Why I'm A Buzzkill Part Two; Feel It To Heal It

You aren't a killjoy, says one of my oldest friends.

I disagree with her, but I won't say so.  I respond with love, I always want to leave them with love. Let me explain a few things I feel about being sober so you can understand why being a buzzkill
(killjoy, same thing to me) is now something to aspire to.

I have learned to feel before I speak since I quit drinking alcohol, I now feel my way through things.  This includes sharing how I feel without filters or censorship. If I love you, I will say it.  Even if we've never met.  Some of the greatest kindnesses and lessons have come from people I have never met in the flesh.  These people I love, I want them to know it.  This is all about learning to cope with feelings now instead of watering them down to make them either more palatable to myself or others.  I edit nothing, I simply feel, then put it out there into the world. By the same token if I don't like you I avoid you. I just don't include you.  I won't be unkind, I will just not tolerate any tainting of my personal environment. I wasted enough days drinking to tolerate people and situations I disliked, now I just have room in my world for only the people and things I absolutely adore. Because that is what feels good to me.

Then there are those who don't "trust" a sober person. 

This is how I feel about that...the whole time I was a drinker and trusting alcohol culture (Why would doctors lie about alcohol? Why are there so many studies backing up the moderate use of alcohol? Why would anyone lie about these things?) I never once worried about what people would think of me as one of them, as a fellow drinker.  It's perfectly acceptable, right? Of course it was, I thought.  But alcohol lies, it's the only liar in this whole scenario.  I learned to trust my own research, my own judgement and my own body. As for being a killjoy, yes I am.  But not by my standards. By the standards of mainstream society.  And gosh I am more than okay with that because I have never felt better!  You see how this works? This thing with the feels? In the first version of this blogpost you can find here...I talked about patriarchal society and how leaning on these masculine traits has caused us to be out of touch with our feminine side and has likely caused a lot of us to drink in order to cope with these societal norms. We've been told long enough to be tough, that many of us turned to a numbing substance in order to forget we are actually soft, loving and caring creatures by nature.

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Where do we draw the line at "normal drinker" vs. "alcohol is my drug"? 

I don't think you can draw a line.  I think both are one and the same.  In other words, I don't believe there are normal drinkers. It's totally fine if you disagree with me. These are my thoughts, just sharing. But since I believe that alcohol is poison, and any amount be it one glass or one bottle of alcohol is poison, I have chosen to say no to it.  I've said no to it for over two years with no regrets and no looking in the rearview mirror.  Prior to that day, one drink led to five, or one quick drink led to a night I'd rather forget. And sometimes that led to night I couldn't remember if I tried, so yeah.  Done with all that now.  As for anyone consuming alcohol - totally your right to do so. I'm simply sharing what life is like without it...because we all clearly know what life is like with it. By that same token, it's perfectly acceptable not to drink too. But perhaps you wouldn't be here reading this if sobriety wasn't a least a bit of a curiosity for you....

And since quitting something I had depended on to tame my feelings for so long had now suddenly vanished from my life by choice (mmmm...so empowering.."by choice"..love that), and I was no longer self-medicating with booze, I needed new coping mechanisms to deal with this (what I now realize is completely beautiful whether it's up or down) existence. Because a lot of former drinkers will tell you, the worst day sober is better by far than the best day of drinking.  Hands down.  So my new strategies included taking it slow, taking it by way of feeling my way through it and by taking one day at a time.  The feeling part is what really makes this train run on the track. And FEELING, is feminine. Feeling our feelings is what is going to be the softest yet most impactful blow to patriarchal society.  This is how we will heal ourselves, and our planet.

At one time I may have walked right by these.
No, I would have been on the couch with some hangover remedies close by.
I wouldn't have been out in nature! Duh. 

Healing your alcohol habit is not going to happen overnight. 

