Drinking alcohol affords a person a temporary escape route from life, a means of adjournment from a humdrum day-to-day existence. When I drank, I never looked further than about 7pm, when I knew the wine would be brought out of the fridge and my routine departure from the real world could begin.
For many people, faith provides a very real comfort from the harsh truths of our existence, and more specifically, our certain mortality.
I am neither religious nor a drinker, and it has become clear to me that here lies a real challenge in life. There is no escape route, no security blanket, no gentle dissipation of the absolute fact that I will, one day, die. And, worse still, that the time I spend on the planet will essentially amount to nothing – the Universe will one day cease to exist, and everything in it will be reduced to nothing more than a black space in time, forever more.
Is this why many people drink? Is this why I drank – because the truth is too unbearable to contemplate? I have pondered these questions over and over again since I quit drinking four years ago, desperately seeking a sense of purpose and a meaning to life that would result in alcohol, religion or any other cushioning from reality not being required, or even contemplated.
Occasionally when I look at myself in the mirror I am reminded of how old I am, how fast time is ticking away, how close I am to reaching the beginning of nothingness. At other times I think I still look young, I feel young. I’m glad I stopped drinking and smoking, and that my lifestyle choices are now reflected in my outlook on life and in my appearance. Sometimes I desperately want to wind the clock back, have another chance – do it all differently. I wish I had known myself at twenty like I know myself now. I’m often bothered by a desire to understand the purpose of it all, the meaning of life, and sometimes crushed by a sneaking suspicion that there isn’t one.
The things that I thought were important in my youth are not important at all anymore. The only constants for me are music, and love. Love seems to me to be the thing that matters the most because it allows us to leave a lasting, meaningful impression on the earth after we have departed it forever.
We can affect other people, bring them happiness, care for them, make them feel worthwhile, nurture them, help them understand that they are not alone. We can change a person’s existence for the better, even if it is only while they are here, alive, caught in the present. The experience of living is heightened when we are loved, and in love. And yet, being selfless and loving is often difficult to achieve – we are, as human beings, prone to self-serving behaviour. It is our survival strategy, to take care of number one. Striking the balance is not always easy.
I have discovered that loving other people – and I mean truly loving them – is far easier when alcohol is not in my life. I am able to think rationally, empathise and make sacrifices whereas when I regularly drank, I was selfish, thoughtless and impetuous. I engaged in knee-jerk reactionary behaviour and was entirely unable to contemplate the outcome of my actions before setting forth down a particular path.
I’m different now, emotionally more mature. This is a very worthwhile and valuable outcome of sobriety. Finding the inner reserves to love other people fully has allowed me to attach proper meaning to my life, and in times of darkness I am assured that there is a purpose, and there is a point. For me, love is the point. Love is what we are all about. It’s the only real meaning of life that I can find.
8 thoughts on “Love Is All You Need”
“Love seems to me to be the thing that matters the most because it allows us to leave a lasting, meaningful impression on the earth after we have departed it forever.” Thank you for this statement
Hello, I remember searching and feeling very much like you– what is the point of existence. I was wondering what has influenced you to close the door to believing there is a creator God? if you would ever like to dialogue more about this or for me to send you my YouTube testimony, I’d be happy to listen… And share – no agenda. I believe in God. Not as some cushion from the realities of the world, but because I have seen His work in my life that is beyond explanation. I have a peace that this world and any created substance cannot give….another thing I am completely confident of–God loves you.
Thanks for writing this. I am also nonreligious and I can see how religion would help a person in recovery by filling a void, answering questions, etc. I have thrown little pity parties for myself in my head over not having something like that. I am so very afraid of death, the concept, the occurrence of it, my own and others’, the whole thing. I’m sure it permeates more of my behaviors and thoughts than I realize. Your words have helped me see how earthly qualities of ourselves and our lives are quite enough thanks to give us meaning and hope.
I have thought about religion a lot since I stopped drinking alcohol. I have read lots of things and thought to myself ‘Well, I already thought that anyway!’. I realised why I was considering religion. I was seeking forgiveness. Forgiveness for all the hurt that I had caused, forgiveness for the damage I’d done to myself. Forgiveness for being addicted to alcohol. The only person that can forgive me is me! I have addressed my addiction and am now 74 days sober. Because of me and no-one else. I agree wholeheartedly that love is the most important thing and to love and be loved is what keeps us strong. Those who don’t love us for whatever reason certainly don’t deserve us at our best. We may have made mistakes, but we are better now and have come through one of the hardest things. Only those that matter are still with us, loving us and caring about us. And likewise we love them and care for them. And that, indeed, is the lasting legacy 🙂 x
Thank you for another thought-provoking, beautifully expressed post.
I stopped drinking a few weeks ago and have found a sense of peace and calm that I didn’t think was possible.
I’ve also found the strength to eliminate the toxic people from my life, so I’m feeling optimistic about the future. I’ve realized that the discomfort I felt mixing with mean-spirited people was part of the reason for my drinking.
I agree with your ideas about the importance of love and how the love we have shown people in our lives becomes our legacy.
I was brought up Catholic, and was terrified of dying because of the threat of ‘burning in Hell’ which seemed to be the way the Church kept its followers in line. I have recently rejected any sort of organized religion, and therefore no longer fear death, but embrace life with much more enthusiasm now that I’m no longer fearful.
This is so beautiful. Thank you!
Reblogged this on Enjoy Your Food.
Alcohol is a certain escape path I like to take. I like myself when I am drunk and I hate myself the next day. Today is my day # 1, and not the most difficult day # 1 due to hangover. But I am dreading the week ahead… Because I do not want to take that escape path anymore. It is quite exhausting, poisonous and truly unproductive.