Is This Good Enough For Me To Stay As I Am?

Is This Good Enough For Me To Stay As I Am?

“I’m not sure if my drinking is bad enough for me to have to quit completely.’’

This is something I hear a lot and it’s a debate I had with myself for a long time. 

I wasn’t a rock bottom drinker, so did I really need to quit – or was I overreacting? 

It took me ages to realise that I was focusing on the wrong thing.

This week’s video is all about the question that every drinker should ask…

Key points:

Why we struggle with this

We’re conditioned to think that we should be able to exercise control over alcohol – a drug that makes us lose control. We’re told it’s just a small section of the population who can’t do this and there’s something wrong with them – it’s a personal failing, a weakness.

Consider for a moment how well that belief system serves the alcohol industry. They don’t want you to quit drinking. You don’t want to be labelled an alcoholic. So we tie ourselves up in knots trying to drink ‘normally’. (I talked more about ‘normal’ drinking here.)

 

A better question to ask

Rather than focusing on whether your drinking is bad enough ask this instead: Is my drinking good enough for me to stay as I am? When you weigh up the benefits against the negatives, is it worth it? Are you willing to keep putting up with the status quo?

 

Your ‘good enough’ standards

What do you consider ‘good enough’ in other areas of your life? If alcohol was a food stuff, a medicine or a relationship, would you be willing to put up with the downsides? Would the side effects be worth it, or do you expect better?

Remember: we deserve good things. We deserve a good quality of life. We deserve to take care of ourselves. None of us need to be anywhere near rock bottom before we decide to stop hurting ourselves and start making different choices. 

 

If you decide alcohol isn’t good enough…

Your next steps are more straightforward than you think. Take a break from drinking and give yourself time to test drive – and fully experience – a new way of living. Treat it like a project and go all in. 

(Next week I’ll be sharing some special videos on exactly how to take a break from booze, so keep an eye out for that.)

 

If you’d like some help and support to quit drinking – and create an alcohol-free life you love – click here for details of my online course.

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“Why Can’t I Be A Normal Drinker Like Everyone Else?”

“Why Can’t I Be A Normal Drinker Like Everyone Else?”

Before I quit drinking, I spent a lot of time wishing I was a normal drinker.

I was annoyed that I didn’t seem to have more willpower or self discipline. 

(If beating yourself up was a sport, I’d have been in the Olympics.)

If you can relate, this video is for you.

It’s all about ‘normal’ drinking and seeing things from a more useful perspective…

Key points

What exactly is a normal drinker?

Is it someone who stops after one or two drinks? What about celebrations – a hangover is meant to be a sign of a good night, right? Is a normal drinker someone who doesn’t drink every day, or doesn’t drink alone? Who made up these rules?!

 

Consider this

Perhaps there’s never been anything ‘normal’ about using an addictive drug that causes your brain function to slow down. Alcohol can lead to nausea, vomiting, lethargy, headaches, tremors, heart palpitations, seizures and even death

 

Appearances can be deceiving

Here’s what I’ve noticed about many of the women who join my stop drinking course, Getting Unstuck: their lives tend to look great on the outside. They can often just have one or two drinks in public. Their friends may have no idea what goes on once they’re back home.

 

Be kind to yourself

It is intensely painful to think of yourself as weak, broken and abnormal. You can’t shame yourself into quitting – in fact, it’s very hard to make change happen from that negative place. Getting addicted to an addictive drug like alcohol is not a personal failing.

 

Shift your focus

Let go of the normal drinker obsession and start thinking about your relationship with alcohol as a puzzle. It’s just a pattern of behaviour that served you at one point and now it doesn’t. That’s it. You’re figuring out how to solve this – and that’s something to celebrate.

 

If you’d like some help and support to quit drinking – and create an alcohol-free life you love – click here for details of my online course.

 

Download your free Wine O'Clock Survival Guide!

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Why Wine Doesn’t Really Fix Your Anxiety

Why Wine Doesn’t Really Fix Your Anxiety

It can feel as if wine is the only thing that will fix your anxiety…

Especially when you’re overwhelmed, frustrated and stressed out. 

You know a glass of wine (or three) will take the edge off. 

You want to drink less… but alcohol helps you fix your anxiety and get a break from your own brain.

If this sounds like you, then you’re not alone.

Let’s talk about what’s really going on… and introduce a new way of thinking about this.

Key points

Alcohol makes anxiety worse

Studies have shown that long-term drinking can increase our susceptibility to anxiety problems. So the big picture isn’t good, but even in the short term, most of us have experienced hangxiety – i.e. increased anxiety the morning after drinking.

 

Get the 24 hour picture

Don’t judge alcohol on how you feel when you’re drinking. You’ve got to consider your mood for 24 hours following a drink. When you wake up, sleep-deprived and feeling bad, you start the day with high anxiety, making you more likely to crave a drink later. 

 

Smiley stickers

Would you ever put a sticker on your car dashboard to cover up a warning light? Doing this might give you some temporary relief but eventually, your car would break down. Wine is that sticker. It’s not fixing anything – it’s just helping you ignore the warning lights. 

 

How to really fix your anxiety

Sobriety is not about learning how to just resist wine whilst keeping everything else exactly the same. Successful sobriety requires you to address the real issues behind your drinking. 

Perhaps you have too much on your plate and not enough support. Maybe you’re not great at asking for help or you’re worried what people think. Focus on finding real solutions. This work takes a little time, but it’s worth it.

 

If you’d like some help and support to quit drinking – and create an alcohol-free life you love – click here for details of my online course.

