A Light Went On

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Philip and I attended a Christmas Eve party at a neighbor’s house. It was illuminating. The gathering was well attended and I spoke with many friends while sharing in food and drink. I enjoyed the usual, Pellegrino water in a wine glass. No one noticed that I wasn’t drinking and I liked that. It was an absolutely enjoyable evening sans vino.

On our way home, we stopped to talk to a new neighbor and introduced ourselves. He was attempting to get this crazy palm tree to light up in his yard. “Hey, why not?” we said, “People celebrate all over the planet.” It was a very pleasant exchange and we made a little more small talk.

When we reached the front door of our house, I realized how sober I was. At first, there was a strange sense of feeling  a certain mellowness as if I had consumed few glasses of wine and then PING– I realized it was “all in my head.” Instantly, I became acutely aware of my surroundings and in that awareness, the pleasure of the moment was amplified. The sky looked darker. The air was fresher and the porch light shown brighter.

In the Dark—Solstice 2012

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The absence of alcohol seems to be creating a sense of vulnerability within me. Perhaps drinking helped cover this sensation, boosting my self-esteem and helping me to quiet the self-loathing voice inside.  Several days in the last month I have felt really sad and tired, leaving work at the end of the day in tears.

I am currently moderating the inner debate—to climb the “ladder of success” or be more focused on finding creative fulfillment on the job. Looking for an alternative work situation opens me up to a greater sense of vulnerability. Trying to put my best face forward, I ask myself if I am “good enough.” The confident side of me wants to lead me to a higher paying job with more responsibility and room for growth. The side of me that is feeling vulnerable (and dominant) is asking for me to stop pushing. The “doing” and the “being” are at battle. All the while, my inner voice is defeating me.

Now, having come down with a cold just before Christmas, there is a layer of physical weakness as well. Going, going, going all week diminished my energy and robbed me of a sense of connection with my guests when they arrived on the solstice. We opened many bottles of expensive wines and polished off a bottle of Hendrick’s gin. Of course, I did not partake, which added to the feeling of being outside of the fun. On the upside, being sick did dampen my desire for drinking. (Although admittedly, I felt quite a pull the first night the martinis got mixed.) Knowing myself, I am sure that any other time, I would have thrown back a few drinks and felt worse for it. And THAT is my problem—knowing what is good for me and taking the opposite action. Having the commitment to observing what happens when I don’t drink has helped me to feel better about myself in that regard.

As for the struggles and vulnerability, I will have to get through the dark and see what lies on the other side of this experiment. In the New Year, I plan to take a more sensible approach to finding a new job and with that, I will give attention to the opposing forces. I know that there is a way through this and that feeling and acknowledging all voices will help me find the truth and a better direction

My Libido

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This entry will be a quickie…Five days with no alcohol. Finished the three-day raw foods cleanse.

Being dry has had the opposite effect in the bedroom. Wow! I like not drinking. (I’m clearly in the honeymoon phase with my new life style.) So far, spending my days without the usual consumption habits as freed up my creative energies to write in my blog and it has freed up the romantic energies within.

I have been living with the assumption that alcohol adds to sex drive—a drink or two loosens me up and helps me put the stresses of the day behind me (more stress, the less libido). While that may have been true in my 20’s and 30’s, apparently it does not hold true in my 40’s. If anything, I am finding that the wine or martini that was part of a nightly ritual may have constrained and dampened my sexual energy. For years I have pined for the libido that I once had a decade or more ago. I have tried bio identical hormone treatments, acupuncture, yoga, vitamins and supplements. Discouraged, I chalked it up to age and changes in my body. I never considered dropping the drinks would have this kind of result. I have hope.

The other factor to consider in this shift in energy is the three-day cleanse. I am experiencing a feeling of newness—as if I have a fresh start. I have considered myself a foodie for many years and yet I think now that I have been in a rut. Nourishing my body with new foods is part of awakening creativity. I am preparing meals in ways I have not thought of before: homemade bean burgers, kale salads and fresh fruit spritzers. Last night I cut open a pomegranate for the first time. What a glorious mess! The full experience of all of my senses was extraordinary. I went to bed asking myself “What else have I been missing?”

Party Pooper

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Just got an email from a friend with whom I want to connect over the Holidays. She is alot  of fun and she likes to meet up for drinks (as do I). We really enjoy having a cocktail or two and brainstorming on our common interests. I have very few girlfriends that I connect with through Board and volunteer work and I enjoy having an outlet for these kinds of discussions.

When I reached out to her, my first reaction was that we should meet for coffee, not drinks. The assumption? It won’t be fun if I am not drinking. There is a couple of fears:

  1.  Alcohol enhances the experience of connecting with an other person.
  2. The person I am meeting will feel less comfortable having a drink if I am not drinking—and it will be less fun for her if I am not joining in.

A situation like this is going to be my first test in dispelling or confirming my assumptions about social interactions pertaining to the consumption of booze.