What If Your Beliefs About Sobriety Were Wrong?

What If Your Beliefs About Sobriety Were Wrong?

Before I quit drinking, I had some very strong beliefs about sobriety. And I was convinced I was right about them. Such as:

“If I don’t drink, it won’t be fun.”
“I really need alcohol in order to relax.”
“No way can I dance without drinking first.”
“It is impossible to date sober.”

But here’s the thing. Every single one of my beliefs about sobriety turned out to be wrong.

(And not just a little bit wrong. Really, really wrong.)

Looking back, I think I could’ve quit drinking a lot sooner than I did, had I been a bit more open to the idea that what I believed to be true, may not be. 

When it comes to alcohol-free living, here’s why we get things so wrong:

 

We all have a confirmation bias

Our brains automatically scan for evidence that supports the thoughts we already believe to be true. So if you’re convinced that you need to drink in order to have fun with your friends, your brain will always be looking for (and remembering) evidence to prove that’s true. 

This means you might not even register the times when no one drank much, but you still had great fun. You won’t notice how little other people are drinking. And you’ll probably ‘forget’ those nights where you drank a lot and didn’t have fun at all. 

 

Why do we do this?

Our brains like to be efficient, and it takes energy to question and challenge your beliefs. We couldn’t possibly walk around questioning everything about our lives, all the time. Your brain likes to keep believing the thoughts you already believe, even when it’s unhelpful.

There’s a weird satisfaction in being ‘right’, even when it’s about something that’s negative, e.g. “I never stick at anything.” It takes more effort to challenge that belief than it does to just go along with it.

 

Changing your beliefs

The chances are you have some beliefs about sobriety and booze that feel completely and utterly true to you. I know this, because I’ve been there too. Unpicking those beliefs requires time, patience and a willingness to be wrong. 

Start by looking for evidence that your thoughts may not be 100% accurate. For example, if you believe that alcohol helps you have fun, what happens if you switch your focus and look for evidence that alcohol is stopping you from having a good time? I bet you already have some proof of this. 

 

Creating new evidence

As well as examining your past experiences, you’ll need to be willing to create new evidence in order to challenge some of your thoughts. If you’ve drunk alcohol at every party for the past decade, it might feel hard to believe you can have fun without booze. 

That’s ok. It doesn’t mean your suspicions are correct – it just means you’ve spent years practising the opposite belief and finding evidence to support that. You don’t yet have the proof you need to choose a different belief. 

 

Give yourself time

This is important: when you’re looking for new evidence, you’ve got to be patient. The first time I went to a party sober, it felt so awkward I didn’t enjoy it. However, the next time things were a little easier. By the third time, I surprised myself by actually enjoying it. 

It’s so tempting to try something once and then say “See! I told you it would be like this!” But creating new evidence always takes time. This is yet another reason for taking a proper break from booze – at least 6 to 8 weeks. If you’d like my help to do that, click here for details of my online course. 

 

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3 Things To Remember When You’re Finding Sobriety Hard

3 Things To Remember When You’re Finding Sobriety Hard

Very few people quit drinking overnight. Most of us spend a long time wondering whether it’s the right thing to do.

Even when we decide we are ready, there can be a lot to figure out, and things can feel hard.

I call this the ‘messy middle’. 

It’s that frustrating stage when you’re not where you want to be… but you’re not quite sure how to change. 

You’re in the thick of doubt, discomfort and uncertainty. 

If this sounds like you, please don’t give up.

Here are three things to remember when you’re finding sobriety hard: 

 

You’re doing something amazing right now

One of the reasons I love coaching women to quit drinking is because I get to spend time with incredible people, who are brave enough to rock the boat a little and decide they want something different.

I get to work with women who want to change, improve and grow. They’re willing to ask themselves the big questions and do what it takes to create lives they feel really good about. And guess what? I’ve got a feeling you’re one of those people too. 

If you’re reading this blog, then you’re already questioning whether alcohol really is everything it’s cracked up to be. It doesn’t matter where you are in that shift, or how much work there is left to do. The fact is, you’ve stepped into the arena. 

