How alcohol had influenced my life

I never knew the full extent of how alcohol had influenced my life until I made the choice to stop drinking it.

I grew up in a family where alcohol was considered normal; my family did not usually drink excessively, although on occasion there would be excessive consumption. Most days there was the drink after work that was simply a given, in fact I don’t remember a day where Dad didn’t have at least one or two beers pretty much as soon as he arrived home from work.

To most of us this was seen as not only normal, but deserved – my Dad’s right after a hard and possibly hot day’s work. Having a beer to take the edge off the day and to quench one’s thirst was not only expected but fully understood and accepted.

But let’s delve a little deeper into the influence of alcohol, this very real choice that so many make.

In my father’s and mother’s case, both worked hard, Dad physically and Mum at home with us children and the many duties that this created for her, along with part time work slotted in here and there until my teens and then she took on a permanent part time job. Mum very rarely over-consumed alcohol, but like Dad, most days she had a drink at the end of the day.

In my early childhood I don’t remember much in relation to my Dad’s movements, but he would leave home early, just after breakfast, and some days he would be home for lunch or on other days, not until the evening. As a child I loved Dad coming home and all I wanted to do was to be with him, but when we were together it was always with a beer or two and while this relaxed my Dad, I could also feel how exhausted he was and how much he was working and how he didn’t really have time to just be with us kids. There was always something else that needed to be done, but there were times that I spent with him where he taught each of us children many life skills. How to box, how to shoot, how to ride a horse, and most times spent with Dad were always on the go and whilst this was an amazing childhood, I felt like we were missing something.

We missed that true connection with one to another; we learnt very quickly life was about what you could do and that to be successful you had to work hard and because this way of living was often taking the body to the point of exhaustion, it was accepted that alcohol was the way to come down at the end of the day.

So this is how I grew up, and from my late teens I worked hard and rewarded myself with a drink at the end of most days.

As my life moved on I married and had children, and living with the belief that I had to work hard to be successful in life left me feeling somewhat less when I became a mother. Suddenly I couldn’t regularly go and do the things that I had connected with as being worthy – like working outside with cattle and mustering – and I began to feel a sense of being less, of not being worthy. I loved being a mother but in some way felt that I was not ‘pulling my weight’. This left me feeling down and reactive. To deal with how I was feeling I would do the jobs that really needed to be done – the washing, general cleaning, cooking and anything that was needed to care for my children. But I fell short of using the spare time I had wisely to support myself and my family by doing those extra bits of cleaning our home needed, or simply being there as a support for my husband in our marriage.

During this time of my life I felt lazy and at times very unmotivated. This caused some problems in my marriage as my husband could feel the laziness in me, but I was unable to talk about how I was feeling and so nothing ever shifted in me. I kept up this behaviour for quite some time, and to cope with how I was feeling I began to adopt my own form of numbing, in a sense my replacement for alcohol. This was sitting in front of the television and watching soap operas on a daily basis. Then on those days where I felt a bit more down, I would have a drink or two at the end of the day to escape the mild depression that I was living with.

What I had learnt from growing up with having alcohol as a crutch in life was to hide how we were really feeling, to soldier on, to make the best of the situation and to enjoy a drink or two to take the edge off the day.

The true harm in this is that I never learnt how to talk about what I was feeling, or how to address and change my circumstances, or how to be in control of how I responded and reacted to life and its situations. I learnt to ‘put on a good show’ so that the world thought my life was all roses, whilst underneath all of this I was a shell of who I was, someone that simply gave up on any possibility of being herself, accepting my lot in life as ‘how it was’.

I could always feel though deep inside that there was something missing in my life and as I got older, I began to explore this. I hurt myself and slipped a disc in my back and this lead me to Bowen Therapy, which lead me to Reiki and Kinesiology; I could feel this insatiable desire to find what was missing and so was in constant search of the next thing. When I heard about Serge Benhayon and read his first book “The Way It Is”, I decided to attend my first presentation with Universal Medicine. That was a life changing experience, and for the first time in my life I felt truly met by someone. I felt that what I had been missing in my life was myself, and true connection with other people.

In feeling this I wanted to bring this into my life, to truly meet and be with others, so to begin with I gave up drinking alcohol. For myself it was a no brainer; alcohol completely changed me when I drank, and whilst I had enjoyed the sense of relaxation that I would get from it, I also began to feel the lack of responsibility in how I behaved and decided that I no longer wanted to live this way. Unbeknown to me at the time, this choice was to be one that eventually moved my life in directions that I, at that time, could not ever have imagined.

Initially my family and circle of friends tried to get me to drink again, constantly offering me alcohol and they had many reactions and said some very horrible things to me, whilst others would defend their choice to drink and place ultimatums on me.

What all of this began to show me is that we all think that getting together to have a drink or two is connecting with people. But I had begun to feel the falsity of this connection, as it held no basis of truth; the conversations were shallow and very quickly turned into bragging and proving experiences. I was beginning to feel a stirring inside, a connection with myself that wanted more in my connection with people; I wanted to talk about life and how we were feeling in it… not necessarily wanting to change it, but to just be honest about it. This feeling has grown and still constantly grows inside of me.

I now feel a purpose in life and every day I wake up with the feeling of joy that I can again go out into the world and be with people, enjoy people and understand people. I never felt this way when I was using alcohol to take the edge off life.

Before, with alcohol influencing my life, life was about being ashamed and hiding; now without alcohol, life is about being honest and responsible and a forever deepening of my connection with myself, discovering an absolutely unending well of wisdom inside me that guides my life. This holds me in my choice to live responsibly and give back what I have received; it guides me in how to serve humanity and I feel very present in my life and willing to address the circumstances that arise. I feel a settlement in accepting this way of living and a great joy in the true relationships that I am now forming with others.

Life after the influence of alcohol is living the truth that I always felt inside, but that was insidiously hidden by the insatiable desire to cover up the reality of life that alcohol provides.

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  • Photography: Matt Paul