And That Was My Last Drink – No Drama, No Resolve, Just Plain Common Sense

by Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, Australia

It wasn’t that I truly ever thought drinking alcohol was okay, but everybody was doing it and I wanted to fit in.

Not drinking did make sense to me. What I noticed though, was that everybody seemed to be drinking a lot of coffee, and that some people who had stopped drinking because they were alcoholics, actually smoked a lot of cigarettes. A lesser evil so to speak, because drinking heaps of coffee and smoking did not lead to violence and family breakups: but were people just swapping one addiction for a lesser one and exchanging one prop for another?

One day, upon opening a new bottle, which I would then usually nurse along over two or three evenings, and whilst keenly feeling the anticipation, the relief the glass of wine would bring me any moment and that sense of having deserved it, I thought: “What kind of life am I leading; what are my working days really like when I can’t wait to get this glass of wine into me?”

Well, that was the end of that – no New Year’s resolutions, no planning ahead of how I would manage to not drink, nothing at all – just the insight of the fact that there must be something wrong with my life to have to drink wine in the evening after work, and be looking forward to it so much.

So my life was the problem, and the alcohol just a Band-Aid.

Not drinking was therefore extremely easy and quite natural. I just did not drink anymore and started attending to my life, my working life, my relationships and my choices, the whole lot. I started taking responsibility for how I was feeling during the day, paying attention to when I felt drained and questioning and gradually changing all those things that I had accepted as normal, but which were in fact depleting me to the point that I could hardly wait to get that numbing sugar hit in the evening.

220 thoughts on “And That Was My Last Drink – No Drama, No Resolve, Just Plain Common Sense

  1. ‘So my life was the problem, and the alcohol just a Band-Aid.’ How interesting that this line alone tells us all where we are in the world with this drug, with all drugs for that matter. And yet doggedly, we dig and bury all that we know to be true so we don’t have to see the truth of how we choose to live.

  2. It seems to me that when we get to the truth of our issues and we become honest with ourselves, it is much harder to continue with a behaviour like drinking alcohol. We know it is not a real answer and so to continue with it is pretty pointless. There are a number of behaviours I have dropped once this honesty has come in – as you say Gabriele, with no drama or struggle – they just fall away.

  3. Gabriele, so simple and very straightforward, no drama, when you realised that in your drinking you were avoiding dealing with your life, brilliant. And so then it became a real choice, change your life, attend to it or use the prop of alcohol to avoid it.

    1. It is that simple and can be applied to all areas of life, i.e. overconsumption of food, checking out in front of the TV, etc etc.

      1. Thank you Gabriele and Monica. You’ve just helped me to see where I’ve been making a total meal of a regular habit of overeating (pun intended!).

  4. “So my life was the problem, and the alcohol just a Band-Aid.” When we realise this, we stop trying to give up the alcohol and become more focussed on the real problem… the way we are living.

  5. Stopping drinking alcohol came with more pre-thought for me but when I did stop, that was it. No will power needed and absolutely no going back. A few years later on hearing the presentations by Serge Benhayon I was able to understand more clearly what I had been feeling and why I had chosen to stop. It was very confirming.

  6. I was never a big drinker and never had alcohol after work but how I sort relief from my day was through food. I still am doing that, coming home and needing to eat something… anything. It reminds me of coming home from school and eating until I was full and drained. It is so empowering and something to appreciate when we can stop and say ‘how am I in my day that I then ‘need’ this?’.

    1. Yes, it doesn’t have to be alcohol, it can be a myriad of substances and replacements and some of them are deemed totally okay and ‘normal’ and accepted. And like you, I have been asking myself “what is this gap, this emptiness and lack that I am trying to fill here? What is this giving me (not really, though) that is missing?”

