Alcohol – you either like it, love it or you choose to leave it.
Wherever you find yourself, you can benefit from learning how it plays a part in your life.
Question the Drink is just that, question why you’re drinking. It is a conversation starter, a seed to be planted, and a little nugget of reality.
Why is this important? Because far too often, we find ourselves not paying attention to the “why” and the “how” we drink. This can lead to problematic drinking.
Wait! I know you might be thinking, “I have no desire to stop drinking. I love it so much! I don’t think I have a problem. I drink like everyone else, this isn’t for me.”
I will have you consider the importance of getting real with how you feel when you say this. What emotions stir up for you? What is your inner voice saying?
To help you get started with this essential internal interview, here are some excellent questions to begin asking yourself:
- Why are you drinking? Is it an occasion, a party, celebrating something special, hiding your feelings, to relax? Just because?
- What feelings do you have when you drink? Are you sad, lonely, happy, joyful, stressed, tired, angry?
- How much alcohol do you consume at one time? On average, what is it? Is it a few glasses of wine per night? A few beers in one sitting? Maybe one cocktail such as vodka and soda? Or maybe three glasses of wine, six beers, 4 shots of tequila? Be specific – see below.*
- Who are you with when you do drink? A friend, a significant other, alone?
- Where are you? At home, a restaurant, a party, a happy hour, where specifically?
- If you were told you could not drink for a week, would this upset you? How about two weeks? Remember, you are told you cannot drink. What feelings come up for you? How does this make you feel? Are you stressed by this? Angry? Don’t care one way or the other?
- Have you vowed only to have one drink but found yourself having more than you intended? How did this make you feel after the fact? Were you upset with yourself? Feeling guilty?
Now that you have those questions answered, here are some tips to help you further:
- Make a Pros/Cons list of drinking. Be super honest here. Examples might be:
I drink because it makes me feel good. I despise being hungover
I have fun with my friends. I say things that I later regret.
It tastes good with my dinner. I’m spending too much money.
It is fun to go out partying at events. I can’t risk getting a DUI.
Do you see a theme in your list?
- Work on daily habits such as exercising, journaling, saying affirmations, making a gratitude list, looking at resentments from the past, praying, and meditating.
- Testing: If you were to try to moderate, to say you will have only one glass of wine or two beers, can you stay within that limit? If you try this a few times, are you successful? Did you want more? If so, why? Where were you? With whom? What were you feeling?
- Could you go a week without drinking? Most can so the question really is; Was it easy? Did you socialize like you usually would? Could you go 30 days without drinking? How does that make you feel to hear that proposal? Would you be willing to try it?
If at any point this was a struggle, you may want to consider the next steps. Exploring this journey further through a series of mindset exercises, tools to have for your social toolbelt, and having mutual support is recommended.
You may also benefit from working 1:1 with a coach, seeing a counselor or attending 12-step meetings. You don’t have to figure this out alone. (By partnering with someone 1:1, you will have the confidence in knowing your privacy is intact.)
Figuring out where you are with your relationship with alcohol is not only beneficial, it could save your life one day. Be the driving force now. Don’t wait until you are forced to make a change.
This isn’t called Quit the Drink, this is Question the Drink.
*A standard drink consists of 5 oz of wine, 12 oz of beer, 8 oz malt, 1.5 oz of liquor. Excessive drinking is 4 or more drinks in one sitting for women, 5 or more for men. Per week, the number is 8 or more drinks for women, 14 or more for men.