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❚ dream ❚ addiction ❚ diaries ⚑ Santa Cruz, CA

love-hate relationship with alcohol

I had a love-hate relationship with alcohol 90% of my adult life. I was raised in Leningrad, which almost unmistakably places a young person into a drinking culture, very early so too. I probably started when I was 16. During the next 10 years I gradually transitioned from cheap beer and liquor at volume to expensive wines and single-malt scotch, this I merely gave myself other justification to continue with the nasty habit - I started to drink because “all the cool kids” did, also maybe to get it over with the day when it’s already dark outside. Then, I drank because I had enough money to pay for a $50-100 bottle of “Cabernet Franc” or “Lagavulin,” ostentatious consumption.

The next transition happened in the last 10 years when I circled nutrition protocols, first Paleo, then LCHF, keto, and fasting, where there was no place for alcohol, or for at least high-carb brews and distills. While I experimented with LCHF and Paleo, it was still a norm to get a glass or two of red wine with very low residual sugar. Yet, in my fasting and keto practice, a single glass of wine could not merely kick me out of ketosis but make me seriously drunk.

I was giving up drinking for anywhere between a week to three months at a time in the past five years, always due to a specific reason. Once I had to do it to observe my anti-histamine protocol, another time - I’ve been healing from trauma. All and all, I picked up and restrained myself from consuming alcohol so many times, I lost a sense of being of any specific judgment about it. I knew I could stop surely and keep up with sobriety for months, and I also have very few tangible reasons to do that. In fact, with my today’s nutrition-exercise protocol, I can see myself thriving on hard kombucha and organic red. So technically I can drink, but every time I pick up a bottle at the groceries, I feel bad about it, so why is that?

It is as if I had some subconscious knowledge that I shouldn’t, an intrinsic understanding that the problem is significant, and all the endorsements are coming from the place of defensive argumentation. Alcohol is a distraction, a pollutant for my mind. I lived long enough to remember and isolate the periods of life when I drank hard, and when I was sober. I’m able to reconnect with the way I felt at either. I can introduce myself to the persona “D” and persona “S” as they were strangers, and ask myself with whom do I want to spend the rest of my life with. I could also account for good and bad decisions at the same periods and potency of my creative/destructive output.

I don’t think I have to spell it out. However, just for the sake of a thoroughgoing journaling snapshot. I can recollect that most of the mistakes in my life were made during the periods when I abused alcohol: most of the embodied stress and misery, poor life choices, such as my marriage. The shallow work was also pursued at the same moment. On the contrary, the healing, the deep work, being on the bottom of things, study, significant transformations, etc. - all happened when the alcohol was restricted or moderated. I didn’t notice it before because I always had a different explanation, for example - I didn’t drink for a month before an Ayahuasca or a meditation retreat. Or I didn’t drink because of extended fasting, and after the fast, I carried on for weeks or a month. I was intuitively connecting my feeling of bliss with the main course - a shamanic ritual, a meditation, a body purification, etc. But maybe it’s simpler than that?

I am big on dreamwork and used to journal my dreams every morning. As of today, I keep track of the REM cycles and try to recall some of the dreams or give a score to the overall dream experience. I pay attention to the length and a scale of the dream-world I created at night, also if I recycle my daytime problems, or source the ideas from the Self. Only when I’m sober before going to bed, do I produce a restful night sleep with most breath-taking and mystical dreams, that has no apparent correlation to my earthy problems, that outflow into the daybreak and help me feel uplifted, inspired, and grounded when I wake, help me to create.