      1. Great questions Gabriele. And what I’ve found is that stopping to ask something like this, arrests the momentum and allows more honesty, instead of just going through the motions. Great questions to put on the fridge 🙂

  7. When we have an insight into how we are living, and ask questions about what is going on – we begin to see our behaviour as a symptom and then we can actually look at what exactly it is we’re avoiding. I gave up smoking in this way, someone was trying to talk to me one evening and I lit a cigarette rather than engage with them and in that moment I had this image of me using cigarettes as a literal smokescreen between me and life, and all of a sudden I was able to give them up, because in that moment I felt very strongly I did not want to live like that, and that this was not how life could be. I’ve never looked back, it’s weird, I forget I ever smoked and I have no craving, and it’s not disclipine, just an acceptance that I want to be aware and engage in life without a smoke screen. And it’s continued since as I’ve dropped other things I can feel and do not support or allow me to be fully me in life.

    1. It was very similar for me with giving up smoking – just like you, I realised I was using it as a smoke screen and a way to keep people at a distance, an apparently safe distance; once I knew that, I couldn’t but give it up. I still occasionally smoked after that until I realised that I needed to smoke after a heavy meal and with a strong cup of coffee, as though to make them more palatable. They went over time as well and one day I was wondering why I had this need to smoke at all. I realised I was indulging in an old habit and was feeling elated that I managed to smoke sporadically when in the past, I would have kept going and finished the whole packet. And that’s when I just gave it away, never to look back again.

  8. Drinking alcohol to fit in is something, I’m sure, many of us can relate to. At parties I would fill up an empty beer bottle with water so people wouldn’t harass me for not drinking! What does that say about society and our relationships with each other?

    1. Good party trick but yes, what does it say about us? Having to pretend that we are drinking in order to fit in. What are we trying to fit ourselves into, I wonder – some kind of acceptable normalcy that is always on the lookout for approval and inclusion, no matter the standards of compliance and the rules?

  9. Were we all to look at our own health and well-being with such honesty, and willingness to reflect, the state of our health individually and societally, would undoubtedly paint a very different picture to the rampant extent of illness and disease today, inclusive of those conditions which are so dominantly influenced by our lifestyle and behavioural choices.

  10. The freedom of allowing your body to move the way you feel is an enormous exploration and claiming. It is so revealing and thus exposing that I expect an attack via a reaction to come at me. So, before it comes, and because in the past I have been crushed in this state, I numb this innate awareness down by going to a ‘vice’ for relief. Over the years I have ceased using vices like alcohol and drugs but still use other vices like food, especially at the end of the day. Until recently I thought being in this state was not acceptable but it’s the direct opposite. I experienced this at a Sacred Movement men’s group. Being in my sacredness is confronting but the more I allow it the more I accept it. It is is superb – a new marker!

  11. Earlier this week I was part of a presentation to a group of people on health and wellbeing. The presentation was very well received on the whole but there was one minor piece of apparently negative feedback which was that our talk was ‘just common sense’. And it was. But this is surely because we all know what to do to look after ourselves better, to be more self-loving and self-caring. What do we expect? Some magic pill to take away all our issues? The ‘magic pill’ is common sense but do we heed its advice – or do we ignore it for a more the hope of a more exiting or less demanding solution? Does heeding our common sense seem like too much bother and responsibility? My feeling is that we must learn to heed our common sense for it does in truth offer us much wisdom.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, it is very revealing of how much we love complication and complexity, something to undertake and brace ourselves against, mountains to climb. When the true answers are presented in their simplicity and common sense, we baulk at them and think, “surely, it can’t be that easy!” I wonder whether that has to do with a certain level of pride and arrogance, realising that the answers to our woes have always been there.

      1. Yes – and a level of comfort too Gabriele. Perhaps we have become so used to ‘popping a pill’ to resolve our issues in life, that anything else is too much bother.

  12. We as a society have a long history of using chemicals to take the edge off or numb ourselves from whatever we don’t want to feel, and whilst this is a completely unhealthy way of living it will take a long time for us en masse to mature enough to deal with what is troubling us rather than resorting to a quick fix to take it all away (albeit only for a short time). And there are many different versions of numbing out available, with chemicals being only one version…

  13. If alcohol is just a bandaid to cover a hurt it makes me wonder what is festering underneath and will never be able to heal while it is covered and hidden from the light.

