Ellen Degeneres had a lady on her show a while back – Gladys from Austin. She became a worldwide sensation when she told Ellen, “I love Jesus but I drink a little.”
If you have a minute, this clip is guaranteed to brighten your day:
I had a very Mormon upbringing. Smoking and drinking were off limits, among other things. After a few major life changes I made a conscious decision to leave the Mormon church. This meant I began finding my own personal code of truth. What values did I grow up with and still hold strong to and what beliefs fail to ring true to me anymore.
I hold no anger or malice towards that church, in fact, I’m an open book if people want to understand what they’re truly about. I actively correct false beliefs and encourage understanding. (Sounds like I found my niche.)
One thing I decided to explore was alcohol. It had been such a forbidden space I found I had a negative and judgemental, yet curious, attitude towards anyone who chose to imbibe. Yes, I had a taste in high school; I don’t know many who haven’t snuck it when the opportunity struck. But to have the freedom of choice to explore it was a new frontier I was excited to experience.
My gateway was definitely the tiki-type of mixed drinks. Sweet, fruity, no burn, and easy to go down. Sprinkle in a little wine. I loved the white bubbly stuff and then I learned about pairings. If you asked me, “Would you like a little cheese with that wine?” I’d respond, “Absolutely!” It was fun to see how they played off each other. Especially the drier red wines with a creamy cheese. Mmm. Eventually I began to mix my own (whipped cream vodka was an easy go-to). And 10 years later, I found flavored whiskeys were delightful to play around with. Yes, 10 years. This means I didn’t drink that often and it was usually socially. It took a while to progress and expand my palate.
Last year I realized I had joined the throng of people who had increased their drinking throughout the course of the pandemic. What used to be social became almost routine. Not every night, yet more nights than not. To be honest, I didn’t really think anything of it initially.
I began experiencing migraines and chalked it up to the added stress I was experiencing. So I went on a preventative.My digestion was less than stellar and pinpointing the cause of the upset continually eluded our efforts. So I went on probiotics and digestive enzymes. Jay wondered if alcohol was playing a role so I decided to cut it out and see what happened.
In the beginning it was a little awkward. Reactions ranged from, “What?! Why?!” to nonchalant. The social connection over drinks was different. I set boundaries around the choice to be the DD vs an expectation to do so. I figured out how to create or order a mocktail so I could enjoy the atmosphere without the alcohol.
And you know what? After a month I went off the digestive enzymes, just to see how it would go. I haven’t needed them since. I also chose to test the waters without the migraine preventative…and haven’t looked back.
I noticed my energy returning and my outlook on life improving. I was more inspired and excited to write. I felt like the clouds were lifting and my “can do” attitude sparking. I wanted to be active and doing, instead of the “have to” perspective.
I’ve heard alcohol is a depressant. I didn’t think I was having enough to truly have that kind of effect. Yet I was and it did. I grew up being told it was “wrong.” It was one of those “because I said so” rules that are so very frustrating.
Now, instead of a rule, it’s a choice. I took the box off the shelf, unwrapped it, tried it on for size, wore it like a comfy pair of sweats and now they’re so holey it’s time to let them go. Sometimes, when we get to embrace our own explanation of why the rule exists it’s way easier to allow it to be your own. Not an imposition but a blessing.
Have you ever bucked against a rule only to discover you’re happy to embrace it?
How can a shift in perspective concerning particular “guidelines” help your attitude and energy?
Is there a rule you need to explore the foundation behind?
Update: Since writing this musing I’ve had three different people open conversation on this very topic. They have noticed more frequent headaches and intestinal discomfort and have debated whether alcohol plays a part. After hearing my improvements they feel encouraged to see how being a non-drinker may improve their state of being. Here’s to a healthier 2022!