Drinking My Way to Enlightenment

I recently I conducted an inventory of sorts. In a muddle, I wrote my way to a better understanding of myself. Prior to my break from blogging, the time I spent conducting my inventory, I had managed to connect the Kundalini and that was exciting. I have connected the Kundalini before, but this go-round, is dissimilar to the experience I have known in the past. The connection that is the Kundalini brought into focus the disorder in my life and I quickly fell to the task of sorting it out.

For some time I have struggled with my habit of boozing. I like to drink and rekindled my drinking habit in 1999. I decided to begin a habit of drinking everyday. It was part of an overall effort to reconnect with my extended family of friends. It has been a long time since I realized that success and I am now well grounded by way of friendship. When I made my decision to drink, I expected that I would one day have to scuttle the habit and that day has been realized. While I do enjoy drinking, I prefer to be sober. If only I could do both.

I tend to be a person of extremes and so when my habit is everyday boozing, I tend to drink more than some people would think is prudent. I can and have moderated my habit to accommodate my excessive tendencies. Moderate drinking, by me, tends to be a lot of drink by some standards. Previously when I quit drink things were quite bad. Literally having ruined my life, and drinking being a big part of that, the decision to quit was one of last resort. Pretty easy. It also forced me to address the underlying cause of much of my habit at the time. Pain management. I had compacted my seventh thoracic vertebra and broken my neck in two different motorcycle accidents. I had ignored these injuries and done nothing to rehabilitate myself. To deal with the pain, I drank. I measured the strength of my drink by the strength of my pain. It ruined my life. I quit and spent two years out of work rehabilitating myself. The injuries were a direct result of my recklessness. A determination to force God to intervene in my life, by some kind of spontaneous enlightenment, or for attrition to end my life before I had lived long enough that I would have to take personal responsibility.

My drinking habit of late is by some standards excessive but it is in no way comparable to my youthful foolishness. At my age, drinking as much now as I did when I was young, would leave me destitute, unable to be socially productive.

Quitting without a crisis is a different animal. My decision is just a matter of personal preference. Instead of having a drink, I decide not to, over and over again. A bit tedious. All of the idiosyncrasies of my person continue to support the habit I invested so many years and my reputation in. I have every reason to believe that they will be replaced by a person more to my liking and healthier habits will emerge. That is happening and it is easier to keep my growing resolve as time slips past.

My habit has been to drink in the evening and I have been wanting, perhaps, a tea to enjoy instead. I finally did shop for tea. I first just looked at straight herbs and was lost. I stumbled across a blend, in the herbal tea aisle,  that had Kava Kava in it and then I thought, oh, Kava. I chose bulk Kava Kava to make my tea. Very nice. After a few days I remembered the therapeutic application of Kava in treating anxiety and that changing my boozing habit is an obvious trigger for anxiety. I am quite pleased with my choice and the tea is very nice. It has a texture and flavor that is soothing.

What I have noticed, since I put down the bottle, is the counterproductiveness of my boozing habit. I had imagined it was a way to relieve stress at the end of the day. Nothing could be further from the truth. It simply reinforced the expectation that the day was stressful and that I was in need of relief. In this way it caused of much of the stress for which I sought relief. Absent the decision to drink, I find that I am also absent  much of the imagined incentive.

I had become isolated from friends and the support that accompanies friendship. Drinking was a way for me to prioritize those relationships by being less spiritual in my affairs. I did make myself known again as a rather ordinary sort enjoying the party and the good time. In the end booze was creating more stress than it possibly could relieve and my friendships had always been independent of it. It remains to be seen what impact its absence will have on my overall well-being. Will it be instrumental in restoring the richness I once knew in my spiritual life?

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2014

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The Displacement of Self

Beside me, I recognize my self, a transparent figure pressing against my physical person. The sensation of my self, standing beside me, pressed against me, triggers a sense of tense irritability in my physical person. When I consider this as my self and ask why my self is standing beside me, against me but not within me, calm begins to permeate my physical person. It seems that the content of my person has displaced my self and when I engage with this external representation of self, as if it were myself, calm displaces irritability. What am I doing other than being myself? One thing I recently discovered, when I asked this question, of my self, is that my self would prefer that I drink less alcohol. This presents the question of whether to quit entirely or to moderate.

I have an extreme personality. I tend to be extreme in my behaviors. Perhaps moderation is the lesson the self has in mind for me. Quitting booze altogether would be very easy for me because it is an extreme behavior. The question comes down to value. What are the comparative values? Benefits and risks.

When I made the decision to begin drinking again it was to facilitate reconnecting with friends. I had been isolated from my friends for a few years while I managed more pressing concerns. The booze helped me, in my mind, to be more available, approachable to friends. It took me out of my funk and forced me to disengage from my problems. It has since become a way to alleviate chronic back pain and that is problematic. Booze is very effective in diminishing any concern about pain, physical or personal, but it is a poor choice. When pain management is the motive for drinking, excess is a constant problem. At least for me it is. I prefer to be sober than to be drunk, however, I have been known to drink more than I prefer. Is that enough of a reason to give it up altogether or are there underlying issues that exacerbate the tendency to drink excessively that I would be wise to address?

As I consider these questions, I consult my self, thus inviting my self in. No longer standing beside me, my self and I become, myself.  We are one. My person and my self sharing the same center as my temporal body of flesh, blood and bone. My self prefers that I would abstain from drink. My person must make this the way I am if I am to forge an agreement to share the same temple of flesh, blood and bone where person, self and form are in agreement and of the same bearing.

In the past fourteen years I have structured my life around alcohol, drinking daily with occasional retreats to reset my habit. I can take it or leave it, but having said that, I have a high tolerance for the stuff. I can drink a lot. I am not found of being sick or having a headache and I know how to avoid that. Never been cited for D.U.I. It has become a stress management tool. I have to stop processing what is on my mind after a couple of beers and it takes the sting out of my back. It is a commitment to switch off and relax, something I am otherwise not very good at. I tend to drink more than is good for me and that bothers me. I often have poor recollection of the events of the last evening, and frankly, I don’t care for that or the fuzziness in my head that so often greets me in the morning.

What are my other options to deal with personal irritability and physical discomfort other than daily drink and has drink simply become a way to perpetuate a cycle that involves itself? When considering whether or not, at this stage it helps, on balance, I think not.

Micheal, The Mystic Tourist, ©2013