Updated: May 20, 2019
This post has been in my drafts some time now, months even, waiting for the right time for me to be vulnerable and share my story in a way where I've truly made sense of it: in writing. Not because I owe anyone an explanation, but because I know it will help others realize it's possible and totally normal to want to stop drinking, or to even question not drinking, without needing to experience a 'rock bottom' or an addiction. My goal in sharing my story is to spark awareness and question the cultural practice of drinking alcohol.
One summer day in August 2016, I just decided to stop drinking alcohol.
I didn't follow the typical route. I didn't use AA (although I did go to a couple meetings to try it out and I would go to Al-Anon for family members of alcoholics years ago because of my relationship with my dad, who suffered from alcoholism). I didn't need rehab, and I didn't need to work with a doctor.
For a number of reasons, it became really clear to me that alcohol wasn't adding anything positive to my life, especially after enough bad experiences tipped the scale. One day it just became clear that this is what I needed to do. While I will say I don't believe I was addicted in the traditional sense (as in drinking every single day), whenever I did drink, it was in excess, so that was a problem.
There were multiple times where I was physically hurt and needed the hospital while consuming alcohol. It's like I would turn into a different person. I drank in excess from the start when I took my first drink when I was 14.
It was a culmination of too many close calls, from nights out where my health and safety were put in danger, that I really got to the point where I realized the negatives of drinking outweighed the positives for me. That's not to say it's wrong for everyone or that I judge others that do drink.
As a sensitive, creative and empathic person, I have a history of overcoming a life threatening illness at the age of 3, which resulted in emotional, spiritual, and psychological disturbances such as anxiety and depression, that manifested as an adult.
I didn't realize that substances like drugs and alcohol were dulling these sensitive qualities, and the pain I felt from feeling these feelings. In fact, I believe that was the reason I was using substances. To protect myself from feeling.
Another factor that played a key role in my decision to stop drinking was my dad passing away from alcoholism in March of 2016. Because of this, I knew I was susceptible to addiction and with his passing at a young age, it was only then that I was truly able to see where this bad habit was heading.
Growing up witnessing a parent's drinking habit spiral their life out of control, resulting in divorce, constant layoffs, and disconnection from having a relationship with his children, I experienced all the psychological and emotional wounds of an adult child of an alcoholic to show for it. All this to say, I believe that wasn't even enough for me to want to stop because I still dealt with pain the same way he did, until I was made aware of the repercussions.
My father's drinking was a manifestation of casual drinking that had developed into an addiction, which took control of his life. My dad grew up in Scotland, where drinking in an excess and 'addicted' manner is the norm. The U.S. doesn't seem too far off, the only difference might be the drinking age.
I believe my dad's addiction stemmed from the unhealthy relationship he had with his mom, where he was undervalued and ultimately, unwanted.
It's easy to ignore the long term and negative consequences of drinking alcohol when drinking is so prevalent and ingrained in our society, as a popular social bonding tool and widely accepted coping mechanism.
If we were actually shown, in advertising, the news and marketing, the negative consequences for drinking alcohol, those in charge of the alcohol industry would never be able to keep their current monopoly on the profit of addiction.
We're prone to getting addicted to this legal substance, however we can choose not to drink without needing to be suffering in the first place. What stands in the way, is the promotion of it, it's so ingrained in our culture and society that we don't ever stop to question it. However, it's healthy to question anything, especially a substance with adverse effects.
I believe this is the reason it makes it difficult for people to even consider stopping. They might think that since they don't have a 'serious' issue with drinking, that they don't have a reason to stop.
It's interesting that I stopped drinking alcohol while living in New York City, where it's available in complete excess. I believe I was meant to live there, in order to realize how big of a problem it was for me, by experiencing it on a larger scale. My journey to inner peace and personal freedom began there too, as I began my meditation practice at MNDFL studio and started seeing a therapist in New York too.
I also started taking high doses of anti-depressants for the grief of my father passing, at the recommendation of my primary care doctor. Alcohol is a depressant, and mixed with anti-depressants, it was cancelling out any progress I was making in stabilizing my mood, while also increasing my susceptibility to get drunk quickly.
This is when I started experimenting with stopping drinking for short periods of time in order to stabilize my mood.
I decided that from then on, I would only drink casually and would never have more than 3 drinks at a time.
When I drank, however, I didn't have seem to have an off switch, even though logically, and going into the situation prior, I would make that decision.
When I went to Nashville for a week with friends, I decided to drink casually in a scenario (like a vacation) where that wouldn't seem to be the focus. Slowly I would increase the number of drinks, and there would be a new 'excuse' for why it was okay to. I was on vacation right?
When I got back to New York in late June, I was back to the same drinking habits I had before: drinking in excess. Things that in my sober state, I would have never done, became the norm. But I was on antidepressants and that was leading to dangerous situations. Until this all became too uncomfortable, and I knew a change needed to be made.
In the beginning of a hot and sticky August, it was all brought to a head after a drinking party during the day at the beach that bled into a late 3 am Sunday night.
Waking up that Monday morning, I knew I had finally had enough and that this wasn't working. My first instinct was to go to an AA meeting, because I knew that what had happened was completely out of my control.
At the AA meeting, a couple blocks away from my apartment in Mid-town East, in the refuge of the cool church building, I listened to an older gentleman talk about his whole life struggling with addiction and how this literally controlled his behavior for decades, leading to bad turns and poor decisions, resulting in waking up out of black outs to numerous dangerous situations. That was all I needed to hear.
