Boozy to Butterfly

The Hidden Sabotage of Overdrinking

May 11, 2021 Episode 9
Boozy to Butterfly
The Hidden Sabotage of Overdrinking
Chapters
Boozy to Butterfly
The Hidden Sabotage of Overdrinking
May 11, 2021 Episode 9

You may be aware of the more common reasons people choose to stop overdrinking but let me share some reasons you might want to consider removing alcohol sooner than later. Join me this week as I share four hidden ways overdrinking can sabotage your life and your success. I also give some tips on how to combat this when you stop overdrinking because as you know, it ain't easy. ;)

Guess what? I have a free workshop right now you can sign up for at https://thisbrainofmine.com/workshop

Looking for more support on your stop overdrinking journey? Head over to https://thisbrainofmine.com/stopoverdrinking to sign up for my free 10-day training course. 

If you're ready for private coaching, email me at [email protected]

Show Notes Transcript

You may be aware of the more common reasons people choose to stop overdrinking but let me share some reasons you might want to consider removing alcohol sooner than later. Join me this week as I share four hidden ways overdrinking can sabotage your life and your success. I also give some tips on how to combat this when you stop overdrinking because as you know, it ain't easy. ;)

Guess what? I have a free workshop right now you can sign up for at https://thisbrainofmine.com/workshop

Looking for more support on your stop overdrinking journey? Head over to https://thisbrainofmine.com/stopoverdrinking to sign up for my free 10-day training course. 

If you're ready for private coaching, email me at [email protected]

Episode 9: The Hidden Sabotage of Overdrinking

In today’s episode I’m going to share some of the ways alcohol and overdrinking sabotage your life. Specifically, I’m going to share 4 hidden ways you may not have thought about when you continue to battle to keep alcohol in your life. 

I would start with “I’m sure you know” alcohol does XYZ but I’m not really sure you know all the things. Alcohol, as a substance, as a drug, does a lot of damage to your body, to your overall health and definitely your mental well-being. Now, I wouldn’t call these the hidden ways alcohol sabotages but I wanted to start with a shared understanding of the determinants of drinking because I don’t want to make assumptions about what you know about alcohol.

So, if you haven’t heard, alcohol is a toxin. It’s a group I carcinogen. That means it causes cancer. Well, it means specifically that there’s sufficient evidence that it causes cancer in humans. And let me just say, this episode isn’t to scare you into not drinking, but there’s a baseline of knowledge I would like us to share before I discuss the hidden sabotage caused by alcohol. It would be silly for me to talk about how alcohol hinders your personal growth if I didn’t share the more serious side-effects of booze first. 

So, alcohol, as a group I carcinogen, which is the highest evidence-based group, causes more cancers than you may think. And just so you have something to compare it to, tobacco, asbestos, and arsenic, among others, are also Group I carcinogens. 

Recent studies, not backed by the alcohol industry have shown there is no amount of alcohol considered to be safe. I tell you this because I’m all about education…knowing what you’re consuming. And although I am a former drinker, I have had sips of alcohol over the years and when I do, I know what I’m consuming.

Alcohol destroys more than just your liver and kidneys. It effects nearly every organ and system in your body. It causes fertility and reproductive problems, it kills your gut microbiome (the 2nd brain), it destroys your immune system, it’s bad for your heart, it can cause strokes, it can cause diabetes, the list goes on and on. 

It’s also a depressant which confuses people because they feel lively when they drink. But the depressant is just the slowing down of cognitive function. When you drink, alcohol turns off your cognitive brain, which is your thinking, analytical, decision and rational thought center of the brain and reduces your coordination and motor skills.

You literally become dumber and slower when you drink. The millions of years of evolution it took to develop this prefrontal cortex housing our CEO brain, gets swept aside when you drink. You make stupid decisions, things you wouldn’t dare to say or do when sober, you make poor choices, your ability to rationalize disappears. Or at least logical rationalization.

Now, some of you may be listening thinking, yea, I know this already. But, I’ve been surprised how often I hear people say they didn’t know that alcohol causes cancer. They didn’t know that alcohol is ethyl alcohol the same ingredient in hand sanitizer and E85 gasoline. They didn’t realize the body produces acetaldehyde when the liver breaks down alcohol and acetaldehyde is the same substance found in varnish and a highly toxic substance. This is what causes your hangover, acetaldehyde. It causes the flushness, the headache, the nausea, the increased heart rate.

Your poor liver is trying to rid your body of this substance the minute you take that first sip. Okay, so now that I’ve shared all the scary stuff, let’s move on. Oh, the final thing I want to note about alcohol and the damage it causes to your body is that it’s reversible. Well, until you get to that irreversible point of no return. But, for most of you listening…if anyone is still listening…once you stop overdrinking, your body will repair itself.

Okay, now onto the hidden sabotage of overdrinking. 

#1 Your Mood: When you’re in that overdrinking cycle, your body is in constant repair. It’s not functioning at its optimal level and this includes your mood. It’s funny, we drink to not feel, we drink to cope, we drink to feel numb and the result is extreme moodiness. And, I’m not just talking about moodiness when you’re recovering from a night of overdrinking, I’m talking all the time. Because alcohol impacts multiple neurotransmitter systems it can result in a range of emotions from feeling energized, relaxed, and happy, to feeling tired, aggressive, restless, irritable, and depressed.

