Two revealing moments and a confession

This past week was an important one for me - there were two moments that hit me with such a profound sense of gratitude and awareness of the new me, the new normal I had created for myself, the sense of contentment and ease that I feel deep into my inner most self.

The first was the morning after an annual event that happens in my hometown, called the Blackberry Festival. I woke up early, energized, bright eyed, took in the incredible view in front of my mom’s house and all of a sudden the sensation of how different I was feeling that morning compared to the morning after the festival two years ago overwhelmed to the point where I felt stunned for a moment.

The second moment was the photoshoot I did last night for my upcoming book. I was feeling a bit awkward getting started - I haven’t worn heels for awhile and I was feeling kind of wooden. My photographer kept prompting me: connect with the feeling Caitlin. What do you want your readers to know that you are feeling? Everything you are feeling on the inside will show in your eyes, in your face.

Suddenly I was able to sink into the feeling: bold, confident, sassy, clear, aware, sensual, satisfied… as I began swaying my hips to the music, twirling, strutting, playing… It hit me.

I really am that person. I wasn’t playing a part, pretending to be the version of myself I wished the world would see but that I didn’t quite feel on the inside. That is me.

You see, almost exactly two years ago I was still grasping. I was in one of the most “triggering” places for me to be: lonely (on a break from my now boyfriend and baby daddy), in transition (working as a waitress while studying health coaching), about to take a risk (leaping into running my own business and announcing to the world that I was going to work with women and alcohol).

What most people don’t know is that I was using alcohol, often and a lot, to get through that time. From the outside I seemed like a woman with a plan and a purpose, confident in her self-exploration. Inside I was scared and feeling lesser-than.

Two years ago I was drinking champagne in the afternoon to get comfortable in my photoshoot for my current website - yes, this one that shows people who they can be if they redefine their relationship to alcohol. This is a hard one for me to confess - I still struggle with my own feelings around needing to hide what I perceive as flaws and weaknesses.

Two years ago I was still using alcohol to find intimacy and comfort, to assuage the fear of failure, to quiet the self-doubt. I woke up after the Blackberry festival two years ago, after an after party that didn’t end (because I didn’t want it to), with a guy I was only superficially into and with pounding headache.

Worse was than the headache was the the heartache - I was breaking my own heart because I was still stuck in old patterns of coping - and the cognitive dissonance I was experiencing (the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change) was becoming hard to live with. (Next month I will write about my final catalyst moment, in celebration of two years drunk-free… so stay tuned for that!)

Fast forward to this week - where I enjoyed the festival without needing the night to continue into alcohol-fuelled adventures. Where the life I have created is so fulfilling and brings me so much joy that I want to be present for every moment of it. Where I woke up feeling satiated.

To last night at the photoshoot, where I realized that I wasn’t posing, I wasn’t pretending to be confident - I was, and am. We poured a half of a glass of wine at the end of the shoot and I drank the wine like a “normal” person.

Having another half a glass of wine with our sushi dinner felt normal. It also felt normal when arriving back to my friend’s house a teeny bit buzzed (I’m a lightweight now) and he offered me another drink, I said, “no thanks.” No internal debate, no struggle, no weighing pros and cons. No chasing the adrenaline high from the photoshoot, looking for more. I knew how I wanted to feel, and I knew that the amount I drank was enough. It was enough because I am now so full of myself, so fully enough to myself, that I don’t really need more of anything to feel wonderful.

This desire to feel “normal” with our relationship to alcohol is something I hear so often, so I know I’m not alone in this feeling. One of the first questions I ask during my initial consultations (I still have some times available) is “What is your desired relationship to alcohol in 6 months to a year?”

“I want to have one glass of wine and not have it lead to more.”

“I want to enjoy a cocktail every once and awhile with the confidence that it won’t lead to a crazy night and blackouts.”

“I don’t want to have that internal dialogue anymore."

“I don’t want to feel shame around having a drink or two every once and awhile.”

“I want to feel normal.”

The reality is that the majority of us can achieve that “normal” relationship with alcohol. Studies show that of all the people that try alcohol (or any other drug for that matter) only 10-15% will ever experience addiction. That means that most of us can learn how to moderate, if that is what we chose.

Though alcohol is so pervasive in our culture, moderation is a skill that many of us are not taught.  We are forbidden to drink it and then turn to it in excess. We tend to have this all or nothing attitude. We aren’t taught how to have a healthy relationship with alcohol and if we do develop a problem, we are not given many options on how to deal with it.

Some choose sobriety and that’s great. Yet many others I speak with want to redefine their relationship to alcohol, shift their baseline to a new normal, and get to know themselves better in the process. The good news is, this is possible for the majority of us!

It is possible to feel so full of yourself that you know you are enough. That you don’t need any more to feel confident, at ease, or truly happy… Where having a glass of wine is like the icing on an already delicious cake, but you could take it or leave it because you are already satisfied. The key is to discover a new recipe where wine (or your alcoholic beverage of choice) isn’t one of the main ingredients.

The past two years of my life have been some of the most challenging, and some of the most rewarding. In addition to my own journey into deeper self-awareness, acceptance, and love - I have supported many other women to do the same.

I want this for you too! Whatever the vision of your “new normal” is - I believe is it possible for you, and it will be far from normal - it will be exceptional.

I’ve opened up a few more times in my calendar to connect. My schedule is almost full but I love these conversations so much that I’ve decided to offer a few more opportunities for us to talk. If you haven’t yet scheduled a time to do so, click here.