“I drink my wine so fast I get smashed before dinner” time to switch to coolers”
“I’m going to switch from coolers back to wine all that carbonation is making me bloated and I can drink a lot of coolers”
“We can’t drink during the week anymore week anymore, I feel like hell
I’ll only drink on Friday and Saturday. Oh ok Sunday brunch too.
“I’ll only do one Wine Wednesday a month
“I’ll only have a glass of wine with dinner”
” I’m going to switch to vodka and soda even though I don’t really like the taste of it, but I’m packing on the pounds from all the coolers”
“We need to drink right after work, not later’
“We need to start drinking during the day so we can go to bed early and don’t have a have a hangover tomorrow.”
The above were all things I said aloud or in my head, I’m sure there were a hundred more, what I didn’t know at the time was I was trying to moderate. I’d never heard that term before I started digging into my Recovery. To my way of thinking I was just trying to have less of a hangover on work days and less of a shit show and of course more control.
This conversation has come up lately in a few of my sober groups and with friends. We have talked about trying to control our drinking with switching out, switching up, and doing things differently. The overwhelming thing was every one I have talked with has done the control thing in one form or another, Each and Every One, that’s a 100% statistic.
The other statistic that came out was every single person has googled something about controlling drinking, or if they were an alcoholic, or about alcohol problems.
Deep down, in your gut/intuition if you are trying to control an issue, you know it’s a problem whether it’s a phase in your life or an actual problem is something that only time tells.
I have gone through stages in my life where my drinking was more then less, but when I started trying to have to control it, because my mental health, my overall well being and the gong show of evenings were becoming more regular than not and I couldn’t get it under control, (ie everything you just read up top wasn’t working) that’s when I knew it was time to look at stopping (but that’s another blog post)
Can you identify with any of the above moderations? I’d love to hear about it.
About 7 Years ago when I decided to lose weight, I put myself on a restrictive diet (like most people do and before, I knew better), and of course that included no booze, after about 1.5 months I was out and treated myself to cocktails, cigarettes and all the food and then I found it harder to not drink and stay on a restricted diet (because ultimately real life doesn’t allow restrictive diets forever) and by the end of my drinking career 4 years later, we had moved, my stress levels were at an all time high, I was barely making it to the gym. My mental & physical health were suffering horribly. I then started to look at my drinking it took me another 1.5 to get continuous sobriety but in the mean time I worked on getting sober and got my butt back to the gym.
How fitness helped me give up the booze.
WEEKENDS: I started working out early morning on the weekends, I booked a exercise class or yoga no more mind mentality of a Monday to Friday week. I turned my week into 7 days. Not a work week & weekend. A trademark line I use all the time is your week has 7 days not 5. This also gave me days during the week to sleep in a little longer
CONNECTION: I found a community of like minded friends at the gym. Good chance that people who are at the gym at 7am on Saturday or Sunday weren’t out boozing it up the night before. In fact I’ve met 2 great friends at the gym ( one is in recovery and the other is a competitor and her lifestyle is no alcohol) and I meet up with group of regulars that ask me where I’ve been if they don’t see me.
ENDORPHINS: These are those feel good feelings that are naturally produced from exercise. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphinsalso trigger a positive feeling in the body.
RELIEVES BOREDOM: I was so bored in my first few months of sobriety, I didn’t know what to do. Going to the gym, yoga, running, swimming, all gave me things to do.
SLEEP: Exercising is tiring (especially outside) and it helps me sleep, and not sleeping was at one time an excuse to drink (to help me sleep).
CONFIDENCE: Feeling better, helps you look better, helps boost your confidence. I didn’t have a lot of self esteem or self confidence left at the end of my drinking career.
EATING: I became more conscious of eating more nutritious, whole food meals, though I still have a treat every day. I also started watching when I got Hangry, as this can be a relapse trigger for me.
ENERGIZED: Exercise helps give you energy, if you are tired all the time like I was contrary to popular belief exercise helps boost your energy.
DEPRESSION/ANXIETY: Exercise is the number one prescription for depression and anxiety, and after my initial anxiety of joining a gym or going to a new class it has helped reduce both. In the last 1.5 years of continuos sobriety, I have only had 2 mild bouts of depression ( and I believe the last one was more hormonal than anything) and much more mild than when I was drinking. My anxiety levels are very low and I never wake up in the middle of the night anymore with anxiety.
ON THE ROAD: I was worried about vacations/work travel, and drinking, but fitness has allowed me to keep a schedule while travelling, I workout at the same time I do at home, but while travelling (and I have gotten to run /yoga / soulcycle / swim/walk / workout, in the early mornings before world is awake in the most amazing places; Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Paris, Nice, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Maui, Whistler to name just a few. Schedules are important especially when travelling.
REDUCED CRAVINGS: This is a bonus Tip and it combines all of the above, and really one of the biggest benefits how fitness helped me give up the booze. It has reduced cravings. Fitness has given me something to do, with like minded people, while making me feel good, It’s something healthy do during the “witching hour” and helps me sleep all which relieves cravings.
Fitness & Health has played a big part in my sobriety journey. If you have any questions or want to incorporate fitness into your journey reach out to me. Also on my Instagram, I post lots of great exercises, food and life as well as on my Youtube channel my exercises from my free fit and sober challenge in December are posted.
Saying no to alcohol when you are out and feeling pressured is hard and I had a flashback Last night I witnessed a woman clearly say not to ordering a glass of wine ended up ordering one. A year and half ago that could have been me sitting there. Now I’ll preface this with I have no idea her reason why she did not want a glass of wine. But the woman she was with was having a glass of wine and said ” oh you can have one, I’m sure you need it” and the waiter said “you look like you could use a glass of wine” Here’s 3 tips how I have learned to navigate that pressure.
How To Say No To Alcohol
BE PREPARED FOR THIS situation (research mocktails so you know what to order): Sit up a little taller and say no thank you but I’ll have and promptly order a club soda with lemon, or ice water, or a mocktail whatever it is but make sure you know what you are going to drink, prior to going out
Say No Thank you I’m driving. Say no thank you I’m not drinking my calories tonight. Say no thank you I have an early morning. Say no thank you I’m doing #dryjanuary #soberoctober #soberjuly #fitfebruary. Say no thank you I’m cutting down as I’m getting healthier. Say no thank you I’m fighting a cold.
Turn it into humour with the situation above, I would have laughed at the waiter and said “I really look that bad, there goes your tip” or with the friend above “my life isn’t that bad that I need to have a drink” or something along those lines and then promptly order your non alcoholic drink
Remember if someone is pressuring you to have a drink it is usually more about them than you (wait staff want to make money) your friend may not want to drink alone, or it’s the only thing you have in common with someone. Drinkers like company remember that!
I hope these tips help, and as always reach out anytime.