To Be or Not to Be…Alcohol Free

What I’ve learned about myself and others in relationship to alcohol!

After one of the silliest and random dreams I’ve had in a long time, I decided to stop drinking for at least a month! The clear message when I woke up was “Stop drinking for at least a month.” Having been on my spiritual journey for a long time now, I’ve learned to pay attention to clear messages no matter how ridiculous the messenger may seem. So here I am…a two and a half months into this no drinking journey…and it’s been very interesting!

The dream and the main message received

If you’re anything like me or more like any of my friends you’re like, “WTF was that dream about that made her make this crazy choice?” Here’s the super silly but impactful dream…

Dream highlights:

Guy Fieri, (super random and I hadn’t watched the Food Network) doing a cooking demo and I had the best seats😎

I had great seats but kept getting up to get drinks because the people in the audience were not my cup of tea😧

Every time I got up to get a drink I would lose my seat😡

Drank so much I black out, loose lots of time and my dog (who almost always represents moral choices in my dreams, or fear of losing myself)😲

Enter stage left, my best friend to fill in the blanks😫

the loss of time and my dog felt horrible but more than that the reason for my drinking…to cope with others behaviors and energies around me😱

It became apparent to me that in my dream and in my awake life, I was starting to drink to cope with other people’s behaviors and energies. This is not ok, especially as an energy practitioner/healer, I need to be in tune and as sentient as I can be to help others tap into their intuition and self healing powers. I am grateful for this dream and this realization, it’s what’s given me the motivation to change my behavior around alcohol. Alcohol was making my body feel horrible, especially as I’ve gotten older, one drink or more than one drink it didn’t matter, I’d feel like crap the day after. That had not been enough change my relationship with alcohol! But this dream did…

Throughout the years I’ve had my love affair with alcohol. In my 20’s alcohol was a good friend, until it wasn’t. Train wreck relationships and a couple of poor choices were made, but that’s all part of young adulthood. Alcohol allowed me to have some great experiential adventures in my 30’s providing lots of fun and adventure. I’ve made many great friends and our bonds have grown stronger because of alcohol, so I hold no ill will towards alcohol. But, when the relationship changes and there are no longer any real benefits, it’s time to do something different.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far on this journey:
It was definitely harder than I thought it would be.

To be honest if it weren’t for the impact of the dream I may have given in days into my no drinking journey. I started this journey on August 18…still almost a month left of summer, even though the pumpkin spice crews will disagree with that.

Walking into a liquor store 2 weeks into the journey was interesting. I was going to check out the non-alcoholic options they had because I was going to an outdoor show with my BFF. Outdoor live music is one of the places I would indulge in alcohol consumption, sometimes a lot! When I walked into this huge liquor store I felt a twitch in my body and my automatic thought was “All of this alcohol and I can’t have any of it.” I said that a couple of times to myself and then I realized, It’s not that I can’t have it, it’s that I’m choosing not to have it. That was an aha moment for me (or a reframe as most therapist, including myself, would say) and made me more determined to see this through.

I then thought my biggest hurdles would be:

  • brunch with my best friend✔
  • any meal at a restaurant with my BFF✔✔
  • outdoor concerts, particularly Will Evans https://willevans.com/✔✔✔

But it was neither of these…it was a very good friends cookout…these very good friends are also very good drinkers. To say peer pressure was fought off that night is an understatement. All done in love, for sure, but maybe in love for the drink? The comments I received from people at the cookout were initially supportive, but when they heard the length of time was 1 month, most if not all people responded with “ooh that’s a long time!” or “ugh why would you do that for so long?” or the one that made me more determined and a little sad was “I don’t think I could go that long.” 😲

We as a society don’t celebrate not drinking…it’s labeled as boring!

I’m as wild and fun as they come, at least I have been wild in my youth, but I know I’m still hella fun! But for some reason people seem to think that you can’t have fun if you’re not drinking. What I have observed from this no drinking lens is the urgency for people to get drunk when they drink. It’s like feast or famine. This has blown my mind how people’s goal is not to drink socially, it’s to get waisted to be social.

