Drinking out of Boredom… and then dropping out of drinking…
I was once stuck in this pattern… Working full time in an office and teaching a minimum of 7 Yoga classes a week on top of that. Plus trying to look after my house and maintain a social life . As well as a lot of exercise, struggling to get out of debt and to keep studying what I wanted to study, driving lessons, trying to see my friends, trying to get away whenever I could. Camping. Barely a day to myself, barely a day to do nothing or reflect. And I’d been seeing someone who really didn’t do me much good.
More often than not when I got home after a long day of administration followed up by teaching it would be after 10pm and I would have to be up by 6am the next day. I would have a million things going through my head and generally the first thought was “Pour the wine”. I would snuggle up in bed with a glass of wine and the laptop. The wine would give my stress a warm ethanol hug as my thoughts would start to slow down. The rush of happy hormones would flood in as that first drink or two does boost your serotonin somewhat.
Alcohol’s like fairy dust. It can transform the man you have nothing in common with into a Sex God in the manner of Hugh Jackman. It can turn your filthy house into an artfully dishevelled Bohemian Paradise. It can transform personality disorders into ‘Passion’ and it can turn unhealthy obsessions and vile behaviour into ‘Love’.
Who wouldn’t want a bit of that?
Because the truth is we are often overwhelmed. We often find ourselves in our lives in these situations which we are unhappy with and no real idea how we got there. To a large extent we are dictated to by our subconscious. When we have manifested whatever it is we think we deserve. It then becomes our job, indeed our life path, to somehow make sense of it all, come into understanding of ourselves, fully accept ourselves, and our burdens, and then sort it out.
Because drinking is easy. It is easier to have a drink than it is to acknowledge how overwhelmed you feel. It is easier to have a drink than it is to cry because you feel so GODDAMN LONELY. It is easier to drink than it is to chase new work opportunities that may not go anywhere. It is easier to drink than it is to tell the partner you have built a life with that this just isn’t working anymore. It is easier to drink than to say No to your kids. It is easier to drink than it is to sit with the hurt and disappointment of the people you love. It is easier to drink than it is to admit you really really hate your job and the only thing you have in common with your workmates is a sense of frustration. And wine. It is easier to drink than it is to mourn your dead. It is easier to drink than it is to hate the person the people around you all expect you to be. It is easier to drink than it is to get creative and sit through writers block and wondering where the Hell your inspiration is.
So alcohol creates energy of its own. It’s an enabler that means you don’t have to change. It’s like a feeder than doesn’t care if you end up crippled. Like one of those masks someone wears in the Matrix or the twilight zone, it takes you into another life in your head, a life where you get to be the winner and the hero, to be the person you truly want to be on some alcoholically astral level whereas in fact nothing is achieved and nothing ever changes on a tangible level,
In my opinion we transform our subconscious sense of powerlessness into a sense of boredom which then manifests itself into a very deep desire to let go of the present. And buying that bottle of wine will make damn sure you no longer have to suffer the present moment.
Anyhow what does this have to do with a Yoga website?
As a Yoga teacher this is hugely relevant to the practice of Yoga. The Yoga Sutras start with ‘Atha’. Which means now. The practice of Yoga starts now. NOW. Where you are. Exactly as you are. Not when you are richer. Not when you are thinner. Not when you have moved house or graduated. Not when you have met the right man. Not when you are a published author. And definitely not when you are free of pain because that’ll never happen as long as you are a citizen of the world. It starts right here, right now. Your journey into Union starts now. Letting go of the walls you have built around yourself and the separation from God, from Ultimate Reality, from true joy or whatever you want to call it, that you have somehow created from the time of your birth starts now. Letting go of the walls that other people and circumstances have helped you to create starts now.
And so we are not really bored at all. We are stuck is all. So what to do?
I believe that we need passion to heal ourselves of addiction. I read recently that looking at what you enjoyed doing as a child is a clue as to what you should be doing to fulfil yourself as an adult. I enjoyed writing stories and being outside. I know that when I write now I feel in flow and I don’t want to drink. I know that when I am out in nature I feel soothed and present. And I don’t make any money from writing but that’s not the point of it. It’s my flow and my way. If you find your passion and then follow it at whatever cost this is key. This is crucial.
Yoga is not a stretch class you see. It’s a survival guide for all humanity and it starts in the present. It scrapes away all that you need to free yourself of. Not for reasons of morality or purity but quite simply to empower you. To liberate you from fear, hatred, envy and addiction. And to find joy in the present.
And then just as children do not need a shot of vodka to express whatever is within them nor do we. The opposite of boredom is connection. The opposite of boredom is listening to the voice of your heart and your soul.
However it’s not easy. Its really not. You will have to let people down. You may piss them off. You will probably need to find new tribe. You will have to be a rebel. You will have to NOT give in to emotional blackmail or the taunts of people so disconnected with their own selves they can’t tolerate it in other people. Actually sobriety is a Warriors path. And whether or not you have the bravery to go through life and all its pain without anaesthetic depends on you.
And so when I let go of drinking I had to deal with all these feelings of boredom, aka “I hate my present”. I found some new friends, I connected deeper with some old friends and had to let go of some toxic connections too. Drinking buddies slipped away. I stopped working all the hours God sent. I now diarise rest time as if it’s an event. It is actually. Being present in rest is pretty sacred. Meditation is as important as a run or Ashtanga Yoga asana practice ever was. And I am no longer so exhausted. I no longer feel so lonely because I love my witchy ways and the sacred space of my house and my cats and only the people I truly love and respect get any claim at all to my energy. There’s no drama, just dealing with whatever comes up. And asking for help when I need it. There is no craving.
And when you start to think about quitting alcohol… When you get that message I believe that is your soul telling you it is time. Time to find your passion. Time to step into your power. Time to become the adventurer of your own existence.
And that is not boring.