Your primitive or cave woman brain becomes reliant on alcohol to moderate emotions. It doesn’t want to feel, it doesn’t want to contemplate alternate views, it doesn’t want to find the good in a given circumstance. The primitive brain wants immediate gratification and a quick fix. You develop a short temper, a lack of patience, a lack of empathy and compassion. Your tolerance for mild disruptions is zero. Everything becomes annoying.

This leads you to snap at people and dismiss them. You feel agitated by the entire world, your loved ones, your coworkers, your partner, even your poor pets can be on the receiving end of your aggravation. Alcohol impairs your information processing in the brain which results in greater and greater impulsivity like aggression, violence, or other high-risk behaviors.

When you stop overdrinking including eliminating alcohol altogether, you may notice that moodiness doesn’t immediately disappear though. Your brain has some repairing to do and you’re left to deal with all the emotions you’ve been bottling up, literally, and now in need of processing. Top neuroscientist, Dr. Kristen Willeumier suggests adopting a brain-healthy lifestyle including hydration, eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, and ensuring you’re getting the right minerals and nutrients in your diet either directly or through supplements. 

Brain-healthy foods include like wild salmon, berries, kale, spinach, broccoli, walnuts, almonds, and avocado. Supplementation of vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids can also help. You may also want to consider including foods in your diet that help to produce the calming neurotransmitter GABA, per Dr. Willeumier, like cruciferous vegetables, lentils, beans, tomatoes, and bananas, along with foods that contain magnesium like avocados, spinach, yogurt, bananas, and dark chocolate, to ease feelings of anxiousness.

Also, try to engage in daily physical activity of some sort whether it’s just getting outside and walking or finding a free YouTube yoga class. This will help your mood and it will help work pent-up emotions out of your body. I’m totally in love with my Peloton bike and the classes they offer.

Okay, on to #2 your potential. When you’re stuck in this overdrinking cycle your brain is very tired. It’s not only tired from the constant repairs but it’s tired because it’s always thinking about alcohol. If you wrote down how often you’re thinking about alcohol, you’d be amazed. 

Thoughts like when you’re going to have your first drink. What are you going to drink? Should you wait and drink a little later? Should you drink sooner? Do you have enough at the house or should you go to the store? Do you want to drink with friends or just drink and do some chores? Wine and a bath sounds nice. Should you open another bottle? Should you pour that night cap? 

And then the next day, your brain is tired from lack of proper sleep. And then the judgment sets in. You drank too much, you shouldn’t have drank that much, you’re tired from drinking too much, today you won’t drink. Well, today you won’t drink except for with dinner. Well, today you won’t drink until 5pm…or 4pm. And you’re not going to have wine, you’re going to have low alcohol beer or a mixed drink with glasses of water in between. 

These thoughts are going all day long. And as you’re doing other tasks throughout the day, you’re longing for that moment you can stop being productive and start drinking. That is…if you’re even mildly productive. All this leads to wanting to sit down and drink. Watch TV and drink. Get on social media and drink. Maybe do some light chores and drink. This is a lot of time.

This a lot of time of lost potential. Look, you’re overdrinking because there’s something, maybe a lot of things about your life that you don’t love, but don’t know how to change. And maybe you know how to change them but you’re afraid to or you don’t have time. Well, alcohol leads you to believe these statements…these are not facts. 

You make time for what is important to you. You make time to drink. And if you weren’t drinking, you could be researching ideas, careers, non-profits to volunteer with, hobbies to enjoy. This world is filled with opportunities and fascinating activities but your activity of overdrinking is taking precedent. Your potential is stifled.

When I quit drinking, I had a lot of time. Not only the time I had previously spent drinking, but the mental capacity to learn new things. The mental capacity to explore more about my community, my world, my future. I was able to plan out more of my journey and not live so unconsciously. I was able to learn more about where my career was headed and if that’s really what I wanted. 

By living more present and intentionally, you’re able to plan, evolve, and grow. This gives you the mental clarity and restfulness of the mind to start that business you thought of years ago. Or, get that degree or certificate you need for that career you always wanted. Or, move to another state and live your dream life and plan how to get there. You can take calculated risks because you’re cognitively able to calculate the risks and weigh the reward and decide if it’s worth it. 

Right now, your full potential is unknown to you. It’s unknown to all of us, but it takes enthusiasm and motivation to even feel the confidence to reach for that full potential. Two things overdrinking doesn’t provide. Alcohol clouds your judgment, creates brain fog, builds anxiety, and increasingly traps you in a fear and misery mentality. One in which you can’t escape with booze…but you think you’re escaping. It’s all smoke in mirrors.

Once you eliminate overdrinking, you gain that confidence back, you get a little more courageous and you might even enjoy challenging yourself to do difficult things. The feeling you get when you overcome something difficult is authentic joy, real fulfillment, true satisfaction…not false pleasure from a bottle. 

