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Taking a Deeper Look At Your Alcohol Consumption

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Something I’ve decided I wanted to be more vocal about this year is alcohol (you can listen to more of my thoughts in this podcast episode). And that’s because I rarely ever see alcohol consumption questioned…honestly it’s glorified in our society. We use alcohol to celebrate, mourn, unwind, and we even use alcohol to find courage. It’s in our movies, tv shows, music, and social media. It surrounds us and teaches us from an early age that alcohol should be part of our weekly routine. And I noticed this more than ever in 2020. People created memes, reels, stories, and pages all dedicated to drinking because 2020 sucked so damn bad. I would watch person after person create social media content of them reaching for a wine bottle after each devastating blow hit the media in 2020. And using alcohol as a coping mechanism became this ongoing joke between everyone going through the 2020 trauma together, almost uniting everyone in their pain.

But for me, it made me angry. Much of our learning and understanding of the world comes from social media these days, whether we like that or not. So when we show our peers that we are using alcohol as a coping mechanism during a stressful time, we are showing those people that it is a normal to combat our anxiety and depression by consuming something that is quite literally a depressant. Think about that for a second. Alcohol slows down brain functioning and neural activity, which means the more you drink it, the more you dull the senses, which is why people drink during times of stress. But as the alcohol wears off and the hangover sets in, anxiety and depression come back even more heightened than before. And people seem to ignore this and continue to follow the same behavior over and over again, causing more and more issues.

I want to share my thoughts on alcohol not to vilify it, but to hopefully help others question what they are turning to alcohol for. You’ll see many moms on social media with their drinks that say “Mommy’s Juice” and they are drinking by 11am with moms rallying behind them in the comments. Or you’ll see a group of friends take a friend out to drink all night long to cope with their recent break up (been there). But what about REAL coping mechanisms? What about looking deeper at what we are going through, what we can and cannot control, and what steps we can take to keep our bodies healthy during times of stress? Instead of drinking, how about making a nutritious meal? Instead of cocktails, how about going on a walk? Instead of wine, how about meditation?

But I get it – none of these things are sexy…or easy. Telling someone to exercise to keep their mood high isn’t as sexy as telling someone to pour a glass of pinot. It’s just not. And we like sexy. But I’m here to be the black sheep of society and tell you the opposite of what everyone else seems to be shouting – alcohol is terrible for you. You can come at me with all your “wine has antioxidants” bullshit and I will let you know that LOTS of clean foods do, too. And those clean foods won’t lead you to feeling even more depressed than before. Those foods will actually lead you to creating a healthier gut which may even help with your anxiety and depression. (And by the way, I’m not a doctor or a medical professional so you obviously don’t need to listen to me, but if any of your medical professionals are telling you to drink alcohol to help you cope with your issues, you should probably drop them, as well.)

I feel very strong about this topic because I have been the person for years and years who has been made fun of for not drinking. When I began competing in CrossFit at 23 years old, alcohol didn’t fit into my goals. Sure, I would drink from time to time, but I found myself feeling lazy, lethargic, and had extreme anxiety for days afterwards. Not only did it impede my goals in the gym, but it slowed down my progress when it came to my small business. So I stopped my random alcohol binges and stood strong when I would get peer pressured to drink. Leaving behind those drunk nights didn’t lead me to feeling FOMO or loss, it led to more confidence, better performance in the gym, more happiness, better productivity, and a more successful business.

And just FYI, I’m not sober. I had half a glass of prosecco at dinner the other night and a margarita a couple weeks ago. And no, I’ve never dealt with alcoholism in my family or even with my friends. I just want to be the person who makes you look deeper at your choices, just like I hope others would do for me. And believe me, with my blog, PEOPLE DO. I want to be the voice that shares a different idea than the narrative that is so commonly shared on social media these days. I want to be the person who tells you that it is OK to not drink when everyone else is drinking around you. I want to tell you that it is OK to feel like you’re the outsider. And that it is OK to deal with stress and anxiety through healthy coping mechanisms. I want you to know that you are not alone when you choose to not drink.

