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.

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

  1. It just goes to show how empowering it is to self-reflect on how we are feeling. Our willingness to be honest about what we are feeling is what allows us to explore the truth of why we are making the choices we are making, and the effect they have on our body and being. From this point simply honoring that which feels true feel more and more natural and without effort our choices begin to reflect this. Are we freely living our full potential or do we ‘need’ stimulants and rewards to help us get through the day or night? For at the end of the day it is only ourselves that determines the quality of lives we live, this responsibility is only ours and cannot be avoided, whether we are willing to embrace it or not.

  2. It is really so simple, how we live is the result of how we feel at the end of each day. The responsibility to address the lifestyle we live is a far greater support to our body and mind that an alcoholic drink the numbs and holds us in the same pattern, setting us up to repeat the same day tomorrow.

    1. There is great power and liberation in our willingness to truly see and observe the momentums we are in, what we are aligning to and why. Our connection to our bodes offer us the greatest support with this hence the great wisdom in us developing a loving and honouring relationship with our bodies, our temples of God.

  3. When we start to open up to feel our own body and the hurts we kept for so long, the body starts to release the old and this makes space for more love.

  4. Mainstream addictions are our chosen way to try manage life from a body harmed by our primary addiction, namely, our addiction to aligning to pranic energy and the devastation which that brings to us.

    1. Not to mention the ensuing eternal unsettlement of a spark that is part of the whole, forever and needs to quell, by whatever means, the devastation that only oneness can settle.

  5. Giving up anything really can be as easy as you descirbe here Gabrielle, once we are willing to see where our habits and patterns of behaviour are leading us. It can just take a stop moment for us to wake up and ‘smell the coffee’ so to speak to then make a choice to make a lasting and beneficial change to the way we live our lives.

  6. Great question, why do we need a reward at the end of the day? If our day was complete we would not need this.

    1. True – no need to run around until the end of one’s days and declare oneself to be a recovering alcoholic. No more identification with what has not served and is long gone.

      1. Exactly Gabrielle as if you stay identified with the past and /or past behaviours then you can not let it go and truly heal

  7. Plain common sense rules! Love it Gabriele and love your common sense – it is infectious (in a good way of course) 😉

  8. ‘ 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.’ I’m starting to see how all my coping behaviours are symptoms of what energy I choose to run my body in – will it be anxiousness and worry, or will it be allowing myself to feel every nook and cranny of my day, not shutting any part of my awareness out, so that I’m hiding from what I know and do feel?

  9. And as simple as you wrote this it is. I had a client this morning who shared she never really liked alcohol, but it seemed part of ‘belonging’ to the group. And this week she decided to choose for herself and not drink alcohol anymore. She loved how clear and healthy she felt after this.

  10. Alcohol is a common ingredient when it comes to domestic violence and relationship break ups etc. But when we simply replace this with another habit, without dealing with the underlying dis-ease that we feel then nothing really changes. I have never been one to long for and drink alcohol at the end of a day, but I spent many years justifying eating chocolate as a ‘treat’ until such time that I felt what it actually did to me (the sugar buzz, the caffeine hit that kept me jittery and awake etc etc), and then when I asked myself why I was seeking this, I got to realise there were things I did not want to feel – things that made me feel miserable and unhappy and so instead of dealing with these things, it was easier to reach for the chocolate. But how revealing is it that we can simply opt for a way to numb ourselves, Or alternatively, seek to find the cause of our un-rest and hence take responsibility and change our lives for ever, leaving behind a behaviour that was never supporting us to begin with.

    1. For sure, replacing one habit (alcohol consumption) with another (lots of coffee, e.g.) is only a solution but certainly not the answer to our behaviours and why we do what we do but don’t really want to do and in most instances, know better anyway.

  11. Love it Gabriele! This it is in its simplicity: “So my life was the problem, and the alcohol just a Band-Aid.” – and it could be alcohol or cigarettes, or it could be craving that chocolate at the end of the day with the justification that it is dark chocolate and hence ‘healthy’ for us.

    1. Oh yes, everything is healthy, including the unhealthy health food stores and then there is ‘everything in moderation” – a little arsenic or snake venom anybody? And most of all, everything is good and better and there is right and wrong; wow, so many consciousnesses that we eagerly subscribe to.

  12. It is interesting how we can grow up with alcohol and never question if it is good for the body or not. Before I attended Universal Medicine courses, I knew that alcohol did not agree with me because I would have some horrendous hangovers and would get drunk on one drink but it never occurred to me to stop completely. Then when I heard that alcohol is a poison to the body, it is as though I sat up and paid attention because I had always known it but seemed hardwired to make it a part of my life. So, once it was confirmed what I had already felt for myself, giving it up completely was an instant decision.

    1. So true Julie for alcohols presence on our dinner tables and in our lives is considered totally normal in today’s world – but collectively we really need to start to be honest about the harm it can bring to our relationships, health and the burden it places on the healthcare system with the accidents, injuries and fights it can cause.