 

I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past

It’s rare for anyone to be an ‘overnight success’. When you think about the people you really look up to, who you admire and respect, what kind of history do they have? It’s rarely ever easy. There’s nearly always been some kind of struggle there. 

It’s the hard times that make us. When you’ve been through a few storms, you tend to be more aware of what really matters in life. You’re more accepting of yourself and others. The struggle you’ve been through always gets put to good use. 

 

Screwing up is ok. In fact, it’s kind of vital

When we’re learning how to walk, we don’t give up as soon as we fall over. When we’re learning to spell, we accept our mistakes because after all, we’re learning. If we fail our driving test, it doesn’t mean we’re any less of a person, does it? 

In most areas of life, we have a pretty healthy attitude towards mistakes. Yet with sobriety, we tend to come into it convinced there’s something wrong with us, so if we don’t ‘get it’ straight away, our sense of failure increases. 

Consider this. What if there was no way you were going to get sober without first making some monumental mistakes? Just to be clear – I’m not giving you permission to give up on your AF goals. But what I am saying is this: sobriety is rarely a smooth path from A to B. 

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas A. Edison

Screwing up is part of you figuring out what works and what doesn’t. It’s how you realise what you really need – whether that be community, accountability, extra support, advice, strategies… you don’t know what you need until you take action.

Don’t give up yet. The chances are, you’re on the verge of a massive breakthrough.

 

If you’d love some help and support to quit drinking, click here for details of my online course.

 

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Breaking Up With Booze: Why I’m So Glad We’re Over

Breaking Up With Booze: Why I’m So Glad We’re Over

Some people say that quitting drinking feels a bit like breaking up with someone, and I think they’re right. 

I was in a serious, long term relationship with alcohol for years. 

Even when I knew things were over, there were still times when I doubted myself and wondered if I was doing the right thing.  

That’s why we had a trial separation at first (my idea). 

And whilst we were on a break… I met my true love: sobriety!

We’ve been together for almost 7 years now 😉

Breaking up with booze was absolutely the right thing for me to do – here’s why:

 

Alcohol made me believe that I wasn’t enough

I was a shy teenager and the first time I met booze at a party, I thought I’d found the solution to all my problems. Suddenly, I had so much confidence! From then on, I tried to make sure that alcohol was always by my side.

I was convinced that I wasn’t enough on my own. I wasn’t funny enough, or sociable enough or entertaining enough. The more I relied on alcohol to get me through certain situations, the less I believed in myself.

 

There were too many lies

“You’re such a great dancer,” alcohol would say.
“You know, there’s no harm in a few more glasses…”
“Telling people what you really think of them is a great idea!”
“Everyone else is drinking this much.”
“Of course you can pass out on the sofa and still feel fine tomorrow…”

 

We were always arguing

“That’s it!” I’d yell. “Do not come back here tonight!” I’d swear that we were breaking up. Done. Finished. Over. And yet by 5pm, I’d be wondering if I’d overreacted. Alcohol would creep back in, knowing full well that nothing had changed. 

 

Our relationship affected my health

Here’s what I discovered: booze really didn’t like healthy food. Or working out. Or getting 8 hours sleep. Alcohol loved waking up at 4am, so we could spend the early hours of the morning staring at the ceiling, feeling bad. 

 

Alcohol was all flash and no substance

Booze was charming when we first met – so sophisticated and exciting. I thought we looked great together and so did my friends. When everyone around you is dazzled by booze, it’s hard to see the toxic, cancer-causing drug hiding in plain sight.

 

My new relationship is so much better

You know when Superman is Clark Kent, with his nerdy glasses and slightly awkward manner? Well… sobriety is a bit like that.

It doesn’t look very remarkable on the outside, but there are amazing superpowers hidden underneath. 

Breaking up with alcohol is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’m nearly 7 years down this road now and my only regret is not doing it sooner. 

AF living means I can consistently show up as the best and happiest version of me – no drama, anxiety or morning after regrets. What’s not to love about that?

