I was thinking back the other day about what prompted me (last year) to finally decide it was time to give alcohol-FREE living a go. I vividly remember saying, and thinking, “If the man I am so enamored with decided to go sober, I would be willing to give up booze (gasp!) in order to support him.”
I have an illusionary but loving-intention “habit” of seeing the person I love more as the ultimate, ideal version of themselves rather than the reality of what is in front of me. This particular man and I had been dancing together for years, on again, off again, in and out of relationship that ultimately became quite dysfunctional. I did not realize (did not WANT to acknowledge) that he had a severe drinking problem until we were deeply heart connected, about three months into living together in my beautiful home. We had each come out of very long marriages, survived a divorce, and were magically healing for one another. The timing could not have been better. It was, early on, a sweet, deeply heart-connected love that included an incredible amount of date nights, romantic star gazing as we slept outside in the summer, and lots of lots of wine. He was a Sommelier and introduced me to a whole new world of little known and amazing varietals and bends of wine from all parts of the globe. I was already well versed in wine appreciation and even trained servers about wine and how to serve and share wine details, but this journey into lesser known and incredibly delicious wines was exciting and magical to me. With him I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
Over the years, this relationship went through many changes. There were break-ups and reunions, hurts, exchanges of anger, delusions, sweetness and ultimately, a whole lot of love. I had become hopelessly entangled by his powerful charm and manipulation without realizing it. I was delusional but I didn’t see myself that way. I forever defended his tendency to cancel our meetings and believed the excuses he gave me. Most likely, he was too hungover or still drunk from imbibing alcohol, or was with another of many women he was sleeping with, all the while making me believe I was his one true love. I was under a spell, and try as I might to shake him from my heart, I was ensnarled.
At the height of our love affair, I thought I had found the love of my life with him. I have thought this with past loves too. Honestly, I think we all experience “love of our lives” that are meant for us at different stages. I have a philosophy that everyone comes to us at the most opportune time, for a period of time, to teach us what we need to learn. For me, that includes a twenty year relationship (and marriage) with a man who was a “Party Boy” and gave me two beautiful sons, directly followed by a man that was much more intellectually evolved and financially stable, who gave me an opportunity to be a stepmom with a blended family (what a rewarding and difficult situation that became!), and a life of financial security and ease. I still love these men with my whole heart, and see them often as we enjoy family time together. I am eternally grateful for our friendship and our unusual (who stays best friends with their former husbands? Not many women!) family which continues to bring us all everlasting joy. I do not have regrets about any part of my past. I believe every single encounter happens because we bring it to ourselves. We learn from everyone, some bring joy, and some bring wounds and enormous “opportunities for growth”. I cannot imagine my life without having experienced any of my five most significant relationships, this last one included.
During the years I went in and out of attachment to my Sommelier love, I came to acknowledge that he was deeply addicted to booze (it became painfully obvious!). He now has a business that enables him to purchase wine in enormous quantities as he shares his wine expertise with customers, and he drinks at that ‘enormous quantity’ level as well. As is my tendency, I envisioned what he would be like without imbibing alcohol. His ‘Mensa’ level brilliance would shine, he might decide to go back to teaching and mentoring young people (he is gifted in this arena), his health and appearance would improve greatly as he regained liver function, vitality, and inspiration to live a wholesome life, he would be present and joyful rather than dismissing and manipulative, and his life would become what I always imagined it could be. I told myself, and I truly believed it to be true, that I would be willing to stop drinking booze in order to support this man if he decided to go there, and that our lives would be amazing together if that occurred.
My “AHA!” happened when the light bulb finally went off. If I am willing to give up my beloved wine and all booze for this man, why not give it up to make my OWN life the best it could possibly be?! I had already been going downhill with whole body hangovers, anxiety, and depression, and the idea of not drinking was gaining steam in my mind. Once I realized that I didn’t need to do this for someone else, that my tendency to give myself up to make someone else happy was ridiculous and not serving me, once all that hit me like a ton of bricks thrown at my dense brain, I knew I was going to proceed. I laugh at myself thinking how foreign it felt to even give the thought of not drinking any consideration at all. “ME, a non drinker??- Not in my wheelhouse of imaginings, never gonna happen. Moderation, that’s it, I will just drink less.” Well, anyone who has become addicted to any substance that gets its hooks in you, knows that moderating is not doable. Addiction is a Mother F-er that hijacks the brain, the psyche, the entire human, and it takes a force of nature to break away. I am ineffably thankful for all the time spent in this past relationship, and every other past relationship with men who drank heavily, which is nearly all the men I loved. It all helps to show me how much happier and healthier I am without booze in my life. I can’t even express the joy that comes from sleeping well, waking up full of inspiration, health, and brightness, the energy that returns ever so slowly but surely, the transformation of physical and mental health. I have shared some of the benefits of going without alcohol on my blog, but if you are curious at all, just google “The perks of giving up booze” and you will find hundreds of testimonies.
As I slide into the home base of one year alcohol free (April 15) and hit the home run I have trained so diligently to achieve, I feel explosive pride, happiness, resolve, success, and JOY at what I have accomplished. If I had known how glorious a life without booze was going to be, I would have given up my dependence on booze many years ago. I know everything in my life would have been different. But I wouldn’t change a single thing. I don’t regret the difficult obstacles I have overcome, I give thanks for all the challenges, because along with all of those, I have also had the immense joy of truly beautiful love, growth(!), happiness, blessings I count every single day, wisdom beyond what I ever imagined, and a life filled with gratitude and purpose. If you are on the fence about giving up your drinking habit, take my word for it – do it because YOU are worth it, you deserve it, and the life on the other side of drinking is a life worth savoring. I am here if you ever need a shoulder, a mentor, or just someone who can relate to your struggles. Thank you for being in my life, for your support of my blog, for your love. I believe we are ALL Rock Stars, it just takes awhile sometimes to find the instrument we are meant to play in the concert of our lives. You CAN do this!