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Understanding Your Drinking (part 2)

Last week’s blog on our road trip to Sobriety, was about the powerful and pervasive social conditioning around alcohol.  About the ‘why’ so many of us rush towards the ‘joy’s’ of drinking at each and every opportunity.

Of what we are conditioned to feel that alcohol brings to our otherwise overstressed, time poor, slightly dull little lives.  Of how it will lift us up (when in reality it has smashed us down), and how much more bright and shiny our world will be when it is running through our veins.  I am going to make a wild guess here though and assume that as you are reading this blog, it has been a while since you have basked in any sort of golden alcohol glow.

Knowing you want to stop or cut down on your drinking, and seeing as you are taking the time to read my words, what is stopping you from putting down the bottle, and what are you looking for in this blog?

I know the answer to the first, and I hope in you accepting my response, I will start to answer the second. Remember, to get the best from what I offer to you, you must read these blogs with an open mind.

Ok, on top of the insanely dangerous social conditioning that sets our booze waggon rolling, it’s the emotions, the feelings (and the power that we give them), that we attribute to alcohol and it’s place in our lives, that takes the damn brakes off and sends us careening into the paralysis of our drinking (paralysed is the perfect word here, otherwise we would make the changes easily).

But let’s keep it real, alcohol wasn’t always a curse in our lives. At some point in our drinking history, booze was fun. It had to be otherwise we wouldn’t have stuck with it!

It did give us a confidence boost, it has made a dull evening brighter, a boring companion tolerable, a tough time easier- it has lived up to all its promises.  Temporarily.  And then it hasn’t.  And we know it hasn’t, we can see its failure staring back at us in the mirror. So why do we seem to focus on the more distant past ‘good times’ as opposed to the more recent (excuse me) shit storms?

Why are we not put off drinking wine at the end of the day by the fact we know it worries and depresses us, disrupts our sleep, causes the hated ‘wine waist’, makes us irritable, upsets our precious children, husbands/pets…..even my dog didn’t like me drinking?

The answer lies in our Unconscious Mind. In our thinking.  I am not going to get all spiritual on you (or me), it’s not my thing, but I do now understand the supreme power of our thoughts.

Our Unconscious Mind cannot see or hear and does not understand logic. It is responsible for keeping us alive and safe.  It regulates our breathing and body temperature. It tells us when to sleep and eat, when to run from danger. And it is our profound memory keeper.  It stores all our memories, those that we consciously remember and those that we don’t.  All our happy times and all our unhappy ones.

It randomly stockpiles all our memories and then throws up to us, in times of perceived stress and unhappiness, what it ‘remembers’ has alleviated our pain in the past, and for those of us who struggle with drinking, it is alcohol that it remembers and it is alcohol that is thrown up to ‘save’ us.

In fact, that is exactly where the struggle comes from.   If our Unconscious Mind didn’t hold on to the memory that alcohol has offered us some solace in the past, that we had felt better/safer/happier when we had a drink in our hand and down our throat, it wouldn’t even come into our thinking!  Read that again, it is both powerful and true.

In the present, even though alcohol no longer offers us any support and is the cause of our pain, our Unconscious Mind doesn’t recognise that fact because not only does it not see or hear, it cannot process negatives!  It cannot acknowledge our desperate conscious thoughts of “I don’t want to drink”, it deletes the “I don’t want to” bit, feels the desperation and is left with one word, DRINK!

So, when our Unconscious Mind senses our anticipation of pain, of our expected inability to cope, our despair, and, in its best attempt to comfort us in the moment, it sends us booze. Then, when we try to deny our Unconcious Mind’s attempt to comfort us, our anxiety and upset increases and brain starts to bloody scream “DRINK FOR GOD SAKE!” at us!

Our thinking becomes overwhelmed with the strongest urges for alcohol.  The one thing we want to avoid.  And, with feelings of powerlessness and lack of control, we grab the wine glass, get the hit of alcohol, feel a temporary relief (it is a powerful drug), and alcohol is further reinforced in our Unconscious Mind as the panacea to all our problems.  WTF!

