Alcohol. Romance. Sex. They seem so intertwined. For good reason, too. So much money and marketing have gone into getting us to believe that romance can be held in a bottle. As if that bottle of Merlot holds a genie instead of ethanol. Everything – from the design of the bottle, the label, and the advertising around it – has been carefully crafted to support the illusion that drinking is sexy. It’s time to stop romanticizing alcohol and start seeing it for what it really is.
We Create The Romance
We romanticize alcohol across the board. In fact, we create an entire ambiance around it. This happens culturally. We make decisions that this bar, this bottle of wine, or this drink is going to be romantic and we subscribe to it across the board. We can opt into that line of thinking or we can opt-out of it.
We’ve all experienced it. Think of the way most bars are set up. The bar itself begins to set the mood. Dark wood, shiny and gleaming. Low lights. Chrome and metal accents. Finally, the wall of liquors and spirits, illuminated and made to be the center of attention. The bar is the altar and the wall of alcohol is the shrine. We’re told that THIS is what we need. It’s time to stop romanticizing alcohol once and for all.
Appreciate The Ambiance, Not The Experience
We don’t have to romanticize alcohol to appreciate the ambiance or aesthetics of a certain environment. I’ve been out to eat, on all-inclusive vacations, and on romantic dates with my husband countless times since going alcohol-free. Not once did I think that if only I’d been drinking the night would have been even more special. There’s no genie in that bottle after all. The restaurant was still romantic without the wine, the vacation was still fun and relaxing without the booze, and there is no way any amount of liquor could make my husband any sexier.
When we start to feel really uncomfortable, it’s because we have a thought in our head that things shouldn’t be a certain way. So once we uncover the truths about alcohol and our eyes have been opened, we’re like, “This shouldn’t be this way. It’s time to stop romanticizing alcohol.” Thinking something which is directly contrary to what’s really going on around us feels really uncomfortable.
ACT To Stop Romanticizing Alcohol
In The Alcohol Experiment book, I introduce the ACT technique which can help you stop romanticizing alcohol. It’s three steps: awareness, clarity, and turnaround. It can be used for any belief, including the belief that we should or shouldn’t be romanticizing alcohol.
What we’re going to use it for right now is just changing a thought that is causing you pain in the moment. So the thought in this case is, “Alcohol is romantic.” That’s awareness. Awareness is just becoming conscious of that sentence, those words that were just in your head, you’re conscious of it. It’s just stating the belief.
Clarity is the next piece. It says, “How does that thought in this situation make me feel?” Uneasy? Withdrawn? Frustrated? Disconnected? How does it make you behave? Scared? Aloof? Rebellious? As if your good time has been ruined?
Clarity focuses on the belief and how it makes you feel and behave. Use clarity to show the brain, “Oh, wow. That belief is painful.”
Turnaround is the T. In turnaround, you rephrase the initial belief about alcohol based on what you now know is true. Dig deep to find at least three reasons that the turnaround is as true or truer than your original belief. You can’t create a thought that is going to be an opposition or doesn’t feel true. We create more neural toxicity, because we were trying to go directly against one thought with another thought that we don’t actually believe is true. That’s not what we want to do here.
So in the turnaround it is important that you can back the new belief – something like, “spending time with my spouse is romantic” – with at least three reasons that is true without the alcohol.
Awareness, clarity, turnaround, and then you do a bonus C, where you run that turnaround through the same filter. How does it make you feel and how does it make you behave? A simple process but so effective at changing our beliefs and bringing us peace.
Help So You Can Stop Romanticizing Alcohol
You can get help to stop romanticizing alcohol and join the over 200,000 people who have found freedom from it in The Alcohol Experiment. Join us – it’s free and always will be – to take part in this 30-day break from alcohol that brings you awareness, clarity, and turnaround. Also available in the Apple Store and Google Play!