Last night I felt lonely. It was Saturday night and I was home alone. Usually I don’t feel this way but from time to time I do. There’s a stigma attached to loneliness, at least as I perceive it. Loneliness is seen as unpleasant, a dis-ease. Loneliness is seen as something that should be cured with activity and people, with connecting out in the world. But I am finding, through simple meditation, that sitting quietly with the emptiness is the thing that eases the dis-ease of loneliness and allows me to connect within.
The thought of going out and entering that nocturnal Saturday scene and the possibilities for connection, the possibility of finding love, feel like something faint and distant now. It’s something I did in the past. My friends all know I hardly ever drink now and don’t do nightlife so much anymore. I’ve become a real morning person, so they don’t contact me anymore to “go out”. Part of this is age, I’m 48, and I’m just not into that the way I was in another chapter of my life. But don’t get me wrong, if there’s a concert, or dinner party or celebration or something happening I will gladly accept, I’m not a bore.
I think that we often enter into a drinking situation unconcsiously. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff going on unconsciously that triggers and tricks us into finding ourselves with a glass or bottle in our hand. And going out, to fend off the dis-ease of lonliness on a Saturday night, is one of those triggers. Let me give you an example.
The other night I met my friend N. for a pizza here. He’s a good friend and lives part time here in Barcelona and part time in London where he is from. When he’s in town, we have this custom of meeting for a pizza and a talk. Anyway, the other night he had arrived first and was waiting with a beer. He asked me if I wanted one (he knows I don’t drink much and is very respectful and supportive of that). I almost said yes. I know I probably could have had a couple and been fine. I paused before anwering. Although I would have been fine, I know I would have felt worse physically. Fact is, alcohol disrupts sleep, causes muscle inflammation, does horrible things to our organs and depletes our bodies of vitamin b (the happy vitamin) among other things.
“Would my not having a beer make this time together less fun?” I asked him.
It sounds like a funny question, but it’s one of the things I tell myself when I choose not to drink. There seem to be many implied consequences if I don’t drink, at least I fear – this person won’t love me, I’ll be alone, left out, left behind, etc.
“No way! I don’t even know why I ordered this, I don’t even really want it, drinking is actually pretty awful. I was just here waiting and thought I’d order something.”
You see? There’s the unconcsious entry.
“I’ll have a water” I said.
We had a great time and a great talk as usual. No alcohol necessary!
So anyway, that was Friday night and last night, Saturday night, I was feeling lonely. When I am feeling lonely I am usually disconnected from myself. This is the time to do some self nurturing. There are many ways to do this, but one way I do it is through meditation. Sitting down and getting quiet and just listening to what’s going on inside, just focusing on the breath. Behind all the drama and the pain and the longing and the thinking there is peace, constant, eternal, holy. The real path to this is simple but it is not through drinking alcohol or taking drugs. So that’s what I did last night, after painting, before bed, I meditated for 15 minutes and felt great inner peace and calm afterwards.
Just say YES! To you. To your health, to yourself, and no to ingesting toxic liquids.
I will say yes to peace and health today, will you join me?
“Park Guell, Barcelona”, 2018, oil on linen, 80x73cm
Find more of Robert’s art work on his website Here
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us.
We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using