I never really enjoyed the taste of alcohol, any alcohol. However, when I reached the age of eighteen and had left school it seemed that everyone did drink alcohol so I went along with everyone else. When I was growing up there were no other drugs, only alcohol. Women were definitely frowned upon if they behaved in an inebriated fashion, but young men were forgiven for bad behaviour!
The second time was when, as a relatively young married woman, I went to a party. It was an extremely hot day and I was very thirsty, unfortunately, the only thing to drink was a daiquiri. The alcohol was so disguised that I had no idea what I was drinking until it came time to go home when I suddenly found my legs wouldn't do what I wanted them to. This time I was not ill but I had, in my inebriated state, invited a few people to dinner. I was quite incapable of getting dinner so my husband had to come to the rescue. Luckily he is a good cook and he thought the whole thing was quite funny, as he had never seen me in this condition before. Once again I vowed “never again”.
I would drink a glass of wine with a meal, and before I was diagnosed as a celiac I would drink a glass of beer on a hot day and if I went to a party, I would drink wine or champagne but never to excess. When my children were young I would make myself a rum and Coke before the evening rush of bathing and preparing the evening meal etc. Many young mothers did this I discovered. I thought I was quite a moderate drinker and surely not doing myself much harm.
My final drink came when I was in my seventies when we went to a party with our next-door neighbours. My host was one of those people who assiduously tops up one’s glass so that I totally lost sight of what I had consumed. When it came time to go home we realised that my husband was also unable to drive, even though it was not far along a country road. We thought the walk would probably do us good. The next day I did not feel well, not with a hangover per se, but rather as though I had poisoned myself. I felt quite ill and continued to feel ill for the next three days.
It was at this point that I said “never again” again, and since then I have not consumed one sip of alcohol. I feel so much better since I stopped drinking and it is really quite amazing. I suspect the constant low level of poison entering my system on a fairly regular basis was undermining my health. It is also a great relief to feel that one can always drive one's car without measuring or thinking about what one may have had to drink.
We have, of course, lost some friends along the way. It seems that us giving up alcohol embarrasses them in some weird way. It is as though we have changed totally in their eyes and become someone else, or could it be that in their hearts they know they should not drink either and, therefore, they feel guilty? Whatever it is, it doesn't make any difference to me or to my husband as we have chosen to not drink and we are really happy in our choice. My husband’s health has much improved. He suffered from quite bad sleep apnoea before and now has none, which is a great outcome, as he sleeps so much more soundly.
When I think about the drinking of alcohol more closely, I realise how abusive it was to my body.
We often say we live in such and such a place, or in this or that house, but in reality where we actually ‘live’ is in our own body and thus it really makes sense to be gentle and loving and caring with our own bodies.
The other thing about alcohol is it contributes greatly to domestic violence. One often hears an abused woman say that the abuser ‘became a different person’ when he had been drinking. I have observed this happen to people, although I have never been in a position of a victim of abuse. It seems as though alcohol and, of course, other drugs inhibit people's ability to remain themselves – they appear to become someone else!
Personally, I can recommend freedom from alcohol as one of my best decisions! I feel so much healthier, lighter and I never have that exhausted feeling that I used to feel after indulging in even a small amount of alcohol. Not drinking alcohol really is worth trying!
Rowena P., Australia