Drinking season is upon us.
Perhaps for the last several years, since Covid dropped the curtain on the theater of life, drinking season has been the one good friend to turn to at the end of every frustrating day.
Perhaps now, this year, as all the holiday gaiety of this season unfolds, there’s an even greater desire to let loose and drown out the stresses and strains not only of today but of the past 3 years.
With Covid colliding with the most gruesome political and social unrest and distress we’ve known in our lifetime, we’re just trying to survive many previously unimaginable scenarios.
Alcohol is a cheap and readily available fix.
It can easily provide a much longed for escape. A quick route to decompression and forgetfulness.
A way to “cope” without “coping.”
Humans have used alcohol like this for millennia.
At the end of a tough day, all you want is a a glass of wine, a frosty beer, or your favorite iced cocktail. Where’s that comfort in a glass?
But what if ending your day without a drink feels like a punishment, deprivation, loneliness?
It’s a common th0ught loop.
Here’s how Take A Break From Drinking Coach Rachel Hart explains it:
You know that a nightly wine habit isn’t great for your health or waistline. But how else are you supposed to unwind?
Long walks, bubble baths, and meditating are nice in theory, but you’re exhausted. The last thing you need is another item on your to-do list.
Here’s the secret: it’s much easier to unwind without a drink when stress stops being your nemesis.
Because if stress is your enemy, not drinking will always feel like a punishment.
Despite what you’ve heard, stress isn’t always a bad thing.
Stress has a natural purpose in the body. It’s an adaptive response that helps us meet challenges. When hormones surge and our pulse quickens, we have a burst of energy and focus.
But if stress is normal, why do we hate it so much?
The answer is in our perception.
If you see the challenges before you as doable and temporary, you’ll weather stress better. If the challenges seem insurmountable and unrelenting, you’ll seek an escape.
Shift your perspective on stress.
Unwinding without a drink is about finding new ways to relax. It’s about learning how to shift your perception of the challenges before you.
When you feel equipped to handle the stress in your life, saying no to a drink won’t feel like punishment.
Rachel offers several reframing suggestions that could shift your perspective on stress in a few common situations. See if one of them won’t work for you.
When you find yourself thinking: “I can’t wait for this day to be over.”
Instead of thinking: “At least I can have a drink when I get home.”
Try asking yourself this instead: “What headline would I give today?”
Your answer will reveal how you’re relating to the challenges before you. Your headline might sound like: “Today was a sh*tshow,” “Too much to do and never enough time,” or “Nothing is working.”
This is an opportunity to reframe stress. Is there another headline you could choose that would serve you better? For example: “Today was me handling the unexpected.”
When you find yourself thinking: “It’s all too much.”
Instead of thinking: “I just need a drink.”
Try asking yourself this instead: “How should I feel in this situation ?”
When challenges arise, feeling anxious, afraid, and sad is normal. Plans are upended. Loved ones get hurt or sick. A spouse loses their job. But too often, we expect total peace and calm in these situations.
Give yourself room to be human. “It’s normal to be stressed right now.” “This is a hard situation. It’s okay to feel anxious.” “Anyone in my shoes would feel this way.”
The need to escape is less intense when you remind yourself that your feelings are normal.
When you find yourself thinking: “I don’t want to think anymore.”
Instead of : Making a beeline to the kitchen.
Try asking yourself this instead: “What thought most worries me?”
You’ll probably discover your worst-case scenario, and therein lies an opportunity.
You can either hide from this thought or strategize how you would handle this situation. Pouring a drink to stop thinking robs you of the opportunity to plan how you would meet this challenge.
The degree to which you can manage your mind determine the quality of your life.
That’s because your thoughts generate emotions which drive behaviors which create results. The connections are powerful and always operating, even if you don’t realize it. Kinda like gravity. You know it’s a thing but you don’t spend much time thinking about about.
When you know what you’re thinking, you have all the raw material you need to create the life you want. But you don’t want to stop there.
It’s like once you become aware of all your negative thinking, you don’t want to go, “Okay. Now, I’m a more mindful person.”
I remember doing this work myself and I started feeling like, “Okay. I’m feeling my feelings. I’m aware of my thinking, but all I’m aware of is all my crappy thoughts and all my crappy feelings. Now what?”
That was the missing piece always for me. It was like, “What do I do now with all of this?”
Here;’s the answer: Once you become aware of your thinking patterns and your feeling patterns and how you’re reacting to them, the next critical step really is to catch yourself before you react.
When you recognize that something is just a thought-feeling combination and not something you have to react to, that’s when you can really begin to take control and start changing your behavioral patterns.
You get to decide what you want to think on purpose.
If you don’t tell your brain what to focus on or what to think about, it will revert to its old patterns.
The brain likes to do what it’s really good at. What it’s really good at is repeating what’s familiar.
Unfortunately, for many of us, that’s a lot of very negative anxiety-producing, frustration-producing thinking.
What I’m teaching is to allow everything. Allow your thoughts. Allow your feelings.
You decide whether you’re going to react to them or not.
Once you allow them, that’s how you can increase your awareness of them.
When you resist something, you block it out of your consciousness. It does not mean you stop thinking it. It certainly doesn’t mean you’d stop feeling it and you most likely will be reacting to it because it’s unconscious.
That’s why so many of us feel so out of control all the time.
The reason why we’re unable to control our reactions in our life is because we’re unaware of the thoughts and feelings driving them.
Once we become aware, it becomes much easier to notice the thought and the feeling before the reaction happens. That’s when you have the power to make deliberate choices.
Ultimately, the choice can happen at the thought level, when you start directing your mind and telling it what to think.
Learning how to think on purpose is the beginning of making the big changes you really want to see in your life.
That’s where coaching comes in.
I’m here to help you transform those big dreams, wishes and desires into your new reality. Whatever is rising as a top priority for you in this current chapter of your life, let’s get to work.
It’s a beautiful feeling to start the New Year fresh with an intentional strategy to make 2023 your best year ever.
And, please believe me, it’s never too late and you’re never too old to go after it ALL!
Whatever you’re longing to create in 2023, I can help you navigate all the challenges and overcome the obstacles.
Sign up for your 45 minute FREE Strategy Call right here.
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