The most beautiful thing about being in my 40s is the realization that I don’t need to control everything. True story, I don’t always succeed at relinquishing control, as I still catch myself trying to chase down elusive targets with much effort instead of just doing, letting go and letting be. However, it’s work in progress me thinks. And at least for now I am aware, even though I am not yet a master at it.
Against this backdrop, my ‘lifestyle’ evolved as a side effect of my desire to control outcomes in my future. A yearning for security. I’m not saying it’s a good or a bad thing. It just is. I was imitating the traits ‘that I perceived’ characterized the people that I regarded as successful. Similarly media (social media and other media) portrayed that lifestyle as one belonging to successful people…. ‘Go great or go home‘ has been my personal motto for a decade now. Alcohol is a part of that lifestyle.
That lifestyle can be summarized as “Work hard, Train hard, Drink hard, Play then Work harder, Win hard and win again. Repeat. Rest occasionally when you just can’t anymore”.
I am seeing things differently now.
I won’t say that anything that happened was wrong for me. And I won’t judge or criticize that lifestyle which I identified as my own at one point. I am sincerely grateful and even humbled that I achieved many of my personal targets which seemed impossible at one point.
However, since about two years ago I’ve become increasingly aware of imbalances in my life. In an effort to self-correct, I’ve started meditating. I’m trying to eat healthier and I’ve started yoga. Since the beginning of this year I started thinking that I’m drinking too much. And over these past few months a culmination of incidents has lead me to the doorstep of now being ‘sober curious’.
I have at least four district memories from since February this year – incidents when I know that getting as drunk as I did was completely unnecessary. I wasn’t completely reckless because each time I was in a safe space – either with very trusted friends or I was alone. But that I realize now, was the problem! Alone or with trusted friends, I was using alcohol as a crutch to relax and escape my hectic lifestyle. Fortunately, there were no significant negative consequences of my drinking aside from a massive hangover the following day. I never ever missed work or a deadline. Thankfully nothing ever happened that would jeopardize my reputation (professional or otherwise). In fact after one drinking binge, I even ran a 10k race (still very much hungover) and I finished the race in 1hr1min – which is an enviable time for many people. However, I could not escape my own thoughts – that that behaviour of mine was just completely unnecessary. …. A functional alcoholic? Hmmmmmm
The culmination of incidents that opened my mind to seeing that there must be a better alternative were simple things which transpired – such as a news report of some influential person who also quit drinking for reasons similar to my own. Also an Instagram post or two that I spotted, new friendships with people who don’t drink alcohol for religious or other reasons. The time is just right for me to give sobriety a chance. A case for being sober curious.
And funny, as I was telling my sister-in-law this story, my brother who was sitting besides us, catching up on the news on his phone, remarked as he stumbled across this article below at very moment!
Coincidence maybe. I prefer to believe that the universe talks to me (to all of us) all the time. I think that my life will be happy and fulfilling only when I am willing to open and listen.
Case in point, ….Present and Aware. Non-alcoholic drinks with my Boeties last night. Not such a bad thing. Not bad at all actually – in fact quite the very opposite!