As it’s Halloween tomorrow, now seems like a good time to talk about ‘treats’.
So often we say things like:
“I’m going to have a glass of wine tonight because it’s a treat.”
“Let’s get a bottle… I know it’s unhealthy, but it’s a special treat isn’t it…”
“Go on – one won’t hurt. Treat yourself, you’ve been good all week!”
But is alcohol really a special ‘treat’?
Somewhere along the way we realised – correctly – that alcohol was harming us. But instead of deciding we would raise our standards and not invite it into our lives, we opted to make it a ‘treat’ instead.
And what happens then?
By telling ourselves that alcohol is a treat, we are tricking ourselves. We’re glorifying this cheap, toxic poison. We’re putting it up on a pedestal and making it ‘special’.
If you want to stop drinking – and actually feel good about it – you have to break up with the idea that alcohol is special.
Here’s how to do it.
Be aware of the story you’re telling yourself
What we think, we become – the beliefs and stories we repeat internally tend to play out externally. I know that on the face of it, the idea of ‘being good during the week’ and ‘having a treat on Friday night’ sounds like a balanced and healthy approach…
However, as soon as alcohol becomes a treat you’re saving yourself for, looking forward to, or planning ahead in advance, you are – whether you realise it or not – making it ‘special’. You’re training your mind to look forward to consuming this low quality, mind-altering, cancer-causing, toxic poison.
Reframe, reframe, reframe
You have the power to retrain your mind and rewrite your stories. Stop saying that you’re ‘treating yourself’ to a glass of wine – be clear that you’re treating yourself to a hangover, a night of disturbed sleep and a day of feeling like crap.
Rather than telling yourself that you ‘deserve’ a drink, ask whether you deserve to feel lousy tomorrow. Do you deserve to drink more than you intend to, pass out on the sofa or wake up feeling tired and dehydrated? Is that the special treat you deserve?
Put your energy into seeing alcohol for what it really is. Don’t romanticise or glamorise it. Don’t make it special – make it feel distinctly un-special.
For the women I coach inside my Getting Unstuck course, the biggest triumph is not “I’ve managed to resist wine all weekend!” but rather, “there’s an open bottle of wine at home and I didn’t even WANT a glass.” That’s what happens when you get clear on what is a treat and what isn’t.
Upgrade your treats
You should never feel guilty about treating yourself because it’s an important part of self-care. But now is the time to redefine your treats. Raise your standards and choose treats that genuinely make you feel good.
So what could you do? You could treat yourself to a new book, a long bath, or date night at your favourite restaurant. Maybe a treat for you is 30 mins watching TV, or reading a magazine and just letting yourself do very little.
Perhaps you’d love a day out with your family, a spa treatment, or an afternoon doing your favourite hobby. Maybe you’d like to treat yourself to a proper lunch break (rather than eating at your desk!) or a mid-week trip to the cinema, or that exercise class you’re interested in.
Make a list of what really feels like a treat for you. Focus on things you know will take care of you and make you feel great afterwards. Plan something now, schedule it and then do it!
Have a happy, hangover-free Halloween! x
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