To be honest, at first, my ego put me in a position of feeling like an outcast, like I was boring. I quickly tossed that idea aside because, I know I’m not boring, I just have to learn how to be fun in my own skin again and not in my inebriated skin. This has been a bit of a re-learning.

Drinking is Everywhere

Pretty much everything we do as a society revolves around drinking. At my last job before my private practice, I was the Happy Hour organizer and we had great times and I have lifetime friendships with my former co-workers. You go to a party and what do you bring most of the time? A bottle of wine…or two? Kids parties with adults, there is sure to be alcohol. I even heard of someone having a sober party for their friend and all the guests got shit faced🤔. There’s something really wrong with that!

We need to take a look at ourselves and examine why we need to put on the mask of alcohol to be ok around others. We as a species are not doing something right if we can’t tolerate being around each other without substances.

Mocktails are Amazing

What has made this process easier for me is that almost every restaurant has mocktails on their menus now and if they don’t bar tenders are always willing to concoct something for you if you ask!

Apparently I’m not the only one looking at alcohol differently. Since I started this part of my journey and started saying it out loud, I’ve seen way more mocktail companies pop up on my social media feeds(because our phones are always listening), but we know this already. What is really annoying is that they are more expensive than alcohol. If they rally want to promote a healthy alcohol free lifestyles they should price their products more reasonably. What this tells me is that these mocktails are trendy and designed for fun not to truly help people maintain a sober lifestyles. I want to see a celebrity create a mocktail line that actually helps people live a sober life.

Is this forever?

I really can’t answer that with a yes or no just with a “it’s for right now!” I’m not sure if I’m done drinking all together. I have been telling people “I’m not drinking right now”, today I spoke to someone and said “I stopped drinking.” This was the first time I said it that way. I can say this, my body feels💯better-no heartburn, not feeling so bloated and sleeping better. I have contemplated having a drink and then I think about the kind of alcohol I would chose and all of it reminds me of how yucky I feel. So I guess…Only time will tell🥰

The Challenge

I challenge you to take a look at your relationship with alcohol. Has your motivation for drinking changed? Ae you using alcohol to numb or deal? How is your body feeling during and after you drink? What is recovery time like? Is it worth it? My choice to stop for now, is my choice and by no means am I saying you have to stop drinking, but just be curious. Can you be more present, joyful and connected in life if you change your relationship with alcohol?

If you truly need help reach out to your local AA meeting or consider detox options and rehab options:

Call 211 in CT for more information or click on the link below

https://recoverycentersofamerica.com/

Blessings & LOve

That Time You Felt Like a Fraud!

I take great pride in being an amazing therapist.  It has taken some time to get here for sure.  I have gotten here because I know this is my life’s purpose.  I have also gotten here because I have received confirmation from clients, former clients, other therapists and the Universe, time and time again.  I am a damn good therapist!

But that fraud monster continues to pop up every so often.  He reared his lying head after a very intense couples session.  One person was extremely angry and spitting fire at the other.  There have been many years of betrayal and seeds of resentment that have grown into big, tall, oak trees in this marriage.  Believe it or not, these are the couples that I love to work with.  I work well with them.  I had been working well with this couple and things had been moving in the right direction and then, all hell broke loose.  As a therapist, I know this is actually a good thing.  In my brain I know, that this is part of the process and things often to get worse before they get better.  I’ve been able to manage situations like this in the past but for some reason this situation brought the fraud monster out. What are you doing? Do you know what you are doing? You have made this worse? Who gave you a degree and a license to do this? My energy field seemed unable to hold all of the anger and resentment that was being shot out all at once, like I usually can.  I felt like a fraud!

In the past, it would have taken me some time to get over this feeling.  I would have been reeling about it and not fully present for the rest of my sessions.  But, because I’m a damn good therapist and continue to work on myself, I felt my feelings and let them go! I asked the fraud monster what it was doing here and asked him to kindly leave because he cannot convince me that I am not doing the work I am meant to be doing.  I put a plan in place for my next session with this couple and I  will continue to honor myself and them to help them achieve their goals.  Often times we can get caught up in fear and believe what the Ego tells us is real. It is not real at all!  I write this to let my fellow therapist and healers know that the next time your fraud monster shows up, honor yourself and your feelings.  If you are doing your work from a place of authenticity and Love, you are on the right path.

