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Ten Surefire Ways to Sabotage Your Sober Ambitions

Now that Drynuary has officially ended, I’m counting down the days until I’ll inevitably receive an email which reads something like this:

Dear Aimee,
I’m reaching out to you because I’d like to get some control over my drinking. I’m a social drinker who enjoys around 4-5 drinks most nights, but it’s getting in the way of my goals now and my body doesn’t feel too great either. I quit drinking for Drynuary- 31 days with no alcohol, yay!- and I thought that would give me a chance to reset, but now I’m drinking more than ever before. I’d like to quit drinking for good- sort of. I mean, I’d like to quit drinking but eventually be able to go out and have a glass of wine or two with friends once in a while. Balance- balance is key! Can you help? Signed, Frustrated


If this brain train sounds familiar, it may be because the vast majority of women with an alcohol use disorder think and behave in this manner. First, they realize that their drinking is getting out of hand. Then, they take on some type of “sober challenge”- there are even businesses that faciliate entire programs around a short-term sobriety stint. After succeeding at the challenge by resisting booze for a month or two, they reflect back on how easy it actually was to give up the sauce and then they decide to drink again- in moderation, of course! A few weeks or months down the road, they discover that they’re drinking more than ever. They really crave alcohol now, they’re not sure if moderation is possible anymore, and that begins to scare the crap out of them. Embarrassing memories of drunken nights resurface, and they develop a new awareness about how alcohol is actually impacting their dreams, as well as the people they care about. Finally, they come to a crossroads: they will either admit to themselves that there’s a problem and commit to do whatever it takes to quit drinking for good, or they’ll continue to drink as usual, awaiting a new beginning to “get it right” next Drynuary, or Sober October.

I know this path all too well- it’s one I followed for a number of years before finally becoming serious about my sobriety in 2009 and, as a coach and counsellor, it’s one I read about in my inbox every single week. If you’re determined to lose the booze, I’d like you to forget for a minute about what you need to do to make that happen and focus instead on some surefire ways to sabotage this goal. Here are ten ways to completely wreck your sober ambitions:

1. Fudge the truth about your drinking: You either have a problem with alcohol or you don’t. You’re either able to stop at one glass of wine or you’re not. While alcohol use disorders fall on a spectrum with both severity and impacts ranging widely, if you’re even on that sliding scale, it will serve you well to come to terms with it. Are you lying to yourself about how much you drink? Do you feel like you’re making excuses for your drinking behaviors? If you’re seeking clarity on the difference between a healthy relationship with alcohol and an alcohol use disorder, a good place to start would be to check out the 11 symptoms of an alcohol use disorder at the end of this post. 

2.  Take the same route home from work: Changing a behavior requires changing the triggers that lead to the behavior in the first place, and routine tends to play a massive role in drinking. If you usually stop by the bar or package store after work, consider changing the routine and the triggers that enforce this behavior by taking another route home altogether!

3. Continue to hang out with your usual crew: Here’s the unvarnished truth- big drinkers hang out with big drinkers, and if your clique of friends is used to bonding with you over beers, they’re probably not going to be very happy to hear that you’ve decided to clean up your act. First, they’ll be bummed not to have gossip time with you anymore (because, what do we do when we’re three sheets to the wind? We talk shit!) Second, your decision to quit holds up a mirror to their own drinking hangups, and then some. Given these two factors, your dear friends may do their very best to sabotage your efforts at a sober life, even if that’s not their conscious intention.

4. Deny the role that alcohol plays in your emotional life: For many women, alcohol serves as a vehicle of numbing and detachment- a way to postpone addressing emotional turmoil. Refusing to investigate the deeper “why” behind your drinking allows you to continue rationalizing your hangovers as “just another night with the girls,” or “a few drinks on the couch.”

If you want this kind of photo on your Facebook page, then be sure to sabotage your sober ambitions! 

If you want this kind of photo on your Facebook page, then be sure to sabotage your sober ambitions! 

5. Insist on quitting on your own, without any source of support: Isolationism and secretive behaviors are trademark traits of many people with alcohol use disorders; loneliness, even in the company of others, fuels the desire for a buzz. Trying to quit drinking on one’s own is an admission that you still have full control over the way you drink, and that you don’t need connection- physical, emotional or spiritual- in your life, nor help from another human being. “You cannot solve a problem at the same level it was created at.”

