What ZERO Alcohol Has Taught Me About Life

This past January (2016), I really called into question the immense amount of influence that alcohol had on my life. Now that I’m ~8 months into full sobriety (read pregnancy), I’m starting to notice some things that really scare me.

I grew up around alcohol. I grew up around alcoholics. It was pretty normal for me to smell booze on my parents breath when they put me to bed- a smell that I’m now growing to hate.

I don’t want to sit on my high horse and become all judgmental about drinking, because I personally have abused alcohol in a terrible way in the past. I do however want to share some things I’ve been noticing that really don’t sit well with me anymore now that I’m clear headed enough to see them for what they are.

The first is, how okay it is with everyone to hear stories about how obliterated you got and nearly killed yourself or did something completely morally apprehensive or risky.

People think it’s absolutely hilarious to hear how you were so inebriated on the weekend, or at the holiday party that you could barely function. If someone were recounting a story about how messed up they got on any other drug other than alcohol (think cocaine or MDMA) we might express our concern to them and maybe tell them to be more careful in the future. But with alcohol? No way, party on Garth.

Second, is how much alcohol has stolen our ability to create meaningful experiences without it. Alcohol is everywhere, it’s a part of nearly every occasion. We drink when we’re happy, we drink when we’re sad, we drink when we’re bored and we drink to relax.

Why is everything better with alcohol? Is it because we’ve all gotten so lazy with our imaginations that we don’t know how to entertain ourselves anymore? Is it because we have such short attention spans that regular paced, fresh minded activity is unbearable?

I’ll tell you one thing for sure, if you want to feel boredom- be the only sober person in a room of people drinking just to get drunk. That will give you some insight into the quality of drunk conversation and activity.

Do you remember a time when you were young enough that you didn’t drink to have fun? Do you recall experiences, like going to the beach or over to a friends house, that were fully, consciously lived through?

I won’t lie to you, I forgot. I forgot that life is actually not disappointing without the lubrication of alcohol. I forgot that you can be silly and fun without alcohol. I forgot about imagination and what ifs and happiness that wasn’t greased up by booze.

Being sober is like rediscovering the world.

I now feel so sad that I used to feel the need to constantly escape from reality. And if you had told me that was what I was doing about 12 months back I would have denied it vehemently.

We are all collectively numbing and escaping. We live in a world that’s continually on and in our faces, and surprisingly it’s making us less and less present.

While there is so much more information on mindfulness available to us, it’s like we can barely handle our own emotions anymore.

It’s hard to consciously shape your life and become the person you want to be when you’re constantly recovering from a hangover. It’s like trying to keep up with a conveyor belt of choices that’s moving a bit too fast and easily overwhelms you.

I believe not drinking has forced me to slow down and to open my eyes more. To look around and see how easy it is to fall into the trap of binge drinking weekly and letting your life slip by.

I was pretty surprised to find out the definition of heavy drinking. According to Statistics Canada, heavy drinking is reported to be drinking 5 or more drinks (4 for women) in one sitting, 12 or more times a year. A whopping 32 per cent of Canadians aged 20 to 34 binged 12 times in the past year.

That’s only once a month. HA!
I would have called that light drinking over a year ago!

An article in Prevention Magazine stated that (in the US) more than 38 million people reported binge drinking 4 times a month (weekend warriors). That’s “heavy drinking times four.

Wow.

And the scary part is, it’s increasing like crazy; especially among women. Binge drinking has increased at a rate seven times that of men. 20% of women who binge drink will meet the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder, which is the fancy new term for alcoholism.

This kind of drinking is one of the main reasons for the rising rates of infertility which is now at 1/6 couples in Canada.

I’ll admit it-I was an alcoholic.

It wasn’t the blackouts that scared me enough to stop, it wasn’t the increased risk in heart disease or high blood pressure or even the smoking that always seemed to go along with the drinking.

It was the almost losing someone I loved dearly because of my poor judgment while drinking.

Because I was raised in what you might call a broken home and I still watch my mother waste away slowly from alcohol and drug abuse, family has become my number one focus in life.

I want to break the cycle of alcohol use and abusive relationships in my family, and part of that means changing the way I view alcohol. It means changing the way I raise my children to view alcohol.

Alcohol is awesome. It can be refined and delicious (I love a glass of good red wine) and even have health benefits- for sure.

But the truth is alcohol needs more respect, and so do our lives.

Alcohol shouldn’t be tossed into the mix just because it can. It should be used as a complement to our experiences and not the be the centre of them.

The less I drink, the less I care to be around people who are sloppily tossing them back.

