Updated: Dec 28, 2020
Why do we drink?
That's a question I've been asking myself lately. I've always enjoyed drinking, overdrinking, social drinking, drinking alone, drinking as a passion! Drinking has always been something I've been good at, researching wine, mixing cocktails, pub crawls.
Some of the thoughts I've explored are that its fun, I enjoy it, I enjoy how it feels, how it tastes, the rituals surrounding it. But when does enjoyment switch over to obsession or worse dependency? I really enjoy great ice cream, but I don't think about it all the time, or better yet, I don't eat so much ice cream I throw up or deal with a full day hangover because of it. I don't feel the need to have three scoops of ice cream every night, so why do I allow myself the indulgence of multiple glasses of wine?
When I started exploring my relationship with alcohol I was diagnosed with cancer and I started to look at my habits and which ones may have contributed to my condition. After my successful treatment I allowed myself to slip back into my comfortable habits which included drinking. I use drinking to reward myself for a job well done, something to look forward to at the end of the day. But how was I feeling the next day? How was my casual and not so casual drinking impacting my day to day, my relationships, and what I was creating?
Enter 2020 & Covid, now I'm locked in the house with my wife, my children, my job, my stress, and no toilet paper. Pour 'em if you got 'em! I start exploring new cocktails, Manhattans, Old Fashions, Negronis, wine, beer, scotch, et al. What a perfect way to deal with a pandemic, then 30 days turned into 6 months and I was now planning my days around cocktail hour.
I started to find that my thoughts were pre-occupied with drinking. "I can't wait to have a drink", "Oh that drink is going to taste sooo good", "Is it time for a drink yet?".
I started to see that I have given all of life's ability to create joy, anticipation, happiness to a single inanimate object. I was enjoying my family less, stopped engaging in my hobbies, stopped reaching out to my friends. I was pretty much getting up each day looking forward to the night. This can't be what its all about?
Then I started a non-drinking protocol with the actual intention of de-prioritizing alcohol. The first 8 days was pretty rough, I didn't realize how reliant I'd become to this substance until I told myself to stop. Thoughts started flooding my brain, urges, anxiety and even physical pain. That was the first time I'd realized the wholistic negative impact that alcohol was playing in my life. I started to test myself after the initial detox phase, can I have a drink without having two? Can I drink one night and not desire one the next?
Then I started to explore my relationships without alcohol, are my friends really that funny? Do I really like my wife? Can I deal with my kids sober? And the answer to all those questions was YES, and on top of that I looked better, had more room in my life for other things and actually felt better making choices.
After a few weeks of this kind of experimentation I really came to the conclusion that I didn't need alcohol in my life. It doesn't mean that I still won't have a drink, but that's not the point I guess. I want to be in control of my life, I want what I want, not to be controlled by anyone or anything.
Does any of this resonate with you?