Reshaping My Relationship With Alcohol

relationship with alcohol

If you are on any social media platform I assume you are faced with the complexities and duality of alcohol and the human experience.  As I scroll through my feed I find plenty of overused one liners about “mommy needing her juice” and filtered images of wine glasses filled to the brim.  I continue scrolling to find a post from a newly sober woman; white knuckling her way through holidays and stressful events while manically posting about her latest mocktail obsession. IT ALMOST TASTES LIKE AN APEROL SPRITZ!

Scroll, scroll, scroll… an AA recovery chip selfie…scroll, scroll, scroll…an ad for a free recovery app.  Is Instagram trying to tell me something?

I frequently ruminate on my relationship with alcohol.  There are typically two times the internal dialog arises.  The morning after I imbibe one too many glasses of the red elixir known as Chianti, I usually wake up covered in a thick blanket of anxiety and regret.  Even if the evening was spent laughing with my husband on the couch watching a movie, I will wake up feeling as though I sent a nudie pic to my mother-in-law at 3am.

The other time I question my relationship with alcohol is when I’ve abstained for some time.  I’ve had a single glass of wine since March 4th. For no other reason then I really just haven’t been in the mood to drink.  But that will make me question why? Why do I notice that I’ve gone that long without drinking? Why do I feel somewhat superior to others for not drinking? Does this mean I don’t have the gene? Alcoholism runs deep in my family.  My father was a recovering alcoholic the last five years of his life.  His father was an alcoholic and I think it’s safe to assume my grandfather’s father, an Irish Bostonian, was one too. I’ve seen what the effects of alcohol abuse can do to relationships, family businesses, and one’s own demise so I’ve needed to be painfully aware of my own urges.

Do we need to have alcoholics in our family to be thoughtful of our relationship with alcohol? Do we need to hit rock bottom to stop? Are the only options abstaining entirely or having a bottle constantly ready for pouring in the fridge? My challenge to you is to be aware of your relationship with alcohol without judging yourself for where you currently sit with it.  Having self-compassion and kindness towards your own experience will help you navigate this journey with a clear head. When you look at alcohol as I have for the past 12 years – bitter, resentful, embarrassed, guilt-stricken – you spend more time feeding a narrative of defending your actions with alcohol, rather than forgiving yourself for not knowing better and looking towards a beautiful future with or without alcohol in it.

I hate to break it to you (to us all!), but there are absolutely no benefits to drinking. Not one. We’ve read the articles that state a glass of red wine a day can provide antioxidants but I’ll take my chances assuming most of us aren’t buying organic wine where the antioxidants would outweigh the insane amount of chemicals and sulfites pumped into every barrel.
If you aren’t ready to tackle the generational trauma and habits of how alcohol was introduced into your life, think about the future of alcohol in your own home for your children’s sake.  What role do you want alcohol to play during family functions? How will you speak to your children about drinking and parties? What tools will you teach your children to have in their back pockets when stressful times arise? What tools will you use to lead by example with when you yourself are stressed?
If you are ready to address your own relationship with alcohol – here are some questions I’ve started to ask myself when the itch to drink desperately wants to be scratched:
– What about this current situation is making me want to drink?
– Do I typically drink during this event / time / emotional response? Why?
– What could I do instead to feel a different emotion?
Sometimes, you just want to celebrate and have a drink. That is OK! There is something ceremonial about a glass of red wine when I’m out to dinner with my husband sans children. If you can have a healthy relationship with alcohol, have one.  But my assumption is if you clicked on this article, you may be interested in redefining the boundaries with alcohol in your own life.
I have not provided any quick tips or tricks to combat alcohol abuse because this is a long journey of self discovery.  This is not an article about mocktail recipes or distractions. The journey towards self-compassion and self-awareness is a difficult one.  Noticing areas of your life you want to change is a step that can be clouded in judgement. Try to approach any area of improvement with love and understanding and the process will be kinder.  I am on this journey with you.
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Lauren D
Lauren is a Providence-based mom of two young boys. After moving to Providence with now-husband, Michael, in 2013, Lauren was desperate to find her local tribe of women sharing similar aspirations and challenges. She enrolled in a yoga teacher training program and began teaching yoga at Providence Power Yoga where she was connected to a new community of like-minded individuals. Lauren worked at Hasbro as a Human Resources Specialist before stepping away to raise her new baby boy in 2019. As an ambitious and career motivated individual, she had every intention of returning to work after her maternity leave, but was sidelined by the sudden death of her father three short weeks after the birth of her son. With a newfound appreciation for family and the fragility of time, her focus went from career to caregiver very quickly. She gave birth to her second son in October 2020; officially becoming a mom of two boys under two. Follow along as Lauren navigates life from the perspective of a woman still treading water in the deep-end of grief, new motherhood, shifting self-identity and marriage - all while attempting to find the humor in every minute of it. Born and raised in New Hampshire, Lauren finds solace in creating and maintaining that same community-feel by joining local groups, like the Providence Mom contributors group, to relate to other mothers facing similar daily challenges. When Lauren isn't elbows deep in diapers and milk-stained laundry, she can be found out walking nature trails with her husband, the boys and their chocolate lab, Otis. Once they go to bed, though, she can be found horizontal on her couch watching Real Housewives (of any city), vigorously texting with her closest friends and sipping on a hot cup of tea.