Self-awareness is the best tool you can use when looking to overcome addiction. Mine was alcohol and here is my story.
In 2017, I experienced something life-altering, which goes around as the term, Dark Night of the Soul. One step away from depression, the growing restlessness in me raised a series of questions that made me re-evaluate my job, my purpose, my relationships and ME.
As I began to live a more conscious life, monitoring my thoughts and actions to fall in alignment with a higher vibration of living, it wasn’t really until May 2018, that I started building a point of view around alcohol. This is my story of how I transcended drinking alcohol through self-awareness.
Why Alcohol For An Addiction?
Alcohol to me was a means of loosening up and letting down my guard.
It all began when in December 2016, I decided to raise a toast to living in a new city, with new roommates and a new career. The effect after downing several shots was that even though I was still well-behaved and minding my own business, as us introverts tend to do, I was able to enjoy everything a lot more.
Growing up, I was always serious and quiet, shy and mature. Alcohol showed me what it felt like to act silly, to laugh louder and to dance freely without caring what the world thought of my unsynchronized moves.
I was fortunate to never have experienced a hangover. Maybe I was never drunk enough, but I did drink enough.
Why NOT Alcohol For An Addiction?
The first seed of reflection on alcohol consumption was planted, when I read Old Path White Clouds, by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Of the many things I took away from that wisdom-packed, 400-pager, the most influential was the Buddha's Five Precepts which asked lay disciples to follow these simple practices:
- Don’t lie
- Don’t steal
- Don’t consume meat
- Don’t consume alcohol
- Don’t engage in sexual misconduct (infidelity)
Simple enough, eh? I realized that if an Enlightened person emphasized just five key practices that can transform your life, and one of these practices says no to alcohol, then really, alcohol must have a bad influence on the journey to Self. Hmmm…
I cut back on cocktails and shots, but my after-work Friday night ritual still consisted of a box of Chinese food, a book to wind down to and a couple of breezers.
Months passed by. The seed that had been planted seemed like something the Universe conspired for, because I began seeing recurring signs and synchronicities around me.
One such sign was from Goddess Kali. She is considered to be the Divine Goddess that consumes of all of man's lusts - alcohol, meat, drugs, etc. and helps them live a more conscious life. That's why, these things are offered to her idol at the alter.
One day, while driving, a truck infront of me slammed its breaks and a message painted at its back was in my face, "leave alcohol and Kali will always be with you". In the same moment, where adrenaline was rushing and I was counting my blessings, I was also being given a lesson. You’d consider this a coincidence, but once you begin to experience these synchronicities first hand, you’re really shaken to be awakened!
2018 was also the time when I began enjoying Sadhguru’s teachings, the mystical guru behind Inner Engineering. I saw Sadhguru intoxicated with life, always dancing and joyous. I began to wonder, he has something that alcohol only gives us for a few hours, without the hangover! If that's possible, why can't I have it too? And thus, began my conviction to elate my body and mind, without the consumption of an external substance.
5 Tips On Raising Your Self-Awareness To Say No To Your Addiction, For Good
Here are the 5 things that worked for me and might help you too:
- Start asking yourself what role does your addiction play in your life.
- What is this addiction teaching you, that you are unable to learn for yourself?
Are you escaping an underlying emotion?
Does it let you be a different person from who you otherwise are?
Identify your true relationship with your addiction.
- Give yourself permission to be that person while you’re sober.
Sure, you might have a work-personality and a family-personality, but it’s time to redefine the party animal in you, without a catalyst. Start self-reflecting and overcoming the fear of being judged, not wanting to have certain conversations unless drunk/high and so forth.
- Leave behind the mentality that you have to hit rock bottom before you do something about it.
True self-care and self-love are about prevention, not cure. Even if there has been no damage on your health, relationship or career yet, don’t WAIT for things to turn south.
- Make consistent progress and forgive yourself when you don’t.
If you are recovering, cold turkey may or may not be for you, especially if you have the tendency to relapse, but that shouldn’t stop you from living a better quality of life.
To overcome the overwhelming feelings behind quitting something or someone you are addicted to, consider 'saying no' as a new decision you get to make every single time. Let each instance where you choose "no" means progress to you, and every time you say "yes", just another opportunity for you to do better next time. The feeling of submitting to your addiction becomes the cause for self-hate and can lead to more addictive behaviours! • Learn to say no, long before the question is asked.
While it isn’t always possible to avoid parties or events that serve alcohol, make it loud and clear to the people around you, that you will NOT be drinking, before the drinks arrive.
Even though I was never an alcoholic, no longer having a slowed down nervous system has improved my mental and physical health significantly.
And no, I'm not against drinking, infact, I was still open to the idea of drinking on my bachelorette trip (but we didn’t feel the need to when the time came).
But I've come to an inner knowing that doesn't require drinking to experience my Self. And that knowing has won over the temptation to drink.
My inner knowing isn’t special, you have it too, but the question is, are you tuning in? 🙂
Love and Light,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vasundhra is a spiritual and self-care writer based in Vancouver, Canada. She shares her thoughts across various channels through her blog 'My Spiritual Shenanigans' and Instagram and as herself in Quora. She aspires to make spirituality more practical and metaphysics more understandable.
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