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.