During my drinking years, my first waking thought was a dull, painful, despairing “What’s wrong with me?”, a thought that created the unexpressed sob of sadness, lodged, frozen in my chest, cooling the warmth of my loving heart , and all because I had drunk too much the night before, as I did every ‘night before’.
Each day , without fail, I would look in the mirror, into my frightened of life eyes, and promise myself that I would not drink tonight.
In all my promised ‘not tonight’s’ I would be the sober, engaged, emotionally stable mother, partner, friend I longed to be, but couldn’t quite find. And I would mean those promises from the bottom of my wounded heart.
Today would be the day that everything changed, that I changed.
Today would be the first day of my in control drinking life – I never promised myself a ‘never drinking again’ life – let’s not get carried away here, the thought of that was terrifying. No, I would settle for a safely ‘not every night drinking’ life. My decision was made (again).
And I would feel a little better about myself. Just enough for me to face my day and one-in-a-million son, with a crushing hug of love and a smile of hope, if not quite the happiness we both deserved.
But unbelievably, every day as the hours slipped by, my thinking would shift and the old thoughts of alcohol would, seemingly out of nowhere, sneak back in and, as they settled, they grew, literally multiplying in size and intensity, as I attempted to calm them, to control them, to plead with them, to find ways of working my way around them. It was both exhausting.
I would be pleading with myself, to protect me from me. To protect my health, my wellness, my mothering, and what almost felt like my sanity, from the harsh noise in my head.
I would be begging me to stop, and for reasons I never understood (but do completely now), I couldn’t/wouldn’t, and ultimately didn’t listen, and again, as with almost every night for 28 years, I seemingly ignored every instinct for my wellbeing and the wellbeing of my son, and drank, in tears after the first few sips (scratch that, gulps).
The constant cry from my heart, during those sad, isolating times, where I was so far from who I knew myself to be somewhere deep inside was, “What’s wrong with me?” and “Why can’t I change?”
And the answer, the simple compassionate answer, that I now know to be absolutely true of myself, and true of you too, is that nothing was wrong with me (or you).
I wasn’t broken, or flawed, I wasn’t weak or a failure, I just didn’t know how to stop, and nor do you. Because if you did, by God you would.
I hope that your drinking life isn’t the same chaos as mine. But the fact that you are taking the time to read this, means that you drink in a way that concerns you, and that concern ultimately is about your inability to stop – maybe not completely, but to choose when you drink, rather than feel compelled to, and to be able to let go of your energy sapping alcohol thinking, feeling storm that overwhelms you to the point where you have to drink to end it. You just have to.
I understand you completely and I know why you can’t (just for now) make the changes you deserve.
You drink in the way you don’t like for ONE reason and ONE reason only.
To make yourself feel better – whatever feeling better is to you in the moment.
And here is where the problem truly lies, you drink with the INTENTION of making yourself feel better, which of course is in direct conflict with what you KNOW on every intellectual level possible, that feeling better will not be the result.
In fact you are completely aware that you will feel worse, and that knowledge makes absolutely no difference, as your INTENTION, your perceived need for alcohol as your method of ‘comfort’ is always so much more powerful.
So, what is your intention behind your evening glass of wine?
Maybe it’s to find a little peace, a bit of calm, some you time, some confidence, to feel less lonely.
Or maybe your evening glass of wine is a marker at the end of your working day, before you start on your most demanding ‘evening’ job of being a mother. The job you love most in the world, and gives the most to you, yet takes the most from you too, both physically (cooking evening meals, homework supervision, dog walker, extra curricular activities driver – wow, that’s exhausted me just writing it), as well as emotionally (confidante, comforter, worry remover) whatever you are needed to be when you are at your most depleted.
When you are tired, probably hungry and needing some quite time and a bit of comfort yourself.
And in the absence of acknowledging your own basic, simple to deliver, with a little pre-planning, tweaking and communication requiring needs, you ignore you and push forward and use wine to deliver the ‘comfort’ you truly need.
You treat yourself as though you are a machine and wine is the fuel of your engine. Wine ‘get’s you through’, ‘helps you relax’ and of course it doesn’t do either, but you have learnt to believe it does, and then you beat yourself up for trying to comfort yourself!!
Do you recognise you here? I definitely
You go to bed, ‘wined up’, probably have a poorer nights sleep, feel low the next day and promise yourself, ‘not tonight’.
You are back on the hamster wheel of your drinking, and you will stay there in discomfort and unhappiness, until you start to shift your awareness of you back to you, and acknowledge and care for you.
