May 27, 2013

A month ago today, I decided to stop ingesting alcoholic beverages.  I was drinking too much and too often, it seemed. It was time to do something different.

The absence of alcohol has been an interesting thing.  I have missed having a buzz.  I haved missed being able to drink something that will alter my state of mind, and provide me with a little detachment from the moment.  I don’t think I drank in order to escape my problems (cliche’), yet I did drink to feel relaxed, or whatever it was I told myself I was achieving through alcohol.  It is a socially acceptable way in which we alter ourselves.  I got into the habit of doing this regularly.

Thankfully,there have been no crazy withdrawal symptoms.  I have, however, started to wonder about the deeper question of why I wanted to alter, numb, detach or otherwise be something other than what I am sober, on a regular basis.  Was this just a bad habit?  An addiction?  Perhaps, yet at the same time; I think the thing to which I was most attached was the fact that alcohol alters my awareness.  Softens and blurs it somehow.  Makes it “other than”.  This seemed to be my real habit… my real addiction.  Regularly altering my awareness to the present moment.

Alcohol is an obvious route to an immediate distraction, though many people use other drugs, food, or even work as their methodology.  We seem, as humans, to be dissatisfied with ourselves, our circumstances or our environment, on a fairly regular basis.  Looking at our lives, or our bodies in an accepting and non-judging way is hard for most of us.  We need, or want, distractions from how things really are.  To be present to our “in-your-face realities” without trying to change anything, or judging how things look, is difficult.

I am starting to see that there is a difference between wanting to make a change for the better and wanting to make a change as a distraction from the present.  Obviously, life is not static, yet if we are not present and accounted for in the moment, we are missing something.   All we ever have is the now, and though this seems and feels unrealistic at times, it is true.  The past is gone, and the future nonexistent.  If we are forever ‘somewhere else’ than in the moment, are we really getting the full experience?

In the end, this isn’t a sermon about the sins of alcohol.   More, a pondering on how easy it is to get attached to, and actually need, our distractions as a way out of the present. I let go of one big vehicle for detaching from my life, and I like how I feel.  Not just physically, yet esoterically, as well.  I have one less need, and I feel lighter and more in tune because of it.

As Charles Bukowski said, “The less I needed, the better I felt”.





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