Updated: Jul 27, 2020
I never thought I would quit drinking. I never thought I would want to ban alcohol from life. Alcohol has never been a problem for me.
Looking back, I still remember my first drink of alcohol when I was 17. MGD. I hated it but made myself drink it. That’s what you were supposed to do. That’s what my friends were doing. It was the summer before my senior year of high school. It was a fun summer. We would party out in the country and drink whatever our older friends would buy. Luckily, we stayed out trouble and God kept us safe.
My senior year was busy with goals and ambitions. I didn’t have time for alcohol again until college. Woah, college. I was a college commuter. Never lived on a campus and never experienced true on campus college life. But back home though, the friends and I drank. As the years went by, alcohol was just a part of life. Most social events seem to have alcohol as the main attraction. It’s always about the alcohol and food.
Recently, I stumbled upon a TED talk by Brené Brown. Dr. Brown’s talk is about why vulnerability is so important for human connection and how connection is so important to for human life. It was a life changing thought for me and part of the reason my posts on this blog are my real life. During this 20-minute talk that I didn’t want to end, she states another idea that got my attention. “We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” Dr. Brown used the example of alcohol and food. When we use alcohol or food to numb pain, our bodies no longer will feel joy and positive emotions.
This little part of her TED talk had my head spinning. What do you mean, alcohol & food cause you to not feel positive emotions? I don’t want to numb those! I want to feel those. It got me over-analyzing my entire life. Cause, that’s what I do.
I don’t ever remember using alcohol to numb “sad” emotions in my adult life, but maybe I used it for other reasons. Sometimes, I would drink alcohol to just be like everyone else, like when I was young (longing for acceptance). There were other times, my use of alcohol would ease the awkwardness around groups of people I didn’t know well (avoiding the use of my own personality). I thought my shy personality needed a boost. And other times, a beer on the back porch in the evening after a long day (numbing the emotion of the day).
What about me and the blessed personality God gave me? Maybe, drinking alcohol was taking away from me being me. Maybe alcohol doesn’t need to be the main event? Maybe alcohol is taking away the joy in my life. I wasn’t a big drinker. I only drank a few times a month, but maybe a few times a month isn’t even needed in my life?
This thinking led me to analyze my usage of food. To this day, I sometimes struggle with using food. When I am sad or bored, there’s nothing better than highly processed carbs and sugar. I can stand in my pantry and binge eat with the best of them. Chips, any cereal product and can I find something sweet? Do we have anything sweet in the house? I need something sweet!!! Hum. Sadness, Frustration & Boredom-all bring me to the pantry. *
I have learned my life comes in cycles. My mind will be in the right place and I will have a great four months with no binge eating at night. Then temptation and vacation and a few weeks of not focusing on the right things, and binge eating can easily start again. My health and wellness journey is a continuous ongoing battle. But that’s another blog, another day.
Back to Brené Brown’s ideas, if I’m using food in sad times, then my body is learning to mask feeling. If my body has learned to mask feeling with food, then food is keeping me from feeling the good times. I can totally see this in my life at times. This is why I am doing what I am doing. I want change and I want change for others. The coaching profession is changing lives and I want to help.
My little experiment of giving up alcohol has come close to 4 months. It has been an experience. From questions of what do non-drinkers do for fun? Will I fit in? What will my friends think? Why is alcohol everywhere I turn?
Waking up on vacation not hung over because I drank Non-Alcoholic Busch & Michelada mix and Virgin Pina Coladas the night before.
Finally, living my life-long dream of getting up early on vacation to see the sunrise over the ocean.
Using my God gifted personality to speak and be, and not relying on alcohol to make me become someone else.
No more bloat from drinking way too many.
Not lying in bed, the next morning, replaying the events of the night before and wishing I wouldn’t have made that one comment.
Seeing alcohol from a different side and paying attention to the destruction it causes on so many people and families.
Standing alone and not caring if I fit in and what do they think? I know what God thinks and that’s all that matters.
Standing alone and praying that my story will help just one other person.
My plans are to continue this alcohol-free life. I feel free. We will see what God’s plans are for me. The Bible talks plenty of wine. We are just not supposed to get drunk. If I feel later that God wants me to drink again in moderation, I will. But for now, I’ll have another NA (non-alcoholic) if the urge for alcohol comes my way!
***Sadness, Frustration & Boredom-all bring me to the pantry. When I typed this statement, it made me think of a song we sang back in church when I was a kid. It was about going to the cross. I know that sadness, frustration & boredom should lead me to the cross, not the pantry. There is someone that is expecting me to ask for help during those times so that he can comfort me and give me guidance and direction. Jesus Christ has the answers and they’re not found in the pantry.”