  14. I love the honesty in this blog. There are many things I have used to prop myself up – as I was so exhuasted, and for relief to take the edge off life. Nowadays I find that happens less and less – and whilst I havent drank alcohol for 13 years, (and never drank coffee) I can still find from time to time wanting to grab a handful of nuts when I am tired or depleted to ‘pick me up’ or keep me going. So I agree – its not the substance as such, it is the way we live life as even if we stop drinking e.g. alcohol, or stop having sugary foods we can still seek relief or a pick me up in another food – unless we continue to look at where in our lives we get depleted or tired.

    1. Well said Jane, we need to very honest about what is draining us throughout the day instead of just reaching for the quick ‘fix’ whether that is in the form of food, caffeine, alcohol, sugar or any other behaviour that we find stimulating.

  15. Your amazing blog would be a very good lecture for people around the world who feel that they have some sort of addiction – it would open them a door to get another understanding how they were living their lives and how they can make other choices to get rid of that addiction.

  16. Shows that when we don’t deal with the underlying cause or root of the issues we will just seek another sort of band-aid to numb what’s going on.

    1. True – we numb the absence of one behaviour by taking up another behaviour; possibly a more ‘acceptable’ one, even a less obvious one but free of our reactions we are not.

  17. “What kind of life am I leading; what are my working days really like when I can’t wait to get this glass of wine into me?” This is quite a question and can be applied to many a substance. But the very beautiful thing about this question is how open it is and how it invites a deeper self-reflection rather than any kind of self-critique. How am I living, that I need this?

  18. Ah yes responsibility…! When we are willing to be really honest with how we are feeling and consider the effect that our choices have on our bodies and being, we then come to know what truly supports us to live, work and be in a way that honors who we are and the vitality we are born to live with.

  19. Classic, when you put it in such plain language, it makes heaps of sense. Why do we crave sugary and numbing food and drink at the end of the day? The reason is in order not to feel something we didn’t or don’t like. Adjust these things throughout the day or begin to feel them and presto, nothing to escape from. The way you point out that drinking is just a Band-Aid is so true and if it’s not drinking, many other Band-Aids are waiting to fill in and be the replacement. When we view life in this very simple and practical approach there is zero judgment.

    1. I love what you point out here – the utter simplicity and practicality of living from common sense and adding things up. We tend to avoid it because it calls upon us to take responsibility.

  20. I remember the last glass of alcohol I had. It was a decision that I didn’t announce to anyone, but I knew I wouldn’t drink again. Its funny I had been thinking about stopping drinking for a few years and ended up gradually lowering my alcohol consumption to maybe a glass or so every month. What I found was the effect of that odd glass played havoc with my body and I really began to notice the effects it had on me. It was a no brainer. Interestingly enough I knew when I had my first drink it tasted awful and affected me badly, but I overrode that message for 20 years and kept drinking.

    1. And that would be true for many – alcohol and cigarettes affect us badly and taste terrible but we want to fit in and appear sophisticated and grown up and thus we go against what our body is clearly showing us.

  21. What a great realisation Gabriele; “What kind of life am I leading; what are my working days really like when I can’t wait to get this glass of wine into me?” Being honest and open to look into ones life allows for different choices to happen, and in your case giving up alcohol was an easy choice.

  22. “So my life was the problem, and the alcohol just a Band-Aid.” A Band-Aid that keeps the wound festering and prevents you from dealing with the problem.

    1. I appreciate your comment – we do everything and twist ourselves into whatever shape that is needed in order to fit in and not stand out.

  23. I stopped drinking quite abruptly also. it just dawned on me one day that I didn’t actually have to drink, that I could choose not to. It was never really for me, I was a later bloomer on the alcohol front (by comparison to my peers I mean), and although I believed I had some fun times. I was never really hanging out to drink, it was just an activity I felt obligated to participate in. But the day it hit me that I had a choice I felt enormous relief.

