In 2019 I worked with a life coach who gave me such a gift during one of our conversations when she asked “What would be the best possible outcomes?” I had been talking with her about drinking less alcohol and how challenging it felt for me at the time to actually do so. I wasn’t a huge drinker in the way I’ve personally witnessed “huge drinking”, but I did like to have fun with my friends and at times would have too much to drink and feel sick the next day.
I’m a thinker. I love processing and asking questions. My brain is constantly curious. Drinking put my mind at rest. It’s akin to silencing your phone and the ease that comes with zero notifications. Ah, you can relax. That’s what drinking did for me. It silenced my thinking brain so that I could have fun. When I had a couple drinks I laughed and said silly things and didn’t think or care as much as I normally might. In that season of my life–pre kids–I liked that. I liked not worrying or having the right thing to say. Drinking was a way to let go.
So of course, in wanting to slow down or stop drinking alcohol altogether, deep in my subconscious mind–and perhaps even on a conscious level–I worried that if I stopped drinking I would stop being fun. I’d be too in my head, I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing the same things. There was a lot at risk, I felt. But in the same breath, anytime I saw a woman joyfully living her life without alcohol, I was so attracted to that. I wanted it!
As my coach asked me the question around what the best possible outcomes would be if I were to stop drinking my brain flooded with things I wanted: to be my most authentic self, to feel vibrant, my laughter would be mine, not the alcohol’s. I even discovered that I like the thinking part of me. The part of me who listens to my friends, asks questions, who is curious and cares. It also occurred to me that if I couldn’t have fun doing something sober, perhaps that wasn’t the thing I wanted to do anyway.
After that question, followed by my new realizations (this is why I love coaching), I experienced an ease in drinking less. I’d have a drink or two, or none at all, and it felt easy. In April 2022 I experienced a desire to take a break from drinking all together. At the time I thought “Just try it for a month.” Today, on Dec 20th, 2022, exactly eight months later, I have yet to return to alcohol (aside from a drink on a date night which I talk about in this podcast episode). I’m happier without it. I’m more free. I’ve never experienced a year where I feel more fully myself. At times it’s been hard. Being yourself requires you not only feel happy and easy emotions, but hard ones too. But, as I asked my group in Aligned Coaching today, “If you could work through ______, a year from now would you feel grateful that you did?” If the answer is yes, the thing you want to work through is worth it. It’s worth the tough emotion and feeling. What’s the best possible outcome from learning to feel all emotion? To feel, not judge, and let them pass? Instead of acting on them or needing to numb out–with alcohol, Instagram, the behavior pattern of “checking”, eating, shopping (or whatever distraction you lean on).
When we ask ourselves the question “What are the best possible outcomes I could experience by pursuing [insert whatever you know you want to do next]?” we open ourselves up to what we truly want. It becomes more exciting to pursue a new goal or healthier behavior.
In the latest podcast episode, #95 Best Possible Outcomes, we’re digging in with more depth.
In this episode I also talk about:
- Why 2022 was brutally hard but equally beautiful and some of my favorite things and changes that came from the year
- How I shifted my thinking to start running, stop drinking alcohol, and have a much easier time in my marriage–and how it all felt easier than ever
- Reflections on forgiving my dad (who passed away almost 3 months ago as of this post) and how I’m praying for the best memories to come to the front of my mind
If you loved this topic, ask yourself a few questions:
- What new ways of being would I like to step into in the new year?
- Are there any habits or behaviors that I see in others that I’m deeply attracted to?
- What would be some of the best possible outcomes for if I were to step into those habits or behaviors?
I hope you have a great last two (ish) weeks of 2022. Take time to think about what went well this year, and what you might like to change.
P.S. Love the podcast?