Recently my partner and I decided to not drink alcohol on a regular basis anymore. We don’t drink at all at home and only have a glass or two socially. This made me curious about people’s mind set in general about alcohol. It seems as though alcohol is the only drug one needs to explain when not having.
While it is applauded when someone gives up smoking or drugs, it seems as though people who give up alcohol, which is just as dangerous and addictive, are regarded as curious and are referred to teasingly as “tea-totallers” or “being on the water wagon”. I have never heard people referring in a joking way to someone giving up cigarettes or drugs. In fact these people are supported and praised for their choice, while non-drinkers seems to be the “party poopers.”
I want to go as far as to say that in my opinion alcohol is the most dangerous of drugs because it is so socially acceptable. Having a drink is portrayed as normal and advertising and the media portray drinking as fun, relaxing and even sophisticated. While smoking has become a rare sight in movies or on TV, drinking is very much a part of the scene.
In life coaching the focus is on working with functional people who want to better their lives and addicts are not regarded as ideal life coaching clients. In spite of this, I think there is a lot of scope to help regular drinkers quit or drink more mindfully (I am still in two minds about if there is really such a thing as mindful drinking) with the exact same techniques and tools used to get rid of limiting beliefs and bad habits in other life areas.
Research has shown that there are absolutely no advantages to drinking alcohol whatsoever and that even the supposed relaxation it brings is a lie. In fact it is shown that drinking only causes stress and alleviates anxiety. Any supposed benefits are fare outweighed by the disadvantages.
The use of alcohol is fostered just as any other bad habit or limiting belief, by environment, education, past experiences, outcomes and our own creative thinking. Think of when we grew up how drinking was a “normal”activity in most house holds. Your dad might have had a drink to “unwind”after a stressful day at work. On Sundays there would be wine served with Sunday roast. Social gatherings were not the same without drinks flowing and was signalling that everybody was having a good time. The media has always portrayed drinking as a wholesome activity and drink as a desirable commodity. People have exclusive and sophisticated, wine, gin and other clubs where thousands of rands worth of alcohol is consumed. These people are so called connoiseurs in their field and although all is good in moderation, I know very few people who can actually stick to one or two drinks at social events.
Rites of passage like celebrating your “legal” drinking age at 18 are celebrated by clubbing where drinks are freely available. What if instead of gifting someone officially regarded as a grown-up at 21 with useful presents that will benefit his or her growth as a human being like a subscribtion to a magazine related to their field of interest or hobbies or a voucher for a fitness class or life coaching session to help them set clear goals and install good life long habits for wealth, heath and prosperity instead of costly bottles of alcohol?
Thriving taxi and chauffeur services are build around the behaviour of people imbibing alcohol. It is applauded to have the foresight to book an Uber in advance for a night out on the town because it is assumed that drinking over the legal limit for driving will be part of the party. Society has made drinking a dangerous and potentially lethal drug “cool”. I know I step on many toes with this post, but please just consider how much safer and healthier we would all be without habitual drinking.
The perception of the masses of alcohol should be changed. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I have noticed that there are more and more social media support groups for people who want to stop or lessen their alcohol intake and that more and more non-alcoholic drinks are available. I recently noticed more prominent displays of these drinks grouped together to make shopping for them easier. Worldwide alcohol- free “bars” are opening to cater to non-drinkers’ needs.
I believe we can help alter people’s ingrained perceptions and mindsets about alcohol by proclaiming how good life with minimum or no alcohol can be. The advantages to leading a drink -free live are so many- yet people seems to be trapped in a very successful lie that has deep roots through social and environmental conditioning.
Just imagine what you could do with all the money saved from buying alcohol which adds up to such a considerable expense when bought regularly. What if you could take that overseas-trip after a year of not drinking? How about buying that dream boat, designer clothes or all the books you want? Could you study a course or afford to send your children to univarsity with all the money saved after five or ten years of no alcohol purchases? It is said by just not drinking alcohol for a month you can loose five or six kilograms by giving your liver a rest so that it can detox and function effectively again.
Why have we as a society been trapped in the alcohol lie for so long? Lets work together to expose the alcohol myth and help people to live more healthy, energetic and meaningful lives and show them that the real good time is had when you are always in control of your mind and body and spending money on things and experiences with real benefits. All it takes is a mind shift- empower yourself with knowledge about how bad alcohol really is-just as bad as hard drugs- and fill your life with meaningful, alternative habits and believes that will have you thriving instead of surviving.
A good book to help you change your perception about alcohol is “This naked mind” by Anne Grace. You can down load the first two chapters for free online, but I guarantee that you will want to buy the book after reading them. If the AA meetings are “not your thing”you can subscribe to online social media programs like the ones offered by “One year no beer” or “Club soda alcohol free”. I have heard good things about the “World without wine”organization but the consultations are costly- although seen in perspective it will be an investment once it helps you quit buying alcohol.
You are welcome to contact me for help if you think a mindset change will help you quit. Please comment on this post by scrolling down after this blog on www.salifecoaching.co.za. Feel free to voice your opinion. I stuck my neck out there and am prepared to take it on the chin :)- but it might just help you change your mind and I hope this post got you at least thinking about alcohol consumption and its drawbacks and how we have been lied to by people promoting this “demon drink” as I see some ex-drinkers call it.