I wanted to share this post and talk more openly about not drinking/limiting alcohol because I hope that me sharing this makes you look more at your own alcohol consumption, how it affects you, and how it may affect your friends and family. Is it truly benefiting you and the people around you? Is it making you more active and more productive? Is it keeping your anxiety at bay when the world feels completely upside down? For me personally, alcohol does none of these things. It makes me feel worse off than I did in the first place. And even though I’m looked at like the boring one at events or gatherings, I don’t care because I know that not drinking will lead me to a healthier and happier life long term. I hope sharing my own experience helps you find your own healthy balance with alcohol or at least helps you feel like less of an outsider when you decide to not drink. But most of all, I hope that this post makes you look deeper at your own coping mechanisms and helps you look at dealing with stress in a whole new way. Alcohol has its time and place, but it shouldn’t be used to numb the world around us. Life is way too beautiful to not see it for all it is…even in 2020.

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.

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49 thoughts on “Taking a Deeper Look At Your Alcohol Consumption”

  1. Love this message! I’ve slowly been finding alochol’s place in my life and it is becoming fewer and fewer the older I get (I’m only 25 lol). I love that more people are speaking out and saying regular alcohol consumption isn’t for them. Alcohol had ALWAYS given me the worst anxiety the next day but the thought of being the boring friend in college gave me even more anxiety so I would suck it up and head to the bars with friends. Over time I’ve politely created boundaries around alcohol and guess what? I haven’t lost a single friend because of it. Turns out I could have been saying no years ago!

    Thanks for sharing your insights, what an empowering read!

  2. This touched my heart. I’m a recovering alcoholic, and have not drank in some time. It was helpful to remember all that my coping mechanisms have gotten stronger this past year. It’s been tough at times, but I do feel stronger. Thank you for inspiring me to reflect on that. This is a wonderful post.

  3. I literally only drink every 5 years when I go on an anniversary trip with the hubby. I have a few margaritas or mojitos, enjoy them immensely, and then go back home. I do not like feeling hungover and bloated, and I generally hate myself after drinking. Why put myself through that? Empty calories and guilt = not worth it. IDGAF what others think of me not drinking – they’re the ones feeling like crap the next day, not me! 🙂

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I have found myself at odds recently with a close friend who just assumed I had been increasing drinking, like she had, during 2020. I guess I hadn’t communicated that I had stopped drinking, and likely didn’t say anything because of how “weird” it would look. What was hard for me me to swallow, was that my friend’s therapist even said that some level of increased alcohol consumption was to be expected! Anyways, thanks again for voicing this.

    1. I love this blog post. I spent most of 2020 pregnant with my second baby and had her at the end of the year. I thought I’d go back to drinking occasionally but it makes me feel like crap so I’m in no hurry to get back! I’m actually treating my anxiety/depression with medication and therapy and there’s no room for alcohol to mess with my meds or my lack of sleep. I drink non-alcoholic beer if I’m “in the mood” to wind down at the end of the day and it really does the trick. I’m glad your message will make many of us feel more confident in our decision

      1. I’m pregnant right now (due today actually) and can really relate to this! I’ve really cut back on drinking over the past few years and didn’t have any alcohol while trying to conceive. It makes me feel like crap and doubt I’ll go back to drinking on any regular basis after this baby pops out.

  5. Yes! Thanks for using your voice and platform. I saw the eye rolling when I stopped drinking 2.5 years ago, I do have close people who abuse alcohol, and this conversation is very near and dear to my heart. Alcoholism is not a joke, a meme or a slogan. And in my opinion clean wine is bull shit. It’s glamorized ethanol. Why we joke and cheer for moms drinking mimosas yet shame and stigmatize people who smoke weed for recreational and therapeutic reasons?