6. Constantly remind yourself that “everyone else is doing it”: When you make a decision to quit drinking for good, you’re deciding to take the path less travelled and to live in a way that much of the world rejects by bringing more introspection, awareness, and self-responsibility into your life. If you want to do what everyone else is doing and your main objective is to fit in, than quitting drinking is not for you.

7. Place yourself regularly in high conflict situations: Placing yourself in situations of constant stress is a fantastic way to sabotage any goal you have, not just quitting drinking. If you’re still in regular communication with someone abusive or you’re always picking fights over petty issues or you’re holding onto a job that you are absolutely miserable at, you’re going to have a tough time staying on the path. Clean up your environment and say “NO” to the drama.

 8. Fail to fill up the time that you usually spend drinking: When I was drinking, I generally wasted 3-5 hours a day over a wine glass- far more if you count my years moonlighting as a bartender. Booze is a glorious time waster, and the average moderate drinker may spend around 12-15 hours having drinks, as well as many more hours making up for the consequential hangovers and lowered motivation. When you quit drinking, you’re going to have a lot more time on your hands, which will equate to boredom if you don’t figure out a constructive way of filling it up. Running or weightlifting, learning how to paint or make pottery, picking up a new instrument, joinng a fellowship or enrichment group, or volunteering at a charity are all great ways to replace the void.

9. Continuously judge the faults and habits of others: If you’re interested in completely derailing your own personal progress, one of the best ways to do that is to focus not on your own issues, but on the perceived flaws and bad behaviors of other people. Pointing fingers and projecting is an awesome way to ensure that you never do the spiritual and emotional work necessary to stay sober, and it’s also a wonderful way of eroding your support systems. As a wise sage once said, “focus on your own shit.”

10. Depend on other people for your sobriety: “I wouldn’t drink so much if my husband didn’t get me so angry.” “My boss causes me to drink.” “If I don’t have cocktails with clients, I won’t be of much use to my company.” “The only way I’ll be able to quit drinking is if my partner quits drinking as well.” If you want to change a destructive behavior and improve your life, you’re going to have to get into the driver’s seat and take full responsibility for your actions.

By observing hundreds of relapses as well as reflecting on my own when I originally tried to quit drinking in my twenties, I can assure you that if you wish to completely sabotage your sober ambitions, these ten ways will get you there! Here are the symptoms I mentioned earlier in the post:

11 SYMPTOMS OF AN ALCOHOL USE DISORDER

  1. Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use alcohol, or recover from its effects.
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol.
  5. Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.
  8. Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  9. Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol.
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a) A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect b) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol (refer to criteria A and B of the criteria set for alcohol withdrawal) b) Alcohol (or a closely related substance, such as a benzodiazepine) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

The presence of at least 2 of these symptoms indicates an alcohol use disorder (AUD). The severity of an AUD is graded mild, moderate, or severe: 1. Mild: The presence of 2 to 3 symptoms. 2. Moderate: The presence of 4 to 5 symptoms. 3. Severe: The presence of 6 or more symptoms.

Do you have any points to add on this post? If you've achieved long-term sobriety, what's the one thing that made the biggest difference to you? If you like this post or think it could help someone you know, please share it! Leave your thoughts in the comments section- I'd love to hear from you. 

 

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Beauty and the Booze: What Alcohol Does to Your Looks

Like so many women, I’m a sucker for the cosmetics superstore Sephora, that glittering rainbow of color and light with all its tantalizing promises of MORE: more youthful, more vibrant, more glowing, more visually appealing and aromatically pleasing.  So, when a jumbo Sephora outlet opened up just a few blocks away from my studio apartment in Hell’s Kitchen at a time of particular weakness, it quickly became a regular pit stop in my weekend circuit of bars, bookstores and restaurants.  As a heavy drinker in my late twenties, Sephora was my haven of hope. I regularly charged up hundreds of dollars on anti-aging creams, anti-acne washes and most notably, concealers- ones to dab on my persistent under eye circles and bags, ones to dot across the volcanic cystic acne that erupted across my chin, and ones to cover the squiggly red spider legs on my nose that appeared like firecrackers.

While I lacked the patience or self-care to seek out a qualified dermatologist at the time, my gut told me that this crisis on my skin was likely due to the fact that I drank far too much wine- about a bottle a night, on average, and twice that on the weekends. My face, after so many years of relying on booze and pills, was beginning to change- and not in a good way. The conclusion wasn't, however, “I should quit drinking now.” Instead, my circular reasoning looked like this:

"I look like crap." -> "Mmm, wine!" -> "I Still look like crap."-> "I need to go to Sephora and pick something up to fix this situation."

