Long Term Effects of Binge Drinking

medical-effects-binge-drinkingSo maybe you don’t drink every day, but when you do drink you rarely stop at just 1 or 2…in fact often it turns into a bottle or 2 of wine, or a six-pack or so of beer and then waking up the next morning not remembering how you got to bed.

If you’ve been concerned about your drinking you probably already know that regular excessive drinking can lead to diabetes, liver and heart disease, cancer, stroke, and more.  But what if you aren’t a daily drinker – maybe only on the weekends, but binge when you do drink? Well the long term effects of binge drinking can have the same health and safety issues as daily excessive drinking.

But does it really matter? Do you think knowing this is going to cause you to change your drinking habits? Not likely – or maybe it will for a couple of weeks, but then you’ll go back to your old habits because if the negative consequences could get you to stop drinking – you would have done it a long time ago.  Knowing the destructive side effects only increases the negative emotions that you already have and that you are already drinking to escape from.

Instead you have to find a positive reason to cut back or change your behavior. The MODER8 moderate drinking program is based on this philosophy of Solution-Focused – focusing on creating the life you want to live or being the person you want to be instead of focusing on the problem – the drinking. For more on this read “Getting Control of Your Drinking – Focusing on the Solution.

How to Stop Drinking

If you want to learn how to stop drinking, the first question you have to ask yourself is “Do you REALLY WANT to stop drinking?” and the second question you have to ask yourself is “WHY do you want to stop drinking?”

If the answer to question #1 is something like “More than anything in the world,” and the answer to #2 is comparable to  “Because I want to do it for ME – to feel better, look better, have greater self-esteem or to enjoy life again!” then you are well on your way to a solid commitment and success.

And if you are committed to stopping drinking for yourself, then start by:

  • Picking a date to stop.
  • Discovering and planning positive healthy activities to bring you either joy, relaxation or entertainment (Use this worksheet to help you).
  • Identify some goals and things that you want to do or accomplish and that you’ve been ignoring or putting off because you’ve been drinking all the time.
  • Know potential triggers that will make you want to drink – sometimes worse than you could have predicted – and plan how to deal with these triggers besides drink.
  • Identify a support network – which you can confide in and not feel judged.
  • ENJOY LIFE with a clear head, feeling great and looking healthier & vibrant.

However, if you realize down deep inside that you only WANT to WANT to stop drinking, then don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to quit before you are ready. Perhaps you should try just cutting back on the number of drinks that you are drinking when you drink or set some new rules around your drinking. (Read this blog, “What If You Don’t Really Want to Stop Drinking.”)

Perhaps even try some moderate drinking strategies (watch this video).

But whatever you do, don’t continue to judge or condemn yourself for your drinking. You drink because that’s what you know how to do right now, or at least, it’s all you have the desire to do right now. It doesn’t make you a bad person…it just means you aren’t ready to change your behavior. Keep reading the blogs here at MODER8NOW.com, watching the videos and working on creating other goals besides trying to stop drinking, and eventually the desire will come to you and you’ll want to change your behavior FOR YOU!

How to Stop Binge Drinking

 

I can’t count the number of times in the past that I planned to just have one or two drinks – for whatever reason-and it turned into a full out binge where I woke up the next morning not remembering how I got to bed or what I did before I got there. Does this sound familiar?

Well I eventually LEARNED how to stop binge drinking – and it took a while to figure out – but this is what works for me and I’d like you to give it a try:

