Around four years ago I stopped drinking alcohol for the sake of my health. Yet I am not a recovering alcoholic, nor did I have an emotional attachment to it. The reason may surprise you...
When I was younger, alcohol played a big part in my weekends partying with friends. Getting tipsy (sometimes trollied) was how I let go and had some fun. At the time, I was a hard working student, athlete in training and very focused. I think having a drink and letting my hair down was how I could escape such focused and controlled behaviour. It gave me a good excuse to let go.
I realised by my mid-20's that I had become reliant on having a drink to 'have a good time' when I met with friends in a social setting. I decided there and then to change the habit. I started occasionally going out and not drinking (making excuses about getting up early or being unable to afford taxis so driving was the best option). It wasn't every social occasion. Now and then I would still allow myself to have a good time with a drink. But my habits were changing. Most time I would have a glass of wine with a meal and a couple of drinks in a social setting. I started to understand I could have fun without alcohol and that I didn't really like it that much.
What I haven't mentioned so far, is that my body has always rejected alcohol. I just chose to ignore it. 95% of the evenings where I would have a drink, I would be violently ill - all night. I'd end up sleeping on the bathroom floor. Sometimes this would happen after just 2 small drinks! I used to brush it off as part of a hangover and as I got older, telling myself and everyone I was just becoming a 'lightweight'. What I didn't know (or should I say 'chose to ignore'), was that my body was struggling - turns out I had an allergy! I also believe my light body doesn't not like the frequency of alcohol and how it affects me spiritually.
Now this is where it gets interesting. When it comes to wellness, not one size fits all. I would never demonise a food or drink group as we all react differently to different things. So I'm going to set this straight by saying I do not think alcohol is necessarily bad for you and think we should all quit it. My relationship with alcohol and my journey to sobriety is personal to me. I'm sharing to highlight just how personal and complex our own wellbeing journeys are. How we need to listen to our inner wisdom more to find out how we individually react to certain foods or drinks.
Do you really listen to yourself?
Does your body speak to you and you ignore it?
Do you allow others to tell you how to eat/live when you are perfectly happy & healthy, but you look externally for validation?
Only you know deep down if you are truly happy & healthy. No one else can determine that. Even health professionals can get it wrong as they don't really know what's in your head, heart, life and social circumstances etc... They only have access to scientific stats which are very valid on this journey, but they can't paint the whole picture. Holistic practitioners are the same - they cannot paint the whole picture. They also have wonderful knowledge around health & wellbeing - but you are the master of your ship. Support, knowledge & guidance from health professionals (medical & holistic) is very important, but it's not everything. The only thing you need to make sure of is that you are in a good place to listen and trust yourself and your own inner wisdom.
Back to my journey to sobriety. After 2011 when I'd undergone major surgery for spinal trauma, the neurological effects and emotional implications that come with such a life-changing challenge, my body fought back. I'd used the 'power' of my mind to push through severe pain for years - it's what I was good at and conditioned to do. My body had had enough of my BS. I noticed I had become quite sensitive to certain foods. As I was on a healing journey, I started looking into my nutrition and how my body was reacting. The most obvious for me was alcohol. I just couldn't handle a single drink anymore. I would get crippling fatigue after just one drink and feel dizzy.
I do not know the exact date I stopped drinking. I know dates are very important to people who are recovering from addiction. As that wasn't my story, I don't remember but I believe it was around 4 years ago. I had gone on a lunch date with my hubby. I love a Sangria with Tapas so I ordered one. The sun was shining and I was super happy to be eating my favourite food. I took just two sips of my drink and my speech started slurring. My left arm went numb and heavy and I struggled to move it. We had to leave our lunch and head straight home. I cried (I was frustrated that my neuro condition had ruined a lovely day!) and went to bed to rest, meditate and allow my nervous system to calm down.
That was the last time I touched a drop of alcohol. I owed it to myself to give my body a fighting chance of healing through a complicated condition. I loved myself enough to do that. I loved those closest to me enough to stop doing something which affected my health so much they had to step in and care for me. To stand firm and say 'no thanks' when offered an alcoholic drink. To ignore the intriguing looks, remarks and curious judgements about the fact I no longer drink. The friends that stopped socialising with us as I was the 'boring sober' person now (I'm not boring by the way - I hope 😜). My health was, and is more important to me. My body had been telling me to stop. I decided to listen. I didn't need anyone else to tell me. I am the master of my own ship.
A few months later I had an appointment with my neurologist and I shared my experience. He was very supportive and confirmed to me that it is not unusual for anyone living with neurological conditions (these include Parkinsons, MS, FND etc) to reject alcohol. Most people assume it's due to meds but I am managing mine with no meds so that was ruled out. I had no idea that was a thing but when you delve into researching our nuero systems, it makes so much sense! Did you know that whenever a professional athlete has an injury (it doesn't matter how minor), they are told to avoid alcohol completely as it hinders the healing process? Even one drink!
How does your body respond to alcohol?
Do you know the sober life would benefit your health, but something is stopping you from doing it? Have you explored what that is?
Are you sober for health reasons?
Did you know there is a great range of non-alcoholic drinks around now - if I fancy the taste of a sparkling wine I now have so much choice!
I want to hear your story 💗