  6. Thank you for this post! Our culture’s glorification of alcohol is really frustrating, and it seems that people are often extremely defensive and combative whenever anyone 1) says they prefer not to drink, or 2) suggests taking a deeper look at how our consumption of alcohol can negatively impact things like anxiety, depression, and our relationships. Which is crazy considering how pervasive alcohol is in so many aspects of our society! I’ve also noticed an increase in the alcohol jokes like “wine mom” and they just make me sad. Hopefully the more people start to speak out about this the more we can normalize adjusting our lens.

  7. Thank you for writing this! I have been slowly starting to take a look at how I drink and why! 2020 my alcohol consumption really spiked and I decided to do a “dry” January. Now I have to admit I have drank during this month (3x). I have really been looking at how I’m feeling, why am I doing it,etc. I have more “work” to do but I agree we are conditioned that alcohol will fix “your problem”. I have been committing to moving my body daily and eating better- and I know when I drink it just leads me off course. Again thanks for writing this and sharing your perspective- I really appreciate it. You rock!!!

  8. Way to talk about this unpopular opinion! I listened to a podcast in 2020 from two women who don’t drink- and they talked about how amazing their lives were, and myths about being sober. Sometimes we assume we will be missing something without alcohol- but maybe, like you talk about, digging deep, waking up early, and drinking water can make our lives better than alcohol (though I do like a good marg). Thanks so much for sharing. A beneficial message for sure!!

  9. Thanks for sharing this! I drink rarely. I’m the woman at book club drinking hot tea while everyone else has a bottle of wine. I don’t care for the taste of most beer or wine and would rather drink something else most of the time. My friends and family are used to it by now and often glad to have a sober driver (back when we went places).

  10. Glad you are talking about this. More people need to be talking about this issue. I stopped drinking 11 months ago and couldn’t be happier. It took a lot for me to understand that it was hurting me rather than helping me. I was able to really internalize all the things you mentioned by reading tons of the “quit lit” books out there. I highly recommend them to anyone who is questioning their relationship with alcohol.

  11. Thank you for sharing this, Juli! I have recently reexamined my relationship with alcohol (I highly recommend “This Naked Mind: 30 Day Alcohol Experiment” for anyone looking for a great resource to kick start their sober-curious lifestyle!) I too haven’t completely given it up but it is so so helpful to take a step back and recognize the WHY behind the drinking and learning to shift our mindset and develop healthier coping mechanisms. Thanks again for sharing!

    1. That book changed my life several years ago! It’s so good. Sometimes I listen to an audio version as a little refresher

      1. Rachael and Annette, I bought The Alcohol Experiment the day I read both of your comments. I was drinking way too much, especially in 2020, it crept up on me so fast. I wanted to stop, but had begun to dangerously use alcohol to “solve my problems” and escape from reality (insert eye roll here). I didn’t know how to get out of this dangerous web I was spinning, but I knew I wanted to. Your comments led me to The Alcohol Experiment. I ordered the Alcohol Experiment and This Naked Mind, I also subscribed to the Podcast. It has been 23 days since I have drank a drop, and many days since I have even thought about alcohol. I don’t miss it, I don’t need it, and I DON’T WANT IT. I feel so good. My brain is no longer foggy, I have energy, I sleep better, I eat better, and I laugh way more. I thought I was depressed but I wasn’t, the alcohol is out of my system and I feel happy, and peaceful! Thank you Juli for talking about alcohol, thank you Rachael and Annette for sharing this book with me, if it wasn’t for you all, I believe I would still be thinking about wanting to stop drinking, but stuck not knowing where to start. Juli, I believe you said this year you were embracing positivity and wanted to help people. Please know that you have impacted my day to day life in a very big way.

  12. This is so important and thank you for sharing!! The normalization of alcohol use is everywhere and we need more voices like yours!! -it is also “normal” to not drink and live a healthy life style!!

  13. Thank you for your perspective. After Chrissy Teigen posted about it I bought Quit Like A Woman by Holly Whitaker. I don’t feel I have a drinking problem, but I wanted to learn more. I wanted a new perspective on alcohol. I reached for it more last year than I would have if I wasn’t at my home 24 hours a day due to boredom, trying to turn off my work brain, etc. I’m reading it now slowly to take it all in and wow is it a good read! Highly recommend.

