I have had many #soulshifts throughout my life. Some have been major, some small, some instantaneous while others a little slow starting, where I knew something was changing inside of me but took some time to catch up to that internal stirring.
That was my most recent #soulshift. When I decided to stop drinking alcohol. Or rather, when I started owning what alcohol was representing in my life. When I did that, something clicked in me and I just knew I was done, more importantly, that it was done with me. That was the true #soulshift...not the action of no longer “drinking”.
I knew deep down that drinking alcohol was a hindrance to living my best #soulself and was stopping me from moving forward..…..which, if I am being really honest, is what I was afraid of.
The truth is… I was never a big drinker. In fact, I prided myself on living a pretty healthy lifestyle. I loved any and all things based on wellness, nutrition, veganism and fitness.
Then it all changed.
My brother Joseph suddenly passed away, January 8th, 2011, two days after his birthday. My world stopped. He was my other half. I was grief stricken, heartbroken and in utter pain. I didn’t care about my life, my health, in fact, felt guilty for it. Even as I type this, it hurts.
My body would literally ache, my heart physically hurt and the anxiety at times felt uncontrollable. That’s just scratching the surface. At the time, I refused to go on antidepressants to deal with the pain (as suggested by my therapist). I wanted to be “holistic”. So, consuming wine felt justified and actually did help me, sort of. Alcohol was like a security blanket, comfort, even medicinal...until it wasn’t anymore. Then it just became habitual. A crutch really. I drank wine at all times of the day really, definitely at night. Most often, I would come home after work, immediately pour a glass of wine, which then became two, then three, well...the next thing I know the whole bottle. On occasion, I would switch it up to gin and tonic!
I would fall asleep, or cry myself asleep, feel terrible, not productive and the cycle would start again the next day. Many times, I felt like shit. Thought I looked like shit. I can’t tell you how many times I would say, ok, I am done, I am going to stop drinking, work out every day, and eat cleaner. I am going to “get back to me”....but there was no going back, I wasn’t the same and not even sure of who I was or where I was going. I was scared of the thought of myself in a future without my brother. It ached, and still does truthfully.
I did try to “stop”. I even committed at one point to not having any alcohol in my house….but then I would just end up walking up the street to my favorite restaurants who knew me by name, just as they knew my drink of choice, pinot grigio!! It all seems innocent, I wasn’t hurting anyone nor was I partying or doing anything “wrong”. Yet, something wasn’t right.
Something had to give. I was going against myself. I was adding to my pain, certainly not relieving it.
I finally got to a place where I wanted to allow myself to feel good again. To align my mind, heart, body and spirit with only things that allowed for my best self to show up in life, with everyone in my life, even in grief and that meant all that goes in and and all that goes out.
I now call it my #SOULbriety.
For clarity, I am not talking about how we as a society typically identify “sobriety” or “going sober” which often implies an addiction or alcohol abuse, and not to undermine those that work through that, just not the case for me. I believe living a #SOULber life is really cleaning up anything that isn’t serving you for your highest good, whatever that is. For me, it became “alcohol”, but what I really needed to release was my relationship with alcohol as it was associated with heartache, grief and sadness that was no longer serving me as it once did.
It took me a long time to make this shift...or #soulshift. It was August 2016, we finally decided to go through my brother’s storage unit to donate some of his things...a task I was dreading but knew had to be done. Something told me, even a few months prior, when that was done, that alcohol would no longer have a place in my life. I remember the peace I felt even at the thought and I was right. I haven’t drank since!
I was shocked by how much space in my heart and time I had to fill, but I did. Soon after, I followed my #soul’s calling to many stirrings that were left dormant.
I went to school to become a certified Transformational Life Coach where I now help others through their own grief and transitions, I co-founded #SOULSHIFT, and now serve as a group leader for a grief support group at Our House Grief Support Center. I even started singing again, my true passion that Joseph and I did together (which also stopped after my brother passed). Just recently, I did a tribute show in honor of him by singing his songs and plan to do more!
Although, I let go of alcohol, it certainly did not stop the grief, or lessen my sadness...not even close. I think of my brother every single day and the loss hurts deeply. It did however, open me up to being more present in it, by embracing the aches and pain, facing my grief even as I began to take steps ahead.
I will share much more on my #soul’s journey through my grief and more in depth of my #soulbriety in other blogs, but as I #soulshift into my new life’s work, one thing I know, is there is no going back….only forward. If I do ever introduce alcohol in my life again, it will be from a place of celebration, honor and salute.
So on that note… here is to living my BEST life, or Destiny and celebrating all I am and yet to be, and in doing so, I trust with all my heart… my brother is with me every step of the way!
Cheers to that or “Eyes Eyes, Toast Toast” …(as my brother would say)!