This is a follow up to my blog Dry in the Desert. I was training YogaFit in Saudi Arabia, a dry country. Again the differences in a culture where alcohol is forbidden vs so many cultures where drinking is part of or central to socializing and “ fun “

And yes I went to the mosque while in KSA Kingdom of Saudi Arabia .. something happened to me on that trip and I am still digging to find out what that is … One thing that strikes me as most obvious is that in a greater commitment to be of service and lead a more authentic healthy life, I have stopped drinking - For how long?

I don’t know. Maybe it’s that time of year to get healthier I keep saying to myself as I notice so many positive things about abstaining from alcohol. At the same time on an almost daily basis question myself as to why I am doing this.

Two years ago exactly I did a 60-day sobriety stint to support a good friend who had gotten a DUI and was going to AA meetings, I went along with him on occasion and felt very ingenuous drinking and going to AA. He had to attend 25 meetings as part of his penalty, so I suggested we both go sober. I remember it being easy with the exception of a few charity events where the drinks were poured liberally and martini’s danced on trays passing by. I really enjoyed going to the meetings, it seems like many of the relationships I’ve had in my life have been with addicts. I also could relate to many things people shared although I don’t know what it’s like to throw away my health, career or livelihood for a substance, I do know what it’s like to be in an addictive relationship, in particular with those who have substance abuse issues.

A few years ago I did the Puruim cleanse and that involved no alcohol, sugar ( same thing ) meat or dairy for ten days- I was GLOWING after the cleanse was over.  So I’m still waiting for the physical benefits ( I am expecting a thinner waist, glowing skin and better sleep ) and I am still waiting. I have to say the most noticeable difference not drinking ( other than the massive sugar cravings - but that might be PMS ) is that I am able to see clearly about a few interpersonal situations where I was compelled to drink to be in the company of that person OR  a person was like a drug to me.  Basically, it’s shining a light on my less than healthy connections.  Here the process gets much more challenging.

As I am googling “  Does drinking make you more yourself? “ I am finding mixed results…

According to Bruce Bartholow, author of "Alcohol Effects on Performance Monitoring and Adjustment: Affect Modulation and Impairment of Evaluative Cognitive Control," alcohol doesn’t make you behave badly, it just makes you care less.

Bartholow, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Missouri College of Arts and Science, concluded that alcohol dulls the brain's “alarm signal" that warns you when you are making a mistake. These dulled warnings are what lead to the loss of self-control we often regret after one too many.

But wait there’s more :

According to the  UCSB Alcohol and Drug Program, you become moody when you drink. We all know what it’s like to have mood swings, and yet as we just learned, just because you’re under the influence doesn’t mean you don’t know that what you’re saying is out of line or just plain mean.

The vicious cycle of alcohol is the idea that we drink to forget, yet only think about it more once intoxicated.

According to Drug and Alcohol Information and Support, "alcohol may allow a person to express a long-held grievance or sorrow that is real and runs deep and sore and badly needs to be spoken about."

Sometimes the best way to explore any relationship - sugar, alcohol, fast food, or with a person is to abstain from it. You may find a healthier relationship with it down the line or perhaps you will want to abstain permanently.