What are you REALLY craving?

That’s one of my top three favourite questions to ask as a coach. It’s a loaded question and it gives clients the space to dig deep.

I’d been drinking alcohol (or “using” as I now like to call it) for over two decades before I asked myself that question. I realised that my reasons had evolved over the years…

I was an incredibly awkward teenager, desperate to feel more socially capable, and guess what solved that instantly for me? Pints of cider. At that point in my life, I felt alone – and I was craving confidence and connection.

 

In my 20s, when I was stressed out to the max with my job and my confidence levels were still very low, I started to use alcohol to numb. I turned to wine to eliminate stress. I was craving relaxation and escape.

 

Fast forward to my 30s and being in the throes of motherhood; I started to use alcohol to avoid processing traumatic events and intrusive thoughts. I was craving peace.

Sounds like a silver bullet right? Well fast forward to my late 30s and I can categorically say no, drinking away your problems just doesn’t work.

 

Even though I didn’t drink every day, I became more anxious, my sleep and my skin was messed up, and my self-esteem and productivity continued to plummet. I was avoiding building my confidence naturally, and I wasn’t practised at processing anything without numbing out. So my ability to bounce back was getting eroded, and my dopamine levels were forever being messed with, which affected my happiness.

 

No wonder I wasn’t in a fit state to process any past trauma!

 

Now when I talk about trauma, you may feel less connected to what I am writing. But what I am referring to is “little t trauma” as coaches and therapists call it. This is something that most of us have experienced to some degree, and one of the most common ways people deal with this is to drink it away rather than actually handling the issue head on.

How many times have you been through a distressing event and thought, “I know what to do – I’ll have a drink!” If you were honest with yourself, you were probably craving peace and calm, which alcohol promises to give you, but fails to deliver in the long term.

 

So what have I gained from eliminating alcohol from my life? So many things…

 

I have gained the ability to respond to my mind’s cravings with a finely tuned sense of self-awareness. I respond instead of react. I have learnt to build my own confidence, to put boundaries in place so that I can keep stress at bay and protect myself, and most importantly I have worked through (and continue to process) stressful and uncomfortable experiences from my past with a level head.

 

Ultimately, drinking your feelings away only makes them come back stronger, so why take the risk?

 


This article was written by Sarah Newlands, sobriety coach, meditation teacher and EFT practitioner. Sarah decided to qualify as a sobriety coach after she managed to stop drinking alcohol altogether in 2018, having been a grey area drinker for decades. Now her main aim is to give back the support that she did not manage to receive herself whilst giving up alcohol. You can get in touch with Sarah via her partner coach page.