This essay, “The Problem That Comes After Your Drinking Problem,” is worth reading. I relate to this writer’s experience and her idea that we might each have to cut our own key to break out of the alcohol trap. In her case, as mine, the issue is not that the drinking was that much compared to the rest of society. The issue is that alcohol addicts. Any amount that, through no fault of mine, leads me further and further away from the life I want to be living is too much for me.
I find the idea of leaving the herd empowering.
I have always been independent minded and a person who enjoys thinking critically about social norms that many others accept at face value. I am not afraid of being different. I prefer not to conform. Thinking of quitting alcohol as choosing to living outside the herd really works for me.
Basically, I am comfortable being outside the herd, as long as I am being true to myself. That was true when I was a little kid walking home from school alone with my nose in a book, instead in a pack of other kids. Even when I was drinking I would not say I was happily part of a herd. That’s never what I was looking for in alcohol, exactly. I was most often looking to be taken out of myself or to feel myself, intensified. I wanted to shake myself up like a snow globe. I wanted to feel even more wild and free, for a moment.
But I can say for sure that when I came to rely on drinking more and more as part of a normal day, and not as a splash of special sauce, I was not being true to myself. I was fitting myself with a crutch that my spirit never actually needed. The crutch was crippling me.
Alcohol, on the other hand, was behaving totally true to its type as a highly addictive substance that invites progressive use. Alcohol was leaching my inner strength from me, making me sluggish and less adventurous, much less willing to strike out in the pathless woods.
I am so happy to be running free from the herd again, listening for my own heartbeat and feeling the wind in my hair.
Check out this song by Birds of Chicago . . . Remember Wild Horses
Remember wild horses running
Oh! With the morning in their eyes
Ears pinned back on free land
Under free blue skies . . .