What do you want to know how becoming alcohol-free? It turns out, most of you have these top 5 questions in common:
Do I have to stop drinking ‘forever’?
Is it possible to moderate?
How do I help my body heal?
Help – how do I socialize without alcohol?
Who am I if I don’t drink?
On the podcast, I share why I think these questions pop up, how I answer them, and why it’s so important to keep asking questions.
Let’s dive in:
- Forever – beware of your thoughts around forever. We often cling to the accepted idea that our brain doesn’t understand forever. But, whether that’s true our not, we actually make forever decisions quite often. Don’t let it become an excuse that holds you back. The opposite of forever is temporary; do you want to create ‘lasting change’ ? Forever could be the very thing that gets you there.
- Moderation – this is a biggie. People often ask if I can help them get to a comfortable place where they can drink occasionally or if I know anyone who has successfully learned to moderate. This is a fascinating question. When we break it down, the question points to some ‘hidden’ beliefs. I use quotes because it might actually be very obvious that they believe the best case is to be able to continue to drink. The hidden part is often the underlying belief; alcohol helps me fit in, alcohol relaxes me, alcohol is necessary for me to live a full and happy life…if you find yourself nodding yes to these statements, I suggest you do some soul-searching about what else helps you relax, fit in or live a full and happy life. Because, the truth is, if you believe the answer is only alcohol, you will never be able to cut ties and moderation will always feel like chasing rainbows – we never quite get there. And, moderation takes a lot of willpower and brain power which we could devote to discovering what really lights us up!
- What should I be eating or taking to get my body back on track? Usually this is a question about supplements; give me the list and I’ll take all the pills and I’ll get back on track. Because we are sold on the ‘quick fix’ my answers are not particularly popular. However, they are helpful. As a functional nutritionist, I was taught that the sicker the client, the slower we go. This means we start with a very simple protocol: hydration, cut out as much processed food as possible, avoid artificial sugar, prioritize sleep and rest. I believe strongly that supplements should wait. That’s because our body has been under a toxic load from drinking alcohol and we need to give it a rest from processing anything other than real food.
- Social Situations – If you have been worried or feeling stressed over hanging out with friends and family without booze, you are not alone. This is a question that comes up as “how do I socialize without drinking?”. It might also show up as “everyone in my family and friend group drink”. The unspoken fear is tied up in thoughts about the future: will I be accepted? How will I fit in? Do I have to ditch all my friends? Rather than assuming all non-drinking social events will be awkward and boring, start by questioning these thoughts; is this true? Then, experiment with new activities. If you used to meet friends for a drink, invite them for coffee or an art stroll. Boozy brunch can be replaced by a wildflower walk; backyard bbq’s can be enhanced by outdoor lawn games that create less focus on drinking. Does the way we socialize change? Yep, and that can be a very good thing.
- Who I am if I am not drinking? This question speaks to our very identity, an identity that is likely wrapped up in drinking. Perhaps you were known as a wine connoisseur or you were the go-to cocktail gal with all the latest recipes. You might have been the ‘party starter’ or the ‘last man standing’ showing up at the crack of dawn hangover or not I think this question is really rooted in the bigger question of “Who Am I really”. We lose a part or parts of ourself when we are drinking and over-drinking and it can be hard to imagine getting back to our true self. This takes candor, and courage and practice. And, it is worth it!
I am a firm believer in asking all the questions. It helps us discern what we are really thinking, it helps us ‘boss our brain around’ and it helps us understand that every question gives us a clue to what is important to us.
So, keep asking questions on this journey and the teacher, the path, the answer will become clear. When you find yourself saying “I don’t know…” gently ask, “But what if I do know?” Don’t let the answers scare you; they are here to guide you back to your truest self.