Back in October ‘03 I was living a leisurely life in a comfortable house on a desirable property… lovely partner, nice kids, fruit trees… the easy life. Or so it seemed. Gnawing away on the inside was a persistent longing – a deep knowing that something wasn’t right. More so, the consistent consumption of alcohol and coffee was pointing the finger straight at that: why does one need all this stimulation and artificial relaxation if everything is so cool?
Around that time I decided to attend a weekend voice workshop with Chris James. Being a sometime musician myself, and having undergone vocal training, I thought Chris may be able to offer a different perspective on voice… no harm in having a look anyway. Back in those days the workshops had an introductory component on Friday evenings: at this session Chris suggested that those who drink might want to abstain for the weekend, and those who smoke could do likewise. I thought… why not? I had often (in the past) had a program of only drinking on weekends, to good effect. Sadly, those weekends would often get very long, sometimes starting on Thursday night and finishing on Monday night.
So I did… or more accurately, didn’t. Drink that is, for the weekend. That weekend has now ticked just over 10 years – you could call it a l-o-o-o-o-n-g weekend.
Now let me tell you, I was a pretty enthusiastic drinker, from a lineage of very dedicated tipplers… many, many generations long. Irish long. I was introduced to beer by my parents at the age of 5 or 6 – I didn’t like the taste at all, but it sure made me feel like a big man to join the adults at beer o’clock. And like the Irish (they were Irish, a lot of them), everyone drank, so you just joined in. I never knew any different, and never until I was in my twenties thought to try.
For a while there in the ‘psychedelic era’ we would abstain from the drink while expressing hypocritical contempt for ‘juice freaks’ (as we referred to the alcohol drinkers) – who we regarded as ‘violent yobbos’ – so we trashed ourselves with ‘recreational drugs’ instead. Later we graduated to using both at once, and that was horrible, but we weren’t deterred.
Anyway, by the time the workshop came up I was in my 50’s: I was solidly back on the plonk, and off the drugs. At the time of relinquishment I was probably getting through 1.5 cartons of Crown Lager per week, including what I dispensed to guests, plus several bottles of ‘good’ champagne and wine (oh, and the tequila)… and of course the odd one or three with lunch at restaurants etc… let’s say $120 – $130 per week. Serious money. Say $6000 – $6500 per year, and that without any serious entertaining. I told you I was enthusiastic.
My good wife had been telling me for years, decades even, that I ‘wasn’t there’ once I’d had a couple of ales. And as a musician (a bass player, where timing is everything) I had carefully experimented and noticed that by the second drink the precise edge would be lost from my playing.
Well… that was a long way of telling you that I was, quite simply, what used to be known colloquially as a ‘pisspot.’ Doesn’t sound so good, does it? Or look good when it is written down… but that was life, and I never knew any different. Anyway, there is an arithmetical point to this yarn, and it goes like this.
About a year after I tossed in the towel on my drinking career, I was perusing Chris James’ touring schedule one day when I noticed he was soon to be conducting a weekend voice workshop in my boyhood home town, far from here. I have a long time dear friend, also a musician, who lives near there and in days past had quite a ‘spiritual’ bent, so I phoned him and suggested he attend, thinking it may open him to a new direction, as it had for me.
Now this friend did have a bit of a reputation for having some difficulty extracting his wallet from his trousers. Consequently, eschewing the opportunity to enquire about the content of the workshop, or how it may have helped me, he led straight up with
“How much is it?”
“$330 for the weekend” I replied.
He spluttered “I’m not paying that kind of money for a weekend workshop!!!” And so he didn’t…
Three years later I was thinking about all that. Now, I don’t need a mathematician to calculate that my original investment of $330 had not only benefitted me in a multitude of ways (inner and outer) regarding my wellbeing, but was also yielding a saving of $6500/year, or 1969% annual return on the outlay. More than fair, I thought, so I rang my distant friend and told him just that, but he wasn’t impressed. So be it. You can lead a horse to water etc…
In the years since, I have participated in and enjoyed (and regularly been astounded by) many Universal Medicine healing workshops, as well as retreats, massage courses and relationship workshops; I have attended a multitude of discourses and developers’ groups, some of which have required a significant financial outlay, and some none at all. Just ticking up ten years now, that’s $65,000 minimum saved on alcohol – not even allowing for any increase in cost through the years – and I can safely say that my expenditure at Universal Medicine would be no more than one third of that… let’s say $25,000 max., leaving $40,000 profit. On an outlay of $330!
That’s over 12,000% nett profit and rising each year… now THAT’S a healthy return (pun relished). Not to mention the likely liver transplant, the loss of productivity, relationships laid waste by omission and commission, countless hangovers and endless wasted hours observing the rituals and talking utter drivel to anyone who would pretend to listen. The imposition of alcohol-afflicted people on society can barely be overstated.
However, I don’t dream for a moment that giving up drinking was the ultimate answer to my problems. The years have revealed that it was merely the first step to allowing the peeling back of the multitude of layers that I had plastered over my real self – like cheap, thick pancake makeup on a delicate and beautiful face. And only recently am I realising the connection between my addictions and an all-pervasive underlying depression that lay undiagnosed but incessantly active. But that’s another blog…
My heartfelt thanks to Chris James, Serge Benhayon and everyone at Universal Medicine (all my Brother Students) for standing firm in love as I turned this part of my life (lives!?) around: this has allowed me to once again revel in the magic and embody the joy that I once knew so well as a child, but had buried and long forgotten.
Is Universal Medicine value for money?? YOU BET IT IS!!!
PS. Now did I mention how much I used to spend on coffee and chocolate?…
By Andrew Baldwin, Retail Assistant, Byron Bay, Australia