Last week I went back home to Colorado to see my friends and family. A couple of days in, I went to my favorite brunch joint with my favorite people. My favorite server came to the table and clapped his hands together, “Mimosas all around?” He knew me so well. “Actually,” I said, “… I don’t drink anymore…” That’s when I found myself surrounded by a table of wide eyes and dropped jaws. “Yeah… I quit a couple months ago.” My only non-drinking friend, Stephanie, reached across the table and high-fived me. I finally got where she was coming from. When we met a couple of years ago and she told me that she didn’t drink, I specifically remember thinking to myself that there was absolutely no way that we’d ever work out. I mean, what would we do together? Luckily our love for loud bass music and working out kept our emotionally in-touch souls connected.
So now, to answer the question: why did I quit drinking? Well, after many, MANY fun years of indulging in it with my friends and all by myself (I drank alone more often than I’d like to admit), it all of a sudden became *not* fun. Really, it hit me like a ton of yoga blocks. Drinking now makes me depressed. I know some of you are thinking, “Duh, it’s a depressant.” but I’m talking SEVERELY depressed. Not just a little weepy, but complete meltdown, I-don’t-want-to-live-anymore depressed. On top of this, I started to become my most insecure, passive-aggressive self. I was turning into the WORST version of myself that I had ever known and after so many years of consciously working on myself.
But how could this be? I’m a yoga instructor for God’s sake, I’ve got my head on straight and my shit together! Then I thought back throughout the years of all of the consequences that I’ve suffered from drinking. I’ve started fights, called people names, said and did things that I couldn’t take back…were they *really* fun times? In actuality, I’d been a lazy, unmotivated yoga instructor who, while being broke, was spending her small amount of money going out for mimosas every other day and no longer engaging in being a student. I was so depressed from drinking that I didn’t even want to go to yoga, the one thing that has proven time and time again to bring me back to center. And I didn’t want to quit or cut down on drinking because then I would have to feel… DUN DUN DUN… normal. I would have to feel sober and being sober was boring and I, like the majority of people in the country, had a fear of being bored. What happens when we’re bored? We have to look at our stuff. We’re left with our thoughts and I didn’t know how to manage them. I didn’t know how to not get carried away with chatter in my mind. My mind was fried, my body felt sick, my skin looked terrible and my hair was always greasy. My pores were dirty and clogged, I was having digestive problems, I always had a cold or was feeling ill. All of this for my psychological addiction to feeling anything but normal.
So this persisted into my move to the Bay Area. A couple of months ago, I had a friend come visit. We were drinking buddies. We drank the whole time she was here, but the more we drank, the more of myself I saw in her. She too was, I’m guessing unconsciously, behaving in an insecure and passive-aggressive manner that was actually turning me off. She was turning me off. I couldn’t believe that I was looking at my friend that way. I thought to myself, “Wow, I hope that I don’t give people those kind of bad vibes when I’m drinking.” That was a turning point for me. That’s when I started to think about how I was coming off to other people when I drank.
A few days after, I was talking to my boyfriend about how I could hardly drink very much anymore and I hated how I felt. THIS was the moment. THIS is what changed everything. He looked at me in a way that I had never seen, it was sad and attentive all at once. He said to me, “I don’t like it when you drink.” After a year of putting up with my drinking, things had finally gotten to the point where MY behavior was turning him off. He saw me in the same light that I had seen my (once) friend. That’s right, after a night of drinking together and a small misunderstanding, she left my house without saying goodbye and we haven’t spoken since. Was it worth it? Was any of this life-changing damage worth it anymore??So there you have it, folks: Why I Quit Drinking. It was the best, most grown-up decision I’ve ever made. The sight of it now makes me cringe. All of the physical ailments that I was dealing with have since disappeared. I feel better than I’ve ever felt and my body shows it. So how about that boredom I was so afraid of? My amazing boyfriend has helped me start and maintain a steady meditation practice. I actually look forward to that time of the day when we can sit on our cushions and stare at the floor in silence for however long. It wasn’t easy to start, his support was crucial to my getting the hang of it. When I first began, the anxiety that I felt was so intense that I thought I would jump out of my body! But I sat with it. I didn’t explode, in fact I was rewarded with and finally understood the meaning of INNER PEACE. I couldn’t have done it without getting sober.
I’ll get into my meditation experiences more with this blog, but I wanted to share my story in hopes that it might inspire someone to make a positive change. If you don’t feel good in your life right now, it’s up to YOU and ONLY YOU to make changes. Big ones. You don’t get to drain those around with your complaining if you’re not taking charge of your life. It’s hard to break bad habits, but boy is it empowering. You are in control. Trust yourself.