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Alcohol……

I’ve always loved wine!

Well, no actually I haven’t.

It’s easy to say I have because it seems the last decade or so of my life wine was a friendly companion that was always there and it became such a constant that it’s hard to look back before that.

When I think of it, I used to hate wine. I was more of a Cruiser girl, anything sweet that didn’t taste like alcohol. I wonder how many young people are out there drinking trying to disguise the taste of alcohol because they don’t like it, but still drinking anyway? DON’T DO IT!!

From Cruisers I then progressed to a more “mature” drink, Riesling with Orange Juice! Ha ha Omg! Seriously Sarah? From there it was the Crouchen Riesling from Brown Brothers. Oh, I had such a sophisticated palette, didn’t I?

So, I guess from there it was a gradual transition from Riesling to Sav Blanc and then finally Pinot Gris. I never liked Red, mainly because I didn’t like that it stained your teeth, but seriously it was never something I really enjoyed.

Fast forward to around early 2020. 

It was a constant, waking up at around 3am feeling sick, even if I had only had a glass or two of wine?

With that sick feeling came a sense of regret. Why did I have to drink again? I would then have to listen to a podcast to help me go back to sleep because my anxiety would be overwhelming. The sense of dread of what may happen the next day or all I had to do, or how much of a failure I was would just consume me.

I would wake up the next morning and then promise myself I wouldn’t have wine again that night. 

In the mornings alcohol was an enemy but by afternoon it somehow miraculously changed to a beautiful supportive friend calling me over to sit down, get comfortable and let go of anything that has been stressing me out?? 

It was a vicious cycle and in hindsight one of the things that helped me start to really make a shift was the fact I was promoting healthy movement and taking care of yourself and the fact I was drinking was making me feel more and more like a hypocrite. 

It was also making it harder to feel positive and motivated.

Becoming more conscious and aware through my Yoga and Spiritual practices was also definitely a big help. In my classes I teach us to Observe. We learn so much through observation. Observing our thoughts, observing our habits, observing each other.

I started to observe myself whilst drinking and I didn’t like the person I became. I was impatient and angry. Social events and not drinking  (Now that’s definitely the hardest part) allowed me to observe the effects of alcohol on others without the foggy glasses I’d be wearing if I was to be drinking with them.

But the most important thing I observed were the kids. 

The kids watching the grown ups get silly. The kids see the grown ups begin to talk a little differently. 

What sort of example am I setting for my kids if I’m drinking?

I want my kids to always feel safe and supported.

If I have been drinking I can’t protect them. I can’t drive them to the hospital. I’m not present and connected to them the way I should be.

My tag line for work is “Our Bodies are Master Communicators, Are you listening?” 

Wine just wasn’t sitting well with me anymore. I would wake up with a hangover after just one drink? It was like my body was definitely try to tell me something.

So, I listened…..

Now before I go any further I want you to realise this is not an anti alcohol blog. Telling you that you shouldn’t drink. Plenty of people have a great relationship with alcohol and they drink sensibly in moderation. They are productive the next day, they feel great emotionally and alcohol doesn’t have a negative influence on their lives. 

Recently, I was not one of those people. If I drank I couldn’t function the next day. I would be anxious, nervous, scattered and all I wanted was junk food or if it was the weekend, to know when we could have our next drink.

The reason I am writing this blog is to share my story as it may resonate with someone and they might realise that it could also be alcohol causing their anxiety?

What I am seeing at the moment in the grips of this pandemic and lock down is a lot of fearful, anxious people. These people are openly sharing their battle with anxiety whilst continually posting memes and quotes encouraging and normalising drinking.

I wonder if they have ever considered that alcohol may be a major contributor to their anxiety and the way they are feeling?

It’s not up to me to tell them and there is nothing worse than someone preaching and telling you not to do something.

I went on a holiday once to a beautiful tropical location and it was so nice enjoying a drink whilst relaxing by the pool. What was not so nice? Having people I was travelling with making me feel guilty about drinking! “Alcohol is such a waste of money.” “Do you know how many calories are in that wine?”

I did not give a shit about the calories or the waste of money, I was enjoying myself and the last thing I wanted to hear was someone telling me it was wrong.

The time is right when the time is right. You’ll know when enough is enough. What’s that quote?

“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question getting tired of their own bullshit.”

So here I am August 2020 and my relationship with alcohol has completely changed. In March I had been feeling really unwell and basically had to give my insides a lot of love. I started eating more nourishing foods and giving my gut the attention it deserved. I’d always wanted to feel for myself the connection between gut health and our emotional health and let me tell you. It’s massive! In the midst of this change I also stopped drinking alcohol.

I started to feel a sense of energy, optimism and clarity that I hadn’t felt in a really long time.

WAIT A MINUTE!! You stopped Alcohol? I can hear you thinking. “How can you just stop drinking?” You ask.

