Updated: Feb 21, 2019
We have gone sober since Christmas, and whilst alcohol has not played such a big part in my social life for a few years now, it’s been much harder for my husband, who holds a high-flying job in the city, where the common expectation is to work hard, and play harder.
Much as our reasons for doing this temporary sobriety (three months) are personal, right now it coincides with ‘Dry January’ nationwide. Which supplies a good excuse for hubby when he needs to wine and dine clients. Because, boy, have you ever tried to reject an alcoholic drink in public? The resistance from our community is mind-boggling.
We all have been conditioned to drink alcohol since childhood. You disagree? Think about it: Every joyful activity and positive life event is accompanied by “cracking open a bottle”. Not to mention when something bad happens, when “I need a drink” is the commonly accepted course of action. Men poor themselves a beer immediately when they come home from work, mums, wait until exactly 6pm (or 5:59) to exclaim it’s “wine-o-clock”. On holidays we joke it would be “rude not to” if someone suggests a little aperitif at noon, and the moment the sun comes out the whole nation sits outside with a pint of beer in front of them.
Children get “fake champagne” in a champagne glass to make Christmas feel even more special. Teenagers may be allowed an alco-pop drink at a family birthday party, which cleverly hides the real taste of alcohol and just provides that warm feeling of the first drink (and very quickly that somewhat cooler feeling of hugging a toilet bowl if another couple are secretly consumed).
Because yes, alcohol is a neurotoxin, with direct effects on nerve cells. We actually have to train to enjoy it, and when we are there, we seem to have forgotten how to have fun without.
My parents were very young and we literally grew up between pubs and a sports centre - there were no babysitters in those times, and all kids would come along to everything, being bored while dad trained his team, and then fall asleep on a bunch of coats under a table while the adults had a good time. It was work hard, play hard even then. I cannot remember a time when alcohol was not a pre-requisite of any celebration.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice glass of chilled white wine, I just don’t at the moment. I have learned that drinking outside social events is purely habit. To change a habit, we need to replace it with a new little ritual. Mine is to make myself a cup of freshly brewed herbal tea in the evening, but think what you might enjoy and have it in your home.
It’s not all about habit though. I used to be cripplingly shy, and two or three drinks got rid of my inhibitions and I was able to crack jokes and approach people I did not know and survive in a crowd. Now, 30 years later, I am not shy anymore, and it has come as a bit of a surprise to me that I can actually hold my own - I chat to anyone, and always have a good time. If I am in the mood that is, but if I am not in the mood, I now just leave (or don’t go in the first place). Aah, the wisdom of the aged… I really wish I knew that when I was in my 20ties, it would have prevented a good number of terrible nights, but that’s another story entirely.
When you give up something that was part of the social world as you understand it for so long, cutting out the common denominator is a real challenge. And this is where the oils come in for us. Here are my two go-to blends when the going gets tough:
Daytime Blend: Perception!
3 drops Lemon, 2 drops Black Pepper.
Lemon, the oil of focus supports our emotional body, restoring energy, focus and help to stick with a project by staying in the present with joy and confidence.
Black Pepper, the oil of unmasking addresses behaviours that have been instilled since childhood. It fuels motivation, high energy and hastens the healing process, helping us to honestly deal with suppressed feelings and compulsive addictive behaviours.
Evening Blend: Perseverance
2 drops each Ylang Ylang, Juniper and Frankincense.
Ylang Ylang, the oil of the inner child is a powerful remedy for the heart and counteracts perceived loss, allowing the body to heal when joy seems far away.
Juniper can help us to experience greater wholeness as we reconcile fears and other hidden aspects of ourselves. There is truly nothing to fear when one acknowledges and accepts all aspects of the self.
Frankincense, the oil of truth, shields body and soul from negative influences and helps us to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
As always, the emotional wisdom for each oil comes from Amanda Porter in 'Emotions and Essential Oils'. Using that wisdom to create blends that work for us by Yours Truly.