There is a World of Choice out there, but you have to Know there is a Choice!

by AG, BA LLB (Hons), LLM (Hons), Grad Dip Psych, Byron Shire

Something that I discovered long before I had any contact with Universal Medicine is that I and my fellow human beings have a very odd relationship with drugs and alcohol.

As a University student I ‘investigated’ lots of mind altering substances – and marijuana was my first choice as a drug of addiction. I would party and smoke as much of the year as I could get away with, and then settle down to do my end of year exams. I did quite well: I was born with a prodigious mind. As soon as exams were over I would be back to my habit. Along with that came a nicotine addiction – it followed on from the drugs. I drank a lot too, but preferred marijuana.

I was young and reckless; I never gave any regard to consequences. What was more, I had surrounded myself with friends where this was the norm. When you do that, the drug-addled behaviour becomes NORMALISED… no-one questions it: the drugs become the foundation of your social group – the rituals upon which it is based. These rituals become embedded in all social conduct – so the joint is passed around, the bong is shared, there are unspoken rules as to who purchases the drugs, who deals, who is the best joint roller or bong packer.

To a non-drug user this all seems nonsensical: to a healthy, non-drug addicted human, it is obvious that the conduct is all part of a drug-scene. If they were to address this fact to the user group, they would be derided as being ‘un-cool’, ‘out of touch’ with what is really going on, or needing to loosen up… the defences would be endless. If the harmful health effects were brought up – psychosis, depression, anxiety, lung cancer and death (just to name a few) – the response from the user group would be that it is ‘natural’, it does no harm etc. The fact that a large amount of theft and property crime is related to drug addiction will be passed off as being related to ‘other people’, not to that user group. Or in the case of the most addicted, they are beyond caring about the social repercussions of their behaviour.

I had to change my social environment to get away from drugs. At the end of university, I moved cities and established a social group who were not drug users. Later on I re-visited my drug use – influenced by a close group of friends: it was not long before I was addicted again. But I reached a point where I finally said to a friend of mine, that although I valued our friendship, I did not wish to be around the drugs anymore. Sadly, my friend was so identified with her drug use that she felt that my saying no to the drugs was cutting out her as well. It wasn’t… we had been friends for 16 years; I had for most of that time declined to use drugs. Yet a six month interlude of shared marijuana use changed the nature of our friendship: it became in my friend’s view dependent on the rituals of the drug use.

However, it is not just recreational drugs that are part of this normalised behaviour… alcohol is a drug that our society has NORMALISED. So very often, if you choose not to drink, you are considered strange. You are actually upsetting the standardised rituals of the social group that you are meant to be part of, the unwritten law of behaviour.

What are the alcohol rituals? They vary amongst social groups – for some men, it can be the keg or the slab of beer to be shared with mates; for others it might be the perfect wine to go with the meal; for the socially conscious it might be a rare vintage of wine or scotch with a price tag to marvel at; for some women it can be the ritual cocktail (yes, alcohol also has gender markers); for work functions it can be the importance of showing a shared belonging… it also is used as a marker of our coming of age, a significant indicator of our arrival into adulthood. It is there at almost every social gathering. It is the essential ingredient in any party or night out. It is astonishing, but it is almost impossible to do any social activity or work activity without being confronted with alcohol. It is viewed as the essential wind down at the end of a day, a reward for a hard day, or the only way to relax.

There is ample research to show that alcohol is harmful: it is not just that a significant amount of violent crime (including domestic violence and other violence against women) would not occur if alcohol was not used, or that a significant number of road accidents resulting in death would not occur if alcohol was not used – but that alcohol, in any amount, can be harmful physiologically. A significant amount of obesity would not be around if alcohol was not in the picture – it is either empty sugar kilojoules, or the end to any resolve not to eat certain fatty, unhealthy foods. There is a link between alcohol use and cancer: there are certain types of brain damage linked to alcohol use.

If you are to raise these issues you will be met with the same response as from the drug-user group: those justifying the use of alcohol will argue that it is not harmful, only those who abuse it are causing harm. But every drink is placing the body under physiological stress. And the fact is, most alcohol users are using significantly more than the government recommended maximum amount.

Alcohol causes disease – it is a major cause of harm in our society in general. If you suggest that society might be a better place without it, or that the health benefits of not drinking actually outweigh the harm done, those statements would mostly fall on deaf ears. I can hear my family saying I had become a ‘wowser’ – a name used in the past to deride religious groups who were abstinent.