When you feel worthless and defeated, you may not even believe you have much potential but you’re not here on this planet by accident. You’re the only person with your experience through your DNA, upbringing, environment, culture, parents, events, and filter that can see the world and communicate the way you do. It has value and you are valuable.

Okay, #3 wealth. I know people don’t like to talk about money so I’m not going to get specific here but your wealth matters. Even if it’s just fighting for what you’re worth at your job or spending less frivolously. When you’re stagnant, you’re not going to seek more for yourself. When you have low self-confidence, you’re not going to ask for a raise. When your brain is cluttered, you’re not going to take the time to learn how to invest in stocks or real estate or build a retirement fund beyond a 401(k) or IRA. 

You’re going to do the daily grind, save a little if you can, and spend the rest. Or maybe you’re barely making ends meet and your credit card debt or student loans are still a looming cloud over your head and a massive chunk out of your household income. Maybe you’re not only drinking to feel better but maybe you spending to feel better, too. So there’s three little points I want to make here.

First, you can learn how to invest and save for your future or retirement. You can learn how to make your money work for you. But, the problem is do you have the mental energy and clarity to do so? Or do you believe that you can’t learn something new? It’s not hard to learn how to invest for your future whether it’s stocks, real estate, or simply how to start saving. There are free resources available everywhere, I love Suze Orman, spelled S-U-Z-E.

When we try to quit drinking and don’t succeed right away it cuts into our self-confidence and this bleeds into other areas including feeling like we can’t do hard things. We can’t learn new things. But let me reassure you that you can. And as long as you’re thinking you can’t, you won’t. So, start telling yourself, “I can do hard things.” And then challenge yourself to learn something new every day. Or at least once a week.

Second, you can learn to feel better or feel okay with not feeling okay without overspending, just like you can learn to feel okay without the false pleasure of a substance like alcohol. Alcohol does not make you feel better, it might temporarily but it’s at the cost of tomorrow. You’re literally borrowing time and money from your future. 

The sustainable route to feeling better is by accepting that life is going to be 50/50 and rather than chasing happiness, you can be okay with riding the wave. You can accept that there are times when you’re not going to be over joyous and that’s okay. There are times when you’re going to feel angry and that’s okay. It’s called being human…allow yourself to be human.

Frivolously spending your hard-earned money is not going to make you happy sustainably. I’m not saying don’t splurge or treat yourself to something you want, ever, I’m just saying to look at where you might be wasting money or spending to feel better and make a conscious decision if you really want to trade 8 hours or a week of your life for this thing you’re about to buy. 

And third, become excellent at what you do and stand out from the crowd. When you stop overdrinking, take that mental clarity and use it to your advantage. You will stand apart from the rest. Your mind will be less foggy and your energy will be higher. You’ll be more alert and focused and able to aggregate more information than your overdrinking peers. Show that you are ready for more, give more, and when you know you’re worth it, ask for that raise and ensure you’re getting paid for what you’re worth. You have to state your case and ask for more to get more. They can say no, but they can also say yes. The more you make, the more you can invest and save. So as your personal income grows, so does your overall wealth. 

This is confidence and energy that you’re lacking when you overdrink, even if you think you’re not, you are. 

Okay, so thus far I’ve shared that your mood improves when you stop overdrinking, your potential grows, and you’re leaving money on the table, and not just the amount you’re spending on booze. So, last but not least #4 is relationships.

So it might not be surprising to hear that as your mood improves, so do your relationships. But this goes deeper than just intimate relationships. Yes intimacy improves but so do your social skills. When you stop overdrinking you think you’re going to have difficulty socializing and it might feel awkward at first. Hell, it might feel awkward for a while but as you expose yourself to more and more situations sans booze, you’re actually learning.

You’re learning how to socialize without alcohol. Your brain is building the skill and art of conversation, and interpretation, and analysis of body language and communication to a heightened level. Conversations that once seemed very boring may surprisingly interest you now. People that once seemed very boring may surprisingly interest you now. 

As you learn to hold conversations with all types of people from all different backgrounds, you may become fascinated with what you can learn just by asking someone a question about themselves…something you probably didn’t do that often beforehand or if you did, didn’t really listen to the response. You were likely pretty dismissive of people and once enough alcohol hit your bloodstream, you likely wouldn’t remember much conversation anyway. 

But when you stop overdrinking, you agree to be vulnerable. And when you allow more vulnerability, it allows you to get closer to other people. It allows you to connect more intimately and authentically. It also allows other people to do the same with you. You’ve removed your armor and can see for the first time that you feel weak in some areas that you need to build. And this allows you to see other people with more depth and appreciation. 

When you finally look in the mirror, sober, and not only see your flaws but love them and work on pushing yourself to do better, you appreciate the flaws in others as well. Your tolerance for others improves and you learn to relate better. And when you can relate, you can connect, which is vital to our overall well-being.

So there you have it, four hidden ways overdrinking can sabotage your life. It sabotages your moods, your potential, your wealth, and your relationships. So even if you already know alcohol is not a healthy choice, use these four opportunities as another form of motivation to stop overdrinking and start living.