Podcast Episode 80 – Numbing Emotions with Alcohol

Jul 2, 2023 | Podcast

I’m Diana Swillinger, and you’re listening to the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 80, Numbing Emotions with Alcohol.  

DIANA: Hey. Hey, everybody. How are you doing today? I am doing great. I’m doing really well. And I’m going to share an itunes review with you. How about that? I’ve been told they call it Apple podcast now, but I keep calling it itunes. Whatever. If you listen on Apple, you get to leave a review. And so I got one recently from Grateful Ann S, and I always tell you guys, I’ll read the reviews. If you leave one, I’ll read it on the podcast. It’s kind of like being famous, almost. You get in front of a small audience of people who listen to me, but it’s kind of like being famous because it’s out there for the world to hear. So, Grateful Anne S, uh, you are now famous on the Renew Your Mind podcast, and I’m going to read your review. Here we go. It’s called emotional maturity. Renew your Mind seems to be the buzzword phrase these days. But life coach Diana Swillinger’s, the Renew Your Mind podcast is not just some lifestyle trend. Diana offers true lifelong freedom for women. She really cares about our emotional health, helping to regulate our emotions and take control and own our thoughts. Thank you, Diana, for opening my eyes, heart and mind to a better way. Awesome. You are welcome, Grateful Anna. I love that. 

And even though today’s episode is going to be a little different, I’m going to read an edited version of a blog post I did a few years ago. But I think even in this, you’re going to have the opportunity to see emotions and thoughts and then our choices about all that and how it plays out. So let’s jump in. Last week, I celebrated something pretty awesome. Eleven years. It’s a landmark day. I was going to call this episode the Day I Broke Up With Vodka. Because that’s what I called my blog post. But I want people who need it to be able to find it. So I called it numbing emotions with alcohol because that’s basically what I was doing. But for me, this is a story about breaking up with vodka. So here we go. I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough. I can’t do this anymore. I feel a determination and frustration that I have never felt before. The arguing, the sadness, the hiding, the drowning it all out and numbing my emotions with alcohol. It has to stop. I have had enough. I grab the almost full bottle of vodka. I, uh, head outside, walk straight to my rock garden and turn the bottle upside down. 

The vodka starts to drain a slow glug um glug glug as it takes its time making its way through the pouring spout. Vodka. I’m breaking up with you. My sister died when I was 30 years old. We were best friends. It totally sucked. It was excruciating to experience and I hated pain. I’ve had lots of experience stuffing pain over my life. Ever since my parents divorced when I was three, I’d become a master of stuffing pain. I was the happy go lucky third child. Everything’s okay. Let’s be goofy and have fun. And I stuffed it. As a teenager, I stuffed it when my sister died. The pain was too much. I stuffed it. Decades of pain had been building up and now it was just too much to stuff and not feel it. I would shout away the grief whenever I could. When it crept up alone in my car was always the perfect place for a scream fest. But that wasn’t enough to offer relief. So I started using alcohol to numb the pain. Beer, wine, whiskey, vodka, whatever was around. I had lost myself in the chaos of motherhood. I had three young boys, a strained marriage, and then my sister’s death. And it all went into high gear. I drank to drown the pain. I didn’t understand what I was doing and I didn’t let anyone else in on, uh, what was going on. To my family, friends, everyone else, I presented a facade that made it look like everything in my life was just fine. I think I even believed it myself. Yep, I’m fine. I’m a Christian, mom, married a long time, go to church, read the Bible, see fine. Truth, my life was empty and I was miserable. I didn’t let myself think long enough to see it. I was just out of touch with me. I got super busy numbing the pain in my life and unwittingly all the joy too with alcohol. 

