How mindful drinking changed the way I drank

Mindfulness seems to be the mental health cure-all of our times.

  • Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Mediate every day.
  • Eating too much? Try mindful eating.
  • Want to shrug off the stresses of everyday life? Do some forest breathing (that’s walking in nature if you were wondering!)

It seems that there is a mindfulness practice for everything these days but surely mindful drinking is just a fad?

After all, surely we can’t be expected to meditate after every glass of wine or become one with our G&T?

Not quite.

I used to be grey area drinker – someone who is not dependent on alcohol but is drinking more than they’d like.

And, I’d wanted to change because I was starting to worry about what it was doing to my physical and mental health.

My habit-change approach

So I did what most of us do when we want to improve something in our lives, be it exercise, diet or generally getting our sh*t together.

I treated it like a habit change and tried to change my regular wine habit.

I would drink a glass of water after every glass of wine. That worked for the first couple of glasses but after that the water was sidelined.

I’d try to limit how much I drank (or when I drank or what I drank) but the more rules I put in place, the more difficult it became. And the more frustrated I was.

I also started worrying that something was wrong with me. I was so disciplined in other areas of my life but this one was not so easy. Why?

Well, firstly, alcohol is addictive and the complex way it works in our minds and bodies means that it builds a thirst (pun intended) for itself.

Which is why habit change alone only worked short term.

Beyond habit change – the solution

So what was the solution?

As it turns out it was mindful drinking.

To be clear, this is not to be confused with the type of drinking that you do at a wanky wine tasting event where you smell the wine then swill it around your mouth before waxing lyrical about the subtle taste of blueberries and chocolate and the delicate smell of newborn baby. Or something like that.

At those events I’d just nod along and get impatient for the next wine sample.

No, mindful drinking is about being mindful about why you drink.

For me I drank for all of the reasons:

  • If I was celebrating, I drank.
  • Feeling sad, I’d pour a drink.
  • Angry, pour a big drink.
  • Stressed, calm down with a wine.

But when I started questioning the way I was drinking, I realised that my beloved wine may not be the magic potion I had built it up to be.

A game changer

That’s when I read the This Naked Mind book. It was so life changing (and I don’t use that term loosely) that I went on to train as a This Naked Mind certified coach.

The difference? This Naked Mind combined habit with education around alcohol and, most importantly, the mindset strategies that helped me break free.

Best of all – their approach isn’t about giving up drinking, it’s about making alcohol small and irrelevant in your life.

This was the game changer for me. I could decide whether to cut back, take a break or choose to be alcohol free longer term.

Becoming mindful of why I drank and how alcohol worked, helped me to totally change my relationship with alcohol.

Rethinking your drinking? What next?

And now I use the strategies and tools that I’ve gained, along with my own experience of going through this, to help others rethink their drinking.

If you’re interested in learning more about this methodology and the support I provide, feel free to book in for a free 30-minute discussion call for more information.

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