The biggest problem with overconsumption of alcohol is that it leaves so many women underliving. If you really think about how you spend your days, weeks, and months, are you underliving?
When I ask this question, I often get an answer like this, “Oh yes, my life is amazing. Work is great, then I go home and I have a drink to relax.” While rest and relaxation are important, what is happening after that first drink?
If it’s regularly leading to more drinks, you need to tune in this week.
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 90.
Welcome to Drink Less Lifestyle, a podcast for successful women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. If you want to drink less, feel healthier and start loving life again you’re in the right place. Please remember that the information in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Sherry Price.
Well, hello my beautiful friends, welcome back to the podcast. I am still feeling a little under the weather so you may hear that in my voice. But I have an exciting podcast for you today. So, let’s dive right in. The question I have for you that I want you to think about is, are you underliving? Think about that. I really want you to think about how you spend your days, how you spend your weeks, and how you spend your month. Now, when I ask this of women they say, “Yes, I’m living a great life, I love my life. I’m super productive. I’m focused on getting all the things done.”
And then we get to the four, five o’clock, six o’clock hour and then I hear a different story. I hear, “Yeah, I go home, I get dinner ready, I give myself permission to rest and I have a drink to relax.” And of course, we want to rest and we want relaxation from the stress, the kids, from life, from all the things that we’re responsible for doing. But just think about the time that you spend once you start drinking because often what I hear is, “I wanted to have a drink but it led to a few more.”
So, let’s just look at that a minute. You give your best work, your best effort, your energy to what’s going on before you start drinking, for a lot of people that’s work or raising kids. And then around the cooking or five o’clock, six o’clock hour when we give ourselves permission to rest or relax think about now how we’re spending that time. And for a lot of people, they’re so used to giving to work, to others, their kids, their family, cooking, doing all the things, that what they get left is what’s left over.
So, at this part of the day, you’re feeling tired maybe, stressed out, doing all the things, low energy. And so, this time that you’re relaxing for yourself, you feel like you get the remnants, what’s left over from the day. And some people spend that doing more. They want to get more work emails done, or get caught up on laundry, or they want to finish more tasks, more projects around the house and they keep doing, doing, doing.
Or if they’re relaxing they feel they need to be still doing something, watching TV, scrolling social media, spending hours posting content, responding to comments, looking at their Facebook feed, or Instagram. And so, this is their time. This is the time that you have to yourself. And I just want to ask if this feels like underliving to you? Because for a lot of people they feel like it is.
They get the remnants of the day, they’re exhausted by how much they have spent that valuable time of their day giving to others, giving to their job, giving at their work, being nice to others and doing all these things. And so, when they come home and they go to relax they tell themselves, I want to do something nice for myself and reward myself with a glass of wine or any alcohol. So, they do it to relax, to reward themselves, it’s pleasurable, it takes the edge off.
And then I say, “Well, does it, is it that relaxing, is it that rewarding?” Because most of the time people don’t stop after one drink and if they keep going, they have a few drinks and then how do you feel? And what happens when you overdrink is that you feel bloated, tired, forgetful, hungry, digging in the cabinets or in the pantry for something to eat, some chips to snack on. Or you feel bored and so you want to manage and entertain your feelings by more food or more alcohol because you don’t know how to deal with the emotions.
And then here’s what happens, you’re upset. You’re upset because you did it again. And the next morning you feel crap or you have a hangover. And you’re wasting more hours of your life nursing yourself back to health because you don’t feel so well. And then you’re also upset because you’re spending all this mental energy being mad at yourself and maybe you feel like there’s tension in the house because of something you said, or did, or didn’t do. All while you were under the influence. And so, people may be judging you or holding that against you. And so, this is weighing on you as well.
So, what I’m pointing out here is just not the damage of drinking but the collateral damage. The things that happen before we drink, while we’re drinking, and after we drink. Now, if this is the time of the day that you have to yourself, I just want to be asking you, is this how you want to be spending the time for you? Is this valuable to you? Is this considered living? Now, I get a few women that say, “Oh, but I only do it once in a while, it’s not that often.” And so, they downplay it. And it’s easy to downplay. We don’t want to make a big deal of it if it’s really not a big deal.
