There have been times in my life where I abstained from alcohol. And there have been times in my life when I’ve consumed over the recommended daily amount. There was a time when I lived on coffee and popcorn, and now for many, many years, I have not touched coffee. I have participated fully in a Christian organization, I’ve financially supported friends and family, I’ve worked way too hard supporting someone else’s business… Each instance, each change I’ve never felt contradiction, I’ve never felt remorse. I lived fully present right where I was because of perspective.
My perspective on wine
Let’s address my current relationship with wine. I enjoy a glass or two, but can’t bring myself any longer to drink hard liquor. It took a while to get here. I started, like most teens, drinking underage, not really liking the taste, throwing up, and trying it again. I wasn’t a hard “partier”, but I had my share of crazy times. I’m remembering right now, as I write, about me and two friends who decided to go on a last-minute road trip, catch a night boat cruise, and stumble in the dark through the rain back to the friend’s house. Solid memories. Solid crazy.
The cure for a hangover
This continued into early adult life as I was close to the legal limit too many times. I enjoyed a cold beer with my baseball friends after most games. I attended and hosted many parties where alcohol was front and centre. And then I had children. There is nothing quite like waking to a crying baby when you have a hangover. Excessive drinking stopped cold. But I still loved a cold beer on a hot day, wine with dinner, and even enjoyed a good scotch with a friend.
Several years later I found myself in a situation where I stopped drinking altogether in an effort to minimize the out-of-control drinking of my partner. That didn’t work. Our marriage ended when alcohol controlled his life. When I left him I still didn’t drink. I am scarred. There were wounds left, not on, but in my body. And even several years after being apart I still didn’t drink because it upset my daughter. She is scarred by those years, too.
Scars heal over time
I find myself closer to ten years past that time, and like all scars, mine are fading. I have no taste for anything other than red wine. I’m not sure why this is, but history has obviously developed tastes and tolerances in me. I still feel a knot in my stomach when someone’s personality shifts after a few drinks. My perspective has created some healthy boundaries around alcohol. But I do like the taste and the relaxation I enjoy over a good glass of Merlot with friends.
A friend posted recently on social media that she didn’t drink and asked if there were any supportive friends out there. I was happy to see all the support she got. Alcohol certainly is a social norm. But every person has their own history and attitudes towards it. It shouldn’t be questioned if you do or don’t drink, any more than if you pray or don’t pray. It’s a personal choice based on your perspective.
My perspective continues to change, and my habits change along with it. This should be the case with all things. Trust your gut and do what serves you. We are living in times now when we are judged for wearing a mask or not. Always live in harmony first with yourself, but also with the world around you. We are part of a larger collective that creates our harmony. Experience can leave us with wary apprehension, or absolute disregard, but you will find your balance when you learn to forgive and trust yourself.