Ultimately you cannot change because you have lost sight of who you are, what you need and your deservedness and self-loving responsibility for delivering those simple needs. And, in your innocent awareness of what is going on, you focus on the alcohol being the problem that needs to be addressed, when it is your lack of understanding of you, lack of connection of you to your needs and self-care of you that is the issue.
Then, (and here’s the A word again), in the absence of any awareness of what you are lacking, your ‘need’ for alcohol, or your fear of life without it, will never go. It can’t. For now you feel that alcohol brings you ‘comfort’ and you cannot live uncomforted.
Effortless change starts with the intentional awareness of what you are looking for, in intention, when you pick up the glass for your first drink.
From that intentional awareness, you can start to gently question yourself and listen to your answers.
Take the few seconds that is all you need to ask yourself “What do you need from me right now darling?” then pause, breathe deeply and allow your answers to bubble up from your heart, from your soul. They always come when you allow them too, when you ask yourself with kindness and love. One thing I can absolutely promise you is that alcohol will not be one of them!
Allow yourself to receive your gratefully acknowledged, heartfelt answers of “I need some rest/quiet time, a hug, some fresh air, a kind word, nourishment” and you will notice with relief that you can deliver all of them to you. Even the hug and the kind word.
Everything starts with with how you are towards you.
In that simple asking of me, what I needed from me, and trusting myself to consistently easily deliver, my ‘need’ for the non-comforts, of alcohol no longer existed. It really was as simple and self-loving as that.
There is no effort to changing the way you drink, there is never any effort in loving yourself. You have simply forgotten how to.
Yes, it is very helpful and supportive to have some simple strategies to keep you safe as you re-connect with you, but they are part of who you are, nothing new to learn, just to re-connect with.
Change seems hard to you because you are putting all your energy on trying to PUSH open your door to peaceful freedom, when all it needs is a gentle PUSH, you just can’t see the sign.
If you are ready to re-connect with who you are, on the most joyful journey back to peace and freedom, let’s talk. I offer a COMPLIMENTARY 20 Minute Recovery Coaching Call, and that alone will offer you the start of the awareness you need to be peacefully free.
If you are ready to be peacefully free, with ease and confidence, contact me here.
The life you and your loves deserve it waiting for you it and it always will be, it is who you are and how you are designed to live.
Love & respect
If you would like to know more about how my unique Recovery Coaching works, take a look at my How I Work For You page.
And, finally, I promise, if you would like to know more about my journey into and safely out of addiction, here’s the link to my Internationally Acclaimed book, This Isn’t Me. x
You are heartsick of the way you drink. Of feeling out of control before you pick up the first glass, almost tearful from the exhausting inner struggle of “I want/I don’t want, please stop me” around alcohol.
A struggle that has built over your day to the point where you feel almost battered into submission, and defeat (and drinking) is inevitable. Again………
Every day you make the decision that THIS. IS. IT!
You are going to do it, you are going to change the way you drink (not stop for ever, you want to be able to raise a glass of something chilled at a celebration. You want to enjoy a social night out, and why should’t you?)
And you are going to stick with it, for your family, for your health, your relationships, your work – you know your reasons.
And how do you always feel having made the decision of ‘ENOUGH’?
Do you feel empowered and excited at the thought, or does your ‘stopping’ fill you with fear and dread?
And if it does fill you with fear or dread, why does it, when you know, on every intellectual level that these changes are potentially the most necessary of your life?
There can be many reasons why stopping/cutting down/cutting out your poison cause you distress, and when that distress is present, it makes your journey feel even harder. It is even harder, and here are the two, completely intertwined, reasons why.
First, Starting with the stopping is always the hardest way.
It is not the result, but it is always the intention.
And behind that intention, there is a process you go through every single time you return to you poison.
It is never, ever, any other way around.
Whilst you act on your feelings, your ‘cravings’, they are the second step of the process, the first one always being your thinking, which creates your feelings, which lead you to re-act.
Picking up the wine glass the slab of cake is only ever the end result of the thinking, feeling process, and it is your attempt to comfort that thinking, feeling storm.
This is an absolute truth.
Can you see now why starting with the stopping is so hard – is actually almost guaranteed to let you down, when you start with trying to stop at the end result of the process?
‘Stopping’ means you are left with your unhappier thinking, which creates the feelings, which you have to comfort. You just have to. Again, do you recognize yourself here?
Now all of the above, is actually absolutely fantastic news, as one of the only things you have any control over is your thinking – the first step of the process.
