Alcohol Trick or Treat? Are you under the spell of alcohol?
It’s Halloween today and with it brings the beginning of the holiday season, so it’s a good time to ask ourselves if we are still under the spell of alcohol and to figure out: Alcohol – Trick or Treat?
For me, in my drinking days, Halloween was the perfect time to ‘treat’ myself – it’s my birthday after all so why couldn’t I have a glass of wine or some champagne at my birthday picnic as a treat? From then on, the next two months were full of ‘treats’.
‘It’s a damp, chilly Friday evening – ‘let’s get the beers in and have a treat’
‘It’s Sunday, why don’t we have a treat with lunch and open a bottle?’
‘The kids break up from school today, we deserve a treat, I’m gonna get a box of wine to see us.’
‘I know it’s only 11 am but it’s Christmas, go on, let’s have a sneaky treat’
And so it went on and on and on, by the end of the year, I felt like crap, looked like crap as if all my vital life energy had been sucked out of me. All those special treats did was to make me miserable, unhappy, ill and left me wondering what had been so magical about the holidays? they just passed by in a river of wine, beer, oh and an extra special ‘treat’ of expensive whisky from time to time.
If you believe that your ‘special’ tipple holds magical powers and use any occasion as an excuse to drink and have a treat, then let me help you decide for yourself. Alcohol – trick or treat?
The problem with seeing alcohol as a special treat, a magical potion to make everything good or you see it as something you deserve and to look forward to, is that when you stop, you genuinely feel like your giving something up instead of seeing it as it really is – an evil entity bewitching you into thinking it’s giving you something mystical, when in reality it is taking away all that is beautiful about your evening, your holidays, your life. As long as you remain under the spell and continue to see alcohol as some magical potion then you will be forever fooled into believing that you can’t treat yourself without it.
But remember there is nothing special or treat-worthy about alcohol and if you continue to dive into your cauldron with the hope of being whisked away on your broomstick of wine, all you really do is end up making yourself feel ghostly, ghoulishly ill, dull and zombie like with nothing but regret to haunt you the next day.
Think about it carefully. Surely the whole point of a treat is to make us feel good, special and be an alternative to the norm. Kids love a treat – especially on Halloween. There’s pumpkin carving, dressing up, staying up late, trick or treating and of course all the sweets! It’s spooky, fun, scary and exciting, a magical mix of terror, darkness, squeals and frights.
Halloween has the power to transport us into another world, a fantasy world where we can embrace our dark side, fly off to imaginary places on our broomsticks and eat as many sweets as we like! In real life too there are loads of opportunity to treat ourselves – an ice cream on a hot day, a picnic on the floor in front of the TV, an impromptu trip to the cinema or a day at the seaside after a boring week at school.
These are genuine treats and sources of happiness, joy and excitement. If you believe that some wine or a few beers really do count as a treat, then think of the whole scenario. Yes, you might get a buzz after you flop on the sofa, kick off your shoes and have that first sip of wine. Or you might relax into your beer with your friends at the beer garden on a sunny afternoon. But these activities are pleasurable on their own, there’s no need to resort to consuming poison to make the events any more fun.
The thing about alcohol is that it does cast an evil spell on you, it’s like a curse, it just leaves you wanting more, so that first sip of intoxicating liquid will never be enough to really make you feel like your having a treat, once the initial buzz has worn off, you’ll want to recapture the magic, to prolong the moment, but the more you have, the more dulled your senses become and the more cheated you feel as you slowly slip into the fog and become a shadow. Is it really a treat to disappear into a bottle, to withdraw into your own universe to go to that dark place governed by Dementors?
Just because you are not having alcohol, it doesn’t mean you have to feel cheated or like your missing out on life’s pleasures
Rethink your idea of a treat, especially on this All Hallows’ Eve. Just because you are not having alcohol, it doesn’t mean you have to feel cheated or like your missing out on life’s pleasures, you just have to reassess what a treat really is. When alcohol casts her spell, we are tricked into becoming stuck in the moment whereas a real treat makes you happy for far longer. It doesn’t make us lose control or forget the ‘treat’ we’re supposed to be enjoying, it doesn’t give us a terrible hangover or cause us to waste precious time and money with nothing to show for it.
Have a think, what is a real treat for you? Is it finishing work early to take your kids shopping? Is it meeting with a friend and having a long natter over posh coffee? Is it getting your nails done, going to a spa, escaping with a good book or getting tickets to a concert? Whatever it is, these things will make you genuinely happy and for a long time afterwards. Proper self care and indulging in healthy, special treats are important and you should never feel guilty about treating yourself, just make sure your treat is chosen with love, happiness and joy in mind and that they won’t leave you haunted by your behaviour, lost time or regretting your ‘treat’ afterwards.
Here are some things to help you get over the idea that alcohol is a treat but rather see alcohol for the sneaky trickster it really is:
I used to think that I was treating myself to a few beers after work on a Friday, or better still – a few beers while I did my work on a Friday. But the truth is that working while drinking was counterproductive and I would lose focus and concentration and end up having to redo the whole thing anyway the next morning, which was even more difficult because I felt like pants and it was double the effort, plus I wasted a Saturday morning working when I could have been doing something more fun.
Are you really treating yourself to wine or beer or are you treating yourself to a night of poor sleep, not accomplishing what you wanted and feeling rubbish and resentful the next day?
After a trying day with the kids I used to say, ‘God, I deserve a drink’ so I would indulge myself, believing that I really did deserve this special treat. However, one glass would turn into two and then three and before I knew it I had finished the bottle. I was like a vampire, trying in vain to suck more and more energy and feel good vibes out of that bottle but it wasn’t enough, I still felt I deserved more: more me time, more help in the kitchen, more help with the kids and by the end of the evening I was just burnt out, frazzled and fed up. What I really deserved was to properly relax with my kids, enjoy a nice meal or relish in just flopping out on the sofa and doing nothing.
Don’t say to yourself, I deserve a drink, say I don’t deserve to feel that I need more, I don’t deserve to spoil my evening, I don’t deserve to wake up with a hangover tomorrow. I don’t deserve to wallow in physical pain and shame – I deserve better.
Alcohol is not a beautiful elixir, it should be kept locked away in Snape’s store cupboard along with all the other illicit mind altering, body transforming ingredients. Alcohol will trick you into believing you need it and deserve it, but your clever trick (and this is something I will help you with in the Program) is to undo the bad magic, to reveal to yourself the tricks that alcohol tries to play on you so that you don’t fall the spell again. It’s time to wave your magic wand and banish the evil of alcohol from your life for good.
Over to you, what do you think now? Alcohol – Trick or Treat?
As a special birthday treat for you all, I have included a simple Spell to Stop Drinking so you can perform a real piece of beautiful magic – Check it out here!