My Experience With Drinking (Drinking Less, Drinking Smarter)
I was invited on a podcast with the hilarious and brilliant girls behind BETCHES x Diet Starts Tomorrow recently, to talk about one of my fave topics: “how to live a healthy life without losing a social life”. You can listen to it here (I start chatting around 29 mins). The main topic in it?
I knew Betches/Diet Starts Tomorrow has a big audience but the feedback, new client inquiries and drinking related questions that followed were overwhelming(ly awesome). I have so much I want to do with the 100s of questions and am working on a guide for you for socializing and drinking better, drinking smarter, drinking less. But first I wanted to tell you a little about my alcohol experience here cuz it’s changed a lot, obviously since college, but especially this past year!
Interestingly, the most popular post on this little blog isn’t by me at all; it’s actually by my sister Liz, who graciously shared her sobriety story with us. She’s been sober for almost 5 years now (amazing!!) and her journey with drinking has really impacted my family and my own relationship to alcohol too.
Right now, drinking is way less of a ‘thing’ than it used to be for me. I love a green margarita (above from my favorite, Wild Son) or a wine with dinner and have no plans to stop that. But I do I think it’s pretty important to go back through your own journey with food, relationships, and yup with alcohol. I want to share a bit of mine, I hope you can relate.
I went to college at Tulane in New Orleans, and like any other college, drinking was a big thing. Still I wasnt soooo boozy, I (almost always) had a turn off switch. I dabbled with pot, very NOT my thing. (high strung, anxious, munchie type).
In my mid 20’s, drinking continued and increased, until I had some extremely scary and dangerous things happen in friendships and with men. I’m not ready to share them yet (or probably ever) but I’ve been roofied, had multiple sexual assaults, and had to leave entire friendship groups. One of the very clear connections through all of the worst events and years of my life was that too much alcohol was always, always involved.
After that I did start drinking less and with more awareness. My therapist and I spent hours and hours talking about alcohol, especially around when Liz went to rehab. She would tell me to be “mindful” of my drinking which frustrated me. Does that mean 2? 3? 4? (it turns out I work better with numbers.. and it means 2-3 for me). Like most of us do, I compared my drinking to the people around me. When I held my drinking up against others, it has always seemed like I was on really good behavior, I dont black out, I generally dont send regrettable texts (ahhh age and wisdom), so there’s not a problem, right?
But that’s the thing, I’ve always compared myself to the norm of people around me (an issue for another post!) , and didn’t pay as close attention to how drinking actually makes me feel in my own skin. So, into my 30’s, even if I wasn’t out partying or technically binge drinking, I would definitely have a wine or two or three the majority of nights while cooking dinner or out with friends or on dates or with fam.
Over the past year, a few things have happened that have been wake up calls.
With age you actually *do* have less enzymes to break down alcohol and hangovers get worse, the 2 day hangover is a thing. I just feel like shit when I drink, especially several days in a row.
I had blood work done and found out I had slightly high triglycerides. With the way I eat and exercise this felt crazy and upsetting. The doctor said I had to drink less. Initially I was so pissed b/c again, I really didn’t feel I drink much compared to others.. but it turns out, it doesn’t matter what others do! I don’t break down alcohol or get rid of other toxins as well as other people do.
I’ve dated a few people who don’t really drink and it’s been so cool. Sober dating, sober conversations and yes even sober sex tend to equal much, much better decision making. No champagne remorse or fuzzy memories. You can read about a recent break up here.
This Research study came out that says *NO* amount of alcohol is good for you. Alcohol is a toxin at the end of the day, yes even if it’s red wine and has resveratrol. And can I just say, people around me who don’t drink LOOK SO MUCH BETTER AND YOUNGER AND HEALTHIER.
The Squeeze program! At Foodtrainers we run a super clean eating, no drinking program 3x a year. To be honest, the food isn’t so foreign from how I usually eat, but without drinking for a week, I always feel like a sharper, fitter, less anxious and happier version of myself. It’s like muscle memory.
So at one point this summer, it clicked for me that I spend so much time and energy (and money too) going to healers and therapists and journaling and trying to feel like a sane, un-anxious, stable, happy person - like the best version of myself. Drinking too much is literally undoing all of that work. For me, it’s self sabotaging. After one or two glasses of wine, it’s basically sipping on anxiety. Why do I keep doing this to myself?
Like I said, I dont think I will ever “not drink” or be sober, I love having wine or a cocktail and I don’t judge anyone for their decision making about it. I see clients who drink a lot (especially college and post college) and many who don’t drink at all. But I’ve done a few insta story polls & q&a’s on drinking and I’ve been so surprised with the results. More and more people are interested in drinking less and about 30% of my insta friends rarely or do not drink at all. Which I know is hard for the rest of us to believe but it’s true!
It is very important why you’re drinking. Is it to squash the emotions of the day, a crutch to destress, or a mindless habit? Is it to be cool with your friends or so you don’t make other people feel weird? Or do you just love a glass of wine with dinner once in a while?
I talked about this a lot on the DST podcast but I’d love to reiterate how important the people you surround yourself with are. If you’re fun, you’ll be fun without all the booze. Trust me, I have a lot of pregnant friends ;) So try to do things that DON’T surround drinking all the time. Go to work out classes, movies or theater, meditation classes, art classes, gallery tours, surf & yoga retreats…. Not that you need to wipe out your friend group, but making non-drinking friends is awesome too.
Oh ps, I took a weed gummy recently (I’m sorry mom!!!!) and it turns out those drugs are still not for me either.
What’s your drinking story been like? How has it changed for you, or are you trying to change it? And leave your email below or email me if you want to get on the list for my “How to live a healthy life and a social life” Drinking Smarter guide! Xx