Friday, May 1, 2020

If only wine stopped pain and solved problems

It finally dawned on me today, how much I miss Singapore.
I read articles about grief, and then it hit me too.
I am going to have to stay here in Thailand for one more month. I'm not entirely unhappy about this necessary decision, yet I've not planned such a lengthy trip. I adjusted to the circumstances and I feel quite blessed to be stuck on a deserted island with no Coronavirus cases. Nevertheless, my heart has never been here.

I am not convinced that it's the city that I miss. I suspect that what I miss is all the conveniences that I (we all) had prior to the pandemic. In Singapore, I found a comfortable clean houseshare, felt secure, could sit down to eat at hawker's food courts, traveled daily to a gym where they knew me by name, had the perfect fitness routine, mustered some social life, and made a few amazing local friends. Perhaps it wouldn't have mattered where I was then, as long as it felt 'normal' and wholesome. It just happened that Singapore was the last destination I've visited before everything went downhill everywhere.

Undoubtedly, in that Lion city, I learned to trust my feelings and embrace my social anxiety. Right, even when I could socialize back then in January and February, I wouldn't.

I used to drink more than I needed when I let my social anxiety get the better of me… 
One night in the condo in Pandan Valley, I decided not to go to a party I was invited to and neither drink down my guilt and shame and whatnot with a glass of wine on my own.

I went to the communal swimming pool instead, just to stare at the sky and float… I understood then that something profound had shifted.

Just an hour before, I would not stop obsessing about a glass of red wine that I would get. I didn’t really want to drink alcohol but I craved a quick fix… What I wanted was to feel safe, at ease, reassured that I was good enough and everything was going to be fine… Honestly, I didn’t fancy the walk to the supermarket, the havoc in my blood sugar that even a small amount of wine gives me, the blurry eyes in the morning, fatigue, a headache, and in the worst case - undesirable bouts of panic attacks. That’s how sensitive my body became.

All I desired was to stop the train of thought, get my ass to the pool and chill…
All I needed was to float…

I believe that God has always had a protective hand around my shoulders…God/the universe/the divine/nature is what keeps me above water if I surrender. When I let go of controlling the situation by my own petty actions. 
Oh, God, you wanna help me? Sure, but I’ve got this, let me just have my wine anyway… 
My self-medicating never helped to create desirable results in the past and will never do.

On that night, I realized I was changing history.

As I was floating, I felt increasingly more relieved, weightless, and happier.
I knew I could have a drink if I wanted, but it felt gratifying to give in the temptation less and less often. It wasn't easy to admit I was addicted to sneakily escaping myself, yet I knew I had to stop running in circles. I trusted that my decision to stay sober was right and that I displayed immense courage that would help me face any emotions to come.

If only I knew back then... 
I probably did.

In the past weeks in Koh Phangan, despite the alcohol ban, I went back on the occasional wine. Maybe the forbidden fruit does taste better. But now the ban's lifted. 
In my opinion, wine is an unpredictable substance and it slows down my creativity.
It would not keep me a good company in my last lockdown month. Therefore, I am saying goodbye to alcohol for the whole month of May, plus it is my Vipassana meditation course 1 year anniversary. 

Let's welcome all feelings without craving or aversion!

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Please be kind and have some compassion for my non-native English grammar. Applications for voluntary editing are now open.