Today I’m married to an incredible human being. We have a healthy relationship full of love and support. We have several independent hobbies and pursuits and also love to spend quality time together.
I can see how healthy and supportive our relationship is because I’ve also spent quite a bit of time in unhealthy toxic relationships. (oh my early twenties)
I’m sure you know what I’m talking about . . . when you’re with someone who puts you down instead of lifts you up, makes you feel less than, or is just plain not good for you.
So, why don’t we anthropomorphize alcohol into a boyfriend. Toxic? Yes. Only wants what he wants? Yes. Cares about your long-term wellbeing? Not really.
When you look at alcohol like a toxic boyfriend, you realize you don’t have to put up with him. Here are ten reasons to break up with booze:HE MAKES YOU FEEL BADNo really, he does. When you wake up on a Monday morning with the blues after drinking over the weekend, it’s not just in your head. Alcohol changes the neurochemistry of your brain. He lowers your feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and GABA. And he releases a ton of stress hormones that make you feel anxious and depressed, including cortisol, dynorphin, and something called corticotropin-releasing factor, which skyrockets your anxiety and stress. Dynorphin also limits your brain’s ability to feel joy naturally. So, in addition to making you feel bad, alcohol also takes you away from your other joys in life. What a jerk.
HE TALKS YOU OUT OF YOUR HEALTH GOALS
You promise yourself that you are going to eat healthy this year. Vegetables, whole grains, no more takeout. You go to the gym, you workout, and yet when alcohol comes around, he laughs at your health goals. There’s no way you’re getting away with bok choy and 6 am workouts when he’s around. Oh no, it’s all fast food, snacks, and snoozing for him. Alcohol activates your appetite, numbs the signals to your brain that you’re full, halts your metabolism, thwarts physical fitness, and lowers motivation. (Related post: Stop Drinking and Lose Weight)
HE MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU
It seems like everyone around you has perfectly healthy relationships with alcohol, and yet you get weak in the knees when he’s on the scene. One drink always leaves you wanting another. You don’t feel like you’re in control and that makes you feel deeply ashamed that there is something wrong with you. Except there isn’t. Alcohol does this to everyone who repeatedly drinks it, we’re just so good at not talking about it. When 60 percent of drinkers have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol with the same exact issue, you’ve got to know, it’s all him, not you.
HE LOWERS YOUR SELF-ESTEEM
You say you’re only going to have two drinks, but when does that ever pan out? Every promise, every rule around alcohol eventually gets broken. You wake up feeling like you always let yourself down. Not being able to keep the promises that you make to yourself is the fastest way to lower your self-esteem and make you feel like you are not capable. On top of that, he makes you feel so much red-hot shame when you let yourself down, you don’t speak a word of the dysfunction to another soul. Over time, your self-esteem takes a plunge.
HE DEMANDS YOU SPEND THE BEST DAYS OF YOUR WEEK NURSING A FALLOUT
Yep, you go out with him on Friday and Saturday nights, meaning that your two best days of the week, Saturday and Sunday, are always spent nursing a hangover or feeling like rubbish. You dream about a reality in which you seize the day and always wake up feeling amazing. But going out with him always demands that you sacrifice your free time. You can’t remember the last time you did something for yourself that you actually enjoy doing.
HE DOESN’T SUPPORT YOUR SELF-IMPROVEMENT
When alcohol’s not around, you’re like a different person. You do yoga, you read books, and you like to learn and be inspired to be a better version of yourself. You set incredible ambitious goals and have big dreams. But mark my words, every single time you take two steps forward in your progress, alcohol comes into the scene and makes you take three steps back. You don’t read when he’s around. You don’t cultivate your positive feelings. Your motivation is nonexistent. After he leaves, you try hard to pick up the pieces and get back into a positive state of mind, but damn, it’s exhausting.
HE DOESN’T MAKE YOU FEEL PROUD OR CONFIDENT
Even though you think he makes you more confident, you actually don’t really like who you become around him. But you’ve gotten so used to using him to fake being confident, that you don’t entirely believe you can be radiant and amazing (especially socially) on your own. You don’t call home or friends with great news about the relationship. In fact, it might be your biggest embarrassment. Something you don’t talk about with anyone. Alcohol leaves you with so many insecurities and doubt.
IT’S ALWAYS THE SAME WITH HIM
You have a rough Friday night, (years of rough Friday nights in fact). You chalk it up to stress and the setting you were in. But once you recover and make up, surely you think, one glass of wine with dinner on Wednesday can’t hurt. Except that, it’s the same exact pattern all over again. Maybe not so dramatic, but nevertheless, alcohol never changes or produces the outcome you’d hope for. You always wake up feeling worse off, let down, and like you’re three steps back. Alcohol promises you it’ll be different each and every time, he begs you! And yet if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s letting you down.
HE MAKES YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH ON YOUR OWN
“I need alcohol to have fun, relax, socialize . . . .” fill in the blank with whatever reason you’ve got. All of these statements go back to the fundamental belief that you think you can’t achieve these states on your own. Which is in fact incredibly limiting and dis-empowering. If I think I need alcohol to have fun, it’s because I believe that I am not fun on my own. If I think that I need alcohol to socialize, it’s because I believe that I’m not interesting or confident enough on my own. But none of these are fundamentally true, just lies alcohol has been telling you. You get to choose what you believe. So why not make it empowering? You are a grown woman/man who has already done so many amazing things in this world. You are enough. You are worthy. You don’t need a toxic sidekick to make you better.
HE’S EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE
If alcohol really was a real-life boyfriend, imagine what your friends and loved ones would think. They would probably notice that this fool keeps making you feel sick, low about yourself, and ruins your self-esteem. They’d see that you aren’t acting like your real self around him and that he brings you much more pain and suffering than any joy. They’d see that you have so much more resilience, strength, and radiance away from him and that you don’t give yourself enough credit on your own. They’d recommend you kick him to the curb! Because you deserve so much better. We all do.
Sometimes it’s hard to see. This is true about all toxic relationships. Making excuses for their behavior, hoping it’ll get better on it’s own.
But you could change the relationship right now. Commit to a clean break and dedicate your time to creating a healthy relationship with yourself first. Put you, your wellbeing, your happiness, and your personal growth first. You deserve it.
If you’d like some help to stop drinking and create the alcohol-life of your dreams, click here for details on my online course.