It took me many years to slow down my drinking. I don’t mean to put myself out there as an insane partier or a severe alcoholic; I was never either of those things. But when I drank I drank a lot and a fun party inevitably turned into a disastrous downward spiral to the most negative angry depths of my psyche.
There was a lot of space between me realizing something was amiss and getting to the point where I could control my urges and co-exist with friends and a partner who happily drank the nights away on a regular basis. The list of barriers I had to overcome was long, but I did it one by one (checklist!) and eventually my life began to turn around.
The result of the turning got me out of a city I hated, a job that made me insane and a relationship that was never going to help me down the road to peace and happiness. All good things. Add to that a road trip cross country and setting up a new deal in Portland and it really worked out for the best.
I had to face a ton of inner demons as I came to admit I was behaving poorly. I also had to learn how to forgive myself and really move on.
What’s happened to me in these forty days is I’ve applied all the lessons I learned about how to handle alcohol and get myself out of situations that make me unhappy to my emotional and physical well being. I’ve solidified my ability to take a positive approach to the other aspects of my life, the ones that find me eating Cheez-Its and Snapple for dinner four times a week, living in a body I’m uncomfortable in, forcing myself to exercise and eat in ways that ignore what my body really needs and wants, trying to fit myself into a label that defines someone else entirely, continuing down a path of struggle, frustration and guilt.
In the end this has taught me how to apply all the lessons to my egoic inner chatter and general daily mood. This is huge!
Eckhart Tolle is so right on when he says our purpose is to give 100% of our attention to each moment as we live it. Only in the moment can we make the right decision with awareness and peace. Only in quiet can we give our attention to what is actually happening as opposed to what we think or want to happen. You can’t just wake up one day and say I’m not going to drink anymore. I tried. It doesn’t work. You have to face those moments individually as they come. That goes for everything in life, all the worries and fears – I understand that now.
When I’m bowling with my friends and I want to have a beer, my purpose is to concentrate on why I actually don’t want to have a beer and instead just have fun bowling. When my dog is diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease, my purpose is to shut off the money worry voice, stop crying and nurse him when he can’t keep the medicine down. When I’m fasting and crave food, my purpose is to shut up and drink more lemonade. When my business is struggling and I can’t make ends meet, it’s my purpose to come up with new ideas, experiment with soup and gracefully accept help when it’s offered. And when everything is going right, it’s my purpose to live in that freedom and happiness without making myself feel guilty for it.
Grace is what has been missing from my life. And that’s what I finally understand. With grace I am able to take a breath before I react and calmly, successfully navigate anything life throws at me. With grace I will stay at peace in the uncertainty.
Over a decade spent trying to find myself summed up in 40 days. Ha!