Don’t drown your sorrows if you miss that job promotion

Overlooked for promotion –again

You really thought you’d get that promotion but some else got “your” job. Totally frustrating. Another reason to hit the bottle and drown your sorrows. Before you drown your sorrows though, take a few minutes to see if you can learn anything from this experience.

 

Examine your feelings

First of all, examine your feelings about why you’re frustrated. Did you actually not want the promotion but because someone you consider less able than you got it you’re annoyed? Or did you really want this promotion?

 

Look for feedback

Look for some feedback on why you did not get the job. You might learn something that could be helpful next time a promotion is coming up. In my case, I learned I should have networked more  to let people know I was interested in the job and why I should get it. Networking is something we women tend to be bad at.

 

I still should have that job

If you still feel that you’ve done all the right things to get promotion and yet you’ve being over looked again, then the following questions  may help

  • Does your employer appear to be treating you with respect?
  • Did they make sure you heard you were not getting the promotion in a sensitive fashion- rather than through the grapevine?
  • Did your boss take you seriously when you went in to talk to him/her?
  • Have previous commitments to you been met?
  • Have you got a clear consistent indication of what you need to do to be promoted?

 

Consider moving on

If you don’t get the sense your boss is treating you fairly, then you need to think seriously about moving on either within the organisation, (if it’s big enough), or to another job. Don’t do this hastily but do consider all your options.

One person I know, who had been badly treated and handed in their notice put it very well.

“Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”

 

Don’t drown your sorrows at work events

If you’re feeling bad about being overlooked for that promotion, don’t drown your sorrows at work events. Drink tends to loosen our tongues and it is easy to start confiding in the wrong people about your disappointment. People who may label you unfairly  as a “lush” or “over-emotional”.

 

Avoid the free drink at work

The recent trend of firms making free alcohol available at the end of the day does not always make avoiding  drink easy.  This is a real problem in the technology sector with their free beer and pizza and “work hard, play hard” 24 hour  macho  culture.

 

Don’t try to match the men

In these cultures in order to get that promotion, it’s very easy to get caught up in drinking and matching the men drink for drink. Unfortunately our bodies absorb alcohol in a different way. So it’s recommended women only drink 11 standard drinks per week, where men can drink up to 17 standard drinks per week.

 

Don’t blame yourself

If treated badly by an employer, many people tend to internalise and unknowingly blame themselves. If other areas of your life are  not going well, you can start to drown your sorrow in alcohol and drink every day.  Your self-confidence and self-esteem tends to plummet, often unnoticed to you.

 

You can take control

If this continues, with drinking maybe causing depression or hangovers it becomes more and more difficult to move on. The familiar situation is less intimidating then the unknown “new situation” of a new job. Often the employer then treats that employee even more unfairly on the

 

“Carol is here years, she’ll never leave principle”.

 

Take action

So if you’ve been unfairly over looked for promotion that you make clear you wanted. Take action. You can’t control the actions of your employer and expecting them to change is unrealistic. You can however take control of your own actions.

 

PS

If you’d like to know about safe drinking, click here for information

Getting back on the wagon after an alcohol blow out

Lots of people announce their intention to quit drinking.  Then, a few days, weeks, or even months later, they fall off the sober bus with a resounding crash and a major alcohol blow out.  Why does this happen, and how can we resume an alcohol-free life once we’ve caved into temptation?

 

It’s a dead cert for an alcohol blow out

There are lots of reasons why people will pick up a drink again after stoically declaring,

‘No more!’

Peer pressure is a major one, as is being unprepared, not sure what to ask for in a pub round or how to answer questions about why you’re suddenly teetotal. Boredom is another very common reason behind resuming one’s alcohol habit – if the drinking hours are not replaced with alternative and fulfilling activities, it is almost a dead cert that temptation will eventually prove too difficult to resist and you’ll have an alcohol blow out.

 

Is a full on binge inevitable?

And when we do cave in and drink, it’s very probable that it won’t comprise of just a couple of drinks but will be a major blowout, one that will be regretted enormously the next day. If you decided to quit drinking permanently,  it was more than likely down to your inability to control your intake, so after a dry period, a full on binge seems almost inevitable.

