The Joy of Calling BS

addiction alcohol alcohol-free coaching gifts of sobriety kate baily recovery Aug 05, 2022

‘Alcohol helps me relax’, ‘People will think I’m boring’, ‘Drinking is sophisticated’, ‘It’s what adults do’, ‘But what will I do at Christmas?’, ‘People will assume I have a problem.’ . . .

Do any of these beliefs sound familiar to you? We have great news for you – an alcohol-free life is the best kept secret! But first we need to do some myth-busting . . .

Because alcohol is what we call ‘socially normative’ we have all kinds of unconscious beliefs about how normal it is to drink and how abnormal it is not to. These drivers governing our habits and behaviour are our unconscious beliefs, which come from our family of origin, culture, our peers, advertising, films, TV and social media. So, we need to be reality detectives when we stop drinking, and challenge the messages we receive about alcohol.

We engage the emotional brain to help empower our habits. We must also undo the brainwashing that affects our emotional brain too. By really analysing the unconscious bias toward alcohol and challenging its truth for us, we can build sober muscle.

When we start to investigate these beliefs, challenge them and discount them with evidence – and see the marketing machine behind this – we take hold of a golden ticket to getting rid of the Wine Witch for good.


Let’s take one of the many common myths around drinking: ‘Alcohol helps me relax’.

1. Ask questions and challenge your perceptions

Ask yourself, am I sure it helps me to relax? Because being hungover all weekend certainly doesn’t feel relaxing and, come to think of it, waking up at 4am makes me super anxious . . . Also, I never really relax at a party because I am always counting my drinks and watching the bottle. And what does it mean to relax anyway?

2. Seek facts and knowledge: Read books on the subject, listen to podcasts, know so much that you can’t unknow it. Here are a couple of pertinent examples.

FACT: We know from science that alcohol is both a stimulant and a depressant – the first glass of wine may imitate the feeling of being relaxed but it’s really an ineffective bandage for stress and anxiety because it makes you more stressed and anxious in the long run. So, it doesn’t relax you at all.

FACT: Alcohol depletes your brain and your body of the ability to relax by itself so you become reliant on it, and then it stops working and you’re just chasing not having withdrawal from it, which is not in any way relaxing.

3.Investigate what works instead and do it:

What really relaxes me? What can I do that will help me more? Maybe take that bath, go to bed early, work on boundaries, remove a stressor from my life, go to the theatre, take a walk or go for a swim?

The reality of our drinking was not relaxing. It was falling over, feeling ashamed, waking up with our makeup still on, neglecting promises to friends and family, feeling irresponsible, having the same conversation over and over and never being fully present. Alcohol systematically took away more than it gave.

Take a look at some of the myths you may hold about alcohol, such as:
Alcohol helps me relax
I can’t have fun without alcohol
I can’t connect with others without alcohol Alcohol makes me sophisticated Alcohol is a treat
Drinking alcohol is part of romance
It is empowering for a woman to drink Drinking is part of being a feminist
I can’t get through motherhood without alcohol
Now ask yourself:
What is the story I tell myself about alcohol? What is my reality really like?
What are the facts?
What can I do instead?
Because I was sober, this week I . .

Let's call a healthy bit of bullshit this summer and get to grips with what we really need. YOU GOT THIS!

Love Kate x

Adapted from 'Love Your Sober Year ' by Kate Baily & Mandy Manners Available to pre-order HERE

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