      1. We pass alcohol consumption off as normal because just about everybody does it but that doesn’t mean it’s natural, wholesome or healthy; leave alone the aftermath of domestic, societal and health issues that entail.

  13. Thank you Gabriele, it makes sense that the alcohol can be a symptom of how we’re living life, and by making choices that support the body to be more vital, and by addressing other daily issues that impact on our health and wellbeing, we can reach a point where alcohol is then not needed. It changes our understanding of unhealthy choices and addiction because it’s approached as a whole picture of life, not just the action of drinking (or overeating, etc).

  14. I’ve found that when I really feel the effect on my body of something I am doing then it’s quite simple and easy to let go of. I was just at a cafe that I haven’t been to for about a year and I had my usual order, yet once I started eating it, I realised It felt completely different in my body, it didn’t give me the same ‘fulfilment’ that it did a year ago and I could feel how much I had changed. My husband and I walked away saying well that’s done, won’t be going back.

    1. Awesome awareness here Aimee – and I love the fact that you clocked the fullfillment was missing! This to me is a key aspect that reminds me that I am seeking something outside of myself to make me feel ‘better’ which is very revealing in terms of then having to be honest enough to say I was not feeling wonderful to begin with! Wowza – so much to explore and allow ourselves to feel.

  15. I was scrolling through the comments and I came across something I wrote a year ago. It is similar to what I feel to write now; and that is how I use food (used to be alcohol) to bring me relief and also what I deserve for doing such a great job throughout my day. This is a daily behaviour too. I am so aware that I am doing it too .. so it makes me wonder how aware I must be leading up to this behaviour. So, is it that I am not appreciating feeling how much I am honouring others and at the same time need to equally honour me. Eating this food the way I do is not honouring me – a build up of the day where I have not honoured the way I am feeling.

  16. When we truly resolve something, no longer having it is very normal…hence there is no ra ra or struggle of any kind. There is also no excitement or elation either, just a ‘great now let’s get on with it’.

  17. This is massive revelation you’ve shared here Gabriele, ‘So my life was the problem, and the alcohol just a Band-Aid.’ This highlights to me why so many people seem to rely on numerous forms of Band-Aids, i.e alcohol, sugar, coffee, drugs, shopping, holidays, drama etc. and the list goes on. The truth is our addictions are like you shared a Band-Aid that is covering up the problem and also, they are communicating something to us but are we willing stop and listen?

  18. “So my life was the problem, and the alcohol just a Band-Aid” – all the lies we live with will all start crumbling when faced with this kind of honesty. How healing it is to be able to say that with the whole body.

  19. A great article Gabriele, when we become honest with how our bodies are feeling and become responsible for how we are living, then true change can happen.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

      1. I’ve often wondered if it’s like that for quite a few people. The hold of alcohol is quite strong – it’s like it casts a spell and society thinks it’s something you need to do to relax/have fun/socialise. Yet maybe everyone is just going about it not actually in truth liking it.

      2. Imbibing spirits is accepted as normal and something that everybody does; if you don’t drink, you’re the odd one out when in effect, it should be the other way around – what, you’re gonna drink THAT? Are you serious?

      3. If you take it back to what alcohol actually is – it is a poison (a known poison) for the body. Would you offer anyone poison? Or ask them why they choose to not drink it?

      4. A bit like offering arsenic or snake venom ‘in moderation’ because it’s gotta be good for us – go figure.

  25. 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.

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

  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. 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.

  29. ‘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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

    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.

  32. “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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. “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?

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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!

  44. 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.

  45. 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?

      1. “…always on the lookout for approval and inclusion…” What a reminder these words are to me Gabriele; thank you.

        This was me too! Other than my younger days in my late teenss, I was never much of a drinker; and later I had generally avoided it; but as work became more stressful I would come home and look for a bottle of wine. Each evening I would have just one glass. When I had exhausted my supply I turned to the liqueurs; and after a couple of evenings I asked myself WHY?

        And I answered, “because it was [somehow] expected.” I realised that I never really wanted those glasses of wine, they didn’t make me feel any better; and most definitely, the problems at work didn’t just go away! They just gave me something to somehow be a part of. As a result not one drop of alcohol has passed my lips since. It was an easy, obvious choice; and I addressed my approach to work instead!

  46. 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.

    2. Wonderful words Monica: “this image of me using cigarettes as a literal smokescreen between me and life”.

      For a short period of time this is how I used my mobile phone. If I found myself feeling uncomfortable with people I didn’t know, like waiting in the doctor’s waiting room, or sitting in public transport, out would come my mobile so that I could avoid others’ gazes, or intrusive conversation.

      I started feeling uncomfortable about this and began to realise how shallow, rude, arrogant and even ignorant I was being to these innocent people whom I was somehow judging as being unwelcome.

      Now I see them differently as my mobile stays in my bag. I find that I enjoy talking to people: sharing a little of me and learning a little about them. Increasing my knowledge, awareness, experience and enjoyment of my fellow human beings.

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