Release your thinking, and there are no feelings, no cravings, there is no need to re-act. No need for comfort. It is as Halle-flippin’-lujah, simple as that!
When I suddenly shifted from mad drunk/binge eater, it happened in a ‘thinking’ instant. I didn’t know the what or the why and I didn’t care, it was more than enough to be free. Easily. I mean WTF!
I know now, understand and have the language and simple strategies to deliver that WTF moment to you, through the unique Rapid Alcohol Recovery Method.
Some of my clients have been to rehab more than once.
However, all who accept the above as being the truth of what the hell is going on in their inner world, have peaceful release – not control, control takes an energy you don’t always have, and most even drink / enjoy sweet treats occasionally without going back into freefall.
If 2020 is your year. If it is your time to step and make the commitment to you that will change your life, contact me today.
Nothing will change whilst you continue attempting to ‘start with the stopping’. It is just too damn hard.
My Recovery Coaching comes from a place of complete understanding of your struggle, as well as the compassion and skills I have gained on my own journey, and I now offer the joyful awareness and strategies that take you to release and back to the peace and balance you and your loves deserve in just 6 weeks.
After your first session you will have the relief of understanding of your pain, plus two simple, within you all the time strategies, to show you that everything I write is the reality of where you are now and why you are stuck – how empowering is that?
I deserved the gift of peaceful freedom. You do too.
Contact me here and we can arrange a complimentary, no obligation, chat to see the best way to peaceful release for you.
Love & respect
According to Industry Today, in 2015 the weight loss & weight management industry was valued at, take a deep breath here, $158.2 billion. Yes, billion, and it is the ONLY billion dollar industry that doesn’t work!
Can you imagine any other industry that fails its customer consistently and still keeps growing?
Yet, even though we can clearly see its failure all around us, week after week, month after month, year after year, we pour our hard earned cash into its greedy marketing machine, the one that doesn’t deliver on its promise of our dream body and the life that we feel must come with it.
There are the pound smashing wellness clubs/resorts/retreats. There are beautifully photographed recipe and healthy lifestyle books, often bestsellers and, on the whole, excellent – although there is plenty of weird and unrealistic stuff out there too.
I have found that over 90% of the healthy eating plans are straightforward, sustainable, inexpensive and absolute time savers. Having a body we are rightly proud of and love is easy then isn’t it? Sadly, no, it clearly is not.
Then there is also the plethora of pound shedding products; low-calorie/low-fat/low-sugar ready ‘meals’, shakes, powders, pills and so the list goes.
As does the obesity crisis, a huge drain on the NHS and a source of immense pain to those who struggle helplessly with their body image. A crisis that daily grows bigger and bigger too (excuse the pun).
Why? We are not idiots. Most of us know roughly what to eat and how. We may need a few tweaks and a bit of sensible food information, but it really is not rocket science.
Here’s my YOUtrition 100% sure-fire route to shifting those pesky pounds.
“Eat wholefoods when you are hungry, cut down on processed sugar, drink lots of water and move more”.
Lesson over, super body achieved. No book, no class, no handing over of more cash that could better be spent on, well, just living.
So, what’s the problem? It is very simple. Not one of these super easy, super healthy plans even touch the sides of the real issue. It is not the food. It is not the drink. It never was.
It is the way we think and feel about the food, the drink. It is about what we feel it will relieve us of in tougher/sadder/tireder times. What pain it will allow us to avoid or take away. What comfort it will offer. It is all about our emotions.
I know I bang on about this, but from my own experience of alcohol addiction & recovery, no book, no support group, no intervention, nothing made any difference to my drinking, until, after 27 years, I changed the way I thought and in doing so I instantly changed my emotional default settings around the ‘comfort’ of drink. And that was it, I was done.
If you are not sold on my message, ask yourself this,
- “Why on a ‘good’ day can I stick with my healthy plan and on a ‘bad’ day I struggle and give in?
- “Why does the crap I know will further ruin my day seem the ONLY way to make myself feel better?”
“How do I feel this wine/cake will make my ‘bad’ day better?”.
“What am I expecting the food / alcohol, I am pouring into my mouth to achieve, when the problem I am asking it to solve is not in my stomach?”
The answers to these questions can’t be found in any recipe book, clubs or in food (no matter how healthy).
The answers are in YOU.
They are lodged in your emotions and until you address those emotions. Until you understand accept and resolve those emotions, you will continue to spend your money and repeat a cycle that you KNOW doesn’t work and feel worse and worse about yourself with every ‘failure’. Let’s stop this now!
