Tuesday Tales: Changing relationship with alcohol – Donna Thistlethwaite

Do you ever find yourself drinking more than you planned? Waking up the next morning wondering what you said or not being able to account for a period of time? If so, you’re not alone.

Alcohol and I go way back and at times our relationship hasn’t been particularly positive.

I have consumed alcohol to celebrate, to commiserate and everything in between. It seems to amplify wherever I’m at mood-wise. In the past, there have been many times when I’ve lost track of my drinking once I’ve started because I got so caught up in the moment.

Thankfully my relationship with alcohol changed a lot in the past five or so years. I rarely drink now to take the edge off life. When I enjoy a drink, it’s a much more conscious experience and is no longer followed by questions or regrets.

One of the first steps to changing my relationship was to hear my partner’s concerns about my drinking. He was in the perfect position to see that my drinking was negatively impacting my life. I could have got defensive and chose to ignore him but deep down I knew there was some truth to his concerns.

My partner suggested I use a nip pourer for my spirits and it turned out to be one of the best ideas ever. Not only was I having much more fun at social engagements, I didn’t need to replenish the alcohol stocks as often. Friends have occasionally teased me about my nip pourer and I had to laugh recently when one admitted that she’d started using one herself.

As I started to enjoy the benefits of cutting back my alcohol consumption it became more and more attractive to do so.

Changing our habits around alcohol can be super helpful but I realise that there’s something else that has been instrumental in my new relationship with alcohol. I’ve actually changed my relationship with myself.

As I started to love and accept myself I realised that I didn’t want, or deserve, the side effects that can come from over-using alcohol. I want to wake up feeling great about myself and I want to bring my best self to my friendships and celebrations. Now I know that I can be just as much fun with less or no alcohol. The less I worry about what other people think, believe in myself and show up as me, the greater life is.

If you feel like there might be some issues with your relationship with alcohol, I’d recommend checking out the 4L model which appears on the Federal Department of Health’s website. It will prompt you to consider the impacts of alcohol or drugs on various areas of your life.

For an online assessment, you can check out https://auditscreen.org/ or you can download the https://hellosundaymorning.org/ app.

Cheers to you and to us all having a healthy relationship with alcohol and life.

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Donna Thistlethwaite is a Brisbane-based speaker and trainer specialising in mental health and resilience. She is an accredited Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Resilience at Work Facilitator with a passion for suicide prevention and for helping individuals, teams and organisations to THRIVE. You can find out about her next Mental Health First Aid courses here.

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