I saw a headline this morning:
‘Celebrity stopped drinking revelation!’
It got me wondering why this has to be such a revelation?
Why one person’s personal choice to feel healthier comes as such a shock to society
Would we have the same reaction if she had decided to stop eating cake or watching soaps?
The simple answer is no, not because they are less harmful, but because they have less of a stigma in our eyes
I am speaking of course in generalised terms, but the long & short of it is that as a society we are addicted to alcohol
Plain & simple
We use it to celebrate, commiserate, to wind down, to shut out, to cheer up, to calm down
We use it to feel confident in company & to feel better when we are alone
We continue to perpetuate the belief that this is OK
But it’s not
This is NOT normal!
Instead of getting to know ourselves in our natural state, instead of feeling our feelings & learning what makes us feel naturally good, we mask our reality & delay our inevitable misery, we stay inebriated & blinker out the oncoming crash
The worst of it is that in order to jump off the alcohol bandwagon, we are expected to have a doctor’s note!
We seem to think that the only acceptable reason to stop drinking is because we are on the verge of heart attack or because we have realised we are addicted
The inevitable questions / comments from ‘normal’ people to fathom out why on earth someone would ever want to not drink range from
‘Why – are you ill?’
‘Ah, were you an alcoholic?’
‘You are so brave’
‘I feel so sorry for you missing out’
The thing is, for many who have given up, it’s through simple choice to feel better
I chose to give up after a particularly heavy month of drinking excessively, sleeping little & feeling sick of the daily headaches, nausea, fuzzy-headedness, sick of living half a life in a haze of illness & indecisiveness, & sick of having no energy for anything
This decision that I had drunk my last drink felt different from the usual morning after regret
It felt more like the moment all those years ago when I extinguished that cigarette, knowing it would be my last
There was no fanfare or declaration, just a quiet realisation that I had finished that part of my life
My decision to quit drinking was reinforced recently after a sober night out, witnessing the 3am drunken brawls, the exposed insecurities, the arguments, the tears
What are we doing to ourselves?
Why do we as a society think this is the only way we can have fun?!
I know not all nights end like this
I know some folk can enjoy a nice glass of red with a meal
I know that we have even managed to convince ourselves that the benefits of that are worth it
(If it’s health benefits you want, why not eat a bowl of fresh grapes in their purest form)
At the end of the day – alcohol is poison
Yes we make it taste good, but only to make it palatable
Someone recently commented to me that alcohol is medicine
If it is then surely it would be O.K to give to our children!
My point here was not to preach about alcohol, but to comment on our questionable societal beliefs
So next time you offer someone a drink & they say no, remember it does not have to be a huge conversation
If their decision to not drink makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t make it their problem
Rather than questioning them, perhaps ask yourself why that makes you feel the way it does?
Remember that other people’s actions can’t MAKE you feel a certain way, but they can trigger feelings that are already active within you
So why do you think their choice triggers a feeling of discomfort within you?
… & perhaps it might be worth exploring those feelings at a time when you have a clear head!