But let’s really look at if it’s a big deal. I just want to investigate, let’s see what impact this is making in your life. So, let’s run through an example of somebody who I would consider a weekend warrior type of drinker. They just drink on Fridays and Saturdays or two days during the week. And I just picked Fridays and Saturdays for ease and because a lot of people drink on weekends. They’ve given themselves more permission to drink on weekends because if they don’t have a job to go to the next day, this is how they’re choosing to spend their days.
This is how they’re choosing to spend their time. This is how they’re choosing to spend their living for themselves. So, let’s use the example, two days a week like I mentioned for Friday and Saturdays where you might have a few drinks. A few drinks means usually more than your body can handle because you don’t like the effects of it the next day. So, say you start drinking around six o’clock on a Friday. You’re drinking for three to four hours let’s just say.
And then the next morning you don’t feel so good or you feel a little sluggish, or tired, or it takes a little longer to get moving because your sleep was disrupted or whatever. So, let’s just say you miss about two to three hours nursing ourselves back to feeling normal the next day. So, if we go at four hours of drinking and then three hours the next day, that’s seven hours spent for one night of drinking. Think of that, seven hours spent imbibing in alcohol and recovering from it.
Now, seven hours may not sound like a lot but then multiply that by two days because we’re going to do that again come Saturday and maybe we even start earlier. But just for conservative numbers I’ll just say stick to seven hours. So now that’s 14 hours out of the week. And let’s extrapolate that out a bit. So, 14 hours per week. Let’s multiply that by four weeks. And so that turns out to be 56 hours a month. 56 hours a month comes out to roughly two and a half days.
Now, we’ll take that number of 56 hours and that’s per month, we’ll multiply it by 12 months because say that’s our pattern is we drink every weekend. And when we do that math it comes out to 672 hours a year which is the equivalent of 28 days a year. 28 days a year and this is how you’re choosing to spend your time and reward yourself. It adds up to 28 days a year. So, if you don’t like this behavior you’re spending 28 days a year overdrinking if it’s just two nights a week. That’s essentially losing a whole month out of the year due to this habit.
Now, I’m just calculating the hours, that’s just the time involved. I’m not talking about the mental stress, the emotional stress and the physical damage alcohol has on our bodies. So, when I work with women and they say, “My drinking is really not that big of an issue. It’s just weekends and it’s, well, it gets worse during holidays. And it gets worse on vacation.” And if you think about it we have holidays every month. There’s birthdays, there’s anniversaries, Saint Patrick’s Day is a drinking holiday, Memorial Day, barbecues, graduations, weddings.
There is always a reason to drink. And even if we didn’t include all of the holidays and we just kept it to weekend drinking only where we went overboard, just think about all that time and how it adds up. Now, I know I work with a lot of high achieving women, they know that I am so productive, I get things done, I’m slaying it here at my career. I’m slaying it at life. I’m a great mom for the most part. They’re highly productive so this is what they do to unwind and relax at night.
So essentially this is the reward they’re giving themselves. They get to have it, they deserve it. And yes, you do deserve it, you do deserve a great life. We all deserve a great life. I love having a great life. We work hard for it. We’ve earned it. Yes, and we get to enjoy it. But I just want you to ask yourself if this ‘small’ drinking habit or overdrinking habit that you have is really how you want to be spending your life. Because when it adds up, is it really that ‘small’ of a problem?
Because just imagine what you can do for yourself if you had 28 days out of the year. If you had free 28 days how would you choose to spend it? Now, I’m not saying here to be more productive, to give more to your family, to give more to your career, to work overtime, to work harder. And I’m not saying to be efficient and productive. I’m saying if I had 28 days I would be using it for grand leisure.
That’s a lavish amount of time to be living, to feel alive, not to be numbing out, not to be disengaging from my life but to actually be full out living for my life, basking in the beauty and the joy of my life, and what I have accomplished. Now, here’s the thing, when we start talking about this, some women have no idea what those joys are for them. They have been living a life that society has defined as the good life and they’re doing all those things.
They have the great career, the great kids, the great family. And it feels partly good but it doesn’t always feel good and amazing to them because it’s what society has defined. And yeah, having those things is nice but what is the relationship with yourself, and how do you get fulfilled? Because if we go by society’s definition, it’ll always be tedious, and grinding and grueling because it’s all about getting more, having more, buying more.