Do you recognize your thinking, your drinking behaviour here? And does this all sound too simplistic to you?

It is simple, but we are conditioned (again that word) to believe there is so much more to making personal change, to addiction and recovery, and that is why the understanding of your drinking (or any unhappy habit) is so important.

If you understand where the urges come from and why, you can at least breathe a small sigh of relief in knowing the emotional acrobatics you are experiencing.

I have said in previous blogs that you cannot change anything you don’t understand. However, once you understand how we all function as humans (we all react in the same way, it’s just drinking has become ‘our way’),  we can start to un-weave our innocently faulty thinking and conditioning around alcohol, and in doing so begin re-directing our Unconcious Minds to the place of peace and balance it is always striving to maintain for us.  That, coupled with the choices you will be able to make and own, will ultimately bring you to freedom.

Exercise.  Before you reach for your next drink, knowing you want to quit, ask yourself,

  • “What emotion am I feeling/fearing?
  • How do I think this drink will make me feel?
  • What am I saying to myself to justify my drinking?

In one column write the answers you feel to be true (Unconcious Mind)  In the second, write down the answers you know to be true (Concious Mind).  Look at the differences.

Next week in Understanding Your Drinking (part 3), I will tell you how to start re-wiring your Unconscious Mind, your innocently faulty thinking,  and the importance of being kind to yourself in the process.

Check out my Working With Me & Practical Techniques for Recovery pages to see how I help others who are struggling x

Let me know if you need any help.

If you would like to keep up to date with my blogs, news & offers, click on the link for my Breakthrough Mentor Newsletter

Love & respect

PS, Be brave, be strong and know that you are not alone and you are definitely NOT your habit. x

 

 

Understanding Your Drinking (part 1)

As we travel on the highway to Sobriety, we will stop in various places for a cup of tea, maybe a scone and to take in the view.  Now all our highways and views are different. My road of choice is a winding costal lane with a view of the sea. You might prefer a trip down Rodeo Drive in an open topped little number, taking in the designer stores on the way.  It’s your journey to Sobriety, so you choose.

Whatever our avenue of choice is though, we would all like it to be sunny, with a clear view of the road ahead, without angry motorists causing us anxiety and self-doubt and probably with some music to complete the anticipation and excitement at reaching our final destination.

Being a true Brit, who loves a staycation (a holiday in my home Isles), I know the weather can be very changeable and my journeys have often started out wet, windy and cold.  I don’t mind.  I know that the wind and the rain make my favourite destinations the beautiful landscapes they are.  Without the variations in weather, the south of England would quickly become dusty and barren, no green grass, no meadow flowers, no sense of cleansing that comes after a storm. Even in a city, the streets are refreshed after a deluge. Storms always pass, to be replaced by another weather, one worth waiting for.

Bottom line, I don’t let the anticipation of stormy weather put me off my sober journey.  Do you?

Back to the challenge at hand, the booze. When did your drinking become a problem and how?  It’s just a bloody drink, a pick me up, a relaxant, a confidence boost, a de-stresser after a tough day, a light hearted, almost guaranteed, social glue. It’s the lubricant to a great night out (or in), it’s sexy and fun.  Everyone knows that, haven’t we all seen the adverts?………

The adverts.  Sitting in the cinema last week, there was an ad for a bottled beer.  Gorgeous young people, skinny and sun kissed, laughing in a group, carefree, happy and swigging beer.  The week before, in the same cinema (I do love a movie), there was an ad for a spirit.  Same concept, just slightly older group, maybe late 20’s in a slightly more sophisticated setting.  This time a glamorous party, the guests still gorgeous and skinny, only in this instance, a little more expensively dressed and coiffured.

The message was clear.  Alcohol is what made both situations fabulous.  It was the jewelled nectar that gave cohesion to both groups, that enabled men to approach women, boys approach girls and vice versus.  All were at ease and slightly disinhibited, well they would be wouldn’t they, as we all know, alcohol is a powerful drug.