 

Can lessons be learnt?

A blowout can be perceived as a good thing if lessons are learnt. Many people will indulge in a drinking session just to test the water – to find out if somehow they’ve been ‘cured’ of their inability to control their drinking as a result of being completely sober for a length of time. Experience would suggest, however, that this will not be the case with exactly the same problems arising from having that initial drink (i.e. a crazed desire to go on drinking until blind drunk) as have always done.

 

You are human

Firstly then, a blowout is a great opportunity to be reminded of the fact that no, you can’t drink in moderation. Secondly, your wretched state the following morning should be noted to remind you of why exactly you hated drinking so much last time you decided to quit. Thirdly, it’s important to remember that you’re human and it takes a while for the brain to rewire itself after years of perpetually drinking heavily. If you’ve been a big boozer for twenty years, (like I was) it will take more than a couple of weeks to rewrite your neurology. I found that the cravings and triggers disappeared fully after about two years of constant sobriety, and now, five years on I never, ever feel compelled to drink.

 

Write down your feelings

Finally, it can be helpful following a blowout to write down your feelings about the incident: why did you decide to drink? What was the trigger? Did you feel good about any of it or was it all just a horrible mistake? How do you feel now – is there anything you can learn from the experience? And keep these notes to go over the next time you feel a wobble coming on. In this way, you are making yourself accountable to yourself, and recording the thought processes surrounding your fall off the wagon so that next time, your urge to drink won’t take you quite so much by surprise.

 

 Don’t feel ashamed

Stopping drinking is for lots of people a two-step-forward-and-one-step-back process, so there’s nothing to feel ashamed off if you don’t succeed in becoming sober straightaway. Be kind to yourself and use the experience positively. You will get there in the end!

 

 Editor’s Note

If you’re suffering from the effects of an alcohol blow out  and  trying to decide whether to just reduce your drinking or stay off drink all together you might find  our  short online course  makes your decision easier. Click here for details.

 

 

 

Was I boring without booze?

For me, a huge part of the difficulty in getting my head around giving up alcohol for good was overcoming the idea I had that being teetotal wasn’t very cool. I believed I was boring without booze. Call me shallow for worrying about such a thing, but understanding whom we are, in and amongst a sea of different personalities and working out what makes each of us as individuals tick, is the key (in my opinion) to forever sobriety. It’s about discovering whatever works, for YOU.

 

My heroes were people who sang about struggles

I always defined myself by my hedonism prior to giving up alcohol. Many of my heroes in music and film as I was growing up were drug addicts and alcoholics, struggling with this addiction or that. The music I listened to (and still do) was/is peppered with references to heroin addiction or booze, withdrawals and lyrics that generally denote major inner turmoil.

 

Was I boring without booze?

When I decided to give up booze, I was filled with dread that I would become…(wait for it, the dreaded word!) BORING! How would I be able to maintain the persona I had spent so much of my life creating, now that I’d dropped the several-times-a-week alcohol binges?

 

I was an almighty pain in the backside

Well the answer is, I couldn’t, which is no bad thing because if you were to ask many of the people who’ve known me both as a drinker and since I stopped, they would most likely tell you that I was an almighty pain in the backside with the wine in me, and that since knocking it on the head, I am not boring without booze, just normal and a lot nicer.

 

I only cared about where the next drink was coming from

With regards to the ‘cool’ element of boozy living and whether being a non-drinker can ever bring about that trait, here’s what I think about it all now; there’s nothing cool about being a selfish drunk who walks all over people and only cares about where the next glass is coming from. It’s a struggle and a battle and damn hard work giving up booze, and making it through all of that is a million times cooler than giving in to an addiction.

 

My favourite inspiration is Anthony Kiedis of RHCP

And finally, I seek inspiration from some ‘cool’ people who are sober, and I use them as my role models. My most favourite of these is Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Listening to this band works for me every time I feel a sense of ‘I’m just a boring so-and-so who doesn’t drink,’ coming on, and even if it’s imaginary, I’m going through it all with Anthony Kiedis, which makes it totally cool in my book.”