 

❤️ If you’d like some help to break up with booze, click here for details of my online course. 

 

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The Beauty Benefits: Why Sobriety Makes You Look Great

The Beauty Benefits: Why Sobriety Makes You Look Great

I don’t want to trivialise sobriety, or the deep and meaningful reasons why many people choose to quit drinking. 

But can we talk about the beauty benefits of alcohol free living for a second?

If you (like me) are a little bit vain sometimes – and you do care about the way you look – then it’s important to talk about this.

Alcohol really affects your appearance… and not in a positive way. 

The good news? Sobriety is better than any expensive face cream or beauty treatment, and it works its magic pretty quickly. 

If you need some motivation to stick to your sober goals, let’s talk about the beauty benefits of sobriety…

 

The weight loss

A large glass of wine contains approximately 200 calories. That’s the same as eating a doughnut. Therefore a bottle of wine is the equivalent of three doughnuts. (I’d never eat three, would you?) 

When I was drinking, I could quite easily knock back an entire bottle of wine, plus a beer or two afterwards – that’s almost 1,000 calories. And I’m not even counting all the other junk food that I’d eat whilst drunk or feeling hungover. 

In the long term, an alcohol-free lifestyle is one of the best things you can do for your health and waistline – just check out these pictures of actress Lisa Riley

 

Your skin

Alcohol dehydrates the skin and reduces its elasticity. It also increases redness and can leave you looking puffy and bloated.

Dr Jairo Rodriguez, a New York-based nutritionist, told Vogue magazine, “Alcohol is one of the worst, most aggressive compounds in destroying your skin. I always joke with patients, ‘If you want to get older, go ahead and drink!’”

It’s no wonder celebrities like Jennifer Lopez don’t drink for this exact reason. Even Robson Green is said to have given up booze for vanity. 

 

Take a photo

How much would you pay for something that made you look younger, reduced puffiness and cleared dark circles? I think most people would hand over quite a bit of cash for that! 

When I coach women to stop drinking, one of the first things I ask them to do is take a photo. Six weeks later, they take another. Here’s some recent feedback:

“People have commented about how slim my face is but also how my skin is really good.”
“My eyes look clearer than when I was drinking. And I look less tired.”
“The rosacea on my cheeks is almost non-existent and my skin looks soooo much better and less dry.”
“People are saying my skin looks smoother and my eyes sparklier! I’ve also lost 10lbs.”

Don’t underestimate how much you might change – checkout this article for some impressive before and after pictures.

 

Double standards

I think it’s worth stopping to consider all the things you do in order to look good. Maybe you’re paying for a pricey gym membership, expensive makeup, anti ageing creams, nails, hair, clothes… it adds up.

We’re always trying to be the best versions of ourselves, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Just make sure you’re not overlooking the simple fix that’s staring you in the face: sobriety.

 

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

 

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9 Ways We Treat Alcohol Differently From Other Drugs

9 Ways We Treat Alcohol Differently From Other Drugs

Back in my drinking days, I always struggled to say no to a glass of wine. Yet I never had a problem turning down ‘proper’ drugs.

I grew up with the “just say no” advertising campaigns of the 80s and 90s. It was drummed into us that drugs were very, very bad. 

But alcohol? That was ok… right?

Most of us have been socially conditioned to treat alcohol differently. We’re trained to see all its benefits and very few of its flaws.

We’re told that alcohol is an essential part of a happy and fulfilled life (when that really isn’t the case).

 

9 Ways We Treat Alcohol Differently From Other Drugs

1. We rarely call alcohol a drug

If you ask someone to name a list of drugs off the top of their head, most people will leave alcohol off the list. In fact, we often refer to “alcohol and drugs” as if booze is something different.

Alcohol absolutely is a drug. I think the confusion occurs here because alcohol is legal – but that doesn’t mean it’s any less harmful. In 2018 this large global study found there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.