And this turns us into being stressed out and then we’re bitter because we’re like, “Wow, I thought this would bring me happiness and fulfilment and yet I’m feeling a little empty inside. And then they’re wondering why they can’t really enjoy all the success that they have earned. And what they learn is that the only way to unwind and reward themselves is by drinking. And I’m fine with a drink here and there because it doesn’t really have negative consequences.
But most people are drinking too much for their bodies to be able to handle. And how do you know? Because the body tells you so, it forgets things, it doesn’t sleep right. And if you needed to go to sleep you’ve just deadened the process that your body naturally has and secretes hormones to get to sleep because you’ve been relying on alcohol for so long that the body has turned off those processes.
And then you don’t even like the habit, it bothers you, whether it’s one glass too many, one bottle too many, or dozens of bottles too many, because you’re left with the life where you are actually unfulfilled. And you’re underliving. And you know it, you’re not being your best self. You’re not going after what you really want for you. And you’re working for the standards set by society, not by your own standards. And this is what causes us to be bitter and confused about not being happy.
Because if you talk with your friends you feel worse because they look around and say, “Well, you have this, and you have that, and you feel like you’re going to just be laughed at.” I know some of my clients have all the luxuries in the world, they have the cars, the houses, the boats, the great vacations, everything. But they’re so miserable inside. And what makes them happy is that martini at night, that glass of scotch, that glass of wine. And they say they’ll stop at one but they need it to numb that discomfort that they feel inside.
And of course, I have clients at the other end of the spectrum where they want all those things, thinking that those things are going to bring them happiness. And they are mad and bitter because they don’t have those things or other things are broken in their life. And so again they just want to numb the discomfort. Underliving is when you’re walking through the motions of the day and not really enjoying it. It’s just a job. It’s just some houses. It’s just my house. Everything feels lackluster.
But really what’s going on is you’re holding yourself back inside. You know that there’s something more that you want but you’re not willing to really look and face your fears to get it. And so, this causes tension inside, a discomfort, and one way to relieve that is to numb it. I hear all the time women say, “I don’t know why I keep drinking. I don’t know why I keep overdrinking. Why do I keep doing this?” And you really have to explore, why do you keep doing this?
Because it’s an individual choice and that choice is different for everyone. But what I’ll tell you is the vast majority are overdrinking because they’re underliving. And here’s what I also find. Some people don’t even know how or why they’re underliving. They’ve just been doing it for so long they don’t even understand it. They don’t understand that they’re in society’s standards of what is expected of them, what is fun, what is successful, what is meaningful. And I get it because I was there too.
And I have talked about that extensively on this podcast. And then you get to a point where you’re like, “I can’t figure this out. I have tried years and I can’t figure this out.” And that’s when you seek help. That’s why people seek help. When you can’t figure something out, you feel stuck, or you can’t see it, you get help. And that’s exactly when you need help, when you can’t figure something out.
I mean when my pipes get clogged and my husband and I can’t figure out how to unclog them and Drano doesn’t work. We call a plumber, yeah, we call a plumber for help because we can’t figure it out. And we don’t want clogged pipes. So, we do it all the time in our lives but with overdrinking, seems to be a different issue. Seems to be something that we want to just be able to handle privately and confidentially on our own. It’s so prideful. I was there until I got fed up and said, “I’m done wasting my time on this problem that I can’t seem to solve.”
And I know other people have figured it out so there’s got to be a way that I could figure it out. It’s time to call for help. I’m so glad I did otherwise I’d still be stuck. But that’s not the worse thing that happens is being stuck. There’s something worse than being stuck and that’s what comes next. When you’re feeling stuck the worst part about that is all the thoughts that come, thinking it can’t be solved, thinking that this is as good as life gets, thinking that the best days are behind you, thinking that you’re too far gone. Thinking that you’re a hopeless case.
Thinking that you don’t deserve more or thinking that you don’t deserve another chance. This erodes your soul. This is a cancer to your body. This is when you become hopeless and it feels like the grim reaper has started to enter your life. And maybe others around you have given up on you, they’re sick of hearing the story and the promises, or maybe you can’t even bring yourself to talk about it anymore, you just don’t want to look at it, you’re so disgusted.