 

Editors Note

What music inspires you?

Some people find putting together a playlist of their favourite inspiring music really helpful in reducing thier drinking. We’d love to hear your views in the comments below.

Does alcohol free mean low self esteem?

Low self esteem is a chicken and egg issue

Low self-esteem is something of a chicken and egg issue when it comes to drinking. Do we start drinking in order to disguise low self-esteem, or does poor self-esteem gradually emerge over the years that we spend abusing our bodies and minds with alcohol? Most likely, and for most people, the answer lies in a combination of both.

An extraordinarily difficult element of becoming alcohol free for me was the fact that when I embarked on my new sober life, I had a very low self-opinion. I’d never been particularly kind to myself.

 

I did n’t believe I deserved to be kind to myself

Therefore, when I finally quit drinking, I had zero reserves in confidence and feelings of self-worth. This was problematic, in that I didn’t truly believe I deserved to be this kind to myself. I realised fairly quickly that for me, alcohol had regularly been consumed as a means of self-harming – it was far more than merely a social prop or a method of accelerated mental unwinding.

 

I believed I was rotten to the core, a bad egg

Sober living was diametrically opposed to this tenacious habit I had developed of hurting myself. Becoming alcohol free equated to self-compassion, prioritising my health, believing that I was worth more than living as a drunken bum who made bad decisions and thought increasingly dark thoughts. But I didn’t immediately buy into the idea that I was worth fighting for, so accustomed was I in believing that I was rotten to the core, a bad egg.

 

My body was alcohol free and screaming at me

On every occasion when I felt the urge to drink in those first eighteen months, I felt as though my body was screaming at me to fill it with alcohol. Drinking was such a go-to solution to all my problems – and something I felt compelled to do in response to every emotion, good or bad. But, very slowly, it became normal to treat my mind and body with kindness, and I learnt that to do so was a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that the more I demonstrated self-compassion, the better my self-esteem; the better my self-esteem, the more I felt obliged to treat myself with dignity and love.

 

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase

Martin Luther King once said,

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase”.

This is so true of the early phase of alcohol free living, when your self-esteem remains on the floor and so to continue the old merry-go-round of self-destruction is the innate response to life – good and bad. To engineer an alternative outcome demands reacting to situations in a new way. It will feel inordinately uncomfortable to feel emotions at first, to just sit with them, fidgety and desperate to escape one’s own skin.

 

Fake  the self love until you feel it

But, with perseverance and a commitment to not drinking, the metaphorical staircase will appear, and with increased self-esteem it will become easier to turn to different coping strategies when the going gets tough. If at first you don’t feel the (self) love, fake it – remember that things will change over time, and eventually, you will be bursting at the seams with Soberista self-belief.”

I can feel without being terrified

quit drinking

A massive cliff

When I first quit drinking I frequently felt as though I was teetering on the threshold of a massive cliff. The edge represented the abyss of my feelings, the emotional reservoir that I had successfully avoided for my entire adult life, and I was petrified of letting myself go anywhere near it. Daytimes were manageable, filled as they were with childcare or work and characteristically lacking in the impressively stubborn self-destruct button that would worm its way into my head as the days evolved into early evening. But when darkness descended, I routinely walked to the brink of feeling, and would always run in the opposite direction.

 

I was so terrified of feeling my feelings

I know why I was so terrified of feeling my feelings: I’m still very conscious of it now, the enormity of human emotions, the turbulent effect they can have upon me, how they possess the unnerving potential to grow unwieldy and all-consuming. Emotions can be big, exciting, terrifying, out-of-control, barely there, impossible to ignore and pleasant, but crucially, they are merely a part of what it is to be a human being – and that fact took me a while to get my head around when I first stopped drinking.