I think I missed that part of the message in the ad though.  I didn’t see anywhere, even in the small print that alcohol is a narcotic, even though when you think about it, anything that changes your behaviour, must mean it alters your brain chemistry and is therefore a drug.  Agreed?  Or maybe not, but that’s for a later blog.

Then we have the mighty influence of television, where in the UK at least there are no alcohol adverts,  but everyone seems to drink and on every occassion (so probably more  powerful than any advertising).

There’s the pub scenes, the wine bar scenes, the restaurant scenes, the office scenes, the home scenes, the picnic scenes, the good times, the bad times and the list goes on.  From the aristocracy to the down-&-out, they all drink.

Another bottom line –  on television alcohol is everywhere.

I have also noticed since I stopped drinking that those on TV shows who don’t drink are either pregnant, ill or in recovery, and even they sometimes stray back into booze land.

Alcohol advertising isn’t new, I have happy childhood memories of  laughing at the ads for Dubonnet (Luton Airport luv) and singing along to the “Anytime, anyplace, anywhere….” joyful, catchy Martini song.

One of the biggest issues I have with the way alcohol is promoted is, that the adverts (now I admit mainly in cinemas), were then, and still are now, cleverly aimed at our far too impressionable young people who are gearing up for adulthood and all the ‘pleasures’ that come with it.

Pleasures that most have already witnessed in the home. Even those who come from ‘dry’ homes see it in other households, and those often seem, on the surface, to be more fun.

There is now the almost compulsory wine/beer after work to relax Mum and Dad, or children’s birthday parties where the parents and guests knock back a few, maybe a glass at dinner, or the tipsy BBQ –  all good, all fun, what’s not to love?

Is it really any surprise then that so many are lured into believing the powerful social conditioning around alcohol?  The conditioning that sees alcohol as harmless and an almost intrinsic part of a happy existance.  A conditioning that stays with most of us for life.

My son has grown up with an alcoholic parent and although he rarely drinks, he doesn’t view alcohol as the mind-altering drug that it clearly is.  And quite honestly if he doesn’t, its hard to expect anyone else too.

And so, when we are old enough (and for most of us, in our own minds at least, that time is our early teens), we start to drink.  I remember my first drink, it was Southern Comfort and it was disgusting.  I drank half a glass of it neat and almost passed out with the shock of the foul smelling, over sweet, revolting tasting liquid. For all of two minutes, until it hit my blood stream and I was on the floor blind drunk and laughing my head off. Classy bird.

For a very long time I viewed that unedifying episode as fun. I had grown into a giant of confidence and wit that evening, at least that is how I saw it.  The reality being it was humiliating and embarrassing to both myself and the others who witnessed it – except they too were drunk, thank God.  Then, because of that distorted view I had of the experience, of alcohol, and not withstanding how wretchedly ill I was for two days, I did it again and again.  The only learning I took from that evening was the quantity I could consume that would avoid my headlong rush from from sober to blind drunk.

If you ever needed proof of the power of social conditioning around alcohol, let me tell you about some friends of mine who have had serious cancer scares.  Really, really serious.  They stop smoking, change their diets, investigate all manner of alternative therapies, consult homeopaths, meditate, educate themselves about stress reduction and the power of a positive mindset.  They do everything in their power to give themselves the best possible chance of recovery, and still they drink.  They don’t want to be boring.  They need to relax. They deserve a glass of two with all that’s going on in their lives.  I hear all these reasons to drink, often given defensively.

These lovely, kind wonderful people, suffering from an appalling disease are beyond desperate to beat it and to stay with their loved ones.  All of them, without exception, are completely aware, because their Oncologists have told them, that there is a direct, scientifically proven and widely acknowledged link between certain cancers (breast cancer in particular) and alcohol yet still most of them continue to drink –  maybe not during treatment, but all of them once it has finished – and all because they ‘believe’ (social conditioning) the respite/pick me up effects that alcohol offers them.    I don’t actually know what more to say ………

But there is so much more I do need to say.  Social conditioning explains, to a very large degree, why we fall into the alcohol trap, why we start to drink,  but it doesn’t explain why we stay there.  It doesn’t explain why some can drink for a while, heavily even, and then stop without a backward glance.

