If you get bogged down in the thought of “Should I drink or not drink tonight?”, chances are you simply have nothing bigger to worry about or be present for.
Changing your relationship with alcohol isn’t about drinking less alcohol.
It’s about building a life you want to be present, conscious, alert & switched on for.
If there’s no reason to be mentally & emotionally present, go and enjoy a glass of wine.
Context is absolutely key.
Especially, when it comes to alcohol – A topic that is far too often approached with “How many drinks are they having?” rather than “How is alcohol negatively impacting that person’s life?”
When you understand this style of thinking, you realise it doesn’t matter if you have one wine a night or two bottles. You are allowed to start drinking less alcohol regardless of how much you currently drink.
Only the smallest alcohol intake can be enough to interrupt the quality of your life – Remember that!
Quit comparing your alcohol intake with someone else’s.
It will leave you feeling either inadequate, or, like you don’t drink ‘too much’ so you’ll continue drinking.
Traditionally, we look at someone’s relationship with alcohol by counting how many beverages they consume or what time of the day they drink – Who freaking cares!
If a person is happy, allow them to be happy. Even if that happiness revolves around a large alcohol intake.
Before I began studying human behaviour, I worked in bars all over Sydney.
Looking back, it’s probably not only what drove me to reduce my intake, but it also provided such an insight into alcohol and the effects it has on us.
My favourite workplace was called The Randwick Rugby Club, and it had a local that would drink there every day from dawn till dusk.
He still, to this day, could just be the happiest man I’ve ever met.
He shared laughter, joy and love to all that he connected with and was highly regarded as one of the most caring and honest men around town.
I never once believed or thought he should drink less alcohol.
Why would we interrupt someone’s lifestyle that is providing them so much joy (If you are an academic studying addiction reading this, feel free to bite your tongue as you rebuttal with “That’s avoidance of active addiction Thomas”)
At the same time, this man was drinking in the bar, I knew countless people who drank 10% of what he consumed, and I thought to myself every day “Geeze I don’t know if this person should be drinking alcohol”.
It was never the alcohol intake levels that caused judgement or concern.
It was always the inappropriate behaviour, lack of respect or simple disconnection between what is socially appropriate or not. Usually, drama within relationships & disrespect between peers.
This is a clear example that alcohol is rarely the problem, so context is key.
But in our society, when someone wants to drink less alcohol, we often hear “Oh why are you doing that, you hardly drink?” or “Really, you don’t have alcohol problems”.
There’s so often an assumption that if you want to drink less alcohol it must also mean you have problems with alcohol.
In the other hand, if you don’t experience the traditional overly dramatic problems associated with alcohol, apparently you should just keep drinking. There’s nothing to worry about.
What we completely forget, is that removing alcohol is nothing more than increasing the quality of other areas of our lives.
We are so fixated on the alcohol and completely forget, this is about creating a life we don’t want to run away from after a long day’s work.
So, if you are serious about reducing your intake and focusing on alcohol isn’t helping, here’s a couple of things you might like to ponder;
- What areas of life are you hoping to grow and evolve in, due to alcohol being removed?
- If there was a reason for you not to switch off with alcohol, what would that reason be?
- Who in your life deserves your complete attention & presence?
- What would you do with your focus & presence after a long day, if you weren’t drinking it away?
Allow yourself to ponder on these ideas and notice what comes to the surface.
Alcohol reduction is very rarely about reducing your intake and almost always about, increasing the quality of your life by deepening your level of attention & presence to the life you live.
More importantly, deepening your attention & presence to the people you care about most!