I used to be what we called a social drinker. During my early twenties, a shot of cheap vodka was my drink of a choice (I know how typical).
I drank in the name of having fun and shedding the day’s stress especially during my college years.
As some of you may know, I went to an art school and some people may think art school is so easy but not when you are full time student, spending 10 hours per day drawing till the point you get blisters on your arms from holding a pencil for so many hours, plus working at the job for 7.50 dollars per hour to help with my student loans.
So going out dancing at some techno club downtown in Detroit was one of my favorite things to do to distress. Staying up till four in the morning dancing the night away became a norm.
As a friend used to say. “Have a drink. Have some fun. Don't be so innocent. It is your birthday!”
At collage parties, my inhibitions came down along with those of everyone around me. Suddenly we felt more connected.
But the connection lasted precisely as long as the buzz.
The warmth and depth waned along with the next day’s hangover, causing me to question the integrity of my own emotions and those of my drinking mates.
I distinctly remember hearing one evening, “Viktoriya, you’re such a great girl! A friend for life!” The next day the same person looked at me as if I were a stranger.
I finally realized it wasn’t me who was connecting with people. It was the booze.
The seduction of the social scene was only part of the story. The kicker was the hangover that lingered for twenty-four hours afterwards. To the casual observer, my hangovers were subtle. No pounding headaches and no serious difficulty getting to work on time at my coffee job the next day, despite restless sleep.
Once there, however, I could not think as clearly. Sound decisions took more effort. The upshot was that I operated at less than 100% (that made me feel very guilty) for much of the work week. I couldn’t see that after hangover my Inner Team struggled to remember that plan and usually got back in the game just in time for the next bottle of alcohol to put them on the bench again.
Ultimately, I discover that drinking wasn’t my problem.
The problem was that what I wanted and got from alcohol only lasted as long as the buzz.
I had to learn to find warmth, intimacy, relaxation, escape and fun as the buzz.
In the fall, just right after my best friend’s birthday, I realized just how much my thinking had changed from those earlier days when I went to hang out with my friends for the first time outside the techno club.
As we set at the coffee shop, the silence was thick enough to cut with a knife...we had nothing much to say to each other…I realized that I had nothing in common with these people that I considered my “best friends.”
That’s when I decided, I wanted to be 100% fully present with my people at all times. I want to listen, understand, share, connect. I wanted to choose my friends based on our common interests, shared values, beliefs, hopes, and dreams and not let the alcohol make those decisions for me.
So…now do I care if someone chooses to drink and I don’t?
Do I still enjoy dancing without having a few drinks?
Do I care if I’ve am being criticized for not drinking while everyone else does?
It is all because, I have realized something else.
If you are afraid of criticism, you’ll have little effect on the world.
Criticism runs rampant, and if you’re inhibited by it, you’ll drown in its deep waters.
Anytime you do something new or unrealistic by other people’s standards, they’ll be braying like donkeys.
Want to know why?
Sorry, I have no clue.
Afterall, our future should not depend on the opinions and permission of others.
Criticism can hurt, but you must shield yourself from them to protect your decided heart.
I WAS FORTUNATE
Though I had a compulsion for alcohol, it was never an addiction the way it can be for some.
Addiction has different dimensions and difficulties than compulsions, but the goal to overcome either is the same: find a way to make your decisions consciously rather than let the alcohol make decisions for you.
LESSON I LEARNED
The world doesn’t stand still, we can't afford to stand still, either.
Change occurs faster and faster with each flip of the calendar.
If you want to change any aspect of yourself, know that you can...and watch as your world transforms. ;)
More often than not, people are unhappy with their health and their lifestyle but aren't willing to change and to do what it takes.
Your success reaching your health goals is to be found in your everyday habits.
Overall, I traded in my Friday night shots for Friday night squats.
I traded in my Sunday morning hangovers for Sunday morning reading books.
As you see, sometimes you must sacrifice one thing to achieve another.
For me, these steps were about cleaning out the internal junk that was creating static. It was scary step, and I have to admit it got worse before it got better. If you’re ever tried to change a tennis swing or a golf stroke, you know what I mean.
Dropping any our old habits can be disorienting and may feel like stumbling through the dark. But improvement is impossible without first letting of the old.
You have to first prune a rose bush before it can bloom, you know what I mean ;)
"The process of getting what you want is better than the getting of what you wanted.”- Anonymous
The world is full of 2 types of people: 1. Those that see opportunities and move swiftly to take advantage.
2. Those that see opportunities and sit around begging God for their lucky streak. If you’re tired of the ups, downs, lack of improvement or CONFUSED about what you need to do in order to move forward in your health or fitness talk to us or enjoy being # 2 ;)
Viktoriya and Oksana Gruzdyn are Nutritionists and Immunotherapy Researchers based in Detroit, MI. They specialize in helping people reverse autoimmune and other chronic illnesses by optimizing their immune function and cellular repair.