Are you struggling with your menopause symptoms or wondering if alcohol is responsible for how you’re feeling?
Check out these symptoms of menopause and see how many you identify with:
- Hot flushes
- Weight Gain
- Night Sweats
- Mood Changes
- Sleep Problems
- Irregular Periods
- Joint & Muscle Pain
- Itchy Skin
- Hair Loss
- Brittle Nails
- Bladder Infections
- Dry Mouth
- Difficulty concentrating
- High Blood Pressure
- Digestive Problems
- Weak Bladder
- Dry, Tired, Irritated Eyes
- Memory Lapses
- Irregular Heartbeat
Symptoms Related to Drinking Alcohol
Now, go back to the image above and ask yourself how many of those could also be related to your drinking. I counted 17 out of the 25 I have listed here from the days when I was drinking. Interestingly, the muscle and joint pains I used to experience have gone away since I stopped drinking.
How many are you experiencing right now?
What’s The Source?
If you are drinking and know you’re at the right age for menopause how do you know what is causing your symptoms? If they are so similar, how do you know what belongs to menopause and what belongs to alcohol?
Don’t you deserve to find out? Removing alcohol from your life will enable you to deal effectively with your menopause and be 100% sure that it’s this that is actually the cause of your symptoms and not alcohol.
Wouldn’t that be a better and easier conversation with your doctor? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to be able to list your symptoms and have those dealt with instead of any of them being dismissed as being alcohol-related? You wouldn’t have to lie about how much you’re drinking and would get the treatment you need for the symptoms you have.
The Easy Stuff
Sorting out symptoms and getting treatment is pretty straightforward. Yes, there might be a bit of back and forth getting the right kind of HRT and medication, but you will be clear about your end goal and will know when you feel better.
The Real Challenge
What isn’t so straightforward is how you handle you at this time. So many things are changing. Your body either no longer does what it’s told or you have to work twice as hard to make it obey. You can see shades of older women in your family in the mirror and sometimes that makes you feel older than old and you know that your days of making babies are pretty much over.
Your mind becomes a minefield of lost thoughts and dangerous ideas that make you feel like you’re going mad. Alcohol can cause depressive and anxious moods and thoughts, so the mixture of the two can be a miserable cocktail.
In society being young, male, and virile are the hallmarks of a worthy member of society. Even older men are described as distinguished or silver foxes and are revered and worshipped as models of human ageing. We are told over andover that this is how it’s meant to be done. Of course, men can still have children well into older age, so they are still seen as useful contributors to society.
This view is never afforded to women. I can’t even think of a phrase that positively describes an older successful woman. Can you?
We are just ‘women of a certain age’, we are in ‘the change’ which almost suggests we have become not ourselves because we are no longer able to produce babies.
A Triple Bundle of Crap
Just think about it. If you are 1) female 2) menopausal and 3) a heavy drinker – that right there is a triple bundle of crap that puts women at a disadvantage. Being female is always a struggle unless you live in a cave on your own – the moment you interact with the outside world someone will tell you that you’re wrong. Being menopausal is a struggle because it’s a huge proportion of the population doesn’t understand what it’s like. Recently, I have seen some heightening awareness by organisations to be more supportive but it’s still early days and the support can be patchy or non-existent.
And if you dare to admit that you might be drinking alcohol, thou shalt be judged and judged negatively.
While juggling home, family, job, elderly relatives and your own changes it can feel like alcohol is the only way to provide some much-needed respite.
No More Babies
Coming to terms with the idea that you will no longer be able to have children may be causing you untold stress.
If for whatever reason, you haven’t had any children this time of your life can be a distressing time that forces you to come to terms with having to watch that door close for good.
Or it might feel like a kind of freedom.
Whichever way it’s affecting you, it’s significant and deserves the time and space to work through and accept your new reality or take action.
Will Alcohol Make It Better?
Adding alcohol at this time in your life is like setting fire to yourself. There is no way that alcohol can help you through this time in any effective or meaningful way.
There is no way you can come to terms with your changing body when you are ingesting a gazillion calories and increasing your risk of breast, and other, cancers.
You can’t get even a little bit close to sexy if you’ve always got a thick head. And you will never be able to sort your menopause symptoms out.
Whatever issues you have in your relationship and your feelings of being less attractive will only come out in arguments about the dishes when alcohol is leading the charge. If you are thinking – “I went through an early menopause and thought I’d turned into an old hag over night.” then your relationship will need an honest conversation about what is changing for you.
Your Second Life
Of course, there is a different way to look at it. You can take a positive approach and look for the opportunities that might be available to you.
Perhaps if you’re menopausal you care a great deal less about what other people think of you than you used to. If that’s the case then is there something you have always wanted to do but feared others opinions? You can be free to pursue the things you always wanted to.
You have decades of experience in work, raising children and life in general that lots of people would benefit from if you wanted to share your many skills.
Perhaps, like me, you are beginning to recognise that the way you spend your time needs to be making a positive difference to someone or lots of someones?
What if you now have enough confidence and the time to work towards being the CEO of your company, or get that promotion you know you deserve?
Succeeding at Your Second Life
What if you stopped drinking alcohol and decided to make the years beyond your last period the best of your life?
I have a vision of an army of women who have their shit together, who have their health working for them, who have figured out what work they want to do, have figured out how they want their relationships to be and more importantly, know beyond a shadow of a doubt who they want to be.
Giving up alcohol when you’re young is a great idea but giving up when you are older is a double win. You know what you want from life and know how you want to spend your time.
I have always thought that women need to stop drinking themselves into an early physical and emotional death so that we can offer the much-needed balance that seems to be missing in the world right now.
Try this out quickly – think about your last days on the planet, what are the answers to these questions:
- What legacy am I leaving behind?
- How did I spend my second life after menopause?
- Who did I help?
- Who did I love with my whole heart?
- How does it feel to have been sober for decades?
- Did I live my life to the full?
My answers to those questions are all positive ones. What is it going to take for you to be able to answer them just as positively?
As a sober coach, this is where all my focus is; helping you change your life so that it’s easy to answer those questions positively.
If it’s only alcohol standing in the way, let it go my love. You are wasting the best years of your life.
To help you get clear about your relationship with alcohol and your menopause experience I have created a free download just for you: 6 Simple Steps – Get it here.
Much love always, Jules xxx
P.S This seems to be a very well-informed and useful site on all things menopause: A Vogel.