Sometimes things fly out of my mouth and surprise me! I’m like…where the heck did that come from? I thought I was so done with that and moved on to growth? A few times since I quit drinking I’ve actually stopped myself in my tracks with comments I’ve made to friends, spewing out a wine-ism that has become a basic part of our culture, especially if you’re a middle aged woman. Things I no longer believe with my thinking brain have shown up in my conversation. Like telling my buddy to relax and have a wine when they’ve had a hard day.
You’ve heard them all I’m sure, the wine-isms. Save water, drink wine. Uncork & unwind. Or one of my favorites ‘you be my glass of wine, I’ll be your shot of whiskey’. Over the last few years these cute little sayings have become totally ingrained in our culture to the point where we don’t even notice them. They are one of the things that have completely normalized drinking behavior.
I spent months researching addiction, brain physiology and cultural influences before I actually stopped drinking so I was honestly shocked the couple of times I blurted out this bullshit. It gave me a huge reality check of how deep these sentiments reach in our psyche – so far down we don’t really know they’re there. Dear One, if it’s in me it’s likely in you too. Our beliefs about alcohol may be so ingrained that our thinking mind accepts them as fact which means we go about our life without questioning them.
Our beliefs are not built with a plan; they are developed by our non-thinking, unconscious mind. This happened mostly when we were growing up but is also shaped by our cultural influences. Core beliefs can be tricky because it’s much harder to change something you don’t even know exists. Dr. Mark Schaller, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia, says “Sometimes nonconscious effects can be bigger in sheer magnitude than conscious ones, because we can’t moderate stuff we don’t have conscious access to.” It’s like the fish swimming in water who doesn’t even know the water is there. We are swimming in our upbringing and influential wine culture without noticing it exists. But, Baby Doll, there is a spark somewhere inside you trying to get your attention. That’s why you’re attracted to my work, why you keep showing up to read this stuff (thank you for that)…questions are starting to appear, yay you!! There are cracks showing up in your armor and we are going to bust it wide open. How? How on earth do you change something you’re not aware of?
The metamorphosis starts when you simply begin noticing your thoughts around The Drink. What pops into your head when you’re looking forward to having one or when you’re heading out to meet friends? Start shining some light on those thoughts and ask yourself if it is really true? You think you need a glass of wine to relax? Is that absolutely the only way you can unwind? How about a walk or a bath with essential oils? How about some sleep? Get real Girlfriend, don’t bullshit yourself – ask the hard questions. Start to pay attention to wine marketing (it’s astounding how they totally nail women) and the posts on social media about “Wine Time” and “Mama needs her wine.” Ponder. You don’t necessarily have to change your actions but at least start noticing what’s going on.
Your unconscious mind, the one you aren’t aware of, is controlling your behavior, isn’t that crazy! I’m not making this up, it’s simply your neurophysiology. This conditioning is why, despite your best efforts and desire not to drink, you reach for a vino at the end of the day even when you don’t really want to. But you can change the way you think which alters the neuro patterns in your brain and ends up changing your behavior. The first step is to not believe your own thoughts!
Try these steps:
- List 5 things you remember about alcohol when you were growing up. It could be your own experience or something your parents told you. Here are some of mine as an example: drinking is very fun, it is something important I do with my friends, drinking makes everyone happy. You can see I had a very positive association with alcohol which may be why I loved it so much!
- Become aware of your thoughts and limiting beliefs then question and investigate For example:
Unhelpful thought: Parties are no fun without drinking.
Question to yourself: What is fun about a party?
Answer: The atmosphere & vibrant energy, the people, the dancing, the conversation, the laughs.
Question: Could I enjoy any of these aspects without alcohol?
Question: Is it possible I could have fun at a party without alcohol?
New thought to replace old thought: I am totally having a blast at social events without alcohol.
- Start catching yourself and go through this process every chance you can. Question what pops into your head then replace the thought with a new one. I’m not saying you’re going to believe the new thoughts immediately but if you keep examining your unconscious beliefs you will shake them down and create new ones which are very important for making a better life for yourself. I also found writing a lot of this stuff down was very helpful too.
I am working on a little course for you exactly about this subject – how to change your mindset around living alcohol free. I feel this work was a cornerstone for me to successfully make a huge change in my life and I look forward to sharing it with you. Thanks again for being here with me!
If you’re ready to grab a FREE copy of my best tips to start to explore your relationship with alcohol click on the link at the top of this page! These simple ideas started me on the road to happily living alcohol free, even when I never would’ve believed it could happen. xox Donna
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