  14. Thank you for sharing. I appreciate this so much. It reminds me of the saying about creating a life that you don’t have to drink to get away from. I used to think I could drink and be fine because I don’t get hangovers, but now I realize the anxiety that followed the next day was my version of a hangover. Thanks again!

  15. What a great post, thank you for sharing! I’ve been on and off drinking for the past 10 years. Alcoholism runs in my family and at times, it scares me to think I could go down that path. Then stress hits and I say f*ck it and drink weekly for a few months, before getting scared again. Since I was 18 (I’m 38 now), I’ve had IBS and just recently discovered I have bad acid reflux (like stay in bed wanting to die bad). And I know alcohol is part of that problem. So now, in addition to many other foods in my diet (including coffee and tomatoes ugh), I’m giving up alcohol to help heal my esophagus. But the thought of having a drink right now makes me sick to my stomach knowing the pain it will cause me and the 24 hours wasted trying to feel better. It’s just not worth it anymore.

  16. I have not consumed alcohol regulary in years. After I had my first child, I had no urge to drink. I was tired enough from newborn sleepless nights and alcohol was in no way going to make me feel better. I am pregnant with my second and do not miss alcohol. It is nice to get a fancy cocktail with my meal from time to time at a restaurant, but not having that during pregnancy does not ruin my dining out experience. I had a wonderful alcohol free meal to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday and it was still just as enjoyable and delicious without a cocktail. Luckily my husband also rarely drinks. We also want to be able to show our kids that alcohol does not need to be a daily or weekly part of their lives.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this!! I actually started to take a look at my alcohol consumption during the early days of your Podcast when you did an episode on sugar and alcohol. I have always felt a bit like an outsider. When my friends wanted to out drinking at 10:00 PM on a Friday night, I wanted to snuggle my dog and drink superfood hot cocoa LOL. Thank you for making me feel less alone in all this. It is so easy to get caught up in what society sets at the “normal” standard. I just love what you share on your blog and podcast and social media. You are just so dang inspiring!! Cutting down my alcohol to just one or two drinks a month has also improved my fitness goals tremendously!! YOU ROCK!!!!! And I just love you!!

  18. Yes! I quit drinking over a year ago. Not for any other reason than just one drink made me feel like shit. It just wasn’t worth it. I don’t miss it. Now, I did eat a bit more sugar in 2020 than my usual, but who’s perfect?! Sure as hell not me!

  19. I have been working on decreasing my consumption for a year now. I can go quite some time with out it but when I’m going out with friends I get anxious and I tell myself one drink to stop the anxiety. I always end up having two because when asked if I would like another, “YES ” just explodes from my mouth with out any thought to say no. A post on how you set your mind up to say “no” to even one drink would be great.

  20. Emily Southern Garczynski

    This was such a great read! I definitely indulged in alcohol more this past year and used it as a crutch because I was bored/sad/anxious and it made it worse! I’m by no means dependent on alcohol, but I have realized I feel better without it. I recently discovered Whole30 (totally works for me, not saying anyone has to do it) and it has changed my perspective on social drinking. I have been to multiple events (with my quarantine pod, don’t @ me, people!) where I’ve been the only one not drinking and it’s so refreshing to be able to wake up the next day without the brain fog and get sh*t done! Thanks for this!!!

  21. Thank you for this post. It’s so important for “mainstream” people to talk about analyzing our relationship with alcohol. I personally haven’t had a drink in nearly two years, and before that I had drank a lot for years. No one in my life would really think I qualified as “alcoholic” but I knew I drank more than I felt good about. What’s so damaging is this popular view that drinking (even excessive drinking) is perfectly normal and healthy, and it’s only a very slim % of the population that has the “disease” of alcoholism. The truth is that alcohol is an addictive toxin that damages all parts of our bodies and minds. Like any other addictive substance, anyone can be addicted whether it be physically, emotionally or psychologically. I highly recommend This Naked Mind book for anyone who wants a scientific approach to clearing your mind of all the damaging social brainwashing around alcohol.