I know the truth about the alcohol prison and social conditioning isn’t it.  The real monster lives, protected and fed by us, in our unconscious mind, in our feelings.  That is the monster that really needs to be understood.

Next week I will poke that monster with a sharp stick, and in doing so, poke you. I did say I was going to keep it real.

Check out my Working With Me & Practical Techniques for Recovery pages to see how I help my clients

Love & respect. x

If you would like to keep up to date with my blogs, news & offers, click on the link for my Breakthrough Mentor Newsletter

PS, Your Takeaway this week is –

Don’t let the fear of bad weather stop your Sober journey. Wrap up warm, check your windscreen wipers, drive carefully and START!

 

TimeLine Therapy – Peaceful Compassionate, Self-acceptance of Who You Really Are

Too many of feel that we are not good enough, not worthy, not deserving.  feelings that deprive us of the life of peace and joy we all deserve, and using food and alcohol in an attempt to comfort those losses.

We eat and drink in ways we are ashamed of, that make us feel we have to lie and hide what we do.   That cause us sleepless nights of worry.  And yet we still continue to repeat the same cycles in our attempts to self-comfort those painful feelings of ‘not enough’ away.

And because it is only ever comfort we are looking for, when we try to change the way we eat and drink, it can be very hard.  Especially when we don’t believe we can be, or deserve to be different, thoughts that further deprive us of the comfort we long for.

We are all, always doing our very best to be our best.

We are never trying to harm ourselves or our families, our children, husbands, partners, and yet stopping doing the things we know harms us all most, feels as though it is beyond our power.

It is not.

Imagine a different way of living for you, one you truly do deserve.

  • Imagine no longer feeling not good enough, but more than enough?
  • Imagine knowing and accepting who you are.
  • Imagine letting go of all your old Anger, Hurt, Sadness, Pain, Guilt & Fear in one relaxed, empowering session.
  • Imagine how much easier it would be to make better choices and decisions in the moment and future, relieved of old distresses

TimeLine Therapy is a wonderfully, unobtrusive process that gifts you the ability to easily let go of all your past pain, allowing you to move forward with confidence in yourself and your ability to be who you truly deserve to be.


I am a Master Practitioner of TimeLine Therapy,  and every client,  without exception,  has said they feel ’emotionally lighter’, ‘calmer, stronger and more empowered’ before they even leave the room.

We all need to emotionally let go of a past that no longer serves us to be our best, and it something that is entirely within us all.


TESTIMONIALS

“I feel so positive with a sense of lightness, I am walking with a spring in my step.  There has been a definite shift in my thinking.  I have noticed how much kinder I am being to myself – my internal voice is not giving me a hard time. I am feeling so much more at peace with myself. This is quite an amazing feeling. Thank you for helping me to feel like this! J Dickie

I had a TimeLine Therapy session with Sonia which I found to be incredibly profound form of treatment and very successful in treating me with my issue. The experience was enhanced as Sonia has a very warm and lovely manner, which enabled me to get the most out of the sessions in a safe environment. I would highly recommend an Emotional Cleanse session with Sonia to anyone. M Greene

Sonia made me feel relaxed, calm and very safe to explore my emotions. She took me through the process, carefully explaining each step of the way and was so lovely and kind that I felt able to say just what I needed to without feeling self-conscious – quite an achievement believe me. I can highly recommend this treatment as an emotional spring clean to help you to look to the future with a renewed enthusiasm.” J Ellis

“Incredible experience! I feel less anxious and stressed and feel back in control of my life.  Sonia you are amazing” N Thompson

I DEFINITELY feel so much better, my old heavy emotional baggage has gone.  I feel so much lighter and more capable.  I am making better choices in life and that is wonderful. K Morris


TimeLine Therapy is a wonderful addition to my Recovery Coaching process or as a powerful, one off intervention, and can be conducted either face to face, or in the comfort of your own home via Zoom

  • A life enhancing 2 hour TimeLine Therapy Session is £250
  • (very occasionally it does take longer, and the cost is £40 per extra half hour).