Ad nauseam. 
 

A rather sexist binge drinking awareness campaign. Point taken, however. 



A rather sexist binge drinking awareness campaign. Point taken, however. 

An intense relationship with alcohol, it turns out, is just like any other sordid affair and thus I became clinging and blind, hoping no one else would find out about these cycles of madness- least of all myself. I became at once careless and perfectionistic, wearing the same drab beige H&M wrap day in and day out while sparkling up my face with myriad concoctions that I somehow believed would scrub away whatever happened the night before. When I look back on it, it all just seems insane, but then again, we’re dealing with alcohol- baffling, cunning, and powerful.

While improving my personal appearance was not one of the major factors that finally brought me to quit drinking, seeing the positive changes once I put down the bottle definitely encouraged my sobriety. I began to notice that I wasn’t so preoccupied with hiding all the clues on my body pointing to a not-so-healthy life. Over time, those clues gently faded away with each alcohol-free day, each run, each meal of eating better. The red splotches on my nose disappeared within a year, while facial bloating subsided within a few months. The cellulite across the backs of my thighs gradually eased and the dark circles under my eyes gently faded. My weight, which had slowly been creeping up, began to come back down again. Unfortunately, the zits decided to stick around, although they're not half as aggressive as they once were. And, while I still probably spend too much money at Sephora, it’s certainly a lot more under control than what it used to be.

So, what does booze actually do to your appearance, scientifically speaking? A lot, it turns out.


The second photo is what I would apparently look like over time if I were to regularly drink 6-10 glasses of wine per week, according to the app, Drink Mirror: http://www.drinksmarter.org/  I can confirm that the facial bloating is real! 

The second photo is what I would apparently look like over time if I were to regularly drink 6-10 glasses of wine per week, according to the app, Drink Mirror: http://www.drinksmarter.org/  I can confirm that the facial bloating is real! 

Alcohol Accelerates Aging 

When you consume alcohol, the body treats it as a poison and immediately goes to work trying to remove the booze you've just ingested from your system. As alcohol enters your bloodstream, it also suppresses the creation and release of vasopressin, a hormone in your body that regulates water retention and keeps you hydrated. These shifts set your kidneys into high gear, forcing them to generate increased urine due to the reduction of vasopressin, which then results in dehydration. This dehydration, over time, promotes wrinkles while swapping out your natural glow for a dull, fatigued hue.

You might be thinking, “ok, so I’ll just drink more water with my booze.” While that may sound like the logical thing to do, your body won’t be able to hang onto this extra boost of H20 due to the chain reaction that’s occurred. In other words, you’ll just end up running to the bathroom more often.

Recent research has also found that alcohol damages a part of our cells that regulate aging, called telomeres. As time passes, these telomeres shorten until eventually, the cell dies and alcohol, it turns out, accelerates this process. According to the results of a study, telomere length was nearly half as long in people who consumed alcohol heavily as those that didn’t. Even minor alcohol consumption in midlife was associated with shorter telomere length in old age. 

Finally, alcohol interferes with both the sleep cycle and absorption of vitamins and minerals, which detrimentally impacts skin renewal and repair cycles. And, since women have thinner skin and less collagen than men, the negative consequences of alcohol on facial appearance are generally more profound (lucky us!)


Booze Packs on the Weight 

When a person monitors their caloric intake and chooses lower calorie alcoholic beverages, they'll still be able to lose weight while enjoying moderate drinking, right? That's the common assumption, however, there are a few significant factors to take into account. Alcohol in its pure form contains seven calories per gram- nearly twice as much as protein and carbohydrates- and has no nutritional value. The liver responds to alcohol as a poison and the metabolism redirects all of its energy to breaking it down and getting it out of your system as quickly as possible. When this process occurs, the body stops burning fat and instead uses the alcohol you've consumed for energy rather than utilizing any nutrient-rich foods you've ingested. Any excess calories consumed will then be stored as fat. 

In addition, when we drink alcohol, our logic and willpower both tend to decrease- a bad combo for anyone on a weight loss journey who already has a tough time turning down tempting foods and monitoring their overall intake. Research confirms appetite increases following alcohol consumption and that people eat more even after drinking small amounts of booze, although whether that's actually due to disinhibition or not is up for debate. Considering the impact that alcohol has on metabolism and appetite, as well as the high number of empty calories most drinks contain, it's not too difficult to gain weight as a moderate to heavy drinker, but it's quite tough to lose it. 