It was such a depressing story, that I'm thankful for going that day and hearing it, because it confirmed my own decision that the choice I was making for myself was the right one. I also went to check out other sobriety groups like one called Atlantic, however none of them really seemed to resonate with me.
I decided at that point in my life, there would be no going back. I made a choice that day that saved my life. I had tried to limit myself for years, and the promises I broke to myself and others were no longer okay with me.
I have New York City, the Universe, and my dad to thank for letting go of my attachment to alcohol. The universe took me on a roundabout way through living in New York City, seeing my dad struggle, then taking antidepressants in order to realize how much I was negatively impacting my overall wellness with alcohol.
What's interesting is that once I quit drinking, the appeal of living in New York City was quickly lost to me. I was numbing myself from the discomfort I felt in living in such a high energy and taxing city, that when I lost the security blanket of alcohol, it was time to go home.
I've heard it been said that when start to live in a higher state of consciousness, we don't even want to drink anymore. That's exactly how I feel now, with all this clarity and ways I can support myself, I don't even have the need for it anymore.
I researched holistic tools to support sobriety, and I found this blog called Hip Sobriety. I resonated with Holly's story so much, and felt empowered knowing there were simple ways to maintain this new state of being.
Part of the sobriety toolkit she suggests is a spiritual practice and the use of essential oils. So I got some oils and a diffuser and started to manage my mood naturally this way. Except I didn't notice a huge difference at first due to the quality (or lack of) of the essential oils I was using, which I later learned affects their level of effectiveness, and that the majority of essential oils out there are not high quality at all because it's an unregulated industry.
I didn't see a difference with any essential oils until I was introduced to the doTERRA brand during a Reiki session and started using it.
Today I share doTERRA essential oils with others because they are the largest essential oil company in the world and the highest quality, based on third-party testing results shared publicly on Sourcetoyou.com: which means they actually work!
They are the gold standard of the industry, and the only company to be backed by the medical community. Unlike the majority of companies in the essential oil industry, they are lifting communities in the world with their fair trading standards and sustainable farming only from places in the world where the plant already grows in abundance, as well as their non-profit Healing Hands.
Years later, I see that Holly of Hip Sobriety now uses doTERRA oils just like me and that makes me so happy!
I've deepened my spiritual practice through meditation, a new supportive community, A Course in Miracles, yoga, meditation retreats, energy healing, and prayer.
Contrary to what society would have us believe, my life has gotten SO much better since I decided to stop drinking and I don't need alcohol to enjoy life. In fact, I've never felt more alive, empowered or healthy in my life, and I've developed the most authentic connections, to myself, to life and to people.
Now I have more energy, my own online businesses, deeper relationships with those around me, a clear mind, more abundance, and I'm living out my purpose by sharing my healing story with others.
I get to focus on what really matters to me without substances getting in the way. I now have healthy habits, which I'll share below, that we can all use to self-soothe.
Knowing there are tools like essential oils to manage emotions instead of drugs or alcohol was what helped me transition and live the balanced life I do today, it's why it's my mission to share them others.
Not everyone is the same, and we're each entitled to our own healing journey. There isn't only one right way for everyone, I'm simply sharing what has worked for me.
By stopping drinking, I've broken the addiction pattern and lineage in my family. While the rest of my family or other people in my life may not understand it, it's totally okay.
This sparked the real work of my spiritual awakening and consciousness, and I'm forever grateful for that. It's time to start questioning the 'normality' of drinking.
From an awesome article bringing conscious awareness to drinking in Health Magazine's March 2019 Edition, here's a few ways to tell if your drinking may be a problem:
You set a limit for yourself and you break that promise, like vowing to have one glass of wine then end up having more
Friends mention things you said or did that you don't remember
You wake up lots of mornings feeling groggy and fuzzy
doTERRA essential oils help manage all of our emotions, so many of their oils that are not listed below will help, and we can turn to them instead of alcohol. They are not the only tool, however, and as the saying goes it takes a village!
Here are the EO's I used:
These are other EO's that support healing from addiction:
Daily practices I do instead:
Tapping (EFT) Tapping involves physical tapping on energy meridian points in our body that store emotions. I love Brad Yates on Youtube, he has a tapping video for pretty much everything
Life Long Vitality Supplements. I learned that nutrition plays a key role in our mood management, which is why I switched to a plant based diet! These supplements fill in the gaps for our modern dietary needs, they're vegan (including a plant based 'fish'oil) and completely plant/essential oil based, and in no exaggeration, they have changed my life.
Journaling. This is how I process my emotions now and I receive intuitive guidance this way too!
New community. A new community that has a similar lifestyle as you and supports your decision. Makes sense that you wouldn't be doing the same things that your old crew did, like go out and drink
Spiritual learning, personal development, creative expression and energy work. I love Reiki, and have studied crystals, angel cards, books, shaman healings, psychic development, personal development and meditation. Many times we turn to outside substances when we don't feel a connection to a higher power or ourselves
Plant based diet (for holistic healing of depression and anxiety, which many use alcohol to self-soothe)
Working out. Even a daily walk of at least 15 minutes helps, I like to do biking once or twice a week, and yoga
Creative outlets - I started painting again after a 10 year hiatus! Coloring and writing are awesome outlets too
Have you been thinking about stopping or cutting down on your drinking? I'd love to hear your experience. If you'd like get started with these essential oils and supplements, head over to my page here or book your conscious coaching session here so we can work together on your goals to live a healthier and balanced life!