Taking a break from alcohol isn’t always easy. But then magically you turn a corner, and the days stack up, and you feel better and better and ridiculously proud of yourself.
But what happens when you get a windfall? Hear some bad news or encounter a really challenging moment? Today’s video blog is all about overcoming challenges and hard times without resorting back to drinking. I’ll share the tools you need to overcome anything that comes your way with resilience and tenacity.
OUR NEED TO NUMB
Often when something really hard and painful happens, we immediately want to numb that pain. We think that our emotions are too intense, and that if we feel them, even just a little bit, that they will swallow us whole. We lack the trust in ourselves to be able to feel everything and come out on the other side.
And if alcohol does one thing well, it numbs. It literally used to be used as an anesthetic in surgeries before modern medicine. But numbing painful emotions doesn’t process them or heal them. It just shoves them down further into our psyche where they will continue to haunt us.
Alcohol also doesn’t allow you to experience your emotions in the truest way. Because alcohol slows down the prefrontal cortex (or human brain) and the speed at which complex neurons fire, your brain isn’t functioning very well. What’s left running the show is your lower and mid-brains, or reptilian brain. Emotions expressed in this way is usually just hysteria. It’s not a cathartic expression of your true emotions, but a doomsday scenario.
With half of your brain dimmed, there’s no chance for critical thinking or intuitive insights—we become an animalistic and immature version of ourselves that is overreactive and drawn by angry emotions. If something tragic happens, this is the last version of yourself that you in control.
Not only are we not able to truly process feelings in this state, when you come to, you also have the guilt of drinking on top of it. That will add fuel to the sadness and depression and make you feel even more incapable of handling it and healing.
What to do if something hard happens instead:
HONOR YOUR FEELINGS
Your emotions are meant to be expressed, even though most of us were taught to push them down. Now is the time to cry, journal, take meandering walks in nature, sit and stare at the ocean or lake and spend extra time in solitude, silence, and in nature. Trust that the time you took to feel your emotions aided in your healing and that you will feel relief afterward.
SHIFT YOUR MINDSET
One of my favorite quotes by Tony Robbins is, “Life is happening for you, not to you.” Meaning that even the most challenging times can be gifts if they grow you, offer you a chance to re-think your life, help you know yourself in a better way, or offer some other kind of opportunity. Hard things teach us about ourselves and strengthen our resilience.
I know it can seem crazy to shift your mindset during a tragedy, but many people look back at some of the hardest times of their lives and feel grateful for the lesson. How can you shift your perspective on this?
FIND THE LIGHT AND SHARE IT WITH OTHER PEOPLE
Perhaps the greatest gift of overcoming something hard and painful is that you now know how to persevere and what to do to get through it. Your experience is a huge gift to the woman behind you dealing with a similar challenge.
I’ve worked with clients who have gone through tremendous grief, hard family dynamics, and career failures. Today, they are using their experiences as a platform to reach other women going through the same challenges and offering advice and building community. It brings them so much meaning to know their hardships weren’t in vain, and that we are literally put on this planet to help other people.
You are far stronger than you think, and you can get through this. I believe in you.
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.