Monday, April 11, 2011

Drunk, young n' numb

In the six months before I turned 21 I blacked out three times. Gratefully there were never any terrible consequences, but I started cutting back on my drinking when I realized how much I liked it. I figured I should cool the relationship down before we got any more serious. I'm just not that ready to commit.

Since then I've danced back and forth between sober and sloppy, sometimes giving my liver long vacations, other times making it work real hard (sorry, buddy). Being a passionate, intense woman tending towards extremes, I am capable of being very conscious, doing two hours of yoga a day...and then going out later and drinking too many martinis. For a while now I've enjoyed the stark contrast, and figured that it gave me balance and relatability. If I was to stop drinking entirely, would it alienate me from certain relationships? Is that really a reason to continue?

If it were only my concern about losing touch with people that I care about, I could understand my motivations. However, the fact is that, to a certain degree, I like being drunk. I feel a lot very deeply and numbing things down a bit sometimes seems necessary. Plus, being a little fuzzy feels pretty cool. The rush of reckless abandon can be harder to usher in without liquid encouragement...and I am already great at abandoning recklessly, not a drop of drink necessary.

As I age, day by day and hour by hour, I wonder if I am not getting too old to be retreating from reality in this way. My spiritual practice is meant to wake me up and keep me vital. It's not a race with some tangible end goal, but I can't help but wonder how much more progress I could have made by now if I wasn't consistently walking in the opposite direction. Sometimes after a glass or two of wine I'll have some great epiphany about life, but most of the time I am just that much further from myself and the people around me. Alcohol seems to loosen knots of fear in my heart and allow me access to a range of feelings and creativity that I am otherwise too scared to allow. But how much more authentic would it be for me to work towards reaching that while fully awake and sober?

Sometime soon I'll probably have a beer or something and that'll be okay. Eventually I have to consider if I really want to keep sacrificing sensitivity to subtlety for the chance to disconnect. In the meantime, I'll balance bar time with beets. It's the least I can do for you, Liver.

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