A Love Note

Yes, I realize that yesterday was the official day to celebrate love. In Mexico, it is celebrated as the Dia del Amor y Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship).

I love this.

I love the idea of celebrating ALL kinds of love rather than focusing only on romantic love.

So this is my love note to you.

I love you for recognizing that something could be different in your life - for honouring the desire for change.

I love you for showing up for yourself - whether by reading the guide you downloaded, watching the Drink Less Success videos or working through the book.

I love you for saying yes to yourself - for recognizing that something could be different.

I love you for listening to that whisper or cry for change and taking a step in that direction.

I love you for subscribing and reading these words.

I love you.

However deserving, or worthy you feel in this moment, whether you stuck to your intentions this weekend or not, if you are exactly where you thought you'd be at this moment in time or desiring more - I love you.

I know what it feels like to be consumed by self-doubt, to be stuck in a shame spiral, to hear the negative self-talk at a deafening volume inside your own head.

I know it can feel lonely sometimes. I know you are doing something that not everyone in your life understands.

I know that it's like to question whether change is possible - whether you can truly step into the person that you want to become.

I know how much it helps to have at least one person in your corner, saying yes.

Yes, you can and you will.

Someone who sees you and isn't scared. Someone who sees you and won't judge.

Even when you 'mess up.'

So this is my love note to you dear.

Take a deep breath and receive it.

Inhale love as you read this. Fill your heart. Exhale stress, doubt and worry.

Right now.

Repeat at least 3 times.

You are loved. Yesterday, today and every day.

And you are not alone.

5 top tips to create a shift (plus embarrassing moment to affirming one)

Yesterday I pulled up to my dad’s hotel and there was a woman standing outside. She was hoping to rent a room, and was being informed that the hotel was full. I was about to start suggesting some alternatives as she turned to me and exclaimed “Caitlin! We met 6 years ago.”

“We partied together,” she continued. “It was with you that I drank absinthe for the first time… it made me kind of crazy.”

I wish I could say that my eyes flashed recognition as my brain recalled the memory of meeting her but I drew a complete blank.We partied together? Absinthe? Surely I would remember some of the details. I racked my brain to try to remember the times I had drunk absinthe in our town (because there were plenty of other times in other cities around the world), and whom I would have been with at the time. Very quickly I felt myself flooding with shame, embarrassment and remorse for the completely and total absence of a memory.

Then came the words that changed the entire interaction from mortifying to affirming.

“You know,” she said. "I follow your blog now. I know that you decided to get sober. I think it’s so cool that you live here now, where we used to party, and that you’ve chosen and been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle even though the possibility of that other life is just down the road. It’s really inspiring.”


And it’s a truth that I feel that I sometimes do not give myself enough credit for.

I live in a town known for its debauchery and excess, where the party doesn’t start warming up until midnight, where as a woman you can drink for free anywhere you chose and the amount of alcohol available staggering.

I live here, and every day I am making a choice to be healthy when all of the other options are available to me still.

I am sharing this story with you because if I can do this here - in the face of daily temptation - so can you.

There is nothing special about me. I simply made a choice to start doing things differently, and I stuck to it.

On September 19th, 2013 I firmly made the declaration to never be intoxicated again (I say firmly because I had said this before but it hadn’t stuck. This time was going to be different).

I tried periods of abstinence and of carefully planned moderation. I explored my triggers and dug deep into healing. I faced fears about myself that I had been hiding from for years. I researched and rallied the resources that would work for me. I declared my intentions and mindfully created new habits that would serve my health long term.

None of that makes me special or different from you. I made a decision just as you have. I know you have because you are reading this blog. The only thing that might separate me and you right now is how we are following through on the decision.

Everything that was available to support me on my path is available to you too.

I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 tips that can help create that permanent shift you are seeking.

These are the tips that clients and readers say have helped them the most, and have created “aha” moments or helped press the reset button.

Five tips to create that shift:

  • Visualize yourself the next day, and work  Create your vision: If you want to wake up with energy, clarity, positivity, passion, whatever it might be… then what needs to happen the night before? This isn’t just about how much alcohol you drink, but how much sleep you get (and the quality of sleep), how hydrated you are, how peaceful your brain is, how calm your heart etc. We spend so much time thinking about what we don’t want (I don’t wanna be drunk anymore, I don’t want to feel like shit, I don’t want to let myself down). It is critical to shift these thoughts to what we do want, and focus on that vision DAILY, and especially before a night out or heading into a trigger situation.backwards

  • Arrive and Assess: I consistently receive feedback from readers that this is one of the tips that has helped them reset their drinking habits in a big way. Wrapping up after a stressful day at work? Arrive and assess. Is pouring yourself a glass of wine really the best thing for you right now? What could you do instead? Going to a restaurant or bar? What about ordering something non-alcoholic instead and sipping that slowly, while you remind yourself of your intentions for the evening. At a networking event? Challenge yourself to start three new conversations before grabbing that free glass of liquid courage.

  • Find fun alternatives: This goes for both activities, and beverages. Simply trying to remove alcohol without adding in anything that stimulates your senses, provides stress relief, or a feeling of pleasure (insert your desired feeling/experience here) will make follow through a lot harder because, let’s face it - restriction is boring!

  • Make a declaration: stop living in your head! We often self-sabotage when left up to our own devices. It’s waaaayyy to easy to succumb to the easy way, or the unconscious habits we’ve spent years cultivating (and this is especially true when we are triggered). Sharing my story with others helps me stay accountable to myself. Whether it’s telling your partner, best friend, sister or making a public declaration about your intentions on Facebook, stating your intentions clearly and honestly will help you follow through. I’m so open about my lifestyle choices that now when I arrive at an event or dinner party, friends automatically offer me something non-alcoholic and make sure to have yummy, healthy alternatives ready. This certainly makes it easier for me to follow through on my intentions. Now, I’m not suggesting that you need to start blogging or posting about your intentions around alcohol. It took me years to get to the place where I am comfortable sharing what I do. In the beginning, I had a couple of trusted friends, and my coach. Then my boyfriend joined the support team.

  • Build Team: Speaking of support teams, who’s on yours? No one should go through this alone. As I said to a new client this week - it is invaluable to have someone in your corner. We all deserve that kind of support. Mine came in the form of friends, family members, mentors, coaches and now my online community as well. Who can you enlist?

As always, I would love to hear which of these tips is working best for you and why. Or, if there's another tip that you have tried that I haven't included, let me know by commenting below!