When my friend, Dani, and I went to go for a swim on the weekend we noticed it was low tide so changed our minds; yet such a tide enabled us to see countless crabs — bright blue beauties doing their thing! ‘Twas awesome to watch them burrow under and out of the sand, cluster together, and a few brave ones walk towards us! Gorgeous!
Me and my mate James, who turned fifty recently. Standard day for James is dressing up in various outfits, hats or masks (as a clown, police officer, Elvis, etc), listening to music and generally having fun with others and on his own. He loves unabashedly and everyday it’s your birthday — he sings happy birthday to you while trying to give you something of his own, as a gift. Gorgeous.
He has Down syndrome, and his mind is about that of a three year old. Yet he ‘gets’ me and loves me unconditionally. I used to be one of his support workers. Now I’m his friend. So honoured.
He has nicknames for all those special in his life. Mine is ‘Beat beat’ and ‘Beat beat Tracey’ we only guess it’s because I’m usually dancing and singing around the place.
Here we are dressed in his clown stuff and he’s wearing the pirate hat I gave him while using a colouring-in book (one of the things I got him for his birthday). I love him and I am so happy he has such a wonderful loving family, a lovely home, and fabulous carers who love him and help him to live HIS best life. It truly enriches his life.
We all should do what we love in life to be happy. And James’s happiness, kindness and great loving heart is inspirational, beautiful, and a joy to be around x
This is the moment I had my first drink in almost two and a half years. I gained so much from not drinking (see my blog, ‘Eight Reasons Why Not Drinking Created a Better Me’) that I wanted to make sure ending my drinking drought was marked with a night to remember! I couldn’t have asked for it to unfold any better. I was in great company. Brad (whose furthest to the right and I’m to the left of him; in the photo) in particular made it special, with his wonderfully kind focus on my big achievement and his contagious excitement of helping me mark this moment – in style!
We decided to all have one of my favourite cocktails – a Long Island Iced Tea – to celebrate the moment together. #HappyHeart #HowTouching #Grateful
Amazingly, while we were ordering our cocktails a flashback memory hit me. It was from a few years ago, at the same hotel, in the exact same spot at the bar. I had asked my friends on our way out that night, to make sure I didn’t drink more than two drinks all night. I knew I’d feel better if I drank less those days – I was always trying – yet found it hard. I ordered a glass of wine. The bar tender served me a measured glass. I sort of panicked when I saw how tiny that looked. So I asked him to fill it up…making sure my two drinks were going to be ‘good’. (Addicted!) I was blindly lured by the big buzz alcohol gives. That tainted version of myself was gone thanks to the break I had from drinking. And the new calm, not-needing-to-be-drunk-to-be-happy-when-out self was here. I much prefer the latter version of me. Snapping out of that memory made me realise just how addicted I had been, how painful that addiction was, and how great the contrast of now being at peace felt. Including not looking to find happiness in alcohol. It was part of the trophy of the occasion right there.
(This photo above: Brad, and me armed with my cocktail and a glass of water. Celebration time!)
We had a great night dancing and laughing, enjoying each others company, the live music and the awesome tunes the DJ played. I slowly sipped my celebratory cocktail. I didn’t want to get drunk. And I wasn’t sure if the alcohol would sneak up on me and hit me for a six! I paced it well (winning!) (proud of myself!). It wasn’t the alcohol that was making me happy; it was me and the awesome company I was in. I was very happy that I didn’t get the urge to drink more, nor want to get drunk; not that that would’ve been a problem if I did. I could take it or leave it.
I went home at 4am still only tipsy. I loved being present and ‘with it’ the whole night thanks to not being drunk. And I loved ending the night with having a fully coherant chat with the taxi driver on the way home.
Simply having a changed belief, a new and improved understanding of what alcohol does, has freed me from the chains it used to have around me. There’s liberation and light in that.
It was an awesome night. A landmark achievement given a worthy celebration. It has really inspired me to reach for other big goals that take a long time to reach; as the bigger the goal, the bigger the reward and the bigger – and more enduring – the satisfaction and joy you feel. Here’s to big goals and to reaching more landmark moments.
I love doing yoga in nature.
– the grass was my yoga mat.
– the birds were my sound track.
– the smells of nature; my incense.
– the view; a feast for my eyes and heart.
– a big tree was my umbrella; protecting me from the direct sun-rays.
– AND my body was my instrument; creating the vibe of joy and bliss, thanks to the many gifts of the environment and the ancient wisdom of yoga.
It left me feeling blessed and so alive.
Here’s a clip of that beautiful location. I hope you enjoy it too.
Yesterday, April 3rd 2015, marked two years since I’ve had any alcohol. It’s been a life changing experience so I’m sharing my story in case it might help someone else.
I drank for the love of it. I’m not an alcoholic. Yet at times I drank; too much while partying and to ‘help’ me through stressful times. Yet it had the opposite effect afterwards (alcohol is a poison and a depressant after all). I knew I could be making better choices and experiences.