    1. YES! This is exactly the program I mentioned in my comment, too. The program The Alcohol Experiment was developed from the author of This Naked Mind and sent me on this track in 2020! La Croix cheers to relating through healthy habits! 😂

  22. Thank you for posting. I just listened to a podcast about this from Melissa Urban (Whole30 founder) and she also frequently talks about not drinking on her instagram. The more often the message is heard, maybe the more “normal” it will be.

    1. Hi! My names bella and I’m a 20 ur old college student! I am a avid reader of your blog and Instagram:). I have the same view as you when it comes to alcohol… I simply HATE FEELING YUCKY!! I am in college and go out 3 times a week and it’s hard for me to come up with excuses on why I am choosing not to drink that night… I wanted to ask you if you had an tips for navigating the social scene and turning down alcohol… people look at me abs think I’m above them when I choose not to drink… but it’s not that at all… it’s just that I hate waking up at 2:00 pm the next day and feeling like trash!!

  23. YES!! Love this post! I’m coming up on 4 years sober (due to heavy and problematic drinking) and it’s the best decision I ever made. When I quit a lot of my friends let me know they were relieved – not only because I was taking better care of myself, but because they were more than happy to have social time that didn’t revolve around drinking. Also I really identified with what you said about athletic performance and alcohol. My lifting improved so much once I quit and focused on eating real food and sleeping well.

    Bravo, Juli! I hope to read many more posts from you about this topic!

  24. Yay Juli! Couldn’t have said it better myself. As someone who rarely ever drinks and just really doesn’t / have never enjoyed it (ok maybe I did enjoy “partying” in college but that was decades ago), I am with you in not understanding the constant glorifying and normalizing something that is so frankly toxic to humans, tastes like $hit and make you feel like garbage after the fact. I love the message of urging people to look at WHY they are turning to that, and question if it is serving them. Most likely, it is not. Thank you for this and your blog!

  25. I love this post and every time you talk about this on the podcast. I’m only 24 and get weird looks and comments from my family when I turn down wine or opt for a mocktail at family gatherings, to the point that I just get a drink instead so they stop talking about it. Luckily, I have supportive friends that are interested in why I choose not to drink (or very rarely) and some have started drinking less as well!

  26. As the comments before me said, LOVED this post! I did 30 days without drinking with group called The Alcohol Experiment and it was a HUGE help to have the support. She has a Facebook group, a video everyday on the science behind what alcohol actually does to your body, and journal prompts. Please note that I’m not affiliated at all, the program is free, and it’s designed for those that are more casual drinkers that want to take a second look at their habit (NOT alcoholics who would likely benefit from an AA-style structure), but wanted to pass along in case anyone is looking for resources because I don’t think I could have accomplished even those 30 days without some support!

    I now focus on intentional drinking, similar to what you’ve mentioned – not every night, when I know what I’m doing, can comfortably limit myself, have a few sips at a celebration, or to learn more about the delicious wine I’m enjoying (I have a lot of family in Napa). It feels so different to drink with INTENTION instead of mindlessly. A small shift that has made all the difference.

    1. Thank you so much for speaking about this and normalizing not drinking. I didn’t really realize how much our society glorifies drinking until you pointed it out. I’ve been thinking about how drinking affects me and have realized I need to make a change.

  27. YES YES YES!!! We’ve been DUPED by society to think alcohol is the magic elixir to improve confidence, sex appeal, and status, when in reality it gives you none of those things and usually strips away your confidence, sex drive and wits. Alcohol is ALL around us in culture, and we need to start examining why. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am reading “This Naked Mind” currently and it’s shed SO much light on the cultural and societal issues with alcohol, and also how just BAD alcohol is for your brain. Literal carcinogen. Ew.

  28. Thanks for writing this. I wish MORE people talked about this, so that we can begin to normalize it. I too was so annoyed with all the quarantine memes glorifying drinking at 9 am. Nothing wrong with drinking (my family is European, wine is a big part of our life culturally), but we all go through some shit, and we all need coping mechanisms. There are ones that exist that don’t involve wine.

