I have been using alcohol to avoid, numb, procrastinate, relax (a necessary means versus an enjoyment), and to quiet my mind. Today I am sharing my 'wake-up' moment and insight into building habits that align with your goals.
If you are working on your mindset, beliefs or spirituality, health, self-love, fitness, or confidence - then you need to take a look at your relationship with alcohol.
Recently, I came to a realization that my ‘why’ for drinking, was no longer healthy. While I have been down this path before, this time felt different, and harder to recognize. The truth is, I love alcohol. I truly believe alcohol can bring fun, happiness, connection, and genuine relaxation to life. Unfortunately, in the hectic lives we lead, we can easily, and unknowingly cross over the fine line that exists between enjoying alcohol and needing it. I am not here to judge, but I want you to take a minute to read this, and do some self-reflection of your own.
For the last several months I have been feeling very down the day after drinking. Sure, a hangover is unpleasant, but this went beyond the physical discomfort. This was negative self-talk, frustration, and general unhappiness. I wasn't going wild, but I still felt guilt around small things like staying out late, spending more money than I intended, or picking an argument with a friend. I wondered why I ordered those last two drinks, or the most expensive cocktail, or why I didn’t go home when it felt right. I felt ashamed of myself and like I couldn’t trust myself to make the right choices. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy, similar to what many of us experience with food. We expect that we will drink too much/ overspend/ overeat, and so we do, which makes cycle continue. We don't consider that there may be another way.
My ability to take a pause, and recognize that my shitty feeling was directly tied to consuming alcohol was harder than it should have been. But, this is how change happens. We don’t come to a realization (a truth about our wellness) and change forever. We need to process it. Once you have awareness about needing to change (any health habit) I recommend a priority and goal assessment and then a time usage assessment. Is how you are spending your time aligning with your priorities? If you have a priority of health yet spend most of your waking hours at work, there is a big disconnect. If you have a goal to increase your health by improving cardiovascular endurance, yet you spend your evenings reading a book instead of lacing up your sneaks, you aren't working towards your goal. No activity is inherently bad, but we will feel resistance if we aren't doing activities that align with how we want to live our life.
I found I was not using my free time in a way that aligned with my goals. Growing my business was a high priority, yet much of my free time on the weekend was going towards drinking activities. No wonder I was feeling down, I wasn’t living the way I knew deep down I wanted to be living. Some soul searching helped me see that I didn't really want to day drink, I just wanted to consume too many drinks so I had an excuse to leave my to-do list untouched.
it's not easy
Most of the time, the reason we aren't living aligned with our priorities, or taking better care of ourselves, is because it is easier to keep doing what we've been doing than to do the hard work that may scare us. For me, the hard work was putting time and energy into my business. Perhaps your priority is a self-care action like more exercise. Building the habit of attending a fitness class or getting outside for a walk is hard, so maybe you self-sabotage by staying out too late and drinking too much so you have an excuse to not get moving. The mental and physical shitty feelings you have the next day may feel easier to deal with than taking new action. But, continuing that cycle will leave you continuously feeling bad.
I think a lot of us use alcohol to escape and numb without even realizing it. We shouldn't need to escape from our life, our feelings, or our goals. If you aren’t happy with an area of your life - work on changing it! I wasn’t happy with my time management, goal setting (or lack there of) and I was drinking instead of taking an honest look at myself. Now, I am still enjoying alcohol, but I am also setting concrete goals for myself so I get the work done, too. I am putting my goals, that make me feel good, first, and letting socializing fit in when it feels right. Setting goals and getting clear on what was important to me really re-inspired me. Remember to focus on the positives around your priorities and goals. FOMO can get in the way, so remember your why and don't play the victim card. If something is really so dreadful, then perhaps it doesn't earn a place on your priority list right now.
Take an honest look at why and how you have been using alcohol. Is it for fun and socializing, or is it for numbing and avoiding? Are your actions lining up with your priorities? I want to hear more about your relationship and/or struggles. with alcohol. Comment or contact me here.