Baby number four. More marriage struggles. Then the economy crash of 2009 devastated my husband’s and my business. All the while, I continued to drink. I kept busy taking care of the kids and organizing multiple refinances on the house to avoid the multiple foreclosures that were initiated by our lenders. And I got good at hiding from the guys trying to deliver the papers to our door. M. I was so high strung with unprocessed emotions, I yelled at my kids all the time. My marriage was falling apart and my multiple attempts to quit drinking were a joke. My life was unraveling. I didn’t talk to anyone about my struggles, not even family and friends. I was living a, ah, big secret mess. My life was filled with anxiety, fear, chaos, depression, discouragement, grief and hopelessness. The burden of cooking and cleaning was too much. Helping my kids with their homework was too much. Daily tasks were too stressful, too much anxiety, exhaustion. I couldn’t keep my head above water. I lost myself. I hated myself. Something had to change.

This couldn’t be all there was. How was this my life? I had to do something different. And then that day, turning another ugly argument with my husband, something snapped in me. I decided it was time to break up with vodka forever. I took that nearly full bottle of vodka I’d been drinking from that day out to my garden and I dumped it out. All of it. It took a while because it was full. I stared at it as it hit the dirt and dripped over the rocks, determined to change my life. And then nothing. My life was still a mess. Nothing magical happened. No curtain lifted, no truck filled with relief pulled up and dumped it in my front yard, showing me the yellow brick road to my new dream life. I don’t know, maybe the angel sang that day, but I didn’t hear a darn thing. Now I have the same issues and pain and nothing to numb it out. I didn’t quit that day to find a new way to hide. So I knew it. If I was going to make good on that decision, I had to be willing to stop hiding. I had to be willing to face my messy life. I had to be willing to feel the pain and be uncomfortable in order to move forward through the mess. 

I wasn’t a life coach back then, so I didn’t even know how I would do it. I didn’t know how. But I did know what I would have to do. I was going to have to navigate a mountain of pain, buried emotions, and a whole lot of mess. All that stuff I tried to bury and run from and not deal with. I was going to have to be willing to deal with it. So I decided that life might make me feel terrible for a really long time. A long, long time. Maybe even the rest of my life. I might be in emotional pain for the rest of my life. And that is okay. Because I wanted more than the miserable life I’d created for myself. And if feeling painful emotions was part of that, then I was all in. So nothing magical happened that day. Nothing felt different. Except I got to feel the pain now. But over time, after days and weeks and months and especially after a few years, that shift I created in my path that day, that shift I created in my direction, it created a shift in my trajectory. I was going somewhere different. It brought me to new healthier, happier, and more hopeful places with no more running and hiding from challenges. No more running from pain or heartache or obstacles. Negative emotions are part of my life. Bring it. And along with a willingness to experience the negative emotions I’ve allowed myself to have purpose, joy, and fulfillment like never before. Because all that numbing of painful emotions I got so good at had numbed the positive ones, too. Not anymore. I am living an emotionally healthy life where I welcome any emotion that comes my way. I am living an emotionally healthy life where I don’t hide from hard things, I face them. I am living an emotionally healthy life where I feel joy right alongside sorrow, happiness with sadness, and all the full array of emotions that God has gifted us to feel. All of them. Eleven years ago this month, I broke up with vodka forever. And I am living. And I want that for you, too. If there is something in your life that you’re using to numb out your emotions, it’s all sorts of stuff, you guys TV, food, shopping, drugs, pornography, alcohol, exercise, all sorts of stuff. If there’s something you’re using to numb, I’m telling you that there is better and there is more. 

If you are willing to face and welcome any emotions, if you’re willing to examine your thoughts and try out new ones, if you’re willing to have courage right alongside of fear, the kind of living that’s possible is incredible. And I invite you on this journey with me. Renew your mind. Uh, Boot Camp is coming up, you guys, so that’s a great opportunity. If you want to try out my main tool on how to renew your mind and start managing your thoughts and emotions, you should definitely check it out. It’s going to be a two hour online event on November 3, and it’s free. So why wouldn’t you come? If you don’t want to miss it, be sure to go to Rympodcast.com, scroll to the bottom, and sign up for the weekly mind management tips. Because when you do that, you’re going to get one email from me each week. And whenever there’s something going on, like Renew Your Mind Boot Camp, you’re going to get an invite to join. You won’t miss anything. All right, y’all. Um, that’s it for this week. I will catch you next week. Until then, take care, you. 

As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This