BY JEN OLENICZAK BROWN
What’s your relationship with drinking?
Are you thinking about “wine o’clock,” or do you know you need a drink or two to ease your nerves at a networking event? Maybe you’ve never taken time to think about that relationship. Try it now: think about the relationship you have with alcohol. Write it down, record it or simply just remember it.
Now, consider that relationship with drinking, like a car on a highway. Lots of folks on it, cruising along, some passing others – and you’re simply cruising along. Suddenly, your warning light comes on. This is the moment when you pull off the highway to check what’s happening, right? Or, do you keep driving?
Jenn Kautsch, the mastermind behind SoberSis, had that exact moment in her metaphor of life – drinking and the highway feel of it all.
“Nothing really happened,” she said. “I didn’t have anything externally in my life going ‘wrong’ with alcohol. It was more internal. Wine o’clock would roll around, and I was sucked into the vortex. The mommy drinking culture – oh, you have kids, that’s kind of stressful, so just have a glass of wine while you’re cooking. And, before I knew it, I was doing it every night, looking forward to it way too much. It was so misaligning to who I was that it was causing so much mental conflict. It’s acting like it’s doing me a favor, and I knew it wasn’t.
“If I wanted to lose weight, if I wanted more energy, if I wanted better sleep, I knew right where to start. I knew the culprit.
“I started finding words like ‘gray area’ drinking, sober curious…get unstuck, take a break. These were words that were resonating with me because I don’t feel like I want to say ‘forever’ at that time. It was more like ‘yeah, I want to take a break.’ You don’t have to have a huge drinking problem to have a problem with drinking.”
The term “sober curious” as well as sober bars are finding their way into society, and fast. The alcohol-soaked culture isn’t just appealing to those in recovery from alcoholism – it’s tapping into people who simply want to drink less. A federal survey indicates 67 million Americans binge drink at least monthly. You might be shaking your head and saying “not me” – but binge drinking is four drinks during a single occasion for women and five drinks for men.
Many people that quit drinking don’t do it because they have a problem – they do it because it simply doesn’t make them feel good anymore. If this sounds like your relationship with alcohol, you’re probably fretting a bit about the social aspect of things. Making a choice to stop drinking and be “sober-minded,” as Jenn puts it, isn’t always easy when alcohol is seemingly so ingrained in every aspect of a social life.
Cue SoberSis, the women’s club slash support group and resource center for the woman who is living her active, empowered, health-conscious life and just feeling that she is drinking a bit too much – that woman that wants to take a mindful break from the habit.
“The science was shocking to me,” said Jenn. “I kind of knew how addictive alcohol could be, but I just didn’t put it together. I didn’t drink until I was 33. And, when I started as an adult, it was awesome. When it wasn’t awesome anymore, I felt like it was all my fault. I thought I just couldn’t handle it. Versus saying ‘Oh, that’s the nature of the drug. You drink a little bit, and you want more. And, when you’re doing it alone, you’re trying to maintain perfection, and that’s just not fair to yourself.
“Drinking can look so glamorous and easy to justify because it seems everyone is doing it, but behind the scenes, or internally, the wheels might be coming off, and that’s what no one seemed to be talking about.”
I quit drinking four years ago when I moved here from NYC – no major life disruption, no catastrophic event – just got tired of how it made me feel. I can’t express how many people thought I was pregnant, had an alcohol problem, were “shocked” I wouldn’t just have “one glass” of wine on a hard day. I wish I had the support network, tools and science on why it was so hard for me, coaching calls and mocktail recipes. As much as the hangover-free mornings were worth it, the struggle would have been lessened with a strong group of supportive women.
If you’re ready to pull off the highway and actually check the engine light, instead of ignoring it for miles, you have a few ways to make it happen. First, follow SoberSis on Facebook and Instagram. Then, hop on the website (www.sobersis.com/forsythmags), and download your free guide: a useful and actionable walkthrough that checks you in to your mindset around drinking. After that, it’s up to you! If you’d like more support, her 21-Day Reset runs every month for $97. As Jenn puts it on her website, how much do you save not drinking?
“It turns out the mental tug-of-war about alcohol isn’t all your fault.”