 

Feeling emotions felt bizarre

Initially, feeling emotions felt bizarre and uncomfortable. I was so accustomed to quashing the whole spectrum of my reactions to life that, once free of alcohol, living turned into a medley of colossal ups and downs and my kneejerk response of seeking numbness did not disappear for several months. What I noticed, however, was that as time went by, I began only to wish away the bigger feelings. Boredom, slight shyness and mild grievances – those became doable fairly early on. The challenge lay in the real tsunamis of the emotional range; grief, heavy regret, heartache. When they hit, the old tendency to flee from myself would rise up from the ashes, and eliminating them would require an inner strength that I never knew I possessed.

It was incredibly difficult to ride the storm and just ‘be’, but now, after four and half years without alcohol, I’m there. I can feel without feeling terrified. Here are a few things I have learnt about managing my emotions:

 

This too shall pass

Emotions don’t last forever. Some of them might feel uncomfortable and unpleasant, but bad feelings come and go like tempests in your soul. When I feel unhappy nowadays I just sit it out but with the comforting knowledge that my internal state has no permanence.

 

Feeling our emotions is OK

The anticipation of experiencing feelings is far worse than the reality. Numbing our emotions with alcohol is not actually the ‘normal’ human experience, despite the way society normalises heavy drinking. Feeling our emotions is OK and entirely natural, and it will feel less bizarre the more you do it.

 

There’s nothing like it

Negative emotions can be a challenge to deal with, but sobriety allows for both good and bad emotional rollercoasters. Yes, you may have to cope with heartache, grief, disappointment or stress without the numbing properties of ethanol flat-lining your emotional state, but try feeling the purity of joy, pride, relief, falling in love or a sense of achievement free from an alcoholic fog. There’s nothing like it.

 

Live in the moment

Living in the moment by practising mindfulness truly helps when it comes to managing out-of-control emotional states. Meditation is an excellent place to start with this and there are tons of books and online resources on mindfulness to tap into.

 

Feelings are stepping stones

Regard every challenging feeling you experience as a major stepping-stone in your journey to emotional wellness. With each one, you will grow stronger and better equipped to deal with the good ones, the bad ones, and the ones in between. Avoid wishing your feelings away, and accept that they are a valid element of your life experience.

Filling the bottle – shaped hole

 BottleFilling the bottle-shaped hole is a phenomenon to which everyone who quits drinking will almost certainly relate; all those hours of spare time during which we are no longer numbing our every sense demand to be filled with other things. But just how do you go about choosing what to do with your new found and hard-won free hours, and how can you motivate yourself to get started in pursuing a new activity?

 

What are the challenges people face in filling a bottle- shaped hole?

  •  Many people find change unsettling.
  • There are suddenly acres of time to fill (drinking both uses and wastes time).
  • Many people worry that they will appear boring when they cut out alcohol – and also that they will no   longer enjoy the things they used to love doing when drinking.
  •  Drinking heavily for a sustained period usually results in a loss of confidence.
  •  The seemingly endless possibilities that open up can appear exciting yet scary.
  •  Some people may feel frozen, stuck or overwhelmed by decision-making.

 

 Give yourself permission…

Before you can begin to fill that bottle-shaped hole, it’s essential that you give yourself permission to truly nurture & look after YOU. A good way to begin filling your time is to get into the habit of enjoying a pampering night – treat yourself, relax, and start dreaming up ideas for your new alcohol-free lifestyle…

 1.Reconnect with friends, make new ones, and adopt a social life of your choosing.
 2.Revisit your career. Is it time for a change? You could take on new challenges e.g. a  study   programme.
 3.Start a home business or perhaps begin writing a blog.
 4.Assess your relationship or even find a new partner with the same values as you.
 5.Check out your local newspaper to find out what’s on in your area; walking, crafting, book groups, online forums, talks, short courses – you could even consider starting your own group.
 6.Volunteer locally.

 

You’re likely to have more energy

Stopping drinking WILL involve making other changes to your life – you’ll have more energy as well as time, and you probably won’t want to socialise as much with heavy drinkers. Becoming alcohol-free equates to an opportunity for personal growth. Who knows what interests you will develop, or where they will lead you? When I quit drinking, I viewed sobriety as the start of an exciting new chapter in my life – and I’ve never looked back.

 

Where will your decision to become alcohol-free take you…?

