Please Drink Responsibly
Growing up, turning 21 was a time I had always looked forward to. It was only a dream to be able to sit back, relax and enjoy an adult beverage after a long day. After all, being able to drink responsibly was the best part about being an adult right? So when I was 18 and married someone over the legal age of 21, I took full advantage of living in this privilege. I first went from casual drinking, to social drinking and as time went on and I found myself feeling bitter and unhappy in my marriage and so I started drinking heavily. And daily. Little did I know, I was depriving myself of being able to process my past, present and future in ways that only a sober mind can. Whenever there was a time when I would choose to take a step back and look at my actions (which was rare at this age not having processed much trauma from my past) I would tell myself that I was just having age appropriate "fun" and living my best life through the party years of your early 20's. While a lot of that may have been true, it didn't make it healthy. Especially as alcohol became a crutch in processing my emotions as well as my overwhelming anxiety.
Through my early 20's I had many friends who also enjoyed a beverage or two. I surrounded myself with like minded people who enabled my behavior even as far as planning nightly drinking sessions on Xbox live with some of my online friends. Drinking became a necessity to process my days and as time went on, my body became extremely unhealthy on all fronts. My eating habits reflected that of my drinking and I started feeling overwhelmingly uncomfortable in my skin. I had an extremely hard time focusing on basic conversation and I could feel my ability to be present with anything slipping away. But this was all I knew at this point and when you are surrounded by constant alcohol consumption with those in your workplace, in your home, on TV and throughout society around us, you tend to feel that it's 100% normal. I sure as hell did and so I never would of thought that behavior would be considered consequently unhealthy... I mean even our elders have a glass of wine with dinner every night right? But just because I wasn't drinking all day every day, doesn't mean it wasn't a problem. Nightly consumption at such a heavy rate was just as toxic for my physical, emotional and spiritual well being.
Once I started going to regular therapy and was fully separated from my ex-husband, I slowly began to process things. But this time it was without using daily consumption of large quantities of alcohol as a coping mechanism. I would still allow myself to indulge in a beverage or 2 throughout the weeknights but would still live for the weekends when I was able to binge drink my stressful week away in a social setting. Now don't get me wrong, I love having a good time. Especially when drinking can so easily strip away the anxiety I feel in those social settings. But my intentions were never to "overdue it" or to live in this vicious cycle of habit. I feel like a lot of people especially in today's society grow up living for the next big party, or blowout vacation or even just the next big night at the bar to validate all of the hell they've had to endure. But with anything in this world balance is key. I've come to realize this more and more as I get older especially as I have more time to look back on my life and truly reflect on my decisions and the mindset behind them. Recognizing my internal issues for what they are and learning how to cope with them in ways that are healthy has helped me to understand the role I should be allowing alcohol to play in my life.
I never want to be stagnant as a human and so I want to pursue continual growth as I get older. I'm fortunate enough to find myself with a life partner who has taught me a lot about what mindfulness is and what it can really do for a human who's willing to practice it regularly. She really walks the walk and talks the talk and I've seen firsthand how it increases her presence in every conversation, in every relationship, and even more so in her own self-love. I've slowly learned that through mindfulness, you're able to allow yourself to grow in ways that you never would expect without choosing to live in the present moment. But even more so, there is no present moment like the one created by a sober mind. Now look, before you jump to conclusions; No, I'm not going clean cut sober and No, I am not lecturing you about getting sober either. Heck we JUST recorded our latest podcast episode while playing a shot infused drinking game while dishing out our best debauchery stories. I obviously love to cut loose and have some fun, but after doing this silly and fun St Patrick's day (AKA Fitzpatricks day) episode, I really wanted to touch on my experience with drinking as well as the journey behind really learning how to do it in a healthy and responsible way. I want to grow old as a healthy and well abled human and I want the same for you too. Throughout my journey I've had to learn some pretty hard facts about alcohol and just what it can do to the human body. I've watched a childhood friend lose their father to the bottle at a very young age while watching her entire family grieve under the pressures of their grim reality. I've watched another friend nearly kiss death's cold lips due to their own personal unhealthy consumption only to question if they would ever step foot out of the intensive care unit. We only get one shot at taking care of this vulnerable and ever changing meat sack while on this planet and alcohol at the end of the day is still considered a poison.
Everyone has their own personal relationship with alcohol and I'm still learning what mine looks like as I go along. I'm still going to enjoy my glasses of wine and I'm still going to enjoy going out to a local brewery to sip on a few beers with good friends but It's about finding that healthy balance that suits my body, mind, and my soul. There are days when I'll come home after a long day and feel like I really need a glass of wine to ease the stress and I'm not saying that I won't ever give into that feeling. TRUST ME, I do. For me, It's been more about learning to take those moments as an opportunity to stop, be mindful and ask myself "what do I truly need right now and what is going to be most beneficial for my health in the long run?" It's about allowing your mind to be present in a state of stress or discomfort so that it can process it in an unfiltered and natural way. So maybe instead of turning to a glass of alcohol, I choose to go on a long walk with my partner and a dog to talk and blow some steam. So while alcohol can be a used in a variety of ways, good or bad, it is important to be mindful in how we use it and how often we use it. Have your fun, but please drink responsibly and remember to love your mind even when it's sober.