But I’ll tell you, other people aren’t what’s most important. What is most important is that you want to solve it. You want to figure this out. You want to stop wasting your time and your life away. Not only that, you also want to stop wasting your money on this habit because it gets expensive. And I’m not just talking financially. I’m talking about the time and energy. We already calculated two overdrinking days a week leads to 28 wasted days a year. And I know if I asked any of you listening, “Here’s free 28 days of time”, how would you choose to spend it?
And I know many of you would pick things that fill up your soul, things that make you feel amazing inside. Some of my clients love painting, or they love singing, or they love gardening, or they love being out in nature, or going on retreats, spending time with girlfriends, things that truly nature your soul. I’ll tell you what, overdrinking never nourished my soul. I never came out of a binge and an overdrinking night and said, “Yes, I can’t wait to do that again.” My brain would be, “Really, Sherry, you did that again?”
So, after enough times of hearing that I had to say to myself, “Gosh, I don’t really like spending my time this way, it really doesn’t feel that rewarding.” And I certainly didn’t like the results it produced. It didn’t make me on fire for my life like I was kicking butt, and taking names, and living full on out. It felt more like blasé like here we go again, this is what I do. So, I want you to see that even a ‘small’ overdrinking habit is significant. We’ve got to stop lying to ourselves and telling us it’s just a small thing, it’s not that big of a deal.
Because I just calculated for you how it is taking away from your one precious life. It’s taking away from your vibrancy and your aliveness for life. And what I want you to do is actually calculate your own math. How many times a week do you overdrink on average? Start looking at it. Don’t be afraid. Maybe your number’s higher, maybe it’s lower. But don’t you deserve to know? It is your life. So how many hours do you think about alcohol and are spent consuming it?
So, this means even the times that you aren’t even drinking but thinking about drinking, and buying it, and recovering from it because you’re not operating at your best in those times. And then once you calculate it for the week, take it out to the month and then take it out to the year. Then ask yourself, do I want to keep doing this or is it time for change? Is this how I want to be spending my time in my life? Is this rejuvenating? Does this feel truly rewarding? And if not, I give you permission to go seek help.
When you care enough about a problem you will care enough about finding a solution. This is why as women we put our kids first all the time. We care about them so much. Their smallest problem becomes like a nightmare for us. We care about the problem because we care to solve it. And we don’t judge our kids for having problems. We know that they’re going to have problems. What we want most is to solve it. And look, I want to assure you that there are hundred of ways, plenty of ways to get help.
There are free services, free help, hotlines, groups, private services. There is paid help and paid services. You can do it privately or in groups. I work with my clients privately and in very small groups because it was important to me initially to take care of this on the downlow, totally confidential, not anybody knowing. I was so ashamed that I didn’t want my story out there in the world. Now look at me, I am babbling my story to anybody who will listen because I want to help people.
I want them to know that they don’t have to struggle, that this is solvable. And then look at the women who come on my podcast. I applaud them. None of them wanted to put their story out into the world when they found me. But once they discovered that they can get over this, they’re like, “I have to share this with other women.” And that doesn’t mean you have to share your story. But people are out there putting their stories out because they have changed, they have radically changed their life.
And when you get success and something works don’t you want to tell others about it? It’s like if I had this molecule in my hand in this jar that I was holding and I told you, I have this molecule in my hand which can cure cancer, I’d be so excited about it. I would want to tell everybody I met. “I have the cure to cancer, look, it’s right here.” Because what we know about humans is they love to help other people.
So, I invite you to do the math for you, see if you’re underliving. Quantify it for yourself. Is it a small problem or is it much bigger than what you anticipated? Because you get one life, my friends, one life. And I don’t meet anybody who wants to waste that precious time. And I encourage you to look at it as a problem that could be solved. And it’s not just a drinking problem that’s solved, it’s a life problem that’s solved. It impacts so many areas of your life and you get radical transformation to live your epic life.
Alright my friends, that’s what I have for you today. Have a great week and I’ll see you next time.
Thanks for listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle. If you’re ready to change your relationship with alcohol, check out my free guide, How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit at sherryprice.com/startnow. That’s sherryprice.com/startnow. I’ll see you next week.