 

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“It’s Just What I Had To Do” – Hiding Your Drinking

“It’s Just What I Had To Do” – Hiding Your Drinking

This week’s blog is about a sensitive subject: hiding your drinking.

It often starts as something so small you hardly think about it.

You pour some extra wine into your glass and gulp it down before anyone sees. 

Perhaps you have a few glasses on your own first, because you want to make sure you get ‘enough’.

But when your other half comes home, it’s easier to pretend you haven’t opened a bottle yet. 

Today’s video is about the things that just become ‘normal’… when they’re actually anything but:

Key points:

Hiding your drinking

This stuff can be subtle at first, because obviously there’s no law against you drinking alone, or having a few glasses before everyone else arrives. You’re perfectly entitled to do that, of course.

Yet when you find yourself opening a new bottle as if it’s your first, hiding the empties or topping up your drink and hoping no one else notices… that’s stuff to pay attention to. 

 

Things you ‘just have to do’

You should be able to enjoy a concert, meal, event or a few days away without drinking. When you feel horrified at the thought – and go to extreme lengths to ensure alcohol is available – that’s something to take note of.

 

Why this matters

Hiding your drinking, or lying about it, shows a disconnect between your behaviour and your values. It’s a red flag. I’m highlighting it here because over time, hiding your drinking can become something you don’t even register. 

 

What to do next

I recommend taking a complete break from drinking for at least 6 weeks – but ideally longer. That way you get to test drive sobriety and see what it’s all about. You can always go back to drinking at the end of your break (but you might not want to!)

A break is better than stopping from Monday to Thursday each week (I explain why here) or trying to cut down (more on that here). Moderation rarely works out in the long term – it sets you up for failure. 

 

For help and support to quit drinking, click here for details of my online course.

 

Download your free Wine O'Clock Survival Guide!

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Are You A Health-Conscious Heavy Drinker?

Are You A Health-Conscious Heavy Drinker?

I’ve always been pretty health-conscious.

Before I got sober, I’d try my best not to think about the health risks of being a heavy drinker.

I ignored reports about the dangers of alcohol. 

And I liked to think my wine was just mashed up grapes…

By day, I was a health conscious runner who drank green smoothies and shunned processed foods.

By night, I was a boozer who pretended my wine habit was no big deal.

This week’s video is all about our health, our values… and hand sanitiser!

Key points:

Hand sanitiser

Is it just me that finds it weird, to think of gin distilleries making hand sanitiser? It’s pretty crazy that we have normalised drinking alcohol – something we also rely on for killing bacteria and viruses. 

Our blindspot around booze

Perhaps you run, workout and watch your weight. You religiously check food labels, shun processed foods and buy organic. Why are so many of us health conscious, and yet we know so little about alcohol?

 

No justification for drinking for health reasons

The UK government guidance on this is here. The old myth about drinking for heart health has been busted. If you care about your heart, there are plenty of other ways to look after it.

 

Bring your values into alignment

Rather than viewing sobriety as giving something up, why not see it as upgrading your lifestyle – bringing your values and priorities into alignment? You’re taking care of yourself and sometimes that means making hard choices.

 

For help and support to quit drinking, click here for details of my online course.

 

Stay sober tonight - listen to my free pep talk!

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“I’m Bored… And Drinking Gives Me Something To Do.”

“I’m Bored… And Drinking Gives Me Something To Do.”

Recently I spotted an interesting comment on my blog about feeling bored.

It said: “I’m finding it difficult to quit, because I’m so used to having a glass in my hand in the evening. It feels like it gives me something to do. I’m bored in the evening. Has anyone else experienced this?”

Boredom is a surprisingly common trigger in early sobriety.

Whilst many people love the extra time that sobriety frees up, others feel a bit lost without alcohol to fall back on in the evening. 

Today’s blog isn’t some patronising list of ideas for things you can do in the evening when you’re sober…

Instead I want to talk about what’s really going on for us when we’re bored – and what the real fear is…

Key points:

Feeling bored isn’t actually a bad thing

As humans, we’re meant to experience the full spectrum of positive and negative emotions – that’s how we’re designed. There can be a bit of stigma around boredom, but it can also fuel so much creativity.

 

Sobriety itself isn’t boring

Let’s get one thing straight: alcohol isn’t magic joy juice. Drinking until you pass out on the sofa at home, alone, isn’t fun or interesting. It just makes you numb enough not to care that you’re bored or unhappy.

 

You may need to make other changes

Most people drink in order to fill a void of some sort, e.g. an unhappy relationship, an unfulfilling job, loneliness or feeling bored with your daily routine. If you take alcohol away, but do nothing to change those other factors, you’re probably going to feel it. 

 

What really scares us?

When we feel bored, we notice our own thoughts. If those thoughts are very negative, then hanging out in your own brain isn’t going to be a great experience. This is where the real work of sobriety is – facing up to your own mind.

 

Choose your discomfort

What would you prefer: the discomfort that comes with drinking and all the negative side effects? Or the discomfort of stepping out of your comfort zone and making changes in your life? 

Alcohol free living is not as simple as just taking the alcohol away. It’s about creating a life you don’t want to escape or numb out from.

 

If you’d like some help and support to quit drinking – and create an alcohol-free life you love – click here for details of my online course.

 

Download your free Wine O'Clock Survival Guide!

(It’ll help keep you on track tonight)

As well as the guide, we’ll also send you helpful and inspiring weekly emails with free resources, tips & advice, plus details of our awesome products and services. We’ll take care of your data in accordance with our privacy policy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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