Drinking Too Much Alcohol?
Unsurprisingly the stay-at-home order from the Government has led to an increase in the amount of alcohol drunk in the home. Where in the past you would have spent evenings going to appointments, returning from appointments, rushing home from work with just enough time to prepare yourself dinner, read the children a bedtime story and get into bed before starting it all again the next day. You now switch your computer off at 5pm, walk into the kitchen where dinner sits, prepared already because there was not anything else to do in your lunch break. So, you settle yourself down for a relaxed evening with a glass or bottle of wine. This feels like too much alcohol to you.
For a few weeks it was a welcome break from the rat race. Friday and Saturday evenings in front of the TV with a slow trickle of wine from bottle to glass. Then Thursday, being almost the weekend, claimed rights to the wine bottle too. A few months in you realised on Wednesday evening, and Tuesday too that you did not have to get up so early anymore as your commute is now a whole thirteen stairs rather than thirteen stops on the train. So, you pour yourself a glass on those days too. Ah heck, why not Sunday and Monday as well. You save the cocktails for Friday and Saturday nights, just to keep them special.
Uh Oh – too much alcohol
It is only now starting to dawn on you as we approach a year of staying at home, that you drink more alcohol each night than you feel comfortable doing. You do not feel qualified to hold the title of alcoholic, you do not need alcohol, but it is habitual, and you do not know how to change it.
This is a good example of current conversations in my therapy room. So, what can you do to change it?
Remember your Passion
Alongside the overconsumption of wine is the feeling that settling down for another evening in front of the television is no longer hitting the spot. Is there something that you enjoy? Two people I have spoken with recently are musicians. Their passion is making music, playing their instrument fills their body with dopamine, reduces anxiety and increases happiness. When pouring a glass of wine has become a habit it takes a firm decision and motivation to carry out an action that diverts away from the habit.
Remember what you are passionate about? What gets you glowing without alcohol? If your passion is currently inaccessible, get creative and find a way to bring it into your home. Once you remember what gives you goosebumps make the active decision to spend your free time doing it. This does take commitment and motivation. However, it does not take long to switch the habit. The brain is naturally drawn to the familiar more than the beneficial. No matter how negative something is for you, if it is what you always do that is the direction the brain will pull you. Although it takes conscious effort to force yourself to do something different, every positive experience will make the next time easier. The new activity soon becomes a more positive familiar.
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Switch up Your Rhythm
Here I have a bias, I am part of the 5am club. I am also someone who feels better after at least eight hours sleep. Therefore, I am also part of the ‘in bed before 9pm’ club! It works for me and it would not work for everyone, but I was pleasantly surprised to come across Robin Sharma’s actual 5am club recently. I also learnt that Mark Wahlberg gets up at 2.30am – he is in bed by 7.30pm! When you are not familiar with this it sounds horrendous. Two thoughts come to mind, sometimes at the same time “urgh 5am, it sounds horrible” and “but I need an evening”.
I ask the question; do you need an evening, or do you need some time to do the things you enjoy without feeling the pressure of meeting the needs of others (children, boss, friends, colleagues) at the same time?
I notice when helping others bring their alcohol use back down to an amount that feels comfortable, many people get to the evening hours and feel exhausted. They have ploughed through a stressful, busy, intense day and lack the energy to start a personal project regardless of how enjoyable it will be. The sofa and a glass of wine feels like the only option, but it is not fulfilling. Heck, some even drink the wine to “get through” the television programme they are watching!
I put the option out there to go to bed at that point. Forget the wine on the sofa and hit the sack. It does take a few days for the body clock to catch up but before long you will be rising with the birds, full of energy with a few hours on your hands to do whatever you choose. Will you watch TV then with fresh eyes? Get your overalls on and paint the room you have been wanting to refresh for the past month? If your work hours are flexible you could even start work and finish mid-afternoon. There are many different options to choose between when you combine free morning hours and energy from a good night’s sleep.
Reducing your alcohol intake does require commitment to switching something up in your life. If your evening is not fulfilling what can you add to it to bring the enjoyment you seek? There are options and it requires a proactive approach. Once you start the snowball in motion you will find it builds mass quickly enough to successfully unwind the habit…. and a hypnotherapist helps!
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If you enjoyed this blog post you may wish to read about some hobbies you could take up whilst at home in this article; Budget-Friendly Hobbies for Your Best Life.
You may also like to read about setting short term goals to increase motivation in this article; Short Term Goals to Increase Motivation