It’s been six years since I started an experiment with no particular end in mind.
In 2014, I decided to stop drinking alcohol, quit consuming sugar, carbohydrates, and coffee for a six-month period.
Initially, I chose to eliminate these things from my life for two reasons.
First, I survived a rare blood cancer (Stage IVB ALK-) after being given less than a 15 percent chance of living. I wanted to eliminate the toxins and heavy metals from my system that had built up during chemotherapy. And so, I started an intense cleanse.
Second, I began preparations to attend a spiritual ceremony that took place on March 1st, 2014. The ceremony lasted from 6 p.m. in the evening until breakfast the next morning. It altered my reality and direction in ways that are still unfolding. The wisdom and insights transmitted during the ceremony are now even clearer, and louder than ever.
Following the ceremony, I stuck with my experiment. I wanted to know how each of these things (alcohol, coffee, carbs, and sugar) affected my body, mind, and spirit so that I could recalibrate if it would improve my life.
After completing six months without alcohol, sugar, carbs, or coffee—four things that were ubiquitous prior to my cancer diagnosis—I wanted to know what it would be like to consume each without the other over a two-week period by reintroducing one and then eliminating it again. I recorded how each felt. The result was illuminating.
The one item that I chose not to reintroduce was alcohol. Although I love wine, especially great Spanish wines like Rioja, Tempranillo, or Crianza, I knew that alcohol did not serve a useful or fulfilling purpose in my life nor did most of the relationships that surrounded it.
And, that’s how I quit drinking. No AA or therapy, but a load of willpower, discipline, commitment, and the determination to regain the full power of choice in my life.
It’s now been six years since I’ve had any alcohol. My life has changed dramatically. Friendships shifted, I found myself letting go of unhealthy familial patterns and negative relationships with ease. I can also say no way more quickly than yes, and yes more quickly than no when true.
I also discovered that I had more time to be creative and the space to explore and foster other passions, such as freelance journalism, traveling, writing a novel, painting, acting, and exploring other facets of a creative life that I couldn’t access when my system wasn’t aligned with my deeper truth.
I have no experience with alcoholics anonymous, nor do I know what it is like to be addicted to something. As such, I can’t speak to addiction from a personal point of view.
I was fortunate enough to have been born without the genetics that can lead people to addiction. However, I have witnessed addiction adversely impact the lives of many, not only in my childhood home but in the community of my youth as well as in the lives of others.
The challenge and the struggle to overcome our attachments, addictions, habits, or routines isn’t easy. And, I have no advice as to how one might go about leaving behind that which doesn’t serve someone’s greatest truth.
The path has been lonely, and the changes overwhelming at times, but the essence of truth is continuously more present than ever.
I still walk the path alone and I’m comfortable on this trail as I get to know myself and others in ways that I could have never imagined.
The only thing I can offer people is the knowledge that everything in life is a choice. When we relinquish our individual agency and power to people or things, nothing can change. When we keep our power, everything can change.
And so I leave you with these questions:
How do you give up your power?
What is it that exists in your life right now that does not serve you, or permit you to live in alignment with your deepest truth?
And, what is it that keeps you from making the choice to change that which you have the power to change?
Here’s to six years without alcohol and to this extraordinary journey we share together—life!
May our lives be fully lived in truth in 2020 and beyond.
Love for self, love for you, and love for this precious gift of life