Drinking – Do I or don’t I?

November 2, 2016
Drinking - Do I or don't I

As a Health Coach, do I drink?

I’ve drunk lots and I’ve stopped drinking. I’ve tried only drinking on weekends, I’ve tried only drinking at parties, I’ve tried not drinking at parties, I’ve tried only drinking wine, I’ve tried only drinking beer, I’ve tried drinking one drink at parties. I’ve tried not going to parties, I’ve tried talking about it, I’ve tried not talking about it. Safe to say I’ve tried a lot of things.

 

I want to be real and I want to be honest. Drinking is a culture here in Australia, it’s apart of our weekends, our social events, our backyard BBQ’s. It’s apart of us. I completely respect people who don’t drink, whatever the reason.   But I also respect people who do drink. I don’t judge, who are we to judge your choices.

 

You may be reading this, because you feel you drink too much, or you want to drink less, you don’t know how to drink less, or you may just be interested in to know if I drink (being a Health Coach and all).

 

So do I drink? Yep I do.

 

I really like wine. I’m one of those people who genuinely enjoy a glass of wine while cooking, or a cold beer on a hot day. If I’m feeling a little sick, there’s nothing a Hot Toddy can’t fix. I thoroughly enjoy a glass of Prosecco, and I won’t say no to an afternoon Ginger Beer in the sun.

 

Do I have a problem? For a while there I thought I did, because I didn’t know how to give it up, and whether I wanted to completely. I was reading copious health blogs of women who had chosen to stop drinking. I began the comparison game.

Comparisonitis is never good.

 

So I had to get honest with myself. What does drinking too much feel like for me? I hate hangovers. I really hate them. I’m also one of those unfortunate people that get no sleep when I drink. I wake up tired, and usually hAngry. I hate it. My muscles ache, my head hurts, I’m overtired, and I’m not at all fun to be around. That’s hung over Abbey. I used to experience that a lot in my early twenties and late teens. It was what I did.

 

My friends and I would drink a lot; way too much. It was apart of our culture. We predrank before we went out (wow, that’s a term I haven’t used in a while), and then we drank while we were out. I would crawl into bed in the early hours of the morning and spend the next day violently ill or motionless. Vodka lime and soda was my drink of choice and throw in a bit of passion pop for shits and giggles. I even once bought my best friend 21 bottles of Passion Pop for her 21st Birthday. Yep, I did that.

 

When I hit my mid twenties, and I found I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I used to, and the hangovers got progressively less tolerable, I struggled. I was in this battleground of trying to be more aware of my health, eat better, exercise more, but come the weekend, I would binge drink and laze the days away. I would read health blogs of women who went to bed early, swapped beer for Kombucha, and would wake up early on Sunday for yoga and farmers markets. I wanted that so badly, but I didn’t know how to get there.

It may sound silly, but it was a tough transition, and not one that happened over night. My friends and our lifestyle involved drinking. We caught up at the pub, we had summer BBQ’s and beers in the park. Dinner parties involved copious bottles of wine. I had no idea how to completely stop, and still see my friends? I didn’t know how to go to the pub without having a beer. I didn’t know how to be at parties without drinking.

 

So what did and didn’t work? Cutting myself off from friends didn’t. Either did trying to change them. You can’t preach to or judge someone if they don’t jump onboard your new way of life.

 

What did work? Driving. I started to drive to events. It may sound silly, but it changed the game. I would take 1 or 2 beers, and drive to parties, to dinners, to BBQ’s. It ensured I was still under the limit and would be able to have the best of both worlds. I could go to the party, and wake up early for yoga. No hang over. It held me accountable for what I wanted. And actually what surprised me the most, was the conversation was better. When you’re sober you can really listen to people. And you can dance a hell of a lot better too.

 

All those early years of drinking to feel more confident! HA! It’s a sham. Confidence comes from loving who you are, and knowing who you are. I started to love myself when I chose to drink the amount I wanted. I was in control.

 

Working out why I wanted to drink less helped a lot. When you’ve got your why the how usually comes with ease.

