Today, Annie welcomes Karolina, who was a gray area drinker for many years. Karolina went from being a college party girl to a weekend binge drinker to now being alcohol free. But when work, marriage, and weight gain forced her to use boundaries with her drinking, she began to cram all of her drinking into the weekends. Eventually she got tired of the ‘detox to retox’ lifestyle and gave up drinking. Now Karolina is loving her alcohol free life so much that she even started her own blog and podcast. Don’t miss Karolina’s relatable story!
I think I started regularly drinking around my senior year in high school. I definitely tried alcohol maybe before that, but that’s when it became a constant in my life. And I grew up really shy and pretty introverted, so when I found alcohol it was almost this part of my identity that I felt like I could never have expressed before. In high school, I had a few friends, but I wasn’t a gregarious kind of person. I started going out with my friends to parties and I just found that I could be this completely different person with alcohol, I could make friends easily, it helped to kind of build up my self esteem and that’s when it started to be like a regular in my life.
Then I went to college. I went to UCLA, which was kind of a bit of a party school. There I honed in on this party lifestyle. I was still very much an introvert, and so I needed a bit of solitude and a bit of me-time. So, I found myself during the day being on my own, and reading and studying, and then humans still need connection so I would use alcohol as that solution to go out at night and make new friends that way. To talk to people and be more sociable in that sense. Throughout college, I started gravitating toward a crowd that really, really liked to party. It started becoming a constant thing from every single weekend. At 22, I had absolutely no idea how to be an adult. I graduated around the time of the recession, and I just wasn’t sure what to do for a job. I went to a grad school right away because I just didn’t really have any idea.
I’d just got out of a tough breakup, and so I just never formed any kind of healthy coping skills. Along with going out a lot and stuff, I started to bring the drinking home too. I didn’t have any other kind of healthy coping skills to go through this kind of period of transition and being kind of on my own.
A confluence of events happened around 24 that pulled me back into the next phase of my life. I’ll call that the moderation illusion, and I met my husband. Now he’s my husband. He liked to drink too, but he just didn’t drink as much as I did, so that toned it down. Of course, I’d only drink when I was with him, I wouldn’t drink alone, I just wanted to portray myself as a very kind of normal person to him.
Start reading This Naked Mind today to find out why moderation doesn’t work and why you end up a weekend binge drinker instead.
Weekend Binge Drinker
Starting my career at this time made it was no longer okay waking up after drinking a lot the night before. Pushing all my drinking to the weekends to try to keep my weeknights pretty clear of that. All that partying I did, I had gained quite a bit of weight. I gained about 30 pounds within a few years. It was quite a noticeable change, and so those three things pushed me back and forced me to kind of create some more boundaries around drinking. Pushing it only to drink around the weekend, I did it a lot more responsibly. I’d stopped going out to bars, I stopped drinking really much liquor. Sticking to just beer and wine.
For the next seven years, I felt like my drinking was pretty normal compared to everyone around me.
Around 2017, I felt this deep intuitive pull to label my drinking. Understanding I got away with it when I was younger, but this kind of lifestyle isn’t gonna fly much longer. Also, I felt really bad after I drank. I couldn’t have more than two drinks and not have a slight hangover the next day. I think especially when you don’t drink as often, the first time you do have a few drinks, the symptoms get more intense. Two craft beers would make me feel so horrible the next day and just ruin my sleep. No longer could I just ignore that. I made this New Year’s resolution that I was gonna take one week off of drinking every month. That was both really positive, and it had also a negative drawback.
The positive was that here I was, forcing myself to learn how to drink, not to drink during the weekend, to do alternative activities, and just be able to sit with myself because that was unheard of before. I drank every weekend before. That was what the weekend was made for. In that way it was like a great experience that I had myself do that, but at the same time, I would choose the weekend to not drink when I didn’t have a social occasion just to make sure I wouldn’t actually have to learn how to say I’m not drinking, or socialize without alcohol. The first seven days without drinking are always the worst. So, I was basically putting myself through that every month without getting the amazing benefits that happen more longer term.
Listen to the complete podcast to hear what propelled Karolina to stop being a weekend binge drinker and the amazing things she’s doing now instead!
Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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