Discover more from The Hue-Man Experience
Small Celebration. Big Realization.
#85 - One year, no alcohol.
Last year I gave up drinking alcohol on August 22nd, an early Birthday present to myself which I’ve found perpetually pays royalties.
I'm a work in progress though. I still have other vices, but over the last year, the absence of alcohol from my life has shown me I can leave behind anything which does not serve me when I'm ready.
With one less thing to help me hide from myself, I’ve witnessed both my light and dark sides in full view, sometimes in the same day.
I’ve seen myself bounce back and forth between them, and have accepted that balance is the only way to climb as high as my aspirations.
And now I see how I spent years running from my shadow, pretending it wasn’t there, while drinking to drown the sound of its fearful cries, often disguised as other emotions.
But it takes two halves to make me whole, and I continue to learn to love both unconditionally, with gratitude for their teachings, each equally important to my growth.
As August began, I asked myself to recognize the one big thing the last year has taught me. And then the other day it hit me out of nowhere while out on a scorching dog walk.
Every trigger is an opportunity to become more or less yourself.
That is, every time you observe an impulse firing in your brain, you give yourself a choice, informed by your reflective breath. And this is always the choice between Love and Fear.
Your heart already knows the way. Yet, when out of sync, your brain always gets in its way.
The trigger is merely a question.
When it fires, emotion swells, but underneath it, the realest you is asking yourself if you will choose the path of trusting devotion, or a side quest where the lesson will become more abrasive?
Either way, both paths lead to the next checkpoint. And you will always arrive at the perfect time.
I live alone, and found it surprisingly easy to not drink once I made my mind up. The dog and I have our routine, and once I realized alcohol no longer fit into it, poof, it was gone. And then I just didn’t put myself in situations where I’d have to make the choice.
But I come from a drinking family. Alcohol is engrained in our bond. And when I went to visit them out West in June, I found myself in a position I hadn’t been in for many months.
There was alcohol all around me, and people I used to drink it with were enjoying it together, in a shared experience.
I was there, sharing the same space, but not part of the experience in the same way they were. And I found myself inside my head, observing the impulses firing.
Being back in my family home for the first time in 3 years, my body flooded with memories, and my brain went to places I thought were firmly behind me.
Standing with my brother in the kitchen, he popped a beer, and I found myself wanting to reach for one to share with him, suddenly remembering that Christmas where we mixed IPAs together, drinking heavy combos until we passed out.
But I reminded myself I don’t like the way beer makes me feel, and immediately noticed how badly I too wanted something to make my head swirl, even though I was already having a wonderful time.
That led me to ask myself if I really needed what I wanted, and I made my choice in full awareness.
“Yo Pops, tomorrow after fishing, can we stop by the herb club on the way home? I wanna grab something for after, so I can join you guys while you drink tonight.”
“You said you quit smoking that stuff when I visited you in December,” he said.
“I did,” I told him.
“Ha! When in California, huh?” he laughed.
Though I know my dad deeply wanted to bond over a glass of wine together, he never once pressured me to drink with him. And then he did something I never thought he’d do in a million years.
The car purred in the space he picked, and I went in to buy a bag of little candies that made me giggle like a cartoon character while my family drank together. And together we dined on fish we’d pulled out of the ocean earlier that morning.
I knew I didn’t need them. But I wanted ‘em.
And that night, I leaned into my Hue-Manity, accepting myself as a work in progress.
Until next week,