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My Journey with Alcohol

Specifically wine, and more specifically Cabernet Sauvignon, and even more specifically Joel Gott. Because the thing about me is I find comfort in what I know. I find comfort in specifics. I find comfort in predictability. Whether it is serving my greater good or not, well that doesn't always matter.

And the thing about alcohol is that it can comfort and soothe...just for a moment. But the thing about alcohol is that it is also addictive and a toxic substance. So, I have been on this journey to better understand my relationship with alcohol...specifically wine, and more specifically Cabernet Sauvignon, and even more specifically Joel Gott.

I have a running joke with my husband and neighbors, who are well versed in my very specific wine habit...that Joel has always "GOTT" me. We have a laugh. Because the thing about me is I find comfort in quieting the noise, and often Joel has GOTT me in those moments. Just for a moment.

Then Joel turns on me. He leaves me with anxiety and self-sabotaging behaviors because let's face glass of Joel isn't going to be enough. Even if I promised myself. And that is what addictive substances are designed to do. Leave you wanting more.

I've been trying to break up with Joel for a while now. He is like the abusive boyfriend that I just can't seem to get rid of. He swoops in to comfort me when I've had a bad day, or want to relax, or loosen up, or am tired, or I'm sad, or irritated...and then he flips a switch and he's not so comforting anymore.

I'm using Joel Gott as my main character here, but the fact of the matter is that I am the main character of my life. I chose what I do or don't do. And as much as I want to blame Joel for abusing me, I'm the one staying in the relationship.

I've broken up with drinking many times throughout my 30's. Three of the times I was pregnant, so that was an easy break up. Now at 41, our break ups have been harder because it's fully on my terms and there is no "reason" other than I don't like the version of myself I am after a night with Joel...and I guess that should be a good enough reason.

These break ups have been enlightening. Because I recognize how much of my suffering is tied to alcohol. I wouldn't call myself an alcoholic, which doesn't really matter but feels better to say because labels carry weight. I would consider myself in an unhealthy relationship with alcohol though. That's because I know to the depths of my soul that it does nothing good for me, yet I still partake.

I've done a lot of work on myself, and continue to walk that path towards freedom and my most authentic, happy self. And with each passing day, more things come into focus. This is one of those things that started as a whisper and has now become a yell. "Stop doing this to yourself!" it says....I say.

The thing about wine for me is that I do enjoy it. Just for a moment. I love that first sip of a nice glass of wine. Conversation and connection over a shared bottle. Napa was one of my favorite vacations. Part of the allure with drinking for me is the ritual of the experience. And I am a very ritualistic person. When I find a ritual that feels good to my nervous system, it becomes obsessive. (I see the connection to OCD tendencies, but there is a label again...I don't care for labels)

I think that quitting alcohol is one of the greatest acts of self love I could offer myself. Actually I don't think that...I know that. I have a pretty negative self-talk loop that plays and am very critical of myself. This is another one of those predictable, not-so-great things that have become normal, just like the drinking. Sometimes I think I clump the drinking and the poor self-talk together so that I have a reason to beat myself up. Here we go again Emily. Stop being so dumb. That might not make sense to everyone, but if it does you'll get it. The brain is a powerful machine.

I would also say that I am a pretty aware person. It is difficult for me to trick myself. Excuses like "well I am not an alcoholic" or "I can say no to drinking if I want" or "drinking is fun" or "it's legal so it can't be that bad" or "red wine is good for me" or "I won't be any fun without booze" or whatever other stories I could conjure up to make it all okay, just don't work anymore.

Whether it is 1 glass of wine once in a while, or a couple glasses a few times a week, or the times when I've overdone it way too many nights in a row - all of it doesn't serve me.

So, here I am. Still on my journey with alcohol...learning to be compassionate with myself along the way. Compassion is a much better choice than criticism...who woulda thought. Just like I like predictability, I like answers. I like solutions. That feels better to me than the in between. This is an in between. **cue the discomfort**

During this in between...I've been experimenting. I've been reading books and listening to podcasts. I have been understanding the effects of alcohol (those which I've ignored for years). I've been talking to sober/sober curious friends about their journey. I've been paying attention to all the sensations around drinking that glass of wine. I've been taking breaks.

I even kicked off 2024 without drinking for 54 days. I felt the effects of that pretty deep. My clarity was on point. My anxiety was at bay. I was a more balanced, happier mom, wife, person. My hair, eyes, body, mind - everything felt lighter and brighter. I faced my shit without the comforting embrace of Joel Gott. And I was damn proud of myself.

I don't know what my future with alcohol looks like yet, and I am okay with that. I don't need to have the answer. There doesn't have to be one right or good way. What I do know is that I'm not lying to myself any longer. I'm calling myself out on my bullshit and I'm paying attention. And I'm being compassionate and understanding to myself along the way.

Ultimately, I desire to be the most present, most centered, most balanced, most free and authentically true version of me and I know one thing that hinders that's the alcohol....specifically wine, and more specifically Cabernet Sauvignon, and even more specifically Joel Gott.


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