 

2. A problem with alcohol is seen as a personal weakness

There’s a mistaken – yet widespread belief – that alcohol is an addictive substance, but only for a small subset of the population (i.e. those weak willed losers who just cannot control themselves…) 

The idea that it should be possible to use a mind-altering drug with ease is crazy. It is entirely normal to become addicted to an addictive substance. I wrote more about this here.

 

3. People are labelled when they stop drinking

We don’t call ex smokers ‘nicotine-oholics’. We don’t tell former heroin users that they’re heroin-oholics. They’re just people who stopped using a highly addictive, dangerous substance.

When I was drinking and doing shots until the early hours – or necking wine at home, alone – no one asked if I was an alcoholic. Yet as soon as I decided that I didn’t want to do that any more, people started making concerned faces and mentioning the A word!

 

4. Alcohol is glamorised whilst other drugs are demonised

Compare the “just say no” anti-drug campaigns of the 80s with the cutesy, wine o’clock memes that are shared on Facebook. Or the glittery, prosecco-themed gifts you find in shops. The differences hardly need spelling out.

It’s no wonder so many of us fall into the alcohol trap – booze is so normalised. What if the media reported on alcohol with the same sense of drama they use for other drugs? This interesting article imagined just that. 

 

5. Alcohol is marketed as self care

Can you imagine being encouraged to have a cosy night in with a face mask and a huge pack of cigarettes? No?! Me neither. And yet we regularly see alcohol promoted as a form of self care; a way of relaxing and supposedly looking after yourself.

Real self care is about preserving or improving your health and well being. Alcohol – a cancer causing, mind-bending poison that makes you ill – simply cannot do that. But it suits the alcohol industry to promote this drug as a form of self care.

 

6. Wine and beer is sold next to bread and cheese

In the UK, it is illegal to display tobacco products. We keep them out of sight and sell them in packets with grotesque warnings on them. However alcohol – which causes 1 in 20 deaths worldwide – is on display for everyone to see.

My local supermarket nearly always has some kind of alcohol product stacked near the entrance, on special offer. The takeaway message seems to be that alcohol is a) completely normal and b) an essential item.

 

7. There’s a separate language for booze

We talk about getting ‘high’ on drugs but ‘drunk’ on alcohol… although if we can help it, we don’t even use the word drunk. Instead we say things like ‘tipsy’, ‘merry’ and ‘woozy’. 

Drug addicts need a ‘fix’ yet drinkers just need a ‘drink’. Drug users go into withdrawal, whereas drinkers are ‘hungover’. It’s all just another way of normalising alcohol and minimising the harms.

 

8. We try hard to pretend there are health benefits

Trying to claim that red wine is good for you is a bit like trying to say milk chocolate is healthy because it has calcium in it. We all know that if you really care about getting enough calcium, you’ll have a glass of milk instead!

According to UK government guidance, “there is no justification for drinking for health reasons.”

 

9. We have special days dedicated to alcohol

I have one of those calendars that tells you what all those weird, made-up, marketing days are. You know what I mean: World Cocktail Day, National Drink Wine Day, World Beer Day… I could go on.

As far as I can work out, the point of these days seems to be to give people a ‘reason’ to drink and post pictures of it on social media. Can you imagine any other drug having a special day named after it?!

 

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2019 In Review: Our Alcohol Free Highlights Of The Year

2019 In Review: Our Alcohol Free Highlights Of The Year

Thinking about taking a break from booze in the New Year?

If you’ve been wondering what an alcohol-free life is really like, today’s blog is for you.

A few days ago, I asked some of the women I’ve worked with if they had a picture of their favourite sober moment of 2019.

I was expecting to get a few photos, but the end result blew me away.

I received tons of inspiring pictures and the stories behind them were so cool, I had to share them with you. 

In fact, I got so many photos I couldn’t fit them into a regular blog post, so I made a little video instead.

No matter where you are on your sober journey, I hope you feel inspired by these amazing women and their sober highlights: 

What is YOUR sober highlight of the year?

If you’ve got a favourite alcohol-free moment that you’d like to share, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear about it!


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

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