Be kind and loving to yourself  always!

 

Jessica Alejandro, LMFT

http://www.4wholehearthealing.com

I am Woman, Sorry…NOT Sorry! 6 Important Life Lessons Women Need to Hear

As women we have been apologetic simply for existing for way too long. It is time for us to see the divine within us and take our power back. Here are six ways you can start to allow the warrior in you to show up every time.

Be Present With Yourself and Your Uncomfortable

The past no longer exists, the future is not here yet, so all we really should be experiencing is the present moment.  This very moment as you sit where you are and read this.  We spend too much of our time as human beings living in the past.  As women, we spend a lot of time regretting a lot of our past instead of learning from it.  That is where the uncomfortable feelings come from.  We often think that if we stay present we will be uncomfortable but that is a myth.  The uncomfortable feelings come from the lack of being able to change the past or control the future.  We spend too much time worrying about a future that we have no control over.  I often ask my clients “Do you have a crystal ball?” I used to wish that I did, but now I just try to enjoy and experience the present.  It allows me to be self-aware and aware of others.  Do I think about the past? Of course, I do, but I try not to stay there.  It is okay to think about where you have been to see where you are going, just as long as you experience the journey and stop apologizing for enjoying it.

Stop Apologizing For Being

I was at a wonderful women’s group not too long ago. The group meets at an Italian restaurant and there is a set menu, we don’t know what the meal will be until we get to the meeting.  That day the meal happened to be crab cakes on a bed of mixed greens, which was not a crab cake it was more of a salmon cake, but that’s neither here nor there.  There were about three women who were not aware of this and asked that their meal be modified to grilled chicken on top of the bed of greens.  The owner, who happened to be male, seemed annoyed and made a passive aggressive comment that the meals had already been prepared but he would inform the chef of the change.  Two of the women did not seem to care but one of the oldest women at the table kept apologizing and asking him to just give her salad.  The other women simply did not like crab, the older woman who kept apologizing actually was allergic to shell fish.  I had to say to her “stop apologizing, you are not just asking for a change because it is something you don’t like, you can actually die of you eat it.”  This kind of snapped her out of her apology state and she was then able to stop apologizing.  We as women are raised and socialized to apologize for all that we do.  We need to be proud of who we are, own our decisions and choices, even if they seem or feel selfish.  This is the way towards learning to truly love and honor yourself for the wonderful person you are and for all of the great things you do.

Love Yourself No Matter What Others Think Of You

I am happy to say that I have learned to love myself, all of me.  Don’t get me wrong I am still a work in progress but I am in a much better place than I was 10 even 5 years ago.  I love all of me, good bad and indifferent. I love my good parts, my not so good parts and even the parts that make stupid choices and decisions at times.  In our human form we are fallible, the key is to know this be aware and present, commit to improving by being kind to yourself and to others. But not too kind! As women, we tend to always put others needs before our own, stop! It is okay to take care of yourself first.  In fact, if you take care of yourself, you will be stronger and healthier to take care of others in a healthy boundary filled way. Where you are teaching them to take care of themselves, and in turn not depend on you as much.  Let’s be the teachers we are meant to be.  Also, stop caring about what other people think about you.  Do they pay your bills? Do they live your life? Do they help you make important decisions? The answer is NO! People are always going to judge, well, miserable people will always judge. Why give them your power? Haters are going to hate, so stop caring about people who have no bearing on your day to day life.  Caring too much about what others think turns us into our own worst enemy, especially when it comes to loving our bodies.

Love Your Body No Matter What It Looks Like

Guess what? I can actually say that I love my body. Am I satisfied with my body, I would be lying if I said yes, but I have learned to love the bumps, lumps and stretch marks that make me a real woman.  If you are blessed with great genes and don’t have any of these things I am not saying you are not a real woman, I am saying you are lucky and I stopped hating you because I love myself. It took a very long time for me to accept my body and I am happy that I am here.  It has helped my health journey become fun and not tedious. I enjoy working out and don’t beat myself up when I don’t make healthy food choices. I have learned to eliminate the negative reel that runs in my head when I look in the mirror. Try it, it feels amazing.  It helps develop your self-esteem and self-respect. Respecting your choices and your body, will help you respect yourself.

