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It’s been said that everything and everyone has a price.
I didn’t understand the gravity and importance of that until someone asked me a question that I had a much harder time answering than I should have.
There I was, a highly successful executive for a global company. By the looks of it, I was living the dream life—an amazing job with a fancy title, fantastic marriage, two kids, and the perfect home. On the surface, it was idyllic.
Yet, if you scratched the veneer away, a different picture emerged. I was suffering immensely. The pressure to maintain the perfect life with the perfect job was eating away at me. I was constantly traveling, constantly stressed, and, sadly, constantly turning to wine to soothe what ailed me.
The irony is the fact that until I joined the corporate world, I hadn’t really been much of a drinker. I wasn’t even a drinker starting off. It wasn’t until a boss insisted I had to drink in order to be successful that I even drank regularly. I was determined to move up that corporate ladder though, and if that meant drinking like the boys, I was going to be better than them at it.
Somewhere along the way, drinking went from being something I did at work functions to something I did in order to function. I craved alcohol in order to relax, socialize, have fun, and even in order to sleep. I wasn’t physically addicted. I wasn’t slipping shots into my coffee cup to start the day. But I did feel deprived and even angry when I wasn’t able to drink.
I would make rules for myself around drinking—so many rules—and I would break or bend them regularly. My anxiety and depression were increasing and alcohol was no longer fun. What had happened? Why was I drinking so much? When had the wine become so important that I was angry if I couldn’t drink?
I set out to where we all do to dig for answers: Google! My search brought me to an online community where others like me were questioning their relationship with alcohol. A member posed a question that set the path for changing my entire outlook on my relationship with alcohol and its importance in my life.
“If I were offered $250,000 to quit drinking alcohol forever, would I?”
A quarter of a million dollars. That isn’t exactly pocket change.
We’ve all fantasized about what we would do if a windfall fell into our laps. What we don’t often consider is what we would give up in order to have that money.
There were so many things I would easily never do again for that much money—eat ice cream, drive a car, use deodorant, yet, I couldn’t name my price to give up alcohol. Was $250,000 not enough money for me to never drink again?
Wouldn’t most of my reasons for “needing” to drink be solved by $250,000? So if I no longer “needed” to drink, why was I still concerned about being deprived of alcohol?
If I couldn’t name a price for eliminating alcohol in my life—who was in charge here? I knew that there wasn’t going to be a real payout at the end of this personal quest to change my relationship with alcohol, but now the question wasn’t about the payout. This was about the cost now.
If I couldn’t name a price, what was alcohol costing me? Financially, physically, and emotionally? How much was I losing out on as I continued to drink? And why the hell was it so damn important to me now when it never had been before?
I used a new technique called “Liminal Thinking” to uncover the answers to all of my questions. One by one and systematically, I went through all my reasons and beliefs around drinking. I went beyond what I believed at the surface and dug down even further into my experiences with alcohol and what was happening at a subconscious level that drove me to that wine bottle (or box at this point!) over and over again.
I can’t say I was happy with what I discovered. Was $250,000 enough to bring back everything I had missed out on over my years of drinking? The memories I should have been creating with my husband and children? Could it reverse the damage I had done to my body? Repair the relationships I had damaged? There were many ugly truths that emerged as I learned that alcohol wasn’t doing any of the things that I thought it was for me. If it was helping me relax, why was I waking up at 3 a.m., filled with anxiety? If it was making me more social and fun, why was I locking myself in my office every night with a glass of wine? For every experience that I swore it improved, I had a million truths staring me back in the face that said otherwise.
And once again, if I couldn’t give it up for $250,000, what was wrong with me?
It wasn’t easy to get to a place where I no longer desired alcohol and could easily give it up, no imaginary check needed. Discovering those truths released me—however painful getting there was. No more rules, no more temptation, no more questioning myself.
I now know my price and it wasn’t in the payout. The question that changed my world didn’t name my price. It revealed the cost of the life I was living.
If you are curious about your drinking and want to take this time to evaluate it rather than diving deeper into it, join me for The Alcohol Experiment. You will receive encouraging and mindset shifting daily videos and emails and an incredible community of 130,000 people also experimenting with their alcohol intake. It is completely free (and always will be) at The Alcohol Experiment.