“I can’t do it!”
Of all the phrases I hear in my coaching sessions, this is the one I hear most often.
When you experience a day that is filled with so much stress, doing and overwhelm you will probably open a bottle of wine and the mental torture begins.
- “You see, you’re useless.”
- “God, I’m pathetic, I can’t even stay sober for 3 days straight.”
- “I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay sober for any length of time. I just can’t do it!”
A whole week of staying sober is obliterated in a tirade of personal insults where you tell yourself that you’ve never achieved anything good in your life and so, obviously, you can’t stay sober.
A Woman’s Life
Women, through various circumstances, often find themselves in situations where it is required of them to do more than they ever could have imagined they could bear. When we drink regularly we unconsciously make our lives so much more difficult.
We do the lion’s share of caring for children and our elderly relatives. Yes, these are often joyful choices we make, but if you’ve ever been a single parent with an absent father, you will know the daily stress, fear and grind of keeping everything together so those you love can thrive. The hours are punishing and, of course, we are at the bottom of the list for care.
When our children are at their most vulnerable ages we go to work because a) financially we have no choice and/or b) we have skills and talents that deserve to shine in the world so we can operate as whole women. Childcare is costly, so the financial balance is often calculated on the head of a pin. When we come home, often we have to make sure the house runs smoothly.
Every time one of our children is in trouble, we drop everything, juggle like a crazy woman and run to them. We empty our purses for them and give them anything we have that they want. We lie awake at night worrying about their adult choices, forgetting that they are in fact, adults. (They will always be our babies won’t they?)
We move cities and countries for a better life and make sure that every item is carefully packed and itemised. This ensures that children’s toys are unpacked first to keep them occupied and tea-making necessities are next. Many years ago, I was admitted to hospital with a burst appendix a couple of days before a house move and spent months afterwards finding socks in pans and pencils in the bathroom so I know the value of proper packing!
We push hard to educate ourselves and work harder than some to ensure we can get the promotion that puts us in a pay bracket that allows us to breathe. To have all of this we have to live in a state of perpetual exhaustion and start to feel resentful and hopeless about the future.
From childhood through to menopause and beyond we suffer huge and small aggressions from men, society, crap employers, financial institutions – blah blah blah – and in the majority of cases we just have to suck it up. Each aggression either makes us more aggressive or wears us down just a little more.
If you have an old trauma, the expectation is often that you should ‘get over it already’. Or you don’t talk about it so you don’t make other people uncomfortable and you don’t believe anyone actually cares about this stuff anyway. There is no time or money for therapy and that trauma sits like a tightly coiled spring, waiting for the next ‘thing’ to set it off.
It’s only this year that the menopause is being talked about in organisations and women are being supported for what can be a crazy, scary and depressing time of their lives. The changes to our bodies and minds can induce lunacy because we feel suddenly out of control. Of course, we just keep going because we have to.
Wandering to retirement, sometimes with not enough money to stop working, is terrifying and the prospect of working till you die sometimes looks like a real possibility. Seeing your body age in a world that demands you stay young is frustrating and makes you feel like you’re out of control and it’s too late to do anything about it.
And through it all, we keep going, we manage and we drink. At this point, you might be arguing that alcohol should be on prescription for free because it’s one of the only things that will give us some sort of temporary peace!
Of course, what I have written above is maybe a slightly exaggerated set of scenarios and if only one or two of them applies to you then it’s hardly surprising you have relied on alcohol to cope.
You Are Strong
But if you have lived through or are in any of the situations I have described above then the strength you have had to draw up from within yourself is immense.
You have the strength to stop drinking because you have learned how to be strong through the simple act of living your life. You have overcome immense challenges in your life and along the way you have learned new things about what you’re truly capable of.
You have made huge decisions to improve your life by moving to another country or city, getting out of an abusive relationship or changed jobs when it felt like a risky move.
Which means you absolutely have the strength to give up alcohol. You can do it because, contrary to what you may have been telling yourself, this liquid poison has no personality so it isn’t going to fight back if you decide to drop it as your best friend. It isn’t going to send you threatening messages or stalk you down the supermarket aisles threatening to jump in your basket.
Try This Exercise
Take out your journal and answer this prompt:
The things I have done in my life that have required me to be strong are…
Keep writing until you remember everything. Read it back once you’re finished and underline the words and phrases that highlight just how strong you have been until now. You will see just how amazing you are.
You CAN Give Up Alcohol
Face alcohol and be the woman you always are, strong, capable and easily able to overcome this tiny, insignificant, health-damaging liquid that makes you believe the lies it tells you. Be your own heroine.
I promise you that you can do it. The detox is uncomfortable but brief and the necessary reframing of your thinking is so much easier once you’re clear of alcohol.
I know you can do it because I did it. I have lived through many of the things I have listed above and when I stopped drinking I realised what an amazing woman I am. I will never allow anything to stop me from living the life I deserve and I owe that confidence and clarity to my sobriety.
Rise up. Be the woman I know you are.