Listen to the whisper


April 22, 2023

In the summer of 1998, I heard the whisper.

To celebrate moving into my very first studio apartment in San Francisco, I decided to buy a chilled bottle of white wine to crown the moment.

Recognizing that I was alone, I quickly brushed it off and as if in slow motion, popped the cork and started pouring. I took a long pause and thought nothing of it for a moment – then out of nowhere, I heard a voice inside my head whisper “What are you doing?” it was almost impossible to hear, but its presence was undeniable.

Having had a history of issues with alcohol in my family, I was acutely aware that celebrating alone was maybe not the best choice at the time. I’ve had many turning points in my life, moments that hit me with certainty that something significant was about to happen or someone of importance had just entered the picture but this was without a doubt, a clear premonition that I will never forget. 

This marked the beginning of my slow and steady courtship with alcohol that would lead me down a subtle path of self-destruction and eventually take me to my limit.

That little whisper would become my constant companion for the next 8 years as I struggled to gain control of a problem that had control over me. I would hear it with greater and greater frequency until it eventually became impossible to ignore.

Every morning, as I stared into the bathroom mirror becoming less and less familiar with the face that was looking back at me. I would hear “this has got to stop”.

Out with friends, carefully pacing myself, wishing I was back home where I could properly unwind and drink in privacy without any limits. I would hear “this has got to stop”. At every turn, it continued to get louder and louder and with greater conviction.

After several years and many failed attempts, I finally found my footing and accepted the reality that I needed to get sober. When I think back on the moment I decided I’d had enough, there was no clap of thunder or sign from above that I needed to stop. It was just a relentless and persistent voice that kept taking me by the shoulders and begging me to pay attention.

Until I finally did. That was 11 years ago. Since then I have done whatever I can to make up for lost time and live my life to its fullest.

Listen to that faint little whisper whenever it shows up in your life.

Pay attention.

It just may be the voice that saves your sanity and sets you on a course of greater joy and fulfillment.

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