Isn’t this a glorious picture of me taking a shot?
It’s the way a lot of us would like to end a long work week. Or even a long day.
I wanted to talk about my relationship with substance and the shame I’ve felt around that since December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.
With the holiday season comes lots of parties, and occasions where substance is present and it’s important to be responsible and know when you can’t drive.
I’ve been seeing how normalized alcohol consumption is in the entrepreneurial world… it’s at every call… every mastermind retreat… every event… every virtual meeting… and so much more.
I want to preface this with, I don’t think there is anything wrong with consuming alcohol!!! But as someone who has witnessed many, many, of my loved ones deal with alcoholism OR even just having one bad interaction because of alcohol— it makes me uncomfortable how normalized consumption has become not only in entrepreneurship, but in general life too.
I have seen how alcohol can ruin people's lives, ruin their relationships, and at it's worst killing themselves or others. Alcohol is one of the most dangerous legal substances (in my opinion). Like truthfully, it not only harms the person consuming but it can harm those who had nothing to do with it. Innocent people.
I feel a lot of shame saying that I don’t want to have a drink when I’m out with friends, I’m young, I should WANT to drink. But a lot of the time, I don't.
And my shame often gets in the way and I fall victim to the pressure and drink anyways because I feel like that's what I am supposed to do.
I don't want to go to the bars and get drunk, I don't like showing up to events and having the FIRST thing people ask me is if I want a drink.
I believe in moderation in everything and I also believe in safety. People who want to drink and are SAFE, don't bother me at all! And I truly do enjoy having an alcoholic beverage every once in a while.
I just don't believe that alcohol is the only way to partake in celebration or to unwind. I think that there is so much more that can be done and I am trying to listen and sit with my shame and come up with ways that feel good for me that don't involve alcohol.
My shame around this subject has led me to be silent about it for a really long time. Especially because it is so normalized and it seems EVERYONE partakes in this.
"Why aren't you drinking?
I feel like you're judging me because I am drinking and you aren't.
Why don't you like drinking?
I think you're making too big of a deal about this. It's just alcohol."
I have witnessed my family drink from as long as I can remember. And I have definitely witnessed some drunken events that I shouldn't have had to.
Grown men fighting (like let me punch you in the face and throw a beer can at your head fighting) and me being the only one to break it up.
I have witnessed a parental figure be so drunk that they could not get up. They couldn't speak. And when they could the only things they had to say were really, really mean.
I have watched adult figures in my life SERIOUSLY injure themselves from being too intoxicated.
For me it's not JUST alcohol, it's something that has seriously impacted my life in ways that I will never be able to completely undo.
And I really struggle with how normalized consuming alcohol has become in our society, and specifically entrepreneurship. I shudder when I think about it sometimes because how am I supposed to navigate this world and feel comfortable without consuming?
It has definitely been a work in progress, and I have been able to combat some of the feelings and learn that I am worthy no matter what I do.
The idea that I am worthy no matter what I do has really helped me come to terms with how I want to consume substance in my life.
My substance of choice is weed. If I want to unwind after a long day, I would rather take a dab or smoke a blunt. Growing up in Colorado, weed became legalized when I was about 14 or 15. I grew up with cousins that smoked. Family that smoked. But a lot of the opinions I was surrounded with still consisted of…
"Weed is the devil's lettuce.
People who smoke weed are lazy and stupid.
No one wants to hire a pothead to work for them.
Weed makes you dumber.
If you smoke weed, you're a bad person."
So when I started smoking in high school/college, I felt so much shame for partaking in a substance, that truthfully helped me a lot.
It helped my anxiety, it helped me sleep (I had been dealing with TERRIBLE insomnia and night terrors for years), and it generally helped me relax so I could function on a better level and be a nicer and more like myself. (Which is something I hadn't been in a long time).
Is weed bad for you? Yeah probably.
Is it worse for you than alcohol? I don't think so.
Does smoking weed make me a bad person? A bad business owner? FUCK NO.
I believe the same things about weed as I do alcohol. Moderation and safety are key.
But I don't want to buy into this narrative that smoking weed makes me LESS than somehow, when everyone and their mom consume alcohol without batting an eye.
I run my business with the highest level of respect for myself and my clients, regardless of what I am doing in my spare time.
I am here to normalize two things.
1. That consuming alcohol doesn't have to be the norm.
2. Smoking weed doesn't make you a bad person, and you shouldn't hide if that is a part of who you are.