I've given it up before, for over 12 years. I started having an occasional "one or two" sometime after we moved back to Australia. We would get together often with friends and, well, it just seemed to be a part of the Aussie culture...what I had grown up with...old conditionings surfaced.
I thought I had a handle on it and I would usually stop after one or two. For some reason...those old conditionings... drinking made me feel kind of grown up / part of the crowd / like I was interesting. Thinking about it now, they are probably the exact reasons that I started drinking as a teenager and through a lot of my 20's. If I wasn't being the 'party girl', I was on the opposite side of the spectrum being the 'health nut'. Back and forth swung the pendulum. After too much partying, I'd vow to stop and get healthy again...but the call was strong. From the time I was a young child, I witnessed the "grown ups" around me drinking and partying. A lot. Why did I think that I needed alcohol to join the party? Why did I think I wasn't interesting enough on my own?
OK, I admit, when I was younger, it certainly helped me act wild and crazy and ...stupid. It helped me feel as though I was part of the crowd. I had often felt kind of on the outside. The double edge to that is that, through observation, I often didn't even want to be a part of the crowd and some of their petty ways. But I always kind of wanted to feel as though I fit in somewhere. I don't enjoy a lot of small talk, but with alcohol, I could handle talking about any kind of rubbish that I sometimes didn't even remember the next day.
The kids and I were out camping this week. In tents that is, because we kind of live the camping life anyway. We went with a group of homeschool friends. Someone brought red wine, which is the only alcohol I've been drinking when I do have "one or two" lately. I hadn't eaten much that day. For some reason, I didn't stop at one or two. I didn't have too much more than that, but without much food, it hit me. Hard. Ugh. During recovery, I kept feeling my Dad around me trying to help me - not with the physical recovery, he didn't seem to mind that I was having a hard time as it might help me to get the message. The message that I don't need to drink in order to join in the crowd or be more interesting or more relaxed or the life of the party or whatever trigger might have been interfering with my ability to say to myself "that's enough".
I don't have to be super chatty, or dance around, or tell funny stories in order to have a good time. I can have the best time just being deeply connected with myself, and letting that light shine through in all interactions with others. ahhh...nice revelation...I think that was part of the problem too - I was not feeling very connected within. You know, that's probably the reason this post was getting me out of bed in the middle of the night to have some quiet time to ponder all of this. To remind me of how important it is to Be Connected to my deeper self...the one that knows she's okay, just how she is and doesn't need to prove a thing...the one that feels comfortable being silent when others are talking a lot...the one that doesn't need a wine glass because her inner cup is already full...the one that remembers that authentic connection is really what she is all about...the one that can dance freely just for the joy of it... Now this is what it feels like to be a "grown up"!
...PS...I am not passing judgement on anyone else who chooses to drink alcohol. It just does not work for me.