    1. Drinking seems to be another one of those ‘givens’, something everybody does. It is ‘normal’ – but who says? What is this consciousness that we align and succumb to, make ourselves a slave of when we leave our body and our discernment out of the equation?

  24. I love this blog Gabriele it makes total sense. I also realised that with alcohol I went places and stayed way beyond the time I would without alcohol. I recall that back in the day when we had people around who didn’t drink everything was cooked, said, eaten and cleaned within 3hours maximum. Whereas with alcohol everything dragged on for hours well past the real finish time and often the mess was left for the morning when I, without fail no matter how little I drunk, had a hangover from hell . . . and this is usually what people call ‘a good’ time . . . having a party in your head without truly connecting to anyone and suffering afterwards.

  25. ‘So my life was the problem, and the alcohol just a Band-Aid.’ Great point Gabriele, this is also true of many other addictions we use as well in life to cover up and distract ourselves from our problems whether that be TV, using technology, drugs, food, emotions, etc.

  26. You know when you talk about something and then a day comes when you bring that talk to action, you may call this ground zero. When you finally hit a point where your words have come home and it’s time to stand up, alcohol was one of those words. I’d had a lot of first hand experience of the impacts alcohol can have on peoples lives but the kicker for me was consistently how bad it made me feel. It just came to an end when I could just no longer put up with how it made me feel, what it did to me and how it impacted on what happened around me. So the ‘giving up’ wasn’t a give up but more of a following through, an actioning of something that had been felt a long time before. Not drinking alcohol isn’t even a ‘not drinking alcohol it’s no longer a decision or a choice it just doesn’t make sense.

  27. When we are truly honest with ourselves, we realise the things that are unsupportive for our bodies and used as ‘band-aids’.

    Three years ago, I gave up alcohol or shall I say my body did, it was screaming at me ‘please no more,’ and I certainly do not miss it anymore. I only need to be around someone drinking alcohol and I have a hangover, amazing how the body has become so sensitive to what is truly not serving. This was the same with fruit, I used to love water melon and one day I must have indulged and boy did I pay for it the following day……not worth it.

    It is common sense for sure yet we have overridden the signals. Common sense prevails in all of us, its a matter of being honest with the amount of band aids we use.

  28. So simple. If we make life the focus it is quite different to making any problems, addictions or issues the focus.

  29. Loved your simple explanation, once we realise that alcohol is numbing us from feeling what is truly going on, and we are open enough to looking at and being honest about what may be the cause, we no longer need the alcohol and as you say, no drama just common sense.

  30. Not drinking was actually quite a relief. When I realised I never really liked it and it was something I did only because it was the done thing, I felt liberated.

  31. I can remember my last drink very clearly. I had stopped drinking nearly 2 years before when I removed all forms of sugar from my diet, and was feeling great as a result, but for some inexplicable reason this night I decided to have a glass of wine. But the minute the wine hit my mouth, my common sense kicked in and the wine was promptly spat out! And since that day 17 years ago I have not missed it as, honestly, I really didn’t like drinking in the first place.

    1. When we really let ourselves sense how alcohol smells, tastes and feels there is no way we can put it in our body and get it down. It’s abusive.

  32. My experience of giving up alcohol was similar in the sense that it was no great act of will power or dramatic decision. The desire for it just fell away from me because I had recognised the need to choose a more self-loving way of being and it was clear that drinking alcohol was not part of such a way.

      1. Beautifully said Gabriele – when we are guided by the truth of our bodies no struggle or effort is needed, such is the liberation offered through our surrender to truth.

      2. It is with self care that we deepen the love we have for ourselves and as we deepen that love we start to bring more honesty to the choices we are making.

  33. It’s a good point how we can just exchange one prop for another… Unless we give ourselves the opportunity to examine or reflect on what it may be in our way of living that is causing the need for that prop, thereby giving ourselves the chance to heal and embrace a different way of living and relating with others that is more true to who we are.

  34. Isn’t it amazing what eventuates when we bring honesty into our lives and honor what we are feeling, as we have greater insight as to what we are choosing, why, how it makes us feel and if it is how we really want to be living.

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