Solitude and Alcohol

Solitude spent well is time growing oneself. Sometimes that can be reading, writing, or even just sitting in silence contemplating a problem. Drinking does not allow us to do any of these things successfully. Drinking separates us from the desire to grow. Alcohol is a depressant that clouds our minds and our judgment. Sure, we socialize around alcohol, but what is being said in those conversations? Do you even remember?

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” -Blaise Pascal

Solitude has given me a chance to re-discover myself during quarantine. Typically, I would’ve been at the bar 3–4 nights a week and not doing much else but recovering or drinking at home the other nights. That to me is dead time — time that is wasted and not worth remembering. For the first time in my life, I have built a journaling practice. This is something I will take with me for years to come. I use journaling to record my thoughts negative and positive, primarily about alcohol and what has occurred the previous day. I also use it to record workouts to keep myself accountable.

I have re-devoted myself to books. It used to be that I never made consistent time for books. Drinking became the default. Work is winding down — time to crack a beer. Oh, there is a game on tonight (that I don’t care about) — let’s go to the bar. Date night — let’s get margaritas or wine. It’s incredible how easy this is to do. Books take effort — a lot more than escaping into a bottle. That effort used on books that I care about and want to study, is far more beneficial and enjoyable once you get into it. The insights you take from a book, do not occur at the bar. They occur when you challenge yourself mentally by reading Shakespeare or a psychology book or a stoic philosophy book.

Lastly, I was never into taking care of my yard and landscape at any point in my life prior to this. I did it only occasionally when I absolutely had to. Honestly, I was usually just too tired and hungover to care much about it. But now I look outside and see a beautiful yard with lush green plants and pretty flowers. This may seem ridiculous. Like, why do I care about seeing flowers? It’s about surrounding yourself with beauty every day. Living with beauty makes you appreciate it more. It also makes it less likely that you will tolerate average and filth. Yard work also provides good time to think about whatever is on your mind. And you get to spend that time outside.

We often look at solitude as boredom. You know what, it is, but boredom is important in our lives. Boredom is what helps us grow. What are you getting out of watching Game of Thrones the third time? Or checking Facebook for the eighth time today. That is time you could be using to contemplate life. Or starting that blog. Or reading all the Hemingway novels you’ve always wanted to tackle. Or writing out a life plan of things you want to achieve. This is alive time. This is time that accrues interest in our lives and compounds the more often we do it. Solitude is something we should all schedule into our days. It should be the first thing we schedule. Cherish boredom, don’t deny it.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” -Anne Lamott

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Jamison Dove

Jamison Dove

I write about how we can effectively combat alcohol. You can find my blog at jamison.blog