This takeaway is part of my Coaching strategy, give it a go. It works!
Just before your next food/wine smash and grab, ask yourself.
- What emotion am I feeling right now that makes me want to eat/drink this?
Maybe you will say, ‘fed up’, or ‘bored’ or ‘lonely’. Maybe something else.
Drill down. For every answer you give yourself, ask yourself,
- “What does this mean to me?” and again, and again, until you get to the bottom line. There is always a bottom line.
Acknowledge the bottom line emotion, it needs to be heard and understood. And as you work your way down to that emotion, your attention will be focused away from your desire and your craving will start to fade.
Merely by questioning what you are truly feeling over and over again, you will gain a new understanding of your actual needs are and be able to properly address them (if you choose too). Your mood will shift and the craving will simply drift away.
Free 15 Minute Discovery Coaching Call
If you need compassionate support & understanding to change your emotional default settings around food and alcohol, check out my Breakthrough Mentoring & contact me to see how I can help
Love & respect xx
It’s 6 am and I am up and out in the garden with my Gorby Girl and a huge cup of green tea. I would like to tell you I am in my daily sober zen zone, that I have stretched and meditated, and am calm and focused on the day ahead. Except I am not. My puppy is running around barking at frogs, I have just spilt tea on my leg (it really hurts) and I am emotionally gearing myself up for a visit from one of my gorgeous brother’s who drinks like a fish. Happy Saturday!
Now as a formerly (drunk) mother, you may think that I shall be employing some form of majestic, iron clad willpower to resist the tidal wave of booze that is coming my way this afternoon. That I must be putting my emotionally protective soldiers in place, bayonets ready, to ward off any temptation. Maybe planning out my strategies and the conversations I might need to employ to stay in my sober zone. None of those are true.
I have willpower, an abundance of the stuff in fact, but I never utilize it to not drink. I don’t need to.
We only need willpower to resist doing what we desire, the things we do want to do, not the things we truly don’t. And because of our desire, it is the hardest, least successful method of long term change.
Last week was tough for me on a number of levels. I won’t bore you with details, but it ground me down and certain events caused me a great deal of emotional upset. For me, drink is off the table. It’s just not an option. There is no desire. Been there, done that, nearly killed myself, so no thanks. Cheesecake however holds center place. I think for the last 5 days out of 7, I have bought cheesecake to comfort myself. And on some levels it has.
We wouldn’t eat the crap, drink the booze if there was no sense of comfort gained, temporary though it only ever is.
However last night I went shopping and didn’t buy the cheesecake. I saw it, still wanted it and an inner tussle ensued. This time though I employed my PAUSE and in that pause, before my willpower was called into action, I re-thought the ‘why’ of my ‘need’ for cheesecake I understood and acknowledged the ’emptiness’ I was trying to fill, and let the thoughts of cheesecake drift away. Great stuff. I left the shop contented, in peace and went home happy.
However, had I actually allowed myself to enter into the internal dialogue, the fight of should I/shouldn’t I, the self-justifications versus the recriminations, I might have been able to walk away with my willpower coming out on top (doubt it though). But how would I have felt? Triumphant, yes (over ignoring a cheesecake……..!), but also exhausted, probably on some inner level upset that I was missing out and definitely fearing the next time I would have to employ my weary willpower.
But by recognizing my thinking of what I expected from this over sweet, processed sugar fest, by asking myself what I actually needed emotionally, by acknowledging how I was feeling and giving myself an emotional cuddle – I have even got into the habit of putting my arms round myself wherever I am and whenever I need it – I was able to let go of my desire, my ‘cheesecake want’ and move on without even asking my willpower to join my unhappy inner party.
At the risk of repeating myself, which I will because this point is so important, we only need to use willpower against something we desire.
Understand and acknowledge the emotional ‘why’ of your wants and desire is lessened, making choice much easier because you no longer feel you are missing out on anything. And when you truly feel you are not missing out, desire simply drifts away and willpower becomes redundant
Initially, in tougher time, at least to start with, desire may well come back, maybe in a different form, but the same strategy of understanding and acknowledging does work and you will build your truly comforting resilience muscle. So much more effective than any willpower.
So, this afternoon I will have my lovely, kind, funny and no doubt very drunk brother to stay. He will come back from the pub with my son – God help my precious boy – where he will, no doubt, have honoured our Irish heritage with a few ill thought out ditties before stumbling back here with vodka.