  • Know your mindset BEFORE you drink – H-A-L-T: are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired…or thirsty, bored, sad, etc.? Then ATTEND to these issues first, otherwise you are destined to binge drink in an attempt to resolve these issues.
  • Have something planned for the next day where you want to be alert, energetic and at the top of your game?
  • Decide on your limit (mine is usually 2 or 3 glasses of wine or beer) and when possible, only have that much available to you.
  • Pace yourself! For best results, start out with a non-alcoholic beverage FIRST, it quenches your thirst, fills you up and it sets the tone for civilized sipping versus frat-house style shot-slamming. Then pour ½ servings of wine or beer into your glass, or dilute your mixed drinks, and SIP.
  • Alternate non-alcoholic beverages – or have something like water sitting next to your alcoholic beverage to drink as you go. What I do is have a club soda or sparkling water going at the same time and I DRINK the club soda for thirst and then I SIP on my wine for taste.
  • Plan what you’ll do when you reach your limit- Stop drinking and switch to something intensely pleasurable to signal the end of the drinking and to switch gears. I switch to a small piece of dessert like dark chocolate mousse or a small slice of cheesecake and a cup of decaf coffee. OK – I hear some of you say, “I can’t eat dessert…I’m on a diet.” Well here’s a wakeup call…you just consumed who knows how many calories and grams of sugar while you were drinking…and what if you continued to drink instead of using this technique to help you stop drinking? A 300-400 calorie piece of dessert is pretty insignificant in comparison.
  • Then go to bed soon or if it’s earlier in the day or evening do something physical. Getting O2 pumping helps to metabolize the residual alcohol and metabolic by-products that can leave you feeling a little icky and wanting to drink more to feel better again.

So after you try these steps, let me know how they worked for you – or if you came up with your own strategies. I look forward to hearing from you! LIZ@moder8now.com

Interested in learning more about how to stop binge drinking? Check out how Moder8 works.

Can an Alcoholic Learn to Drink in Moderation?

image-alcoholic-or-moderate-drinkerProbably one of the most debated topics in the addiction community is whether or not an “alcoholic” can ever learn to drink moderately.  And my controversial answer is “Yes of course – anyone can do anything they want to if they want to badly enough – I did!”

It all starts with your mindset and getting rid of the label “alcoholic.”  What is an alcoholic anyway? The answer is just as vague as the answer to the question “what is normal?” If you think there is something wrong with you or that you don’t have the ability to control or change something, then that is what your subconscious mind will play out. Yes, you may have a biochemical or neurological vulnerability to abuse certain substances or turn to bad habits to escape or cope, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t LEARN how to overcome and take control. (Read more about this in “Alcohol Abuse-Genetic Brain Disease or Bad Habit”.)

I know this because I did it myself – I used to use the label “alcoholic” to describe myself in AA meetings for a couple of years. I believed that one drop of alcohol would send me to a binge and that my life depended on me staying completely abstinent. But over time, that just didn’t make sense to me…and so I started researching and taking the steps that ultimately resulted in creating a moderation program and supplement that worked for ME, and now works for many others when they work at staying mindful, vigilant and USE the TOOLS and STRATEGIES presented in all of the materials.

If you are a MODER8 customer, make sure you are taking your MODER8 regularly, especially before you drink, and doing the exercises and incorporating the strategies in the downloadable workbook or the hard copy MODER8 book.

If you are having a hard time staying focused and implementing the strategies, then you might want to try some coaching. Check out this link for more information.

If you’ve never tried the MODER8 system, I invite you to try the FREE 5-Day Jumpstart program to see what it’s like before you commit to a 1-Month or 3-Month Starter System.

But whatever you do – KNOW that it starts in your mind. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right!

photo credit: Cosmo (232/365) via photopin (license)

What If You Don’t Really Want to Stop Drinking?

Moderate drinking, by definition, is not daily drinking. In order to successfully master moderation, you need to be able to go periods of time without alcohol.

But what if you aren’t ready to give up daily drinking?

The reasons may vary from either your current situation seeming just too intolerable and feeling the need to use alcohol to escape – to just being bored and not having any other form of enjoyment in your life.   If the reason is that you’re in a miserable or stressful situation, then by all means start creating plans to change the situation. Just sticking your head in a bottle of wine or booze won’t make it go away. You have to start taking action – NOW.  However, if you feel you need to drink until the problem or situation is resolved then make sure you set some rules and limits for yourself:

  • Decide on a manageable amount to drink daily that won’t result in blackouts or feeling like crap the next day.
  • ALWAYS drink water or some other non-alcoholic beverage at the same time or intermittently with your cocktails.
  • PACE yourself – Drink Slower! Pour ½ servings and sip instead of slamming it down. I promise, you WILL feel it.
  • Make sure you never drink and drive over the legal limit. (Get some type of personal breathalyzer to keep track).
  • For more info on setting safe boundaries around drinking visit the HAMS Network – Harm Reduction website.
  • Continue to take your MODER8 to reduce feelings of stress and the amount that you drink.
  • Take steps toward changing your triggering situation every day!

