It’s been over six months since I quit drinking and cleaned up my diet.
Living really clean has been a strange experience. On the one hand I feel a lot more solid, a lot more present and a lot more me than I have for a long time. Physically and emotionally, I feel like I’m seventeen again.
On the other hand, I’ve been feeling a lot more cut off from the people around me. I won’t share their drink and I can’t share their food. I’ve become an outsider and, for once, that’s not the way I wanted it to be.
The question of how to handle Heathenism without drinking has also been bothering me for a while. 90% of my experience with Heathen group ritual has always involved massive binge drinking. It shouldn’t really be an issue, as I’m mostly what you’d call a solitary practitioner anyway, but I really miss toasting the gods (and a glass of milk just doesn’t seem to have quite the same zing).
This gets even more complicated when you consider the fact that, for a long time, I’d been getting signals that “the gods” wanted me to quit drinking. Alcohol had definitely ceased being useful as a social lubricant and instead become a threat to my work, my health and my family.
Staying clean is undeniably the right thing for me to do. My new ascetic path has, in some ways, brought me a feeling of being much closer to the gods (Odin in particular). Unfortunately, it has also left me confused as to how to properly express that closeness.
Perhaps now I finally have an answer.
In the past I’ve always “shared” a drink with the gods. Perhaps now I have a chance to really sacrifice. I’ve given up drinking (a sacrifice of self to self) but of course the gods have not. What greater sacrifice could there be than to offer them that which I crave without ever taking so much as a drop?
This idea requires exploration.