I’m an all or nothing sort of gal. When I decide to do anything, I go big. I’m not a dabbler. This is especially true with things that feel good at the time I’m doing them, but maybe not so great in hindsight like Ben & Jerry’s, coffee, white Russian daiquiris or donuts.
I gave up alcohol almost 3 years ago. Most people can’t fathom why anyone would do such a thing unless there was a problem, but after 30 some odd years of consumption I was just over it.
Every morning I woke up more exhausted from the previous evening’s liquid assault on my body and one morning I just decided I was no longer interested in feeling like shit every day, and I quit. I tied it in with the anniversary of cigarette cessation, my greatest accomplishment to date, because I figured they belonged together somewhere outside of my own reality. As the no smoking anniversary approached (which I celebrate annually- this year, 13 years and running thank you very much) I thought it would be great to just tie these two nasty habits of mine together and be done with it. I joined them forever, in eternity, somewhere other than on my daily calendar. It worked.
I never got the thundering headaches and nausea that many people suffer with when they have hangovers, but what I did get was clear and utter exhaustion from my body trying to process the toxins I had poured into it. The more years I added to my life, the less desirable wasting my precious time in recovery mode interested me.
Now I get up every day, alive, clear headed, and feeling RESTED, I see the entire world through a different set of lenses. Colors are more vibrant. Life… amazing L-I-F-E… is everywhere. I hear birds sing, the wind blowing through the trees, I enjoy the intoxicating smell of flowers…all of my senses are awake and tuned on to the beautiful events happening around me. All of these seemingly innocuous things that we generally take for granted become sources of great joy.
When you wake up hung over, all of your attention is focused on removing the current discomfort (pain) in your life.
- Nausea is usually handled by piling in some less than desirable carbs and fat.
- The headache is handled by popping a few pills (NSAID’s ruin the gut).
- Exhaustion is handled by tossing in some adrenal exhausting stimulants (coffee and sugar)
- Dehydration is handled by drinking some “electrolyte rich liquid” named after swamp creatures (sugar rush).
All of these actions might offer you some perceived relief, but they are ALL bad for your system, compounding your current situation. The day’s roller coaster ride of adrenal exhaustion and blood sugar surges begins as you as you wake up and start consuming more crap.
Alcohol consumption is a touchy subject and why we drink is an even hotter issue. For many of us we figure a drink or two every day isn’t a problem. The consumption of anything intended to help us “change our state” (food, drugs, alcohol) indicates a bigger problem or as I like to call it, the root cause of your behavior.
Alcohol suppresses the production of prostaglandins which help to keep inflammation down in the body. When they are low, it helps to promote gut inflammation. It also suppresses innate and adaptive immune system making you more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. It also makes it very difficult for your body to fight cancer. If you are interested, you can read more about how alcohol negatively affects the body by clicking through to this NIH report on alcohol.
I am convinced that alcohol consumption is at the core of my gut issues. Having worked in the service industry for decades, then the music industry (both environments rampant with abuse) AND living in New Orleans for 20 years – ummm yeah….I’ve done some drinking in this lifetime.
I cannot change what has happened in my past, but what I can do is change what I am doing presently. Recovering from years of internal abuse takes time. Deciding if change is right for you boils down to this….are you feeling crappy? Is there enough pain (yet) to make you realize that it’s time for change?
If you worry about the effects of alcohol on your body, all I can say is this. Alcohol, like Ben & Jerry’s, is a “state changer.” If you are turning to it to more regularly to make you feel differently than you currently do, then you need to consider looking at what it is about your current state that you don’t like and why you want to change it.
Here we are, again, back at the conversation about the ROOT CAUSE of things. There are definitely some physical addictions that go along with the alcohol consumption. In my opinion, that is the easier part of the problem to tackle. The effects on your life socially, should you choose to stop drinking, can be a tad bit more difficult. And, if drinking is problematic, looking at your why you are over indulging can be difficult as well. WHY do you feel the need to over-drink? You might want to consult a professional for some help on that one.
You’ve also heard me talk about the social aspect of stopping behaviors that everyone around you seems to be participating in. When you stop doing what everyone else is doing, there seems to be a ripple effect on your life that many of us aren’t prepared to handle. Many decisions we make in our own best interest don’t always play out well with others. Get used to it. The better your life looks/is the more resentful many people become because they don’t have the internal fortitude to demand the same for/from themselves.
Remember, you have this line to sling at folks who start giving you a hard time about any positive changes you are making in your own life.
Want to know why you aren’t feeling so great?
Maybe your alcohol consumption is one area of your life to consider spending some time contemplating.
Changing negative behavior has many layers and our own ego plays into this heavily. For many, admitting that there is a problem is a difficult thing to do. While the initial sting may be hard, I can guarantee you that you will become an inspiration to many as they watch you take flight on your new life.
You deserve to have the best life YOU want. Stop worrying about what everyone else has to say about your world and start designing and implementing the life of your dreams. You CAN make it happen.
I guarantee you that once you get on your new path you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.