.
Sobriety Equals Opportunity
The other thing I’ve noticed is that when I’m NOT drinking, I’m so clean and clear that big things happen really quickly in my life.
Last time I did 40 days sober I was hired for a very well-paid yoga modeling job, did a huge yoga video for Equinox and got a new apartment, all seemingly out of the blue.
When I’m clean and clear, it’s like the stars align. Yes, there is the small discomfort of not stopping at the wine store and getting a bottle of cabernet, not having those sips, and instead enduring that slightly uncomfortable transition out of the day.
But it’s okay. It’s manageable. And I know I’ll be ON for the next big thing that awaits. I know it’s zooming that much faster towards me. And in the morning I awake bright and excited for the new day. It’s just so worth it.
The Personal Challenge to Overcome
I’m now having a clean and clear phase again. And I’m actually thinking of continuing my stint of sobriety until all my debts are paid off (still owe $30,000 on college loans) and my newest business endeavors are sustaining me. These are very big goals. They could use a very clear energy field. And a very clear head.
These goals aren’t cheap thrills (like the above photo of me drunk on someone else’s yacht). They represent the profound thrill of digging in and directly taking on the challenges of real adult life.
I wonder, does it make you afraid to think of not drinking? Many people I know get really threatened by the idea of not drinking. Especially the ones who say they “don’t drink that much” because they seem to be shielding themselves from the idea that they might have a dependence.
Also, yes, alcohol can effectively keep you from reaching the next rung of your potential. So if you are afraid to encounter the truth of what you could be doing/earning/creating in this life, it might be a good idea to keep on sipping.
But if your life feels at all stuck, if you lack enthusiasm or inspiration, if you are regularly kind of depressed or despondent, if you want to find out how to break through, I recommend you try a sober stint. Even for three weeks. Just try it. Find out who you are without. You might discover that you are so much more than you ever imagined you could be.
Let me know if you do.
Ps. This counts for smoking the reefer too!