My drinking problem

Blog · Your Body

Hope you’re having an amazing week so far.  It’s been so gorgeous here in SF.  I wish I could rescue all my east coast friends and family from the horrible weather and fly them out to enjoy the long afternoons in the park and walks along the beach… sorry to rub it in.

I haven’t told many people this, but last summer I convinced myself that I had a drinking problem.

I was down on myself for waking up with headaches on Saturday morning, feeling puffy on Mondays and even though my intention was to not drink during the week, I still found myself having a glass of wine (or two… ok, usually two) at dinner time.

To me, having a normal relationship with alcohol meant having one glass of wine on Friday night, and one glass of wine on Saturday.  I mean I should be able to have fun without alcohol right?  And shouldn’t nutrition coaches really not drink at all?

When I compared my reality to my expectations, it was clear that I was a maniac.  So I tried my damndest for weeks to cut back, drink more seltzer and not put myself in situations where I felt like drinking 3 glasses of wine was critical to the experience.

But no matter how hard I tried to get rid of my drinking problem, I couldn’t pass up a good glass of pinot noir, which further convinced me that I was an addict.

One day when I was lying on the dock at my summerhouse with 3 of my closest girlfriends, I built up the courage to tell them I had a drinking problem.  Once the words came out of my mouth, they all started to laugh.

My friend Allison took the lead and told me that enjoying wine with good food, going wine tasting and enjoying a glass of wine on a Tuesday with my husband are all normal things.  She also added that I could probably stand to go out and take tequila shots once a month to get some pent up “wildness” out of my system.  Going a little nuts, as long as it’s within reason, can be really therapeutic, especially since I shut down that part of my life when I got married.

Duh. I thought.  I’m such a drama queen.

I was spending so much time trying to reach my goal, that I never considered that my goal was the problem.  And the act of trying to reach my goal was actually preventing me from focusing on how I actually want to feel.

Sure, I could cut back to 2 glasses of wine a week, but is that the kind of life I want right now?  Is that what I choose?  Sure, someday that’s what may feel the best, but for now that feels too restrictive.

Once I got rid of my rule, and realized that my behavior was actually pretty normal for my age, life phase and proximity to Napa, I finally had the softness to tune into my body and what she really wanted.

I discovered that all is took to not have headaches or chipmunk cheeks was a few more glasses of water, maybe a glass or two less on the weekends, and to steer clear of Chardonnay.  And since I’ve started to wake up without a hangover, the slight adjustment still feels like a major win instead of deprivation.

I’ve also found myself not feeling social pressure to drink, or the need to have a glass of wine every night.  When I stopped telling myself I had a problem, the problem went away.

Pin it, Please?

So, are you feeling better about your drinking habits?  So many of us put such high expectations on ourselves to be perfect, when I really think it’s so much more effective (and fun) to just be human.

If you have a friend who struggles with this, I’d love for you to pass this on to them by forwarding this email or blast out this tweetable:

Do you think you have a drinking problem? I thought I did too until I read this (link) @sarahejenks

We gotta help each other out with this stuff.

And here’s what I want you to do this week:

1.     Identify where there’s a discrepancy between your expectations and your reality.
2.     Ditch the expectation.
3.     Focus on how you want to feel and what lifestyle you really want to have.
4.     Let me know what you’re going to ditch in the comments below.  I can’t wait to hear how you’re gonna loosen up on yourself.



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