    I haven’t been a big drinker for almost a decade, simply because I don’t want to sometimes. My hangovers are terrible – they last 2 days and just impede me from being a productive member of society. I work in an industry that is very focused on “taking clients out for drinks” or “company happy hours”. I hate that when I say I am not drinking, I have to have a reason when people ask why not. “Because I don’t feel like it” or ” I don’t want to today” is A VERY VALID answer. You do not need to fill in the void with an “excuse” or a “reason”. You can drink when you want/ it’s worth it to you (ex champagne at a wedding, nice dinner out with a place known for cool cocktails), and not when you don’t want to (bar for a friends’ bday). Those that make you feel bad about it are projecting their own shit on to you, and the ones that do matter shouldn’t care. Our culture is so weird, on nights I do feel like having a glass of wine people around me get so excited like “yay you’re drinking today!”. Why is that something to celebrate – like all of a sudden I will be more fun?

    I also want to normalize that just because you don’t drink doesn’t mean you can’t be social – I do go out with clients, I do go to company parties and out with friends. I just choose not to drink in most of those scenarios. I can have fun without drinking! Maybe it means I peace out early and don’t make it to the after party, but I wake up the next day and am very happy with that decision. A tip for anyone who wants to make it easier (especially with clients because the last thing you want is to make THEM feel awkward or bad.. it’s different than with family friends ), I try and get there early and order a club soda with lime (or discreetly order it). If I have it in my hand all night, there’s no conversation and I can focus on what I am there to do – bond with my clients!

  29. YES! Thank you for bringing up the fact that having even MORE anxiety the next day or following days isn’t just a coincidence. I realized that after getting more than a little tiny happy buzz I would end up waking up SUPER early the next morning with heart palpitations and intense anxiety that stretched far beyond a hangover. As a daughter of an alcoholic it’s hard for me to jump on board with the whole “Mommy Juice” concept, and I am also a mom. A mom that has really hard fucking days but I also know what it’s like to watch your parent drink in excess everyday of your life. Thank you thank you thank you.

    PS I still indulge in a glass of wine every now and then, not bashing people who drink but I am calling out the people who glorify drinking every day.

    1. exactly! i have no problem with people drinking, all my friends like to drink. but i have a problem with pushing alcohol on others to make themselves feel better in that moment. live and let live, while being aware of how alcohol makes you feel long term

  30. Love this post and the fact that you’re bringing light to topics that aren’t “popular” right now, but definitely should be. Alcohol is not a coping mechanism. Also, I feel like so many of us can’t be comfortable in a social situation without drinking (I know I’ve been there). And that’s ridiculous!

  31. Good for you, Juli. It’s not about shaming people, but offering insight. I also like that you are open about adjusting your lifestyle from strict paleo diet and CrossFit. Life is a journey and the road is not straight!!

  32. I haven’t quit drinking entirely, but my alcohol consumption has slowed dramatically. It’s more important for me to be able to get up early feeling sharp than to have a drink every night. I rarely drink more than a glass of wine in a setting, two max. And, if I do have that second glass, I rarely get a good night’s sleep and also suffer from major anxiety, thoughts racing, etc. It hardly seems worth it anymore. That being said, I still enjoy that first glass, just not every night or even most nights, as a way to be social and relax and because I actually enjoy the taste. I no longer drink beer or anything I don’t actually like purely for the sake of drinking.

  33. I would really love to hear your take on this article:

    https://psmag.com/social-justice/truth-wont-admit-drinking-healthy-87891

    I’ve been slowly coming around to the idea of just not drinking at all anymore. Or just really limiting how much I drink because I hate how tired alcohol makes me and I don’t believe it is healthy. But, I saw that article the other day on Mark’s Daily Apple and I’m just wondering if it’s based on any sound science at all. It honestly sounds more like what the author wishes were true than what actually is true.

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