I don’t want my future baby around that either. I want my kids to grow up full of wonder for the world and not feel like when they hit a certain age that drinking should become one of the top activities in their lives.

I don’t want our family dinners and events to become soaked in booze like mine were.

I don’t want my children to have painful feelings they feel trapped by that they try to escape from by drinking weekly.

I don’t want my children to feel like they NEED alcohol to unplug and relax.

I want my children to have clear heads, to learn how to sit with their emotions and process them rather than shove them away and drown them.

I don’t want to make excuses for my drunk friends and family to my children. But the sad truth is, I will probably have to. Because there’s always that one drunk relative who gets too emotional, or that one friend that starts saying something inappropriate. And if I am the one to call everyone’s drinking into question, then I’m the prude and I’m judgmental and uptight.

Like I said, I think alcohol is great- and sure there will be times when we all dip into the sauce a little too heavily. What I’m getting at here is that I just think it’s already a bit much.

I’m craving more real life, and I’m super excited to spend early evenings and early mornings with a tiny little rugrat that’s naturally silly and goofy and doesn’t yet feel self-conscious enough to require a drug to enjoy a weekend afternoon.

Most of what I’m expressing here is a reflection of my own experience, how I have viewed life and why I have already spent so many years drinking so much.

If you feel judged by this post, I’m not sorry. It probably means you should have a conversation with yourself about why you feel that way.

After I have this precious little miracle baby, I fully intend to enjoy a few glasses of wine a week and maybe two on some occasions.

If you’d ever like to join me for a sober conversation come and find me on Facebook.

I have a private Facebook community called Radiant & Ready with Milli Fox full of women preparing themselves body, soul and mind for healthy pregnancies and healthy lives.

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How You Feed Yourself Shows A Lot About How You Feel About Yourself {Video}

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We’re all trying to better ourselves.  We’re trying to improve our diets and exercise more and meditate and do all this amazing stuff.  The most important question that lies at the base of all of these changes is- why?

Why are you doing all of these things, what’s your true motivation?

Are you trying to change because society expects us to constantly be bettering ourselves or are you trying to change because there is something you don’t like about yourself?

These questions matter, because the intention we approach change with will determine our success, and also how we will feel once those changes are implemented.

I want to talk about this because I truly believe that change is only worth it if it comes from a place of self-love.  I noticed this especially when I was a personal trainer.  I had woman after woman coming to be to change because they hated something about their bodies.

I did my best to switch their focus to learning to love their bodies by being inspired by the amazing things their bodies could DO rather than BE.

I can relate to this personally through my own journey with food.  For years I didn’t feed myself well.  In fact I barely fed myself at all and that was because I didn’t consider it a priority.  Looking back I can see it was because I didn’t think I was deserving of nourishment and I just didn’t see myself as a priority.  At the time, I had terrible health; I was weak, too thin, plagued with aches and pains, suffered from terrible digestive health issues as well as acid reflux that I was on prescription acid blockers for.

All of this and I wasn’t even 20 years old.  I truly believed that my body was a dud, and that I was just going to have to live with a broken body for the rest of my life.

It wasn’t until I met my now husband, and really started treating myself with more respect that I began to see that with a little TLC from myself- everything could change.

I know that you want to be as healthy as you can be for your future babies.  I know that you’re doing it with such good intentions, but I really want to ask yourself- are you doing it out of self-love?

CLICK HERE-selflove

What does your relationship with food have to tell you about the relationship you have with yourself? It’s my true belief that this relationship is the most direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves.  Are you depriving yourself of foods you love? Do you feel like a “clean-diet” is a punishment that you somehow “deserve”?

Getting to the bottom of these questions is getting to the root of your habits.  In western medicine, we like to do a lot of slapping bandaids on things and addressing things on a very surface level. That’s why we are in a constant state of management rather than ever finding true healing.

I recorded the video below to talk to you a bit more about my own experiences and get you thinking about your own motivations.

Watch now, then come to Radiant & Ready with Milli Fox and share with me an ah-ha moment you had surrounding food!

I am very big on getting to the root cause of our habits.  I always include this kind of work in my programs and I don’t ever just focus on the food!

If this speaks to you and you know you want to get moving on your journey towards a healthy, glowing pregnancy. I highly encourage you to book a complimentary 20 minute coaching call with me 🙂

All you have to do is click the button below and schedule in a time that’s most convenient for you!

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Fully Exposed: My Story

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This is the first post I’ve written that I will be incredibly nervous to hit the publish button on.  I wanted to start this post with a disclaimer for any of my family members who might be reading this post, but I’ve decided against it.  I don’t want to apologize for my memories and I won’t write a sweeter version of what I recall.  I promised my readers and more importantly myself that I would only blog from a place of complete authenticity and integrity.  So here I go- I’ll do my best to give you a look inside the series of events that shaped me and made me so passionate about helping others find nourishment in their lives.

