I was really impressed with the doco and panel discussion on alcohol by Patrick Gower this week. It got me to thinking about my own relationship with alcohol.
Having run bars and nightclubs for most of my 20s and events for the last 15 years I’ve spent a lot of time around alcohol but I actually stopped drinking just before I turned 18. Yes I drunk heavily from 15 years of age! I was extremely shy and had terrible self esteem so alcohol helped with that. I was also suicidal and depressed but instead of facing my pain I drank it away. I know I know so cliche.
I felt invincible when I was drinking, I could drink a lot, more than most. But I also did stupid shit. Which was what pushed me to quit as I literally had a moment I will never forget when I woke up after a big night of drinking and sat straight up in bed with the clear realisation that alcohol was fucking up my life. I was an alcoholic. I didn’t know how to have only 1 or 2 drinks and I was only 17 years old!
I stopped then and there. I have only drunk a few times since that day 20 years ago but had 13 year completely alcohol free period.
Having then spent my whole adult life working in the bar industry and creating events I’ve seen people in all states, I’ve had to break up fights between many people, even between friends just because they were drunk, one so bad they to go to A&E. I’ve witnessed relationships break up because of alcohol. I’ve seen people in states they would be mortified of but can’t remember more times than I care to remember. I’ve seen many people at the lowest states in their lives. Drowning their pain in alcohol.
Do I miss alcohol? No!
Yes there have been moments when my shyness gets me and my self confidence is low or I’m feeling shitty and it would be so easy to have a drink to change my state. I know I don’t get invited many places because I don’t drink and get wasted with people, I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me feel left out at times but I still don’t want to drink. It’s still not worth it to me.
I have still had lots of fun over the years completely sober (and drug free) when I’m in the right environment, with the right people and the music is good that is all I need to have a good night.
I am beyond grateful that I had that realisation at such a young age.
I am grateful I am alcohol free and I have no desire to start drinking again.
I am grateful I get to create alcohol free events now and people are starting the realise that it is not the answer to their problems.
We don’t need alcohol to have fun, we just get told we do. We don’t need alcohol to relax or cope with life. We get told we do. Instead we need to learn to do these things in constructive ways. For me it’s yoga and meditation.
We need to face the things that cause us the pain, deal with them instead of drowning them in alcohol and drugs.
The problems will always still be there if we don’t face them, don’t actually deal with them. The alcohol is only a temporary solution which will actually cause long term pain.
I’m not entirely against alcohol. I just think it’s been used as such a key part of peoples lives - their coping mechanism, their solution.
Have a look at how much and how often you’re drinking and what it’s bringing into your life. What’s the impact it’s having on your life. Be honest with yourself. Be brutally honest. No one needs alcohol, you just think you do.