Proof: To Drink is Not to Die *but it may not be Living either.

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I am on an alcohol free EXPERIMENT. My goal at first was 3 months but I chose “the drank” at 10 months.

I will break down what happened in the head, in the body, in the saloon. Yes I went to a place that called itself a saloon. But heres a little reminder first:

My history with Alcoholics Anonymous, Buddhism, Alcohol Experiment via Annie Grace and other paths is alluded to in some earlier posts for reference. Im not new.

I had successfully lost 40 lbs or more through mindful eating, although we did not call it that in the 90s. Could I do this with drinking?

I wanted to mindfully rate this experience. If that was possible.

My drink of choice was served to me. I was with 2 other people. People who I could tolerate and enjoy without drinking. And had many times.

The first sip. Do I like the taste? It tasted good. I didn’t know I actually liked the taste of IPAs because it had been a while.

30 seconds in …..

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Hey Hey I’m back in with the people! The feeling of ease. The feeling of love and tolerance for all. Except for the cold patio.

The relaxation of the physical body. Summer/ no responsibility feeling of days past. A large all over body SIGH.

Is this “ease” going to be fleeting? Right now I cant tell.

3 minutes in ….

Wow. I’m drinking more slowly than the others. My self awareness is still intact.

I asked S about his family and years in Texas, he begins telling an unusual story. I’m interested.

5 min in I’m like ……….

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Neurons fire more slowly? The dumbing down of my perception happens as if somebody had placed cotton /gauze around the body’s ability to process social cues. Also I seem to be astral projecting above the situation. I’m no longer really feeling my molecular connection to these people or the Saloon. I have to will myself to be in my body. Get back!

Focus hurts. It’s all effort-y. Ugh. Wait. Which relative is the one S just mentioned who has schizophrenia? This story is not boring and I want to understand with clarity and insight. No, still the gauze.

Would I remember these names and the chronology of the story S is telling if I was undrinking?

? min in -losing track of recording time stamps…

If only we were dancing or at some place where the right brain was in use – I could handle moving, dancing on this buzz. But conversing on it felt like a chore. My processing felt delayed and I hated it. Am I slurring? No you’ve had 1/2 a beer. Can they tell I’m a light weight? I think you’re on a compulsive loop so just let it go by. Do my eyes look weird? Am I over-trying? Is anybody mad at me? Like on Earth? Is anybody against me on Planet Earth? F&ck. I want my laser mind back. Pay attention. But how am I to be mindful when Mindfulness is now cheapened? Pay attention to the cheapness. Yes. Acceptance. Not loving this.

Now I’m drinking faster then the others. But only slightly. Almost to the end of the glass. I’m nostalgic. Not depressed. This is not giving me contentment.

Drinking is letting go of me. I still want drinking to want to be with me even if I choose not to be with it.

And This is only 1 mindful BEER? I don’t want another. That’s great but it also sucks.

THE GUARANTEE of a good time has gone? BUT maybe this will still be ok with dancing. I’m not giving up.

There was never a time for me when to Drink was to Die. Not in the sense of shuffling off this mortal coil.

But when I read this post back, I count several other types of death or loss.

They are not as shattering as they once were. There was no loss of money, credit score, clothes, social decorum, expensive jackets, cars, wallets, phones, IDs, trust, bile, days, beauty, collagen, confidence, months, years.

This time the deaths were gauzy. Softer. And YES I had a hangover. A sliver of one; sluggish, drained.

I landed safely. I stopped at 1. I did not suffer or torment myself afterwards, I did not make it BAD. Absolute. Tip: when you don’t have the depression, shame and intolerance with your own behavior, it grants a powerful feeling of choice.

Preference has its own kick.

With all this said, If I had been more physically hungover, I wouldn’t have been able to fight the depression and sadness. I can’t fight 3 beers and its aftermath. Not with all the self talk, life coaching, thought models and IV drips in the world. The dopamine withdrawal is REAL and I’ll go down.

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QUESTION: I had successfully lost 40 lbs or more through mindful eating, although we did not call it that in the 90s. Could I do this with drinking?

ANSWER: YES . But the thrill of Victory is muted. The Gauze.

Be Ferocious in feeling your feelings. Give yourself the shot.

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Oh God. Feel your feelings. Sort of Ewww. Gross in a from the neck up psuedo-spiritual way and just cliche gross but it Fu&*ing works. I have proof it leads to relief. Empirical data, repetition.

Ive been using this quarantine to soften or let go of some behaviors. Delivering my mind and body from habits is ALOT easier when I face the feelings that hide under the habit. Focusing on emotional waves is also a lot easier when I’m laid off and have my head all to Myself. I have the luxury of being an NON essential worker.

This type of ferocity ala Shirley MaClaine is a good illustration of how I binge drank .

Intention: Binge feelings with same ferocity in which I binge drank.

When I “process” my emotions, my burning desire to buffer with Food/alcohol/control/drugs/sex/shopping/add your own fades away. FADES AWAY. Not will power, white knuckling or pretending it ‘s not there , but a cleared feeling of “I can take it or leave it”.

If I am consistent in my attempts , I can actually get a HIT off the release.

There are varying methods with which to do this and I have tried a lot of them. I’ll list some of them at the bottom of this post.

What seems to work best for me is :

locating the physical sensation in my body and allowing the story to unfold -the who or what the why, the feeling – is it Sadness , Grief, Shame, Or I don’t know but It sucks.

Letting myself tell the story and feel the feeling . This is no time to be the ethereal witness, be your kid self. for 1-5 minutes. I set a timer.

Drop the story (the aforementioned who, why ,what ,where) and focus on the visceral energy or weight of the feeling. 3-10 minutes depending on how much time you have.

Feel the feeling in the body. Is is a fat slug sitting in your throat? Or maybe a cuter animal in your Solar plexus? Your stomach? is it leaking out of our eyes? Whatever the weight or energy of it is, give it its due. Ignore it at your own peril. This feeling is a Golden Ticket to more freedom.

The sensation will unravel or it wont . Either is ok.

This can be exhausting but not as exhausting as binge drinking, 3 day hangovers, and years “lost” to inertia and fear paralysis.

I’m doing this to experience more joy not be “nice’ or “good’.

Here’s a list of some techniques , articles, ideas that have helped and if you can afford a coach or therapist – all the better!

Brene Brown excerpt

UFYB Kara Loewentheil podcast

Sarah May B podcast Help Me Be Me

Sedona Method