Why I Declined New Year’s Eve Plans
When I was young, my grandparents drilled fear in to me about doing drugs, drinking alcohol and smoking.
My grandma used to say, “If you smoke and drink at the same time, you will die.” I took that very literally and never did any of it.
Besides, control was much more of a drug of choice for me.
In looking back at my family through the lens of the Twelve Step work I have done, I learned that my great-grandfather was an alcoholic and this was her way of ensuring the next generation wouldn’t get involved in that.
My grandma’s plan worked.
Drug culture for me started the summer before seventh grade, at an art and performance camp I attended. I had one real friend and together, we would avert all the kids doing drugs between classes.
Mostly they would smoke pot. One time an older boy offered me pills and my mouth went dry. I can still see his hand outstretched with his offering. I was so scared and I declined.
I never wanted to try the drugs. I was never curious. And I was always scared.
Another time, my friend and I found a bag of pills and flushed them down the toilet. I can still picture the blue pills swirling down with the water.
I never felt like I fit in.
In middle school, my best friend smoked a lot of pot with her friends. For some reason, I hung out with them all the time, even though I never smoked.
They never felt like my friends.
I would follow them into the woods or hang out in someone’s house when their parents weren’t home while they smoked. I watched them roll joints and make apple bongs. They always offered me a hit, and I always declined.
I felt left out and frozen inside — like I didn’t know exactly what to do with myself and my strong conviction of not wanting to do drugs.
When I look back on my middle school years and those “friends” I hung out with, I can feel the deep desire I had to belong to a group of friends and be part of something.
I was very confident in my yes and no, and I am pretty impressed with myself for saying no every single time they offered me a hit. I don’t know how I did that — I had a very strong spirit and desire to be sober.
It’s true about me now, too. When I am clear on what I want or don’t want, I manifest easily.
What I also notice about that younger version of me was the lack of action to leave and find new friends.
I knew drugs weren’t right for me, but I stayed in that awkward misaligned situation. I didn’t look for friends who were in alignment with me — friends who were sober. This was a pattern that stuck with me for many years to come.
Fast forward to New Year’s Eve, 2019, about 40 years later.
I had two wonderful choices to bring in 2020 and I was truly stuck in what to do. I knew I had to pick one but couldn’t get clear on my true desire — a sexy dinner date or an evening with women with ritual and intention. Arrrgh!
So I did what I always do when I desire clarity — reach for my practices and tools. I did some writing, practiced yoga, and meditated. I created a space for my body to feel a clear yes or no in either direction. Uncertainty can be a bitch.
I was leaning towards the dinner date when a group chat began with my women friends. I peeked in and the chat felt juicy and I loved the idea of intention, ritual and play. Oh my, what to do?
But when someone mentioned doing hits of acid, I felt a slow closing tightness in my chest.
It surprised me and that was that. The decision was made clear to me.
I want to be sober. I want to be with sober people. I find that life in its fullness and truth brings enough sensation that drugs are not needed.
I am sending a lot of love to my middle school self who knew what she wanted but couldn’t take action to create a healthier environment for herself. She showed me how to be clear and confident, how to stick to my yes and no always.
A big thank you to my grandma, who did the best she knew to end the line of alcohol use in the family line.
Today, almost 40 years after those summer camp drug experiences, I choose sobriety again. I carry the same clarity of my yes and no as I did back then, with the added joy of intention and alignment within myself.
You can find links to my other work on Medium and follow me here. Thanks for reading!