I had stopped my drug use long before I attended a Universal Medicine course. The drugs had stopped working for me – instead of numb mindlessness, I started having anxiety every time I used marijuana. So my body made me stop. I’d had periods of not drinking alcohol before I attended a Universal Medicine course. I knew that alcohol made me feel depressed, I felt sick when I drank, and I needed to lose weight. A choice to stop drinking made sense, but I would be lured back to alcohol by social pressure. Friends and family would expect me to drink with them, and I would do so to keep everyone happy. After attending Universal Medicine courses I became far more aware that my choice not to drink, was actually a true choice in respecting my body.

In the same way that friends had felt rejected by my choice to not be around drug use, I had other friends who felt very threatened by my assertion that I no longer wished to drink. One dear friend loved entertaining and sharing a good wine with friends. He believed that that my choice not to drink was not my own (even though when I met him I had been a non-drinker); he blamed Universal Medicine.

Why would Universal Medicine cop the blame? Because the reflection that I was actually making a choice from my own volition for my own health, was too confronting to accept, and would require consideration of the fact that alcohol is harmful to the body. It is harmful to social relations. It might mean that the truth of the situation would have to be examined.

Of course my choice to not drink was supported by what I felt – drinking was not a healthy choice. My choice to not drink was one that I was finally able to make because Universal Medicine courses had affirmed that it was appropriate to make choices that supported self-care ahead of those that were self-harming. I was finally liberated from the control that my social groups and friends had had over me: a control that pushed alcohol as a social requirement. The societal expectation that I drink, and the imposition that this is expected behaviour at business functions or social gatherings, is where the real lack of choice is imposed.

For me it was so important that I look outside ingrained social patterns and norms. There are so many things that have become NORMALISED that we may no longer look at the impact upon our own health, or at the terrible impact those things have on society at large.

Universal Medicine and the teachings of Serge Benhayon have been one vehicle that have assisted me to look outside the societal norms that I had accepted as reality. Like the drug-addled social group, we often find it hard to see the view from outside our normalised patterns and behaviours. Serge Benhayon simply presents new ways to examine the ills in our society – the way we are with alcohol is one of those ills.

If you lend an ear, there is a world of choice out there.

210 thoughts on “There is a World of Choice out there, but you have to Know there is a Choice!

  1. I am learning that being true to ourselves is much more important than compromising and fitting in in our relationships. When we are true to ourselves this allows true choice for all in all of our relationships. Compromising to keep situations as they are, stifles ourselves, others and the growth of our relationships.

    1. It sure does Jennifer, by us believing that we are being a true friend by going along with something that is actually harmful for ourselves and the other person we then keep confirming that it is okay. This is the truth that many do not want to admit or remember.

  2. If we took all alcohol away society would then just replace this with another pattern of behaviour or substance that had the same effect of numbing us out to all that is going on around us.
    Its not just the alcohol we need to address but the underlying cause of what leads to the drinking.

    1. This is so true MW, we definitely have to look much deeper and heal what drives us to make unloving choices and behaviours. As a society we have been avoiding this level of responsibility and it is way overdue for us all to embrace.

  3. It can be very interesting how other people respond when we choose to say ‘No’ to something that is no longer supporting us. It can be saying ‘No to alcohol, ‘No’ to charity or simply saying ‘No’ to a group of friends because there’s a feeling that something is not quite right but whatever the reason when we do listen and take heed we are confirmed in some way and then we just know it is the true decision for us no matter how much persuasion to go back into our comfort.

  4. Drugs and alcohol are tools people use for bonding when bonding when you are un-altered is not really an option. Drugs and alcohol are tools people use to connect to others based on the general difficulty of connecting to themselves and to others. They teach a way of relating to others where you share space and time but essentially you are in your own world (actually not even there). They generate relationships of accomplices. It is not though, a shared journey but joint loneliness.

  5. It is a peculiar thing in a way, to stand outside the ‘ring’ of alcohol or drug use one once imbibed in, and actually not feel the slightest urge to re-enter that ring in any way whatsoever. No craving from the body, no seeking relief from the mind and emotions, and definitely no wish at all to change one’s state of being through such use.
    And yet, this is how I feel today AG – not a drop of alcohol (which was once my drug of choice) for over 10 years and feeling too consistently amazing to even have a thought enter that a ‘drop of red’ would be a good thing.
    This will of course sound odd and perhaps extreme even to those remaining within the ‘ring’ of use, but what I’ve learnt is that when one attends to one’s own healing in life, and true respect for the body and the amazing being that we are, what we once thought was ‘great’ can change… The truth of the harm of such substances is something no part of me fights or lives in double standards with at all today, and this is also due to the greatness of inspiration, teachings and wisdom shared by Serge Benhayon… who, by the way, I have never, ever heard tell myself or anyone NOT to use any such substances.