Click here, if you would like to book a free Recovery Coaching Assessment Call to see how I can best support your journey.

Or to learn more about, my ground breaking Recovery Coaching,

Or myself Sonia Grimes, and my journey, through my book, This Isn’t Me.

Love & respect

A Journey Into Drinking – Life in What-The-Fork

Before we set off on our journey to Sobriety, we must program the sat nav of us. We need to enter not only our desired destination, but our start point as well.  So, where is our current location? In my experience, for those of us who have decided to undertake the (seemingly) arduous road to Sobriety, we have somehow and inexplicably found ourselves stranded in a place called What-The-Fork (you get my meaning), which, to save time, I will abbreviate to WTF.

I wafted in to WTF in a mist of wine and vodka, young and happy(ish), at least on the outside. Glass in hand, WTF felt fun, relaxing, benign and welcoming.  Relieving me of stress and uncomfortable emotions, it just kept those good times rolling.  And they did roll, for a long time, until they didn’t. And for so much longer.

The change in life in WTF was insidiously slow and, to start with, almost imperceptible.  I do remember feeling less of me, less shiny, less happy, less peaceful, but life is like that isn’t it?  And at least in WTF I had a way of making myself feel more of the things I had started to feel less of.

It was easy.  My pick-me-up of choice, booze, was everywhere, not just in bars and pubs, but in all WTF’s pretty cottages, where doors were propped wide open, invisible arms waving me in.  I simply drifted into wherever was closest, downed another (and increasingly larger) glass of whatever booze was on offer, and the sun came out again.  For a bit………..

But then the bars, pubs & even the cottages, started to change.  These light, always sunny and welcoming establishments started, ever so slightly, to dim.  Faint dust motes of despair began their gentle downward spiral, landing, not only on shiny surfaces, but also on me.  To start with I would attempt to wipe the dust away with my fingers, smearing as I did the view I had of the preson I was, my ability to cope with life, my self-esteem. And over time, that dust of despair fell thicker and faster, dulling happiness and joy, choking out conversation and reasoning. For so many years I remained covered in volcanic proportions of that damn suffocating stuff, blinded by its unrelenting grey storm.

As the changes in WTF became more obvious, I started to wonder what on earth was going on.  I made a decision, “Ok, enough of this shit, I’m off”.  Then, in the very moment I decided to pack up and leave, the façade of WTF crumbled completely, its grim reality finally exposed.

It’s warm, sometimes fuzzy, welcoming and inviting embrace, became in an instant, a vice like iron grip. Cold, unforgiving and painful to the touch, it’s true hold became so tight that I struggled even to breathe. I knew immediately that I was trapped in  WTF.  I had become its prisoner, and one with no hope of parole.


Now, obviously WTF isn’t real in terms of bricks and mortar.  You can’t take a train there and it’s not on any bus route, so how was it constructed, why was its hold over me so cripplingly powerful and where did it exist?   The answers are frightening.

WTF was constructed by me, made powerful by me and existed only in my mind, in my thinking.

No transport, public or private, was necessary. I was already there.

In my next blogs, I am going to tell you how I built my WTF, the conditioning that was its foundation, the thoughts that grew its impenetrable walls.  It’s the same way we all build  our own WTF’s.

We cannot change anything we don’t understand.  We don’t know even where to start.

If we don’t recognise how are own internal WTF was constructed, short of bombing it and ourselves into oblivion, we can’t know how to take it down.

But when we do understand, when we know how our thoughts give rise to the edifices they build, when we know how to question our thinking,  when we step back from what we believe and allow other thoughts to take their place, the foundations of our WTF can turn from concrete to sand and dissolve before our very eyes.

With understanding comes clearer thinking and the possibility of new options. With options come freedom, if we choose to take that route.

So, fellow travellers, Understanding will be the first stop on our journey to recovery.

Until next week.

If you would like to keep up to date with my blogs, news & offers, click on the link for my Breakthrough Mentor Newsletter

Love and respect x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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