I was born December 22nd, 1989 to young and in-love parents.  They had recently relocated from Toronto to St. Catherine’s, Ontario to start a new life together.  They were full of hope and had wonderful intentions to be the best parents they could be and that’s what they did.

My mother was amazing when she was pregnant with me.  She took every care to be healthy and to start my education from in the womb.  My mom really poured her heart into my most tender years.  She fed me healthy home made foods, she worked from home so she was able to put many loving hours into playing with me and teaching me and most of all she gave me lots and lots of love.  I’m incredibly grateful for these years even though I can’t remember them.  Thank goodness camcorders were around then because I have plenty of evidence of all of these great memories!

When I was three years old, almost to the day, our family grew when my brother was born on December 23rd, 1992.  I was very excited to become a big sister and things seemed awesome.  Unfortunately, after my brother was born my mom began to suffer from post-partum depression.

Depression runs in my family, as it does in many.  My maternal grandmother suffered from severe depression and consequently my mother did not get the same loving attention when she was young that she was able to give me.  My mother’s relationship with her mother was a very difficult one and never had the chance to heal because my grandmother passed away two weeks before my younger brother was born.

I’m absolutely sure that my grandmother’s death played a huge role in my mom’s post-partum depression.  I also believe this was the catalyst that eventually led to the shattering of the picture perfect persona that she had invested so much time in building.  She was the perfect mom, the perfect wife and a successful business owner.  It took me a long time to understand, but I now see that she thought that if she swept all her hurt and pain under the rug, she could balance on top of it well enough to have a happy and fulfilling life.

However, from personal experience, I know that this is impossible.  With the abuse she experienced, to the lack of love she received all on top of the emotional unavailability of her two alcoholic parents, it’s actually amazing that she kept it all together as long as she did.  I respect her for doing her best and I send love to that young woman trying as hard as she was and just hoping it would all work out.  So, when she left a note and first tried to end the suffering when she was in the darkness of post-partum depression feeling completely alone, I do my best understand.

This was the beginning of my childhood.  My mom wasn’t able to pull herself out of this hole. As much love and support as my dad and other family members tried to give her, she didn’t know how to receive it.  She never learned how to be loved as a child and this is a very difficult and deep wound to heal.  She turned to substances to numb the pain and spent the next several years on a roller coaster of trying to escape this world in any way she could.  I don’t need to go into the details but there was a lot of trauma during this time and a lot of visits from emergency services.

When I was eight my parents separated and we ended up moving around a lot.  My mom tried a few times to pull it back together and we did have a lot of happy memories; I cherish these.  The truth is my mom is a fighter, she provided as much as she could for us and she worked really, really hard.  But the fact is I am an adult child of an alcoholic. The incredibly painful cycle of depression and substance abuse did not end with my mother, but it will end with me.

I grew up quickly and I took on a parenting role when I was very young.  I barreled forward in life in almost the exact same way as my mom did.  I acted older than I was, I overachieved and I always acted okay.  In fact, I really truly believed that I was okay.  I knew I had a difficult childhood, but I’d die before I would ever admit that I was damaged.  I was above that, I was stronger than that and I would be damned if I ever let you tell me I was just like my mother.

I moved out young, at 17, and never looked back.  It was somewhere around 19 that I realized that I was coming to a fork in the road. I had just gotten into a serious relationship, had an increasingly rocky relationship with my mother and I had been abusing marijuana for a couple of years.  I thought I was using it in a socially acceptable way because all my friends did it too, but they were probably escaping something just the same way I was.  I was standing in the exact same place my mother was at the same age and I had two choices. I could keep going forward the way I was, shoving it all under the rug and balancing on top or I could look my pain in the face and do the work to break the cycle.

This is incredibly difficult work to do. It’s been seven years since I made this realization and during this time I had truly thought I was doing all the right things to heal myself.

I was reading all sorts of self-help books, I was delving into spirituality and I was getting “healthy”.  However, at the same time as I was going through all the motions of getting better, I had also shifted from marijuana abuse (I quit that completely when I met the love of my life) to alcohol abuse.  And in the exact same rationalization as with pot, I thought I was using alcohol in a socially acceptable way. It took me a long time to see that I wasn’t and that I was slipping closer and closer towards the destiny I least wanted.

It took my now-husband telling me hundreds of times, and me scaring myself on many occasions for me to open my eyes to what I was doing. At one point it got so bad that I was