It's a new lifestyle, on the daily, a choice you are making to take steps in your own recovery. Taking your life back in your own hands, one moment followed by another for as long as that takes. But that power lies in your hands. You needn't feel sorry for yourself if you are at a function where people are drinking because you have chosen not to.  You don't miss out because you have a club soda in your hand so you are technically drinking something! And you will be able to drive everyone home so they can go be sick for a few hours while you do something else like go for a jog or walk, or watch a movie or read a book.  It's very freeing.  Such an empowering choice to make.

It took awhile to become addicted to alcohol...it maybe took you a year or a few years for your life to spiral out of control.  Or if it didn't spiral out of control maybe you just felt a little off on a daily basis, or maybe you were run down and getting sick a lot. That irritable bowel that won't heal? Your sore throat that never goes away? The constant headaches and general malaise? Maybe you needed an afternoon nap at 3pm daily because you were in withdrawal and had to mentally get through until 5pm or 7pm til you could start your vicious cycle over again.  Get my drift? So slow and steady steps will get you back on your charted course.  Choices made each day with a fresh perspective that isn't clouded by a hangover, are yours for the taking.

So when we stop using alcohol to self medicate we now have choice.  Feel your way through. This may take awhile, like I said before it will not happen overnight. This is a lifestyle change that you want to remain permanent. What does that look like for you? It may involve sitting with yourself.  Being in solitude.  It may involve getting out into nature and crying a little.  It could be calling someone you know is sober when you have burning questions or hard moments.  It could mean putting money away, money that you would have spent on wine and putting it away and saving up to buy yourself a weekend in New York.  With your camera.  And delicious food.  To see things you never paid attention to before like people watching and lovely architecture and a Broadway play.

Maybe your breathing needs attention? How does that feel?
Is it slow and purposeful;, taking air deep into lungs and thanking the giver of the breath for that beautiful prana as you fully exhale out.  Repeatedly doing this until your nervous system calms and you ease muscle tension because suddenly you are aware that your shoulders are high up near your ears so you then lower them and loosen your spine until you feel aligned again.
Or are your breaths hurried and shallow?
Do they never seem to fill your lungs and as such your mind is constantly racing and your body full of tension?
It's time to feel your breath.  To connect to how healing that area of your life feels when you pay attention to it.

Is your diet the best it could be? Can you make small changes to look after yourself with food that brings you joy and tastes good? Will you make it a priority so that you aren't stressed at work wondering how you are going to eat? And what you will eat?  Can you plan that for an hour at night for the next day so that you are ahead of yourself?

Tackle one big thing a day.  Face it, head on.  Feel it.  If it's scary, all the better.  This is what you've been avoiding.  Need a shoulder? Need advice?  Call a sober friend.  Get real time help and don't think you have to do any of this alone.  You don't.  Once you start tackling the big things, the little things are easier to get to and don't add up over time either.  You start having a cleaner slate, each and every day getting better than the next as you build on your progress...taking it one day at a time.

Your presence and your feelings are what matter.  

If you are present in any situation you are well equipped to handle it.  But add alcohol to that mix and nope, you aren't going to handle a damn thing and you just may end up making things worse in all likelihood.  So while your friends may wonder, what the hell is up with her and her club soda? Just know that in order to heal your life, you will be the buzzkill and that's more than okay.  It's got to start somewhere.  You can be the seed, you can start the ripples on that pond, you can inspire others who may be struggling too and have yet to say anything.  Because as we all know, those who love their vintages, and their wineries, and their crystal goblets usually end up glossy eyed and passing out, tired, less vibrant than they care to really admit.  It's all a dream, this show...this facade....and you have woken up from it. Embrace your club soda and feel your way through it.  Taste that lime in there.  Breathe deeply.  Look how blue the sky is.  Look at the miracle your life is.  Keep it up one day at a time. Feel.  Just feel your way through.  You got this.

Not enough? Need more?  Try this. Grab your headphones and pick an episode and listen while you make dinner.


Hi it's Gillian...sober at a wedding and doing more than just fine.