You may be surprised to read this here, but there is evidence that drinking a small amount of alcohol each day may actually be better than having none at all. Here's the rub, though- most people only count one half to one quarter of what they're actually chugging, be it wine, beer, or margaritas. So, if you're only having a 6 oz. glass of wine a day, you'll probably be able to manage your weight while still being able to enjoy it. Just make sure that that's really all you're drinking (for many, it's not). Consider that a bottle of merlot is the caloric equivalent of a McDonald's double cheeseburger and a large chocolate fudge brownie- with less nutritive value! 

Alcohol Dulls Hair and Eyes 

Remember how alcohol sets your kidneys into high gear and dehydrates your body? This impacts the hair as well, robbing the mane of its shine and replacing it instead with brittle, easily breakable strands due to lack of moisture and vitamin deficiencies. And, alcohol can radically impact the way your eyes look as well, enlarging the blood vessels and promoting a tired, bloodshot look. 

If your relationship with alcohol is a healthy one and you enjoy a drink once in a while or even a glass of wine at night, alcohol probably won't impact your appearance or weight loss efforts too much. However, if you're one of the (rapidly increasing) millions who regularly have three or more drinks most nights of the week, I can almost guarantee that it will catch up to you over time, especially if you're struggling to maintain a healthy weight. Charging up hundreds of dollars at Sephora or on "get slim quick" schemes won't help you here. Decreasing your intake or abstaining from drinking will, and the good news is that a lot of the effects are reversible. 

Thank you for reading! Have a bit of fun- check out the Drink Mirror app here and see what you think. If you missed the previous posts in "The Conversation," a series on drinking and women, head on over to the main blog page. What would you like to read about? Do you have any questions for me, or topics you'd like me to cover? Leave your thoughts in the comments section! I'd love to hear from you. 

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The Conversation: What Does An Addict Look Like?

“I don’t think you are really an alcoholic,” someone close to me remarked quite unexpectedly as we shuffled past a neighborhood bar, making our way through the cool dark to a restaurant by the sea. It wasn’t a conversation I welcomed chewing into at that time. I was hungry and I didn’t have the patience to get into how the term “alcoholic” is both dated and inaccurate, or what “alcoholic” even means anymore.

“Why do you say that?” I asked. My throat tightened.

“Because you’re not that weak,” he replied. The weight of those five words sunk to the pit of my gut and anchored there as carelessness and ignorance. This, from someone so intelligent, someone who knew me so well. “Well, that’s your opinion,” I said, having nothing more to offer on the matter and sensing that any further explanation would just be wood chips for the fire. I have since realized that those many cutting statements delivered to people in recovery are not only sprung from 
naiveté, but also from a desire for control. It is “Human Nature 3.0”- we like things to be predictable and we want to have the upper hand (more on this in a future “Conversation”).

"Because you're not that weak." 

Stereotypes imprison the addicted and block our collective consciousness from seeing that this crisis is perhaps the largest societal challenge we face today. After all, the vast majority of us are addicts in action; our poisons are the differentiator. Food. Sex. Gambling. Money. Shopping. Booze. Drugs. Pills. Work. “Perfection.” Love. Prestige. Exercise. Religion. Facebook. Beauty. Power. And yet, when people conceptualize the image of an “addict” in their minds, their own reflection is rarely conjured.

"Getting sober just exploded my life. Now I have a much clearer sense of myself and what I can and can't do. I am more successful than I have ever been. I feel positive where I never did before, and I think that's all a direct result of getting sober." - Jamie Lee Curtis

"Getting sober just exploded my life. Now I have a much clearer sense of myself and what I can and can't do. I am more successful than I have ever been. I feel positive where I never did before, and I think that's all a direct result of getting sober." - Jamie Lee Curtis

Imagined instead are: 

  • A drink upon waking
  • Homelessness and squalor 
  • Trembling hands, “the shakes”
  • Messy hair, body odor, bad teeth
  • Joblessness & living on the dole
  • School dropouts, lack of education
  • Marital and financial trouble
  • Piercings & tattoos
  • Drink or use every day 
  • Foolishness, weak-willed  