  6. That sense of shared belonging – ‘everyone is doing it’ – there’s so many example of that, the things that has become normalised, a tradition, and I often suspect that that ‘everyone’ is a group of people and on a individual basis none of them actually secretly agrees or likes it in their deepest honesty but stick with it just because ‘everyone’ is doing it, and longing for someone to step up and say ‘Well, actually…’ and call a stop. We could all start being that ‘someone’ for our own selves, if for everyone else is a bit too much.

  7. Brilliant blog AG, I agree we have a world of choices but we often think that we don’t and too often allow outside influences affect our choices instead of listening to our inner voice and how our body feels. It is empowering when we make a truly loving choice to honour how we feel and this also can inspire others too.

  8. We can make our own normal, and we can set our own principles and standards based on the life we want to live. There’s nothing normal about whats going on in the world at the moment, and the amount of harm, lies and ugliness, if we don’t like it, it’s up to us to choose something different.

  9. AG, I am huge fan of the way you write, it holds your reader in understanding but does not spare any hard truth, its solid from pillar to post. I was once apart of what our society has depicted “normal”. I would drink at every social event, among other things, in fact anything that was going, I was up for. Now after not drinking or using drugs for over ten years I am again faced with a new challenge of having my staff that I have employed all drinking and taking drugs wanting me to join in. I am having old feeing arise and its not because I want to drink or take drugs again, its a feeling of being left out, of feeling like unless you are apart of the “norm” you are viewed as not fun. It makes me sad that the world operates with so much reliance on mind and body altering liquids and substances in order to relate to one another.

  10. As a society we often get ‘normal’ and ‘natural’ mixed up in the sense that if something has been around for a long time or is very common we assume it must be natural without question. Yet history has shown again and again that what is considered normal by a particular group or culture can be completely unnatural and harming…yet those within it will defend it at all costs. At what point in history will we stop en masse and truly re-evaluate life on what is natural?

  11. Thank you AG for a great blog, it is amazing that when we normalise a behaviour, we then think it is ok because that is what most of society chooses, with little regard for what it is doing to our bodies. When we come to understand that we are responsible for the choices that we are making and be honest with what we are feeling true change can come, these life destroying habits will no longer be a part of our lives, our health becomes more important than belonging to a group.

  12. Once we make a decision from our body in full authority then it doesn’t matter what another says or implies or suggests or tries to pressure us into doing, there is not one cell in our being that will go there again. And this has nothing to do with willpower, trying to use willpower I have found there is always still an opening to be hooked back in.

  13. We tend to see our friends as people who you get along well with. But in truth, they are often mirrors of ourselves. They confirm us. Yet that confirmation may come in two kinds: those who confirm what is true about you and those confirm you get away from you. Any friendship forged around addictions (alcohol, drugs, tobacco, etc). is not a true one and it naturally dissolves the moment you say no to the addiction. They cease to want to be with you. There is, as there was, no truth in those and what you did.

  14. “alcohol is a drug that our society has NORMALISED” and Government recommended limits that are in place as an attempt at limiting damage have been interpreted as saying that drinking alcohol is ok. When we choose to listen to the recommendations of our own body we may make very different choices.

  15. True friendships are not dependent on compliance, shared behaviour, or the human elements of our existence they are more about our connection to others on a deeper level, a level where we know we are equal despite our outward differences, a level where we have a love and understanding of each other and an often unspoken intention to support each other and allow each other to grow and evolve at our own pace, knowing that we are all in this together and all, knowingly or not, on our path of return.

  16. Great blog AG. I had also given up all my drug and alcohol addictions long before coming across Universal Medicine. In fact these addictions gave me up . . . I found I got to a stage where a sip more that two glasses of wine would have me suffer the hangover from hell often lasting 2 days and as for smoking marijuana the last time I gave it a go after years of abstinence I was in such a paranoid state of anxiety I was just marking time until it wore off and wondering it I was ever going to come back from it. So as you say I find people would prefer to blame Universal Medicine or completely avoid me for choices I had made many years prior rather than face the reality of their own choices.

  17. We have an absurd situation whereby a healthy option is considered weird or worse there is something wrong with it. This occurs of course until enough people are choosing the healthy option and then it becomes an accepted norm in society, but why does it have to be this way rather than accepted right from the start? How is it that we have a world that rejects health before it is (slowly) willing to accept it?