A few years ago, thinking that my drinking wasn’t helping me to be at my best, I decided to cut down to having one to three drinks a week; less than what some doctors say is healthy. I did that for about a YEAR, but I still didn’t feel better, so I decided to stop drinking ENTIRELY for three months to see if that helped.
During the third month I begun to realise that not drinking was working wonders:
* I wasn’t experiencing my usual big yo-yo ride of highs and lows * I felt calmer and more centred * And I had much more energy.
This excited and empowered me to continue. Why jump off a good ride! It was as though I was riding a Harley Davidson down the open freeway. Arrrr freedom baby!
The longer I went without drinking, the greater I felt the benefits, so I continued my dry spell to see where it would take me.
I know my experience with alcohol is unique to me and that your experience with alcohol may be different. Every BODY is different.
Eight benefits I gained from not drinking;
in no particular order:
1 – I am much happier. I used to drink because I enjoyed the taste, the tipsy and drunk feeling; and the kicker here is that I also used to drink to ‘remedy’ my mood at times; as it turns out, that was my biggest delusion with drinking.
Since not drinking though I feel a deeper and more enduring kind of happiness; which has removed a lot of the appeal alcohol used to have for me. This will make more sense when you read the other benefits (below).
2 – I don’t have sleep issues. Drinking caused me to have broken sleep or to need more sleep. Therefore the following day my mood wasn’t great and I wasn’t on top form. Because I didn’t know its relation to drinking, I’d sometimes have a drink to help me relax and to sleep the following night; and the pattern would continue. Thankfully, now this is a thing of the past.
3 – I have more energy and a better source of energy; partly because of my improved sleep since not drinking. Yet more than that I feel like I’m generally cruising more in life. And I am not just referring to not having hangovers. I am now free from the subtle annoyances I felt from drinking; the kind of things that, as it turns out, were dimming my light.
4 – My brain feels pampered. It’s like I am connected to the more subtle parts of me. My thoughts are less harsh and less forceful. My gut feelings are brighter – more dominant – and because my brain has less fog, I’m able to take direction from my gut feelings easier.
5 – I stress a great deal less. I used to stress a lot more when I drank (on the flip sides of drinking). It was a chicken before the egg thing. Now when I stress, I allow it – I don’t clutch on to it – I just carry on with life; I know the stress will pass; and it does COUNTLESS times faster than when I tried ‘remedying’ it by drinking. It’s empowering; having one less thing to rely on for my happiness.
6 – I feel much healthier in body, mind and spirit. I just want to say here that apparently, drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure to unhealthy levels. My doctor told me recently that my blood pressure is the same as a teenager’s, and that that was, “Very good!”
7 – I make better decisions because of the benefits of being calmer, more centred, and having clearer/louder instincts.
8 – I am a much better person to be around because of all these benefits. I am much more present and relaxed in my interactions with others. So my relationships have greatly improved, including with myself.
Like pieces to a puzzle, all these benefits link, help each other out, and are a collective of what makes great sense to get the most out of my life.
The accumulation of all the alcohol-free moments over this time have moulded my character into more of a person I like.
It’s like a spring board to a brighter and smarter life. It’s gone from being the benefits of not drinking, to simply being the new me.
I’d like to add: Along this journey, I started noticing that in almost every movie and TV show; people drink alcohol. And for so many reasons and purposes. E.g to comfort in difficult times, to; unwind, relax, celebrate, socialise, etc. It’s as though alcohol is one of life’s staples as a feel good source. No wonder we are a drinking nation. You might want to notice this for yourself.
Personally, I think alcohol should be seen less in the media to show it’s not as cool as it we’re led to believe; you know, just to show it’s not a main ‘ingredient’ of living.
I think the quality of alcohol is a factor to consider too. And it may be what’s in the alcohol, e.g. sugar which can have adverse effects.
There should be a law for something like this (that I found on a kids health website) to go on the back of alcohol packaging: “Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows the function of the central nervous system. Alcohol actually blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain. This alters a person’s perceptions, emotions, movement, vision, and hearing.”
I sometimes missed the drunk feeling, but the memory [and the knowing] of the bad effects it gives, gives me no desire to do it. The cons far outweigh the pros.
The other thing I sometimes missed during these two years; was having the occasional drink. So I might do that on the rare occasion. Yet I am not in a hurry.
Also, going out when not drinking definitely has its advantages. I am the one who seems to remember the most details of the night. I am able to enjoy myself fully – without regrets. And having my senses working made me ‘see’ drunken people better, which gave me no allurement to order an alcoholic drink over my soda and lime.
If there is one thing I have learnt from this time without drinking; it’s that alcohol is definitely not a true source of my happiness.
How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts about alcohol – how it has helped or hindered you. Feel free to leave your comments below 🙂 Thanks for reading this long post btw. Sharing my story is a way of celebrating, so thanks for being a part of it! 🙂