Sheepishly…I do not drink.
Alcohol that is. Why is that so hard for me to say? I do not consume dairy or sugar or gluten either, but I have no problem standing on top of a building and singing that out to the unfortunate bystanders below. I do not drink. I do not drink.
I do not drink.
Like many things, it all started during my recovery from head injury. One of the things some practitioners (not all, surprisingly) recommended was staying away from alcohol. Making every attempt to help myself recover, I refrained from the substance for some time. After my physical therapist gave me the pass, I tried some wine on Thanksgiving, but immediately got scared and did not finish it. The next time I sipped a drink was months later on my mother’s 50th birthday, but again I had one sip of that mojito and passed it along. That would be the last time the substance would touch my lips.
I have entries in my journal that exhibit my longing to be at school with my friends and be able to go out and dance and flirt and yes, drink. It is so incredible how much weight I put on this simultaneously humble and powerful liquid.
During that time, I carried around a little black notebook that held my “to-do” list. Since I could not read, watch TV, or do much of anything else, I carried the journal around and every time I had an interesting thought I would transcribe it. I also kept lists. Lists of all the things I loved, lists of my favorite people, lists of all the qualities I am looking for in a significant other, lists of lists. The “to-do” list embodied all of the things that I wanted to do when I was healthy again. I used it as a form of motivation and hope—that someday I would be able to do all those things.
[Excerpts] To-Do List January 2011:
- Watch: Harry Potter 7, Pirates of the Caribbean, Desperate Housewives
- Drink alcohol
- Drink a real latte, with extra foam
- Shop online
- Go on Facebook
- Pregame with my friends
- Wear contact lenses
- Go to the movies
It is funny for me to read over that list because many of those things are not important to me anymore. There are other items on my “to-do” list that have replaced those.
[Excerpts] To-Do List January 2013:
Attend Jennifer Pastiloff’s Kripalu workshopDone 2/1/13!
- Inspire young women
Use a VitamixDone!
- Run with reckless abandon
- Go to Bali, Italy, Greece, and return to Hawaii
- Watch others heal before my eyes
- Be generous
- Attract like-minded friends
- Fall madly in love with myself
- Play the piano
- Meet Wayne Dyer
- Skip and jump on a trampoline
- Be free
One notable item missing from the 2013 list: alcohol. Don’t get me wrong, I love to go out. I am frequently the DD for my friends on those evenings—I can’t say they mind. Neither do I…I actually love it. But when someone asks me if I’d like a beverage or why I’m not drinking that evening, I freeze. I flap aimlessly around with different excuses like “oh, you know, I haven’t really since I got hurt, it doesn’t make me feel good” or “I’m driving tonight, sorry!” or “ehh, just not tonight.” I don’t know why I feel I will offend others if I tell them, “You know what, I really just don’t like it that much, and I’d prefer not to.” I fear they will see me differently, treat me differently.
I do not drink.
Please, don’t think less of me. Please, don’t look at me. I promise, I’m not trying to be elitist. I promise.
The things we tell ourselves.
Yes, it does affect my health, and I like to keep myself in the best position possible to maintain my brain function. I have learned about the affects of alcohol on the brain and my fragile one just cannot handle it anymore. Really, though, it just isn’t me anymore.
In an effort to be truly myself: no, I do not drink. And I probably never will again. But I still love to dance and sing and laugh and have tons of fun. And I am so so happy that way. This just happens to be my choice, and I do not wish it upon anyone else. I openly say that I never judge anyone else for drinking; I have just decided that it no longer serves me.
However, from now on I do not want to have this burden of feeling like I am somehow unworthy because I do not drink anymore. As if I owe some explanation. So I am making this my next step towards being authentic and vulnerable.
Release the burden like a heavy cloak on a summer’s day. Shedding a layer when you’re sweating like crazy. Doesn’t that feel lighter? I am refreshingly cool already.
Boldly, openly, authentically…I do not drink.