Yup, flat as a pancake, this shiny "wine-bottle cheeseboard" is just the right size for dirty spoons, spatulas, and turners that muck up the kitchen countertop on those rare occasions when I cook. Proceeds went to to the local arts center and the Wild at Heart Raptor Rescue Center, the message is perfect for me, and our house sits on Sleepy Owl Way.
Meant to be.
Several milestones have appeared along the winding path to leaving alcohol behind completely and forever—a desire that is now tattooed on my left wrist.
My massage therapist asked about the "new artwork" and said, "It's sanskrit, right?" I had chosen this artistic rendering of AFAF by my tattoo artist for that very reason, so her response was pitch perfect. Indeed, it's the symbol for inner freedom—or my version of how that might go with sanskrit-ish squiggles that stand for "as free as fuck." Other translations into modern English might go down as...
Alcohol Free, Absolutely Free
Alcohol Free, Addiction Free
Addiction Free, Absolute Freedom
Alcohol Free as Fuck
Addiction Free as Fuck
After all, we're talking about a dialect that originated in the 2nd millennium BCE so we need some wiggle room. (Was the F-bomb even around way back then? Totally.)
So in skipping along this path to absolute freedom, which will eventually eliminate obvious and hidden sugars and caffeine and God knows what else might pop up on the wack-a-mole board in the future, I had lapsed into the weeds. Not weed, that's another item to add to the first list. Just THE WEEDS.
The pit covered with leafy branches that was continually tripping me up were those moments of temptation at a restaurant with hubby or friends. The one where everyone is enjoying $2 mimosas with brunch, the "ladies who lunch" are placing their vino orders, the friend who invited me to "the best happy hour ever"—or Bill is ordering a double Jack Daniels neat and asking, "Prosecco for you?" THOSE moments, which as we know, happen so very often in our socially drinking-centric culture.
And you might be thinking about now, "Isn't going 100 percent teetotaler a tad bit extreme? What's wrong with an occasional drink?" Nothing. Well, other than ethanol being rocket fuel and a proven poison and neurotoxin in the human body, which places it in the same category as lead, manganese glutamate, nitric oxide, botulinum toxin, tetanus toxin, and tetrodotoxin. There is that. And certainly moderation is a key concept here. After all, sniffing glue would probably have few if any negative consequences if we only took a whiff once in a blue moon.
Unfortunately, I'm not a good moderator. In fact I'm just the opposite. For my entire life, going too far, overindulging, overdoing, and pretty much "over" any word that follows it have been among my hallmarks. I used to say "I only glimpse the middle of the road as the pendulum swings from one extreme to another." Buddha must have thrown his hands high in the air and walked away a long time ago mumbling, "I'm moving on, this one is never going to make it." Age has helped—a little. But getting older and even gaining wisdom isn't the same as growing up.
The good news is that I'm not alone on this path, no matter how many times I stumble. Someone is just ahead of me or following close behind. We're a close-knit little group and we know to the bone that giving up is the only way we can fail at this balls-to-the-wall, no-excuses, no-compromises alcohol-free life.
That's why the sassy wisdom of Holly Whitaker and her Hip Sobriety approach was so attractive. I can hear and relate to the calling for self-love, extreme self-care, gentleness, forgiveness, healthy boundaries, new doors of insight and spiritual disciplines and self-discovery and healing on every level. This is an inside-out journey into wholeness.
The words "recovery" or "recovery movement" make sense to me, but only at the beginning when we're still struggling or making herky-jerky progress away from something that grabbed us by the short hairs and dug in. Whatever that thing was. Whatever it might be that we're drinking or smoking or eating or doing that is standing in the way of our best life. Eventually we take everything gained in the work of recovery and cross the River Jordan into the Promised Land of Uncovery. That magical place where we can be fully present and free in mind, body and soul to continue exploring and "uncovering" all the deep mysteries and precious jewels and shining stars and bright fires hidden within us.
That's why my favorite t-shirt from the HOME podcast will always be the rainbow design and the words: We are the luckiest.