Maybe so many people have chosen to frame addicts this way because it’s easier, because the reality is far too close and unearths unacceptably discomforting levels of fear. Consider that over 7% of the US population and just under 4% of Singapore’s population fit the criteria for having an alcohol use disorder, according to population-based surveys (estimates should be considered extremely conservative, given self-reporting methods and the shame associated with admission). Millions of these people are educated, hold down jobs, and have family and friends to answer to. In fact, around 20 percent of individuals with an alcohol use disorder are considered “high functioning”- in other words, highly intelligent achievers who are able to maintain the façade of an accomplished and even enviable life despite their dependence on alcohol. Gabrielle Glaser, author of “Her Best Kept Secret: Why Women Drink,” writes that the more educated and well off a woman is, the more likely she is to consume booze, and that white women are more likely to drink than women of other ethnicities. And, according to a new survey by Protecting.co.uk, a third of workers in the UK have admitted to using drugs at work while nearly every respondent said they had gone to work drunk at least once.

                                                                                    "What made me stop [drinking]? I realized it was not going to end well." - Kristin Davis 

                                                                                    "What made me stop [drinking]? I realized it was not going to end well." - Kristin Davis 

In an age where nearly everything seems to revolve around cocktails- from bonding with friends to making important business decisions and even having sex (yes, many people admit that drinking is often a prerequisite requirement to doing the deed), what does addiction actually mean and how can someone tell whether or not they’ve crossed the line? Perhaps it is first crucial to accept that no one definition of addiction exists, as it is viewed from diverse perspectives.

Many scholars and doctors define addiction as a “brain disease,” which in my view is a simplistic and even dangerous way to categorize a many-tentacled beast that sucks its existence from complex social, cultural, biological, psychological and spiritual forces. Other addiction experts say that addiction is a chronic neurobiological disease characterized by impaired control, compulsion, continued use or behavior despite harm, and craving. This perspective to some extent minimizes the outcomes while focusing on the actions. Is an addict still an addict if she is no longer engaged in her addiction? SMART Recovery describes “addiction as an impulse disorder, favoring momentary satisfaction over the long term view,” while other programs consider addiction a “spiritual bankruptcy.” The origin of the word “addiction” perhaps gives us a clearer meaning; it is derived from a Latin term that means “bound to,” or “enslaved by.” This notion, “an enslavement,” resonates most with me; when you have an alcohol use disorder- or any kind of addiction- you must tie yourself to some external actor in order to feel ok; that desired sense of belonging or normalcy exists at the other end of the craving. Addicts without their fix- be it cocktails, cakes or cocaine- find it impossible to inhabit themselves.

So, when does drinking become a problem; how do you know if you have an alcohol use disorder? Well, you can take a handy "Almost is Too Close to Always" quiz from Harvard, although I’m not sure its results are definitive, particularly since, again, the criteria varies. Or, you can go with a more traditional screening method like CAGE:
C
 Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
A Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
G Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
E Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover? 
According to a CAGE screening, two positive answers warrant further assessment. 

Be warned however, that most people severely underestimate how much they drink and count, on average, only one quarter to one half of the drinks they actually consume. I think, with many of these types of issues, we already hold the answers within. I knew years before I quit drinking that it was hollowing me out and stealing my spirit. But, if someone asked me about it, I wouldn't hesitate denying that knowledge.  

It is alcohol after all... cunning, baffling, powerful. 

So, if you suspect that your drinking may not be serving you well anymore, why not begin your exploration of that relationship by reflecting on these questions?

  • Is my alcohol use holding me back from my dreams?
  • Is my drinking negatively impacting my relationships or my health?
  • Do I actually enjoy drinking or has it just become something to do?
  • Am I drinking away boredom?
  • Would my life be better if I quit drinking? In what ways?

I quit booze when I realized that it was beginning to steal the life I was meant to lead- one with a sense of peace and confidence, a creative existence, a good marriage, a rewarding career, a spiritual belonging, the ability to accept myself as is. A few people might argue that I hit the bottom several times, while most others standing on the outside looking in could only see a woman who had it mostly together- top student, secure job at a great company, solid friends and marriage, and a rather exciting life in a "city so nice they named it twice." What I knew for sure was that I was deeply unhappy with who I’d become, and that if I chose sobriety, I’d at least have a chance to turn it around.

Best. Decision. Ever.

 Perhaps it will be the same for a few of you reading this today.