Respect Yourself So That Others Will Respect You

Respecting yourself goes hand in hand with loving yourself and loving your body.  Respecting yourself is and action and an energetic one at that.  The way you carry yourself, the way you talk about yourself and most importantly the way your energetic light shines to the world, will personify the respect you have for yourself.

Demand Respect From Others

I’m not saying act like a Bitch, but if you have to in order to get respect from others, go for it! If you let others treat you like you don’t matter, then you will feel like you don’t matter.  People deserve chances, but how many chances do they deserve? Will you give them so many chances that you lose your self-worth and most importantly your self-respect? You must think about how much is too much?  Everyone’s limit is different, but do not allow yourself to be so mistreated that the anger you should feel for the person mistreating you is now directed to you. Show others how they should treat you by not allowing them to do things to you that they would not want done to them.

Jessica Alejandro, LMFT

http://www.4WholeHeartHealing.com

 

5 Characteristics of a Great Marriage

Along with transparent and clear communication, there are other characteristics that can create a great marriage. Here are 5 that can guarantee a better and more satisfying relationship with your partner.

1. Respect

No marriage can exist without mutual respect.  In my work with couples, I find that there is very little respect left in a broken marriage.  I also find that one or both partners are unwilling or unable to give respect when the marriage is in trouble.  This resistance comes from the ego.  The ego often keeps us from humbling ourselves and makes us dig our heels in to make the other person feel our pain.  The truth is, both people should allow themselves to feel the hurt, then learn to work through it to see the other person’s point of view.  That is empathy which will lead to respect.

2. Empathy

Empathy is not feeling sorry for the other person or excusing their actions, that is actually sympathy. Sympathy does not belong in a marriage, but empathy should be present always.  Empathy is the ability to be able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see their side.  By putting yourself in their shoes you can get a better understanding of their actions.  People behave badly at times, but that bad behavior always comes from an unmet need.  This unmet need may not have anything to do with you and your interactions with your partner.  It may be a very old unmet need that stems from childhood. You may be able to help your partner realize that their bad behavior has nothing to do with the relationship.  When we are feeling badly about ourselves and are not present enough to figure out why, we blame others, usually the people who love us the most. Showing them empathy will help you be kind to them and kinder to yourself.

3. Kindness

This should be a no brainer, right? We learned this very early on in life, hopefully.  The golden rule “treating others as one would wish to be treated” If you want more compliments from your partner, compliment them.  One small act of kindness daily (ie: a compliment, a nice note or text, a kiss goodbye or hello) will eliminate the pressure of grand gestures and it will make your partner feel seen and loved. We often forget to be kind and it is the simplest action a human can take. If you model kindness they will in turn act kind, that can be the beginning of good teamwork.

4. Teamwork

I often use the teamwork analogy with couples.  I think this analogy should be included in marriage vows as well.  A team cannot win unless all the players are working together. Sometimes, a lot of times marriage takes work, but it does not have to be hard work.  If one person is working harder than the other, that is a sure sign that there is not teamwork. Now, don’t get me wrong, unfortunately there is no such thing as 50/50. I wish life was fair, but your mother always told you that life is not, so accept it.  There may be times when you feel that you are pulling most of the weight in the relationship, that is okay, as long as this is not permanent.  Relationships should work on a scale and as you know scales are rarely even, but they should not be disproportioned either.  Just like on a team, one person may have to pull most of the weight for a period of time but if the team is working well together the weight can and should be lifted off of that person by the other team member.  That is taking responsibility and being accountable for your actions in the relationship.

5. Accountability/Responsibility

As an individual on a team, you must be accountable and able to take responsibility for your actions, good or bad.  This is what we teach our children, if they take responsibility for their actions the consequences will be less, but if they continue to not take responsibility, that is only going to make the parent more angry and frustrated, therefore the consequences will be greater.  This is the same in marriage.  If you deny your part in a negative situation, your partner will feel like you cannot be trusted.  Admitting your faults and holding yourself accountable will help your partner trust you and know that your word means something, that your word is bond.

 

Jessica Alejandro, LMFT

http://www.4WholeHeartHealing.com