I was signed up for a 200-hour yoga teacher training starting in March 2016. It was early February. I knew my full-time job as a Special Education Teacher was already demanding, but I really wanted to participate in this training with this particular instructor. I had multiple reports coming up for my students along with some lengthy triennial testing. The workload was not going to keep me from following my heart. I knew I had to get everything in order because my yoga training was going to be every weekend for the next 12 weeks. Which encompassed lots of reading, writing, and of course going to multiple yoga classes each week. So, let's just say my social life was going to be non-existent for the next 3 months.
I knew I couldn't go to yoga teacher training hung-over or stinking of booze from the night before, I had to be on my A-game. Enrolling in teacher training was something I had put off for many years because of course, I would be pregnant at any moment (!!!), right?? I always told myself I'd do the training after we had our first baby. Well, I had enough of waiting and putting all my dreams and desires on hold for something I wasn't sure was going to happen or if, at all (more on that later.) I consulted with my ever-so supportive husband and he agreed it was time for me to embark on this yoga teacher training journey.
So, I decided to give up booze before teacher training. I was ready. I needed a change. At first, I thought it was going to be socially awkward when we went out. My husband drinking, all our friends drinking, and me not. After a few weeks of not drinking and feeling fantastic, (I even lost a few pounds, BONUS!) I realized this was a healthier way of living for me. Yoga training ended right before my 35th birthday and of course, I went out with my girlfriends to celebrate at an 80's club in Hollywood. Still, I chose not to drink. And I felt really good about this choice.
Here I am, a year and 8 months later and I'm still not drinking. What I've learned in this time is that not everyone drinks. When I started to pay attention when we went out, there were lots of people who were not drinking. I guess when you're out on a pub crawl and drunk, you're not really aware if other people are drinking. Even some of my friends were not drinking like they had before. I don't know if it's our age or the shift in priorities, but it was good. I also learned that I was drinking (binge drinking) for all the wrong reasons, but really, are there ever any good reasons to binge drink? I drank to forget. I drank to numb the pain I felt from our "unexplained infertility" diagnosis. I drank because of familial problems. I drank because my work was stressing me out. I drank because I did not have good coping mechanisms. I knew I needed to be careful with alcohol since my Dad was a functioning alcoholic and my Mom had substance abuse issues and mental illness.
Having a great therapist also helped me see that there was room for improvement in my life.
The most valuable thing I've learned since this "no-alcohol for me" journey began is that I'm a hell of a lot stronger than I thought I was. I never thought I'd give up booze. I thought it was just going to be a part of my life forever. I didn't think I had the strength to give it up. Once I set my mind to giving it up and being committed to it, I realized I can do ANYTHING! I know it sounds so cliché, but it's the truth. I wasn't happy with my career anymore and I wanted to quit my job, so I did. I left a career that I thought I'd be in until I retired. Quitting the school system was the best decision I made in 2017. I started my yoga business and I am now beginning to coach women in Health and Wellness, so they too can set goals and achieve them. There's something very empowering about making conscious decisions regarding your own life. I guess I always caved to peer-pressure or went with the flow. Embracing my life fully has made me more present and aware of what I am putting into and onto my body. Since giving up booze, I have also given up meat and dairy. Friendships with people who are not supportive about my new way of life have dropped off too. And I tend to not tolerate BS anymore as a by-product of not drinking. I just don't have time for nonsense and excuses. "Shit or get off the pot," as my Mom used to say.
Drink or don't drink. The choice is yours. For me, not drinking has given me a power that I didn't know existed inside of me. And that is something that no-one can take from me. So, in a way yoga teacher training was just the beginning of this health and wellness journey for me and I am so excited about where it's going to take my life.