Alcohol is given a weird pass in our society.
As someone who doesn’t drink anymore, I feel like I’ve got a more transparent view of how our society treats it.
It’s social connection and it’s an acceptable way of kicking back to relax after a long day. It’s also a huge security blanket for avoiding the stuff we don’t want to deal with.
I’m not going to dive into the research to show you all the studies for and against alcohol consumption. You can likely find a study that will validate your opinion either way.
This is a post about YOU and YOUR RELATIONSHIP to alcohol.
I stopped drinking a number of years ago because it made me feel physically ill every time I drank. Within 15 minutes of my first few sips, I would get this gnawing ache in my stomach, and when I pushed past it in my younger days, I would literally have to drink as fast as I could to get that feel-good buzz going to drown out how terrible my body felt—that is until the next day, where no matter how little I drank, I would feel hung over for days.
It was so uncomfortable that for me, it didn’t take that long to decide that I just didn’t drink any alcohol anymore.
Not drinking (at all), in our society is a strange place to live. People get a quizzical and confused look on their face when I tell them I don’t drink and will often continue to offer “just a little something” multiple times more during our visit. And let me be clear, this happens even hanging out with other doctors and health professionals. We’ve normalized the consumption of alcohol and a lot of its abuse.
This post however, is a little like my post about coffee (check it out here if you haven’t read it yet)…I’m not so much worried that you drink alcohol (unless you’re having issues with addiction or binging, etc etc), but I want to know WHY you’re drinking alcohol and what it’s doing in your body.
This is so key.
Why are you drinking? Your first reaction may be to say that you simply enjoy it, and this could be absolutely true, but is there anything underlying the enjoyment?
Is it to escape?
Is it to get a rush of endorphins after a crappy day?
Is it to feel confident and good?
Is it to mask feelings that you aren’t ready to deal with or don’t have the solution for?
Is it to add some fun and excitement to an otherwise kind of boring life?
Are you in pain and use drinking to help soothe your body?
Take a minute and think about the personal reason why you drink. It may also change depending on the day.
Check in with yourself and your body. What’s your reason to drink?
Next: How do you feel during?
Are you like me in that you feel physically gross drinking?
Does it bother you stomach and cause gas or bloating?
Are you constantly having to clear your throat while you drink because you’re getting phlegmy?
How are your emotions? Are you a happy drinker, a sad drinker or an angry drinker?
What does it bring out for you?
Next: How do you feel after?
Hungover and headachy?
Does it affect your sleep?
Are you miserable the next day?
Remorseful, guilty, embarrassed or other feelings of regret?
Broke and stressed at how much money you spent?
What good comes from drinking? Is there more bad to it than you realized? Or does your body seem to feel okay with it?
The Better Option
I’m not here to tell you to stop drinking. But I am here to tell you that if you’re using alcohol as a band-aid for something else, I might have better options for you that will ACTUALLY sort out the reason why you’re consuming alcohol in the first place.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed and struggling to cope…
If you’re exhausted and wanting a break…
If you’re bored and don’t know what to do with your life…
If alcohol is making you physical sick but you’re craving the escape…
Don’t use alcohol to help. Let’s work together to get these things solved so that you can honestly say you’re drinking because you enjoy the taste of a drink or two and not overdoing it or avoiding the issues.