The longevity of joy: When being real with yourself is met with action.
Some things are meant to be enjoyed in moderation, while other things aren’t meant to be in our lives at all. It’s not that these things are particularly ‘bad’ but they’re bad when they hinder our own personal growth. I always knew deep down that giving this thing up would make my life significantly better as much as I didn’t want to confront it or admit it to myself. As I’m writing this, it marks a year without alcohol.
It has been a journey and I am happy to say that I can’t imagine my life the way it was before. I never considered myself to be an alcoholic but drinking socially can easily be a mask for this. Drinking is so embedded in our culture (and many other cultures), so it’s easy to overlook. It’s easy to say it’s not that bad. I would always reason with this. If this person drinks x amount and I only drink x amount, I must be healthy, right? This was something I told myself to keep myself in the cycle. I wanted to stay comfortable, even though I was deeply uncomfortable. Thoughts of doubt around my feelings towards alcohol would constantly appear in my head and I felt as if I was playing tug-o-war with myself.
I want to stop, but if I do how will I socialize without feeling pressure and giving in? I hate the way alcohol makes me feel, but it makes me feel so happy and calm at the same time. I wish it was normal to not drink alcohol, so I wouldn’t have to think about this so much.
The thoughts continued and I ignored them for years. From my modeling days dancing every night and downing straight vodka to moving to New York and going out every night like there was no tomorrow, I still couldn’t confront myself. I had to get to a place of being fed up with myself. I was so sick of myself, to be honest. And I felt so sick. I just wanted to feel well and felt like I was failure for betraying myself. The guilt would come back and many times I would numb it again.
It wasn’t until last October when I knew I needed to make a change. I was sitting in the back of a cab, feeling completely empty. During drinking, I would always feel so happy, but when it started to settle, I remember I would get this feeling like a friend had just abandoned me. I would feel weird disturbed feelings, even if I didn’t have that much to drink. I knew this was a sign from the universe that I needed to move on, but I didn’t know how yet. The friend that abandoned me was myself and that was a tough pill to swallow, but I was finally ready to face it.
The next day, I stumbled upon this book called The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein (helped me in more than one way- see how I stopped binge eating). It was the most comforting book to read and I felt I was getting a better understanding of myself. I was learning how to stop the feelings of guilt. I finally got to a chapter where she said she got sober at 25. I thought it was crazy. Here I am having these thoughts about getting sober, 25, and this book is speaking directly to me through the pages. Complete synchronicity! Her story inspired me so much, that I decided to give up alcohol for good. It was the first time I didn’t feel any hesitation or resistance to that desire. My thoughts were changing.
Alcohol feels like wallowing and I don’t want to wallow anymore. I can see myself beyond alcohol, I can see who I really am. There is another life waiting for me if I stop resisting it. My life without alcohol is a beautiful life.
I could feel it in my gut. Stopping drinking was going to bring me closer to awareness. I remember Deepak Chopra saying in one of his books (wish I remembered which one), to only do the things that bring you closer to your awareness and to let go of the things that don’t. I was finally letting go. The longer I went without alcohol, the more I began to feel comfortable in my own skin. It’s like I was coming back to myself- who I always was, but had been denying.
It’s funny because the longer I didn’t drink, the more people respected it. I kind of thought this was fucked up because people should always be respected regardless, but the social pressure at least definitely subsided. Being sober has also been a great way to filter for toxic people. There are some people that I couldn’t hang out with anymore because their lives are too ruled by alcohol and I don’t really have a place in that. I’m thankful that not drinking is filtering out the people that aren’t meant to be in my life and bringing me the ones that are meant to be in it. I only wish to be around understanding people.
Without alcohol, it’s also easier for me to work on my goals daily rather than waste days of feeling bad and recovering from drinking. It gives me a lot more energy to keep progressing and staying organized. I don’t feel guilty anymore and I can give more to myself as well as others. After a year without alcohol, I no longer desire to drink alcohol. My life is so different now and I want to keep excelling as I have been. I can still go out with friends, without my entire inner world being affected. I don’t have to damage myself to be with people and I have more energy and determination to succeed at anything I do.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to drink alcohol, but ultimately anything is wrong if it’s hurting you. It really doesn’t matter what it is, and it definitely doesn’t matter if no one really understands (Get away from those people!). Understanding yourself feels way better than other people misunderstanding you. No matter how many people don’t understand me not drinking, I value my awareness so much more. Not giving myself permission seemed like something harsh until I realized how beautiful it could make my life. How can you make your life more beautiful? If you can see yourself on the other side of something, always choose yourself first. I love you all.