When is the last time you have seen any marketing promoting cigarettes? Long, long, long, long time ago. Alcohol companies do the same exact thing. Google any commercial promoting alcohol. Looks like the best damn time of your life. You look so hot, the drink is so refreshing and instagram worthy, obviously the hottest guy around wants, you guessed it, you. Glorious.
Trust me, I love a spicy marg and can easily enjoy a bottle of wine to myself, again, no judgement. Point is. Predictions are being made that soon we will see marketing exploring the health risks of alcohol. Being the go-to party friend might not be "cool" for much longer.
Listen, this read isn't intended for someone who has a real dependency on alcohol. The only way to drink alcohol with a dependency is to NOT. I am just going to jump up on my soapbox real quick to say (ahem) WE NEED TO BE TALKING ABOUT THIS. If you are feeling like you may have a dependency on alcohol, do not be ashamed. You are not alone. It is okay to ask for help. Your people will love and support you on your road to recovery.
Questions to ask yourself:
Am I honest when asked how many drinks I have per week? Yes, this includes when your doctor asks.
Do I hide my drinking from the people closest to me?
Do I wake up groggy or hungover multiple times a week? ...Every week?
How many times have you woke up worried about what you may have said the night before? How many times have you said yes to that third martini because everyone else did? How many times have you opened a bottle of wine at home with the intention of having a glass and accidentally downed the entire thing? Me too. Me too.
Let's get to it.
Mindful drinking step one. You need to have a plan. When asked what you'd like to drink, it is easy to word vomit your "go to" or the classic line "I'll have whatever she's having". Your plan consists of a.) you're non alcoholic drink of choice. I personally love a good ginger beer. b.) your reason. People are nosey, curious, interested, whatever word you want to use for all up in your business and they could ask, why aren't you drinking? Honesty is the best policy, but if you have an inkling that the person asking you is going to give you a hard time or poke fun, have a plan of how you will respond. This is your body and your decision. Anyone who teases you about making healthy life decisions is projecting and you should probably reevaluate if there is a real friendship there.
Mindful drinking step two. Sober experiences. Go to a dinner, a concert or a birthday and do not drink. If you have step one thought out, you are setting step two up for success. Having something in your hand to casually sip during the countless opportunities for awkward, silent yet extremely loud moments throughout an evening out just feels safe. Once you encounter this experience a couple of times, you will feel much less dependent on that glass and much more in control of the situation. Promise.
Mindful drinking step three. Although Dry January and Sober September are excellent times to kick off your mindful drinking journey, try to relate a diet to our current conversation. When you are on a diet, do you notice that for the first (eh) 30 days you think about food more than you ever have before? We call this one (drumroll please) a lifestyle adjustment. Call it what it is, the law of attraction. When you are focusing on the idea of never being able to drink again, you very well may taste that sweet sip of Sauv Blanc as it touches the lips of someone three tables away. We are not complicated. We are just extremely capable of desiring what we cannot have.
Let me elaborate. When I am on my death bed begging for my final meal, I will be demanding a bottle, maybe two (just in case) of red wine before I ask for my medium rare steak. I will enjoy champagne on fine occasions, I will consciously sip a tasty marg, I will drink a cider at Octoberfest. I will also wake up with a hangover many times over the course of the rest of my life. If I choose to. Mindful drinking is about a choice. This is not about quitting for life, unless that is the healthiest move for you, power on. This is about taking back the control back, setting new rules and redefining what part alcohol plays in your life.
Everything you are most fearful of missing out on, you will gain in other facets of your mindful life. Give it a go. What do you have to lose other than a hangover?