Well….. call it divine timing but on Insta I saw this new product made on the Mornington Peninsula by a gorgeous husband and wife team launch called Etch Sparkling. It’s a non alcoholic sparkling beverage utilising uniquely Australian Plants encouraging inclusivity for those of us not drinking alcohol at social events (or in my case home). It’s an adult drink that tastes amazing and no-one questions why you’re not drinking when you have an Etch in your hand.

Etch stands for Every Time Choose Health and it honestly has been Life Changing for me.

If I hadn’t have had Etch to replace my wine I have no doubt my journey would have been a lot different. 

I’ll never forget drinking my first Etch, it was a beautiful warm day and Jase poured my Etch into a wine glass and brought it out to me on the balcony. I sat back with my feet up and looked out to our beautiful view. It was then and there that I had the epiphany that it wasn’t alcohol I loved, it was the ritual of sitting back and having a drink. It was holding the wine glass, it was the sense of slowing down, it was relaxing and appreciating each mouthful.

Etch is now my new beautiful supportive friend calling me over to sit down, get comfortable and let go of anything that has been stressing me out. 

The thing is there is a lot less stressing me out these days and there is no longer any enemies in the mornings.

In the 4 months I had without Alcohol I had never felt better. I felt optimistic, productive, inspired, motivated, patient and present. I felt like a better Mum, Wife….. a better person, a better version of myself.

As someone that has suffered from anxiety for years (sometimes chronic) my anxiety has disappeared. Removing alcohol has definitely been the game changer along with my mindfulness practice.

An important thing to mention is that when I was drinking it was so hard to get into the mindfulness. My mind was too FULL with worry and anxiety. When I don’t drink, it’s so much easier.

We recently went on a trip and I ordered two cases of Etch Sparkling to be delivered up to Byron Bay. It was awesome but then it went pretty quick. What happened from there was that the wine snuck back in. Not a lot just a glass or two over dinner and then the whole “I’m on holidays” excuse started to kick back in. I didn’t drink much, but I did drink and guess what happened? My anxiety came back. We were on the last few days of our trip and I wrote some notes in my phone to record how I was feeling.

Heavy, Sad, Tired, Anxious, Depressed, Overwhelmed, Vulnerable, Sensitive.

Here I am writing this Blog, I’m home and I haven’t had alcohol in 5 days. I’m back in my zone. I don’t want it, I don’t crave it and those negative feelings seem like they were happening to a different person. 

Today I feel great. Happy, Inspired and Anxiety is nowhere in sight.

Oh! Do you know one of my favourite things about not drinking? Sitting having a cup of tea at night (peppermint and liquorice of course) and feeling the melatonin sweep over me. For those of you that think alcohol helps you sleep, you may want to think again or read the notes below.

I am not preaching anything or telling you to stop just putting it out there if you’re looking for answers that it may be your trigger too?

I loved wine. Well, I thought I did until I got a glimpse of what life feels without it and I can tell you I love that a hell of a lot more!

I’m not saying I’ll never drink again but what I do know is that its definitely huge trigger for my anxiety. Yes, even after just two glasses (Who would of thought? I used to use it to take my anxiety away!) and I’m now much more mindful to consider if it’s going to be worth it or not?

Want to chat about your journey?

Get in touch, I’d love to hear from you and share some of the ways (apart from Etch) that helped me change my relationship with alcohol.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah xxx

ADDITIONAL INFO – 

MOOD –

So that’s my personal experience on Alcohol and Anxiety but if you want a little more info I highly recommend you definitely looking into it.

Sure there’s some truth that Alcohol can reduce stress in the short term as it’s a sedative and a depressant that affects the central nervous system.

At first drinking can reduce fears, take your mind off your troubles, make you feel less shy, boost your mood and make you feel generally more relaxed. Yes, Alcohol’s effects can be similar to those of anti anxiety medications.

Alcohol temporarily boosts our serotonin levels and changes levels of other neurotransmitters in the brain, but the thing is that as the alcohol wears off and our serotonin drops, that drop can leave us feeling worse than before. Regular drinking lowers our serotonin levels and makes us more susceptible to depression. 

SLEEP –

Alcohol also affects our sleep which primes our body to be more anxious. We tend to be much more reactive and stressed out after we’ve had a bad night of sleep.

Drinking alcohol before bed is linked with more slow-wave sleep patterns called delta activity. That’s the kind of deep sleep that allows for memory formation and learning.

At the same time another type of brain pattern – alpha activity is also turned on. Alpha doesn’t usually happen during sleep but rather when you’re resting quietly. Together the alpha and delta activity in the brain after drinking can inhibit the REM restorative sleep we all need, so we wake up feeling groggy and unfocused.

Alcohol also tends to make us fall asleep quickly because of the production of adenosine (a sleep inducing chemical in the brain) which can subside as quickly as it came making us more likely to wake up before we are truly rested.

Keep in mind in Chinese Medicine the Liver detoxes from 1-3 am, so the common time of waking up during those hours after drinking is interesting isn’t it?

There’s so much info and support out there so if you are ready to change your relationship with alcohol be sure to check it to. 

Good luck!

You won’t regret it xx