I wanted to share my personal experience in achieving my goal to reduce my drinking and prevent me from sabotaging my weight management goal and the actions I took to get there.
I think it is important to note that I am not perfect, and that is OK. My husband jokingly calls me the Dali Lama, but I sometimes get it wrong, and that is OK. I am a human, and humans are not perfect all the time. One of the biggest things I have learned along the way is to show myself compassion when I get it wrong. I offer you this gift. Why is it a gift? Because the judgment of yourself can lead to shame. Shame does not help you take great actions; compassion does.
Binge Drinking On Weekends Culture
I want to share that I am from a culture where it was quite ‘normal’ to experience binge drinking on weekends. It generally started as soon as you were legally allowed and get drunk. I am not saying everyone did this, but this was my belief and experience. It was often called a binge drinking culture.
What I didn’t realize is why else I drank. This realization came after I committed to reducing my drinking. I thought that drinking made me fun, that people liked me more, and it felt better to drink than to feel I was not good enough. I was escaping the feelings of inferiority, insecurity, or what I like to call not-enoughness. But there was a cost and when I became aware of this I decided to stop over drinking.
The Costs to the Weight Loss Journey
- Being oblivious to what I was escaping from, so I had no plan to fix the cause of my over-drinking – I just continued to numb it and stay unconscious to the problem. Which often allowed me to escape it temporarily but compounded the negative emotions the next day. Not drinking during the day meant using food to feel better.
- Eating stodgy food to soak up the alcohol or sugary food to feel better the next day.
- Feeling foggy-headed and often nauseous the next day. This was a waste of my day and gave me more of a reason to judge myself, lending nicely more evidence to support my old belief of ‘I am not enough’.
- Sometimes showing up in a way that I was not proud of. Slurring or stumbling or saying inappropriate things – alcohol took away my filter! I was not as compassionate, and my listening skills disappeared.
- Feeling physically anxious, very thirsty, having a red face (some of it was because I have a skin condition called rosacea!), dry skin, and bloodshot eyes.
- And later in life, when I had drunk more than I should have, I was not attentive to my children the next day. My goal was to survive the day and fall into bed in the evening. Alcohol dulled the negative feelings I was trying to escape, but it also dulled the good feelings. I missed opportunities to experience joy at my children’s sports matches or love when they do little quirky things normally endearing. All because I had a foggy head and was so caught up in my mind with ‘I wish I hadn’t have done that, ‘Why did I do that?’ ‘I feel so bad, ‘why can’t I sort this out and all the other judgy thoughts.
The other part of the judgment was that I had a good life; I should feel fulfilled. What was wrong with me? Why did I not feel like the luckiest girl? I felt selfish for not being content in my life.
The Change to Stop Overdrinking
So, when did the change to stop overdrinking happen? It all changed when I wanted things to be different for my weekends. I was ready to let go of the belief that alcohol made me fun and that alcohol was an important part of my week. I stepped into the belief that I deserved to have a life where I didn’t need to escape, and I was good enough just the way that I was. I practiced the belief that ‘Whatever happens, I can handle it’. I wanted to commit to waking up in the morning feeling alert and make the most of the day with my family. I wanted to stop thinking that alcohol was fun and I was boring.
I was willing to make changes so that my life and purpose were more fulfilling. I didn’t need to dull or escape negative feelings because that is part of being a human being. Having a human experience means feeling a full range of emotions. With these underlying truths and new intentions, I was ready to cut back alcohol.
The Process to Stop Overdrinking
The process I followed didn’t happen overnight. It was an increase in awareness, creating a deliberate mindset and planning over time. I feel fully in control of my drinking and plan to have 2 drinks on Fridays and 2 drinks on Saturday. Sometimes I decide not to have any at all. Sometimes, for special occasions, I will make an exception. These exceptions are always planned ahead of time and not on a whim. But these are few and far between.
I choose to honor myself by following my plan and love enjoying my weekends. I notice I am creating more fun in my life. You can too. Here are some of the steps I used to get back in control of my alcohol intake and up-level my life.
The Steps to Stop Overdrinking:
- Commit to reducing alcohol.
- Be clear on your compelling reason to stop over drinking. I wanted to make the most of my weekends, enjoy my children more and be an example of what is possible. I also wanted to prove to myself that I am capable to cut back alcohol.
- Become aware of the thoughts you have around alcohol. What is the reason or the thought that gives you the urge to drink?
- Get conscious when you drink. When I was paying attention to what I drank, I enjoyed the first 4 sips of wine, and after that, I was not too fond of the taste. I just kept going because of the way I thought it would make me feel. This realization was enlightening.
- Reduce the desire for alcohol – be willing to feel uncomfortable and have urges. There is nothing wrong with you. You have created an over the desire for alcohol, but you can decondition that desire.
- Make a deliberate plan on what you are going to drink and exactly how much. Stick to the plan.
- If you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up. This will not help you take actions to keep trying. Have compassion toward yourself for being a human being and take the next step.
I enjoy my planned drinks and enjoy following through on my plan. This shows me that I have my own back and will follow through on myself. The plan has been created with love for myself to make the most of my weekends and enjoy the full experience of my life.
If you are ready to commit to reducing your drinking and want to find out more about other tools I used lets jump on a zoom call and have a chat. Schedule a FREE 20-minute no-obligation call HERE to find out if my Stop Over Drinking Program is a good fit for you. Or to find out more about the program click HERE.
Have a beautiful week.