I will be sitting serene(ish) in my garden with my tonic water, struggling to understand his anecdotes. My willpower though unemployed in that moment, will be fiercely called upon tomorrow morning, as I am already weary with the knowledge that I will have to get out of bed and walk Gorby at 6am on a Sunday morning after only 4 hours sleep.
Love & respect
If you would like to know more about my journey to sobriety, check out my memoir, This Isn’t Me.
To understand how I help clients, take a look at my Working with Me page, and Practical Techniques for Recovery page.
Or join the Breakthrough Community Newsletter for regular updates and support
9am. Today is the day you won’t have that glass of wine at ‘Wine O’Clock’, usually a loosely acceptable 6pm. Maybe you drank too much last night. Maybe your waistband has more of a bite to it then the expected nibble. Only you know – although you may also have the creeping dread that others might also know too after last night……. Anyhoo. Today’s the day. No more booze.
11am. Nope, still not drinking tonight. Feeling better, a few strong coffees inside you, maybe a pastry to replace the lost carbs, a nice little sugar spike to lift you up. Better still, you were really on it this morning and ate something that has actually benefited you, think eggs or porridge. Whatever, your resolve is strong.
4pm. God you’re tired/bored/fed up, or even had a great day. For good or bad, a glass of wine is in order. You need and/or deserve it and, “What the heck, you don’t have a problem with alcohol and you’re only going to have the one (thankfully a bucket sized one with your new on-trend wine glasses….)
Sounding a depressingly familiar cycle? It was mine.
So, where has your resolve gone? The fact is that, even though you don’t articulate or acknowledge the thoughts, you feel you have no choice but to drink.
All the self-justifications you come up with are designed to hide the fact that wine has started to control you. Your ‘good reasons’ for drinking are trying to protect you from a knowledge that will cause you pain. It’s not you, it’s how our brains work.
Breaking News! Even if this cycle happens every day, you can change your drinking, and simply, when you understand how.
There is always a space, a pause, between your ‘I need a drink’ hijacked thoughts and the physical act of picking up the bottle, pouring a glass and then drinking it, and in that pause is immense power.
In that pause is who we want to be, the non-drinker in control of our actions, the more engaged parent and partner, with healthier self-esteem, self-respect and a looser waistband. In that pause is US.
Pausing before taking action changes everything, instantly.
I remember on the few occasions I was able to not drink, that I used the pause. I didn’t know it then, it came as one of my insights, but it resonates completely now and it works.
The truth is that I couldn’t have stopped my drink cycle once the bottle, not even the glass was in my hand, but I could stop before I picked up the bottle.
I could, and did, for some reason and out of nowhere, take a few deep breathes, remember through the storm clouds of my addictive thinking, who I wanted to be, acknowledge the damage my drinking was causing and understand completely that it would only make everything worse. I could even, and this is probably the most powerful part, grasp a glimpse of who I really was. And I could, in that moment, in that pause, not pick up the bottle.
Yes, I always felt shaky afterwards, but shaky with relief, not desire for alcohol. I clearly remember my watery, tearful smile of truimph in the mirror, but I didn’t understand what emotional acrobatics had taken place. And, as usual, the not knowing, meant not understanding and so I couldn’t move forward and repeat the cycle. I had no insight and no awareness. I do now.
Practice Your PAUSE
The next time the thoughts of “I need a drink” come. PAUSE. Ask yourself, “Why do I need a drink?”
Before you mindlessly reach for the bottle, the glass. PAUSE. Ask yourself, “What will happen if I do drink?” and “What will happen if I don’t?”
Recognise your thoughts for what they are. Yes, they are, for now, a habit, a repeated behaviour but you have the choice to act on them or not. They have no physical expression unless you give it to them. PAUSE
Recognise that the feelings/emotions you want to avoid, will pass. You know they do. They always do. PAUSE
Then breathe slowly and deeply, still your mind, let your thoughts drift to a beach, a sunny day, your children laughing, whatever makes you happy. This will change your emotional state. Hug yourself in comfort if necessary and remember who you really are, not how repeating your habit makes you feel. PAUSE, then act.
The pause allows you to think clearly, it allows you to see the urge for what it is and the reality of what it offers. In seeing your urges for what they are, simply thoughts, they become weaker, you become stronger and you will be free x
As with any new practice, PAUSING may feel strange, but it will also feel empowering. It does work and every successful pause makes the next one easier.
Love & respect
If you would like to know how I help clients, check out my Working With Me page.
If you want to know a little more about how I overcame 27 years of alcoholism, take a look at my book, This Isn’t Me
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