If you missed the first two installments of The Conversation, you can check them out here and here. Blogger EJ Austin-Jones also had some thought provoking things to write about this series, so check out her take here. I'd love to hear your thoughts, so please share them in the comments section. If you liked this post or think it might be interesting to someone else, please share! Stay tuned for next week's installment and if you have a question on addiction or would like me to cover a particular aspect, just send me a message. 

 

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The Conversation: A Weekly Blog Series on Women & Drinking

If you think alcohol abuse is primarily a men’s health issue and directly correlates with lower socioeconomic status, you might want to reconsider. Recent statistics are sobering, and the number of professional women with alcohol use disorders-- as well as the number of alcohol-related deaths and alcohol-related illnesses among white-collar women-- are rising swiftly. A 2014 poll by trade magazine, The Grocer, found that 16 percent of women admit to often finishing a whole bottle of wine themselves at home. According to Gallup, the more educated and economically well off a woman is, the more likely she is to drink; white women are particularly prone. According to author Gabrielle Glaser, in the US, the rate of women being hospitalized due to alcohol is five times that of men. In Singapore, excess alcohol consumption is rising swiftly; young women are the fastest growing group of binge drinkers.

While statistics are helpful in understanding a quickly evolving story about women, stress and excess, I’ve had a front row seat to its unfolding for nearly half my life. My own show began with alcohol-fueled hospitalizations and mandatory 12-Step meetings in my teens, a few years after discovering the magic powers of Kahlua and Goldschlager. This snowballed into something a bit more sophisticated when I had the opportunity to work at some of New York’s toniest nightclubs and bars for almost a decade, often finding myself in situations that even Carrie Bradshaw would be envious of. Champagne with Mary J. Blige in the back of her limo? Check. Shots with Diddy? Check. Partying with Kevin Spacey in the VIP lounge? Check. But, like all great parties, this one had to come to a close, and it faded out in the saddest possible way, like when the DJ accidentally cues Barry Manilow and everyone in the club forgets how to dance, dead stop. I ended up- hold your breath- in the daily grind, working the 9-to-5 professional gig in Manhattan while going to grad school, sporting button-downs and pleated trousers from Banana Republic and volunteering at non-profits in my spare time. It was a dignified, respectable life… Except that I kept drinking, and my depression persisted, and both my appetite and tolerance for booze and pills grew.

This may sound like an obscenely unique example, but the average addiction recovery meeting proves otherwise, quite usually an even mixture of women and men from all walks of life, many of who have seen quite colorful days and who have their own stories- or drunkalogues- to tell. In my nearly six years of sobriety, what I’ve also been able to spot outside of the protective recovery bubble are increasing numbers of women living just as I had been- a bottle of “fine” wine after a stressful day at work (and everyday is stressful…), regular martini lunches with friends, Facebook and Instagram posts of yet another night out, another exclamation about Happy Hour and need and how amazing it feels. Don’t get me a wrong, there’s nothing the matter with a woman enjoying a drink from time to time… until it becomes day in and day out, until the booze begins scooping up her dreams, until her life undulates in those telltale waves and she finds the whole of her being tipping over, sinking, engulfed.

So, here begins a conversation about women and drinking, one that will probably be quite unique, controversial and, at times, heated. Each week on the blog, I’ll be covering one aspect in this massively complicated puzzle, and I’ll propose ideas, sources and questions to help move us along to something that’s so desperately lacking: Answers. Solutions. Alternatives.

One thing to note- I am not a medical doctor, and I’m not an expert on the subject of alcohol use disorders by the traditional, academic version of the word (not yet at least. Those who know me well know that I have an addiction to school…). I’m not a counselor, a psychologist or an epidemiologist either. I’m simply someone who has been up, down and all around this issue and who has decided to dedicate part of my career to helping other women who are presently enmeshed. I don’t propose to have or to offer all the answers, and I do think that what works for one person may not work for another. Let’s make this a respectful and solutions-oriented conversation. If you disagree with me on a point or would like clarity on a topic, say so. If you’d like to share your perspective or story, please do! If you think I’ve overlooked something or have made an error, politely call me out on it- I’m here to learn and if I want to make a real impact in this area, I have a hell of a lot more to do in that respect!

I’ll be sharing “The Conversation” blog posts both on the site and via the newsletter, so if you’re not signed up yet, please do so! So, first things first, if you have a particular aspect of drinking that you’d like me to write about, leave a comment or contact me. If you’d like to contribute a blog post as an expert or as someone who has been on this journey, the same applies.

Thank you for reading, and I look so forward to having a fruitful conversation with you!






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