“Your excuses are bullshit and you know it.” - SJ VanDee

Day 14: Tough Love

Welcome to Day 14!

Today I wanted to walk through some “excuses” that I used to use - and you may be using! - on why I still needed alcohol in my life. And I want to call them flat out excuses, because that’s what they are! No one NEEDS alcohol in their lives. We’ve just gotten used to using it as a magical elixir to:

  • numb us

  • distract us

  • entertain us

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So here are my favorite top 5 EXCUSES and the tough love response I use when I’m trying to use them in my life.

  • #1 - ALCOHOL RELAXES ME - There are plenty of ways to relax - meditation, exercise, a bubble bath, yoga, a walk around the neighborhood, etc. - but alcohol is not one of them. It’s a poison and as soon as it enters your body, it does everything it can to get it out of your system. Remember when people thought they needed a cigarette to relax?

Eva Cyhlarova from The Mental Health Foundation says: "Over time, heavy drinking interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain that are needed for good mental health. So while alcohol may help deal with stress in the short term, in the long run it can contribute to feeling of depression and anxiety and make stress harder to deal with.

  • #2 - I HAVE A BIG EVENT COMING UP. THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE. MY BIRTHDAY IS NEXT WEEK. I’M CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF MARRIAGE - Well congratulations on your special event coming up - but you know you can have a good time without the booze. You’ve been brainwashed by advertising agencies to believe that you need alcohol at every social event or special celebration. Think about the movies, television shows and commercials you watch and know that big money is behind the message telling us that a romantic dinner isn’t complete without wine. It’s just not true. I’ve had plenty of New Year’s Eves, wedding receptions and birthday parties that went down in flames because I drank too much. (I once danced like Phoebe Buffay from Friends at a wedding reception my boyfriend’s boss attended.) He was so scared he was going to get fired the next day because I acted like an asshat. Honestly, move away from the thinking that alcohol has anything positive to add to your special celebration. It’s just an excuse.

  • #3 - I NEED A NIGHTCAP TO GO TO SLEEP - Ha! The idea that alcohol makes you sleep better is such a myth. Sure, maybe you go to sleep easier - but what about when you wake up at 3 a.m. and stare at the ceiling? That’s when the alcohol withdrawal happens, which affects your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep - which is crucial to feeling well rested.

You need to get this straight in your mind: alcohol ruins sleep. Even one drink will interrupt the natural sleeping pattern, and there is no safe amount to drink, which will allow you to escape the ill effects of drinking as it impacts sleep. - William Porter, author of Alcohol Explained

  • #4 - BUT MY KID (HUSBAND, PARTNER, DOG, BOSS, ETC.) IS DRIVING ME CRAZY. I HAD A SHITTY DAY - Yeah, life gets crazy and will never be fully void of stress. You’re going to have to deal with it in another way. When you drink to numb your uncomfortable feelings, you’re avoiding the issue (which will still be there when you come down from alcohol’s effects). Without alcohol, you’ll have a clear head to come up with a plan to deal with that crazy deadline, the temper tantrum, the argument over finances or whatever else you’re dealing with.

  • #5 - I NEED ALCOHOL TO CONNECT WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY - After sharing a few bottles of wine with your friend or family member, do you even remember the conversations you had? Are you making a genuine connection - or are you just repeating yourself and getting sappy? Stop romanticizing alcohol and giving it all the power and start enjoying AUTHENTIC conversations and relationships.

    Now that I’m sober, I remember when a friend is starting a new job or going back to work after maternity leave. I have time to write the sympathy card for the neighbor whose husband had a heart attack or the coworker who had to put her dog down after 13 years. If you are regularly drinking, you just don’t have the energy, clarity or motivation to do nice things for people that allow you to connect deeper with individuals. You just don’t.

So think about it. We think alcohol increases pleasure, decreases pain and is necessary for just about every social event out there (a one year old birthday party, anyone?) But give me a break. We are just used to numbing ourselves and not dealing with any emotion that comes up. And that excuse is getting old and tired and more and more people are coming to realize that life is just better without alcohol.

Do you want to try life without alcohol? Or do you want to keep repeating the cycle and stay where you are?

It's not going to be easy to pass on the champagne at brunch, the beer at the birthday celebration or the wine while you're making dinner. But it will be worth it.

You'll learn things about yourself. You'll find new ways to cope with emotions and stressors. You'll do something that you'll be proud of. Stop making excuses and you'll ultimately feel better if you just stick with it.

Why not give it a try? Why not step outside your comfort zone and fight through the tough spots?

Don't give up on yourself. Don't break your promise to yourself. Don't quit when it's hard.

DECIDE YOU CAN. AND BELIEVE YOU CAN.

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FOLLOW THE NEXT STEPS TO COMPLETE DAY 14

  1. Test out an old and tired excuse you have on why you need alcohol. Then smash it with a truth.

  2. Say your Daily Mantra "I am alcohol free and loving it."

  3. Head over to the Private Facebook Group and join us to share that you completed Day 14 (or share any excuses you are finding hard to break).

  4. Send any questions you may have to me at kim@100dayssober.com. I want us all to have a successful 30-Day Reset so let me know how I can help.

  5. Want more?