If you are like me and have gone on a journey where alcohol has been an issue for you then you will sure have put up with all sorts of attitudes to alcohol getting in the way. I was slightly different in my experience to many and you will be as well. One thing I am sure about is attitudes to alcohol played a key role in everything I did and it started with me.
My liver suddenly started to give up with a mix of alcohol, stress, infection and probably many things that the medical team could not understand as I went through test after test before being given 48 hours to live. Here’s the thing, I was a social drinker with a few glasses of wine and no spirits as a rule so go figure that one. Attitudes to alcohol played a key role in everything around me from respect to treatment.
However, here is the one factor that I knew was not negotiable. My liver decided to fail and alcohol had to go and go now. Now in my mind I just decided to give up for my health, for you maybe it’s a lifestyle choice or that you are fed up of feeling awful the morning after.
To be honest it doesn’t really matter. You have chosen to reduce your alcohol intake or stop it all together and it can be done.
What I have realized is that attitudes really get in the way sometimes of making choices that you want to make. Here are my top 5 attitudes to alcohol that are sometimes very annoying but I have learned to listen to them and smile. Here is the thing, some we own!
5 – Damned if you do and damned if you don’t
It’s funny many of you have told me about this, If you don’t have a drink people want you to have one and if you do have too many people think you have a problem.! Strange world isn’t it when it come to attitudes to alcohol.
I guess we live in a time of the badge of honor for getting drunk and no one really understands when you are not one of them. At time of writing this in the UK we are on the first day of pubs and bars opening after lock down because drink is rated over many aspects of everyday life including the theatre or even a nail bar! The streets are full of people drinking alcohol because they think they should in some cases be mental healthy. It kind of represents freedom. So remember in terms of attitudes to alcohol you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t so make your own choices.
4- The Gossips
They are the people who enjoy a good gossip generally at your expense. They will automatically go for the alcoholic badge and really enjoy spreading that label about you. I actually really feel for people who have had a liver transplant as a result of nothing at all to do with drinking. People just make up a story. I know I have spoken to some people who were really upset by it.
Even I was a moderate drinker compared to many and certainly mainly social and yet people will make up their own story about you. Maybe they feel better about themselves, I have no idea. Remember that you can be upfront with them regardless of the reasons and I generally bring it up first with humor. Again own your position!
3- Social Pressure
From apps to friends who lunch the battle has now never been greater, However In the UK at least up to 23 per cent of the population do prefer to abstain for a various number of reasons. Attitudes to alcohol are changing. One of the reasons makes me laugh, which is that they don’t want to look at bad on social media. So it’s almost social pressure in reverse. Go and work that one out!
Our lifestyle choices have never been more scrutinized so is it any wonder that people feel pressure. People have commented on my blog that it seems that sometimes friends would prefer you to have a drink over you being alive and well.
Of course there is the ex-smoker syndrome where if you do give up drinking you can begin to preach to everyone about the benefits and hide fully. I have just avoided that. I am happy to go whenever my friends are going and if there is an alcohol free option available. Fantastic.
This is a preferred option than rather people feeling sorry for you or the “it must be awful for you not being able to drink” I want to say back “it must be awful for you having to feel you have to say it!
2- The Market
Do you know how difficult it was to get 0.0% abv options so no alcohol at all when I first decided if I was to live then it meant totally giving up. It was really hard, from lack of product, lack of understanding, ridicule, the market made it really difficult to go into a bar and order an alcohol free alternative.
The choice is very crucial unless you want to be assigned to the “OK I’ll have another cola then” brigade. However, the market is changing for decent alcoholic beers and alcohol free gin. However, some people are wary of going into bars and restaurants and asking given the choice they offer and some offer none at all. There is also a real education process needed on what is and what is not alcohol free and a low alcohol options. For some of us it really matters.
So you still get the odd looks and the “what’s the point” comment as much as it’s linked to profit rather than social change? I can see big change coming where it hasn’t already started.
And this week’s number one, yes you have guessed it ….
1 – Our own limiting beliefs
The final one is of course us. The limiting beliefs we have about ourselves and what we feel is acceptable to us. Being sure of ourselves isn’t always something that is natural to us and we fear rejection and want to be liked. This goes back to conditioning deep within our brain, the pleasing we did as we grow up. Attitudes to alcohol start with us.
Remember we are programmed to move toward pleasure and away from pain. So if you have a “can’t must should or could” word coming up these are all pressure words as opposed to “I want to own my own position” on what I can drink alcohol wise and I do the choosing.
After all, limiting beliefs are just thoughts, they are not real but can have a massive impact on our behaviour.
Think of it as an iceberg. All our conscious thoughts are above water but what is really running the show is below water. It’s like a computer code that has all the thoughts, opinions that have ever been done or said to us.
Changing your limiting beliefs about alcohol and those attitudes around us are key to changing our own attitudes to alcohol and to be honest sod everyone else. No, I don’t always say that with love.
If you have any thoughts, comments or shares around attitudes to alcohol just leave them below and remember many of the articles here come from your own thoughts, so get involved and share. I always reply.