  18. There are heaps of examples throughout history, such as with cigarette smoking, where it was normal to do at the time but not long thereafter it was seen as completely unhealthy or abnormal behaviour…

  19. Recently my partner and I (we both don’t drink) began having dinner outside with friends. Some of our friends choose to drink. I would observe the change in them when they have their first sip of alcohol and they would clearly shift and become someone they are not. Just by observing and choosing to see this change allows me to stay steady with myself. The more I stay steady, the more my friends who were drinking wanted to drink more. So I observed some more. More alcohol and medication is needed to numb out the comparison that is present when steadiness does not waver. Staying more steady and remaining in joy and acceptance to people, we enjoy the dinner and then head home.

  20. When we become part of a group it’s as though we sign up for the over-riding consciousness and beliefs of that group. For example, as drug users, this is the way to go and anything else is un-cool. Or for heavy drinkers, this is the way and drugs may be seen as evil. Are we really thinking for ourselves or just subscribing to sets of beliefs?

  21. We make many choices in life, and when we make choices in order to fit in with others we lose who we are, however when we are true to ourselves and stand up for what we know to be true we offer a great reflection back for others to see that it is a matter of choice.

  22. When something becomes replicated enough we tend to consider it just a normal part of the human experience, something being common or ‘normal’ does not necessarily mean it is natural in any way.

  23. Just because something has been done for a long time or is done or used by many people doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy or truly ‘normal’ for us to partake in…

  24. The name calling of those that choose to not drink alcohol, and the blame game of why, is really a form of bullying. It shows that those who drink are not strong in their personal choice, that they too perhaps can feel how untrue it is, otherwise why would they need to bully others to do the same? I agree AG, people can react to the reflection of someone choosing to do something that is true for them and honouring of the body.

  25. It is interesting the way that as a society we have come to champion and entice that which is a poison to our bodies, I too was caught up in the consciousness of a wine connoisseur once but this didn’t last long as my body spoke louder and louder for me to come back to my senses and choose that which was true for me.

  26. I can attest to everything shared here, the pressure from our social circles to not change the code of conduct is huge. What was very interesting for me was at times, how much I thought I was the one that was making the ‘wrong’ choice. Yet even this did not push me to continue with the old way of being with alcohol that I used to live. Because, I knew from my own body the damage it was causing both my physical and mental wellbeing.

  27. It’s a great point that what we’ve generally accepted as normal may indeed not be at all normal nor harmonious for our whole body and being and so it is well worth listening to our whole body and not overriding its signals…

  28. I am soooo glad I do not drink or smoke now. i could feel the damage it was doing to my body when I was doing it but … It was normal to drink and smoke this much, because everyone else was doing it! This is the danger or normal and just how we can normalise something that is so far away from our truth and we have done this with many many things. The other term for this is also arrogance, arrogant that we are ‘in control’ and despite what we are doing to our bodies on some level, even though it affects others, think we are bullet proof and it will have no affect on us. Crazy right. And arrogant.

  29. I gave up drinking over eleven years ago – and that’s 4 years prior to any involvement with Universal Medicine. I love my life without alcohol. The desire for it left me gradually over a period of a few years whilst at the same time witnessing someone close to me battle with ‘problem drinking’ that made it all very unattractive. Normalisation is a strong force in our societies but for me, there are greater powers within us to connect to if we choose to. In addition, the feeling of natural harmony in the body when it is not having to spend its energy eliminating unnecessary toxins is a beautiful confirmation of a truly healthy choice.

  30. What is deemed normal is certainly not natural, especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol and the way we treat each other. And on another note: saying that weed is natural to defend its use is akin to saying that snake venom is natural, which it is. What is the label ‘natural’ supposed to confirm here?

  31. I do not feel rejection or a sense of loss now when expressing to friends or family how I feel eg. recently I was invited to a gathering with friends but I felt it would support me to stay at home and rest. What was interesting was how I was feeling didn’t come into it. How could I miss it?! How could I place myself first and not go? But where I am today I can no longer ignore my body and every time I do listen to it, no party, going out or social gatherings can do justice in that moment than the tender love I give to myself.

  32. Once upon a time I thought that drinking alcohol was just something that everybody does and that there is no real alternative if you want to live a happy life. Today that so-called happy life is now not a happy life at all. I am thankful to myself for ceasing to drink alcohol when I knew all along there was nothing truly ‘happy’ about it.

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