 

I think it all begins with figuring out what works for you. What makes you happy? What makes you feel good? What lights you up? Do soulful chats and early nights? Or do you just love to party. That’s completely OK. I have plenty of friends who love to party all night long, and there’s absolutely no judgment from me. I just got to a point where it wasn’t for me anymore.

 

I’m happy if my Saturday nights involve the Lifestyle Channel, Grand Designs anyone? I love dinner parties over pubs, I love soulful chats over screaming above music, I love early nights over late starts. Maybe it is growing older. Maybe it is growing up. But do I drink? Yes

 

Do I ever get drunk? Yep, sometimes, I drink more than I plan and it happens.

 

Life is all about balance. I found myself a couple of weeks ago, at my good friends house celebrating, with 1 too many bottles of champagne. Do I regret it? I may have in the morning when my head was pounding for the first time in a while, and I was hangry (hangry is so real), but ultimately no. I had fun, I let loose, I was silly, I laughed, I danced. Do I need alcohol to do all those things? Not at all.

 

My next weekend involved soulful chats with my girlfriends over dinner, alcohol free. Did I miss it? It didn’t even cross my mind.

 

I now find solace in knowing I don’t need a drink, but when I choose to have a glass of wine, or have a cold beer, I truly enjoy it.

 

I would love to know if this is something you’ve struggled with? Or have you found your perfect sweet spot? Do you drink, or opt out? Let me know in the comments below, or feel free to contact me.

 

If you feel like this is something you’d love to chat more about and want to explore working together, contact me here or jump on my work with me page.

 

Much love

xx

 

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7 Comments

  • Reply Bec November 2, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    What a great strategy! I think I’ll use your tactic more often as sadly in our drinking culture an excuse gives you freedom to say no.

    Great post Abbey

    • Reply Abbey Lake November 8, 2016 at 9:54 am

      Bec such a good point you raise! When I first started driving, there would definitely be questions and a lot of why’s, but I guess over time, friends just except it as the new norm.
      Thanks for opening up more insights darling and good luck with the tactics xx

  • Reply Sue Michelle November 2, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Great article, Abbey! And drinking .. something quite close to my li’l Aussie heart. Especially bubbles.

    I haven’t yet found my sweet spot but like you, I don’t enjoy the hangovers or the crappy sleep .. and actually, I don’t even enjoy feeling drunk. But I do love the taste and the “occasion” of having a drink or four – even if I’m alone. There’s something so wind-down-ish about it. Currently, it’s my health and my weight that’s driving me to restrict my drinking to weekends .. and then my *cough, cough* maturity and smarter choices driving me to restrict the quantity in any one session. I’d love to be a non-drinking, yoga-loving, joyful health nut .. but I’m not there and not even heading there. I honestly don’t think it would suit me. But a healthier version of me? Yeah, that’s where it’s at. And right now, that does still include some drinking. As for the future though, who knows??

  • Reply Emma Fitts November 4, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Such a great article Abbey! I am the same as you – driving is such a good way for my to have fun – but not go so crazy that I cannot enjoy myself the next day. Thanks for sharing!
    Em | The Gratitude Butterfly
    http://www.thegratitudebutterfly.com

    • Reply Abbey Lake November 8, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Hi Em, isn’t driving such a great compromise! It’s like getting the cake and the cherry on top. Thanks for reading, and I absolutely love what you’re sharing on your blog! xx

  • Reply Michele November 5, 2016 at 3:00 am

    I am actually going through this right now. I have decided to stop drinking when I am in public, because I hate how I act when I get drunk in public (I sometimes make a fool out of myself). I plan on tackling this issue on my blog coming up, do you mind if I link this post?

    Michele | http://www.micheletheblog.com

    • Reply Abbey Lake November 8, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Hi Michele,
      Not at all, I would love for you to share this on your blog. It’s such an important topic I think needs more open & honest chat. Thanks so much for sharing and opening up with your own experiences. I would love to hear how it’s worked for you stopping drinking in public. I look forward to reading your blog xx

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