 

Editor’s Note :

This is a really important area and Lucy has made some great suggestions. We’re putting together Irish details on alcohol free  activities and we’ll publish this online. Don’t forget to sign up for our emails so you know when it becomes available.

Alcohol Poisoning – not a laughing matter

Judging by Irish google searches, alcohol poisoning is on our minds a lot as it’s one of the top Irish alcohol search terms. Not surprising though when you know alcohol was implicated in 1 in 3 (137) of all poisoning deaths in 2013, more than any other single drug. Alcohol poisoning alone claimed one life each week.

So what is alcohol poisoning?

If you drink a lot of alcohol over a short space of time, such as on a night out, your body does not have time to process all the alcohol and the amount in your bloodstream, known as your blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, can become too high.

When this happens, it can have a serious effect on the mental and physical functions of your body. Alcohol affects the nerves that control automatic actions like breathing, your heartbeat and your gag reflex (which stops you from choking).

Too much alcohol can slow or even shut down these functions, causing you to stop breathing and become unconsciousness.

What to look out for

The signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • confusion
  • vomiting
  • seizures (fits)
  • slow breathing (less than eight breaths a minute)
  • pale, bluish skin
  • cold and clammy skin

In severe cases, alcohol poisoning can cause unconsciousness.

Dial 999 if you suspect alcohol poisoning

If in doubt and you suspect alcohol poisoning, you should dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Hospital staff will need to monitor you until all the alcohol has left your body. In severe cases they may also need to pump your stomach, help you to breathe and give you fluids and vitamins via a drip.

Most people recover, especially if they are cared for properly and taken to hospital. However, in some cases, poisoning can lead to accidental death. For example, you can choke on your own vomit.

If in doubt, always go to the nearest accident and emergency department.

Binge drinking can cause alcohol poisoning

You don’t have to be an alcoholic or even go over the recommended weekly low risk drinking limits to  suffer poisoning.

Binge drinking which for women is drinking more than 6 standard drinks in one drinking session can cause alcohol poisoning.

If you would like to find out more about reducing alcohol harm check out our short free  mini course.

I’ve had such a bad day! I need a big glass of wine to relax

 

Sound familiar? A few years ago, I would never have believed anyone who’d told me that I’d be consistently calmer and level headed if I stopped drinking alcohol for good. But, four years after my last drink and I never crave booze anymore in order to cope with a bad day. If you’ve recently quit drinking alcohol and are looking for a few pointers on reducing stress levels, read on. These might just help…

Be grateful

Try writing a list every night of all that you are grateful for in your life. We often get caught up with materialistic desires and forget about the true worth of what we already have: friends, family and our health, for example.

Avoid caffeine

caffeine is a stimulant that raises the level of stress hormones in the body. Opt for decaffeinated versions of tea or coffee, or stick to herbal teas and/or water.

Eat small and often

maintaining steady blood sugar levels can REALLY help to achieve a balanced mood. Try snacking on hummus or a handful of almonds.

Practise mindfulness

instead of giving into the chattering monkey mind that plagues so many of us, mindfulness allows us to live in the present. It won’t prevent negative situations from arising but it will allow you to respond in a calmer manner.

Learn to breathe

meditation is a great way to learn how to breathe correctly. Try a couple of beginner’s sessions at your local Buddhist centre to get started.

Talk it over

sharing concerns with a trusted friend or family member works wonders for beating stress. The listener may provide us with a sense of perspective, put forward potential solutions and/or offer help for whatever is causing the stress.

Get active

Exercise is a FANTASTIC way to beat stress. If you’ve never been particularly active before then try something gentle to begin with.

Learn to be kind (to yourself)

women are especially good at neglecting their own needs while rushing round seeing to everyone else’s. When we pile on the stress and refuse to take a break it’s guaranteed to increase stress levels. Make some time for ‘Me Time’.

Ask for help

Don’t be scared to ask for help – if stress continues to be a factor in your life then a professional counsellor could be the solution.

Editors Note

Some people may continue to experience cravings depending on their  drinking history. You might find our crave surfing, managing your alcohol cravings course helpful, if you have this problem.