A glass of wine helped me feel at ease, the second made me feel funnier, more popular. By the third I felt a little bulletproof, the life of the party, the instigator.
Drink has always been a part of my toolset for a life straddling the introvert/extrovert fence (I am right on the cusp in every test for such things). I often assumed the job of making it the best night ever. Sometimes we had half a dozen hours of epic, crazy adventures.
But I have also made some really dumb decisions while hanging out with Bacchus (including being arrested for trespass and indecent exposure when a group of us went swimming rather early one morning. Luckily, we were not charged). Sometimes I would cringe at flashbacks, or worse, struggle to remember much at all.
Wine has been a place of solace and escape. From a hard day, stress, the occasional dose of anxiety. And this was how 2012 began. I was in one of the most challenging and difficult roles of my career: I was unhappy, listless, fragile. Having spent a couple of years consciously building respect and love for my body, my old patterns of using food and wine to cope with life, were starting to creep back in.
We had some friends over for supper on New Years day. I drank so much, I spent the next day in bed feeling dreadful and ashamed. I decided to try not drinking for a while. This turned into weeks then months. And I’ve had less than half a dozen glasses of wine and a couple of sips of champagne all year.
Its been one of the best gifts I have given myself.
Without the escape valve of wine, I feel everything. And feelings get processed so much faster and healthier, when I don’t fall into a bottle of wine in an attempt to avoid them.
I am a kinder person, sober. I don’t make the ‘funny’ comments at another’s expense. I don’t have to worry about what I might say or do, how late the night will be, how much of the next day might be sacrificed. I am more present, more aware of what is going on. Without mind-altering substances in my body, I am always myself, always connected to the best parts of me.
Over this year I have built up so much trust in myself, that I know I will be ok in pretty much any situation. And wow, there is such magic, grace and power in self-belief. I have a peace inside of me that is real and deep. From here, so much is possible.
Farewell twenty twelve, thank you for a year of being awake in my own life.