Then once you’re ready, pick a day and commit to having a day or more without drinking. Here is a series of videos to get you going. 7-Day-Alcohol-Challenge.

Creating Your Own Peaceful Sanctuary

Given the fast paced and hectic world in which we live, it’s no wonder we turn to the quick and easy fix of alcohol in order to relax or de-stress. The problem arises, as I have mentioned so many times before and also discuss with my coaching clients, when alcohol creates more problems than it fixes. And so we HAVE to learn how to relax and find peace in another, more positive, healthy way.

A couple of blogs back, I talked about meditation and letting go (click here to read “Letting Go and Surrendering”). In that blog I discussed being able to relax your mind and get into the “alpha” state in order to connect more effectively with your subconsious mind or higher power. Something that makes that process so much easier is having a calm, quiet, peaceful place to go to in order to let your mind go.

Another great reason to have your own personal sanctuary is to have a place where you can go to take an “adult time out,” and recharge your mental, emotional and even physical energy. If you don’t have a place like that yet, then create one! Consider these things when creating one for yourself:

    1. Do you prefer indoors or outdoors?
    2. If indoors, what kind of elements can you add to it to make if comfortable and invoke peace?
      • Pillows
      • Plants
      • Candles
      • Water feature
      • Colors of paint
      • Fabric textures or colors
      • What about window treatments or wall-hangings?
    3. If outdoors then would it be:
      • Somewhere in nature where you can go and sit?
      • Do you have a special portable chair, towel or cushion to take?
      • Perhaps your own back yard or patio?
      • What type of plants, water features, hardscapes, fireplace, etc. would you include?

The possibilities are endless. This is a great project to work on instead of drinking and will help you to release dopamine (and feel good) as you complete this project.

For some more ideas – see my Pinterest board (click here). And PLEASE send me some pictures of your sanctuary so I can see what you use or have created (liz@moder8now.com). Have FUN!!

The Two Most Important Skills in Moderate Drinking – Here’s How to Master Them

If you really think about it, the two most important skills in moderate drinking are:

  1. Being able to go without drinking a few days in a row and staying Alcohol-Free (AF) on planned AF days.
  2. Being able to STOP at the amount you plan to stop at when you do drink – derailing the binge.

If you’re new to moderate drinking, you may be saying “no kidding! If I could do that I wouldn’t have a problem!” But the truth is just like anything that seems nearly impossible, it just takes work, dedication, and a desire to achieve your goal “no matter what.” And it also takes learning some skills! That’s what I’m going to teach you in this blog.

ONE: Sticking to your AF Days: The first step to sticking to AF days is commitment. The second step is a plan. You may have heard this before, but I’m going to spell it out again. Click Here to Watch Free Training Video – How & Why to go a Few Days Without Drinking.

TWO: Stopping at your Planned Limit: This skill may be even more critical than the first one. Once you master going a few days without drinking, you have to master stopping at the set amount when you do drink. Again, it takes PLANNING. Here’s how:

  1. Put together a plan AHEAD OF TIME for WHAT you’ll do when you get to your limit: For example, my limit is 3 drinks. If I get to 2 ½ drinks and the monster inside starts asking for more, I either change activities – like stand up, go to another room and start working on something else (distract) or change what I am consuming, but equally stimulating.
  2. Distractions:
    • Start reading or doing something that requires concentration.
    • Shop online (not recommended if you’ve already gone WAY past your limit of drinks!).
    • Take a walk or start working in the yard or on a project, etc.
    • If you’re at a party, start talking to someone about something that you need to be able to think clearly in order to contribute better to the conversation.
    • Think of some of your own!
  3. Switch Beverages or Food:
    • Make it “dessert time” and get a small bite of something very flavorful along with a cup of decaf coffee, or tea, etc.
    • Drink a glass of ice water or mineral water and quench your thirst!  Have you ever noticed that the more alcohol you drink the thirstier you get – and so the more alcohol you drink? That’s because your body needs WATER!
    • Are you hungry? Get a healthy snack and a non-alcoholic beverage.

Reality Check – How well are you REALLY doing?

drinking in moderationLet me ask you something. When you picture the ideal image of YOU, living your ideal life, how often do you picture yourself drinking? How close to that amount are you drinking now? If you are drinking a whole lot more than you picture the ideal you drinking, then what are you waiting for? Why not go ahead and make the commitment to drinking that much (or little) now?

I recently had that same reality check myself. Sure, I drink moderately and have for many years, but I was still drinking more often than I pictured myself drinking “in the future when my life would be perfect.” I pictured my ideal self only drinking about four times per year, but in reality I was drinking almost every weekend. So I asked myself what I was waiting for. I think in my mind I had created some type of fantasy life that would exist in the future, and that was when I would be my ideal self, drinking rarely. Well guess what? Tomorrow never comes. We have to be who we want to be and create as much of the life we want to live – TODAY! And when you really make that commitment to yourself instead of waiting for the ideal time somewhere in the future, your entire mindset changes. Suddenly you schedule different social events, associate with different people and engage in much more healthy – AND FUN- activities! The result is that you feel better about yourself, you look better and you enjoy life more.

Take these steps to make a massive change today:

  1. Take a few minutes to get quiet and picture the ideal you, living your ideal life.
  2. How often do you see yourself drinking? How much do you drink at one time? In what settings do you see yourself drinking? Write it down in a journal or piece of paper. Think about it – when you say you want to be a “social drinker,” how often do the “social drinkers” that you know actually drink?
  3. Reflect on how often you drink now. Answer the same questions about your current drinking – in what settings do you drink and how much at one time?
  4. Begin to identify places, people or situations that you automatically associate with drinking and start to reduce or eliminate your exposure to that stimulus.
  5. Incorporate more of the healthy, positive activities into your daily schedule that you picture the “ideal you” doing.
  6. Schedule out WHEN you will drink and how much. For instance, you know that you have your big neighborhood summer kickoff party coming up in a month, and you plan to drink 3 drinks at that event. Write it down!
  7. Then, when it’s not a scheduled time to drink – guess what? Don’t drink! I know this may sound a little difficult, but once you decide that your normal state is not drinking, then the way you live your life changes. You’re not tempted to drink, because you’ve already committed to not drinking unless it’s a scheduled drinking day. And the fact that you know you WILL eventually drink in another couple of weeks or so, helps to reduce that feeling of deprivation.

So go ahead and get started. What are you waiting for?

Letting Go and Surrendering

letting goThere’s a saying in AA – just “Let Go and Let God.” Essentially it means to let go of that vice-grip of control – on whatever issue you find yourself obsessed over or stressed about – and just let whatever higher power you believe in take over. Whether that be God, the Universe, or your subconscious brain, let go of the need to control or force your will or thoughts.

Of course, there are those people out there that will abuse that concept and do absolutely nothing toward making progress on the life-changing goals or fixing problems. But for someone like me who is a control – freak by nature and a workaholic by design, my usual habit is to push and work as hard and as fast as possible, so when the outcome doesn’t occur as quickly as expected or something completely opposite of what I was working toward manifests, I can start to get really frustrated and disappointed. However, I’ve noticed that once I let go of it huge changes happen in a great way. I’d compare it to compressing a spring and letting it go.

I think you have to be willing to do your part, and then let your higher power turn it into magic.

But what happens if you aren’t a spiritual or religious person? Well at the very least, you believe in the power of your subconscious mind – you know, the part that keeps your heart beating, your digestion moving and your immune system protecting? Your subconscious mind has an infinite amount more power than your conscious mind or ego. And your subconscious mind is plugged into the forces and power that control nature and the planets.

Here are some steps you can take toward letting go and receiving the benefits:

  1. Pray or meditate and ask for guidance. If you don’t pray and don’t know how to meditate do a Google or amazon search for meditation books or CDs. I personally like a book called “The Best Guide to Meditation” by Victor Davich.
  2. Take action on any guidance you “hear” or urges that you feel will take you closer to achieving your goal or something that feels like it’s the right thing to do (you know when it’s not – you’ll get that weird knot in your stomach.)
  3. Once you’ve done all you can do, just let go of the obsessive thoughts and hand the issue over to your higher power, and then focus on something else.
  4. Within days something will appear to you to take action on again or that moves you in a big way toward your goal or solution.
  5. Have gratitude and say thanks to your higher power or your subconscious mind for making this action happen. Then start over again with Step 1.