I love a good drink. If I make the effort to cook-up some good Italian food, I usually open a bottle of wine. To be honest with you, I hope I will always be able to enjoy alcohol like this. This is healthy drinking.
The unhealthy side is when I use alcohol to ease inner tension. It’s very easy to spot when I am doing this, but I often do not want to see the truth: some time about mid-afternoon, I get a bit tired (after spending too long in front of a computer) a bit tense, a bit on edge. It’s just the way my daily cycle goes at the moment. For a long time, this feeling was a cue for me to drink, or at least to look forward to drinking when the working day was done. I would ride an edginess that promised a future resolution: the fresh taste of a nice cool beer. Ahhh, relaxtion, the good life, letting-go.
But this sucks. It’s alcohol dependency. It was every day.
Now that I’ve consciously clocked these processes, and decided to make a positive change, things are getting interesting. When I feel uptight and in need of a drink, I tell myself that I’m not going to get one. Chug-stutter-groan- Can you feel the gears shifting in my internal universe? Can you feel metal grate on metal?
I’m left without my comfort blanket and am out in the cold. But I get to ask some interesting questions. Why did I let myself get uptight? Why didn’t I take breaks from my computer, from thinking? Why didn’t I do some stretches, and breathe some beautiful air?
This is all basic stuff. If you put bad food into a human, you get bad humanity coming out. If you force your brain into over-activity for extended periods of time, you get stress. You put a sedative in and the stress goes. Or you stop the stress building-up in the first place.
But now that I’m sitting out in the cold, I’m quite enjoying it. Blanketless, the chill night air touches my skin, and I feel. Consciously. Aliveness beckons and says to my groaning being that more freedom is possible.
I know someone who alternately drinks way too much, and then goes for a year without any alcohol. I think he is right when he says that it’s easier to drink nothing than to drink just a little. But I will try and walk this space in between: to drink only for joy, not for comfort or tension relief. To drink as a celebration of good life, good food, and good company.