I was reminded of the starting intention of this blog due to a dream last night. It’s fair to say that I haven’t been explicitly thinking about removing alcohol from my life – I mean, I haven’t been thinking about it as a conscious choice too much recently. It’s possibly a side-effect of being pregnant; the choice is taken out of my hands, which is convenient in one way – I don’t have to make a conscious decision about it. But on the other hand I’ve not been working out that muscle, and all the old default modes of thinking are maybe starting to creep in a bit.
In my dream I was drinking. Not just having a glass of wine, or enjoying some company and Christmas cheer or anything like that. I was drinking heavily. Vodka, I think. Drinking to get drunk. And I got drunk. And it was horrible. I was horrible. I woke up to go to the bathroom (one of my many many nightly trips) and felt a bit shaken by the whole experience.
You see, I’ve been considering resuming drinking some alcohol in the future. I suppose this could also be a side effect of being pregnant; I feel a bit resentful about “not being allowed” certain things in my life. Also, the old lies are calling to me; the ones about relaxation and de-stressing and “being an adult” and “enjoying my life” and all those throw-away quips and clichés. I feel denied and sanctioned. Of course, right at the moment I’m not allowed any of the stuff that makes me feel better in my life: no sugar, no coffee, no running. So maybe it’s no wonder that all forbidden things become like a future promise to myself; get through 9 more weeks and the Kingdom of Heaven shall be open to you.
So maybe my brain is trying to do me a little favour by reminding me of why I stopped and how false the promises are, how I don’t like to be drunk or hungover – well, actually I do quite like to be drunk, at the time, but then I pretty much will feel disgusted with the self I’d been when I come back to sobriety.
I suppose the conclusion I’m mostly drawing here is the same old “hard work” one that I tend to come to over and over again as I write here: I need to make conscious choices about my life. Solid, inflexible rules will only ever serve me in the short term, and when they break, they’ll break hard and splintery and cause as much harm as they’ve potentially saved me from while they were in place.
And that’s it, really. Just because I’ve a structure imposed upon me at the moment, it’s not going to save me from having to be a conscious adult in the world.
Speaking of the Kingdom of Heaven (no, really, I was a few paragraphs up there), I had an interesting conversation with the twins on the walk to school this morning. Prompted by twin1 asking why Christians believe in Jesus and believe in Heaven and all that stuff. I answered that it was a pretty attractive prospect (paraphrasing really) and discussed some of the other beliefs out there about what happens after death. Then I asked them what they believe. Twin2: “I think you stay in the ground or get burned and nothing else.”
I found it surprising how shocked I was by his existentialism. I had an instinct to talk him out of it and into something more comforting. I was surprised by how uncomfortable it felt to have a five-year old have such a finalistic view of death; how much we expect them to believe in angels and heaven and a cutesy fluffy view of life and death. I mean, twin1 was all “I believe I’ll turn into an angel”, and that – for all of its inherent falsehood – felt like a more reasonable response.
We discussed reincarnation and blending of consciousness and lots of other possibilities. Twin2 said “I wish I can come back as a kitten or something, but I still think I’ll just stay in the ground.”
I felt both proud and horrified. I mean, I as a 41 year old adult still shy away from the harsh reality of death, but here was this little creature so capable and willing to look it straight in the eye and accept it for what it might well be.
Of course, the same child at bedtime last night claimed that he wanted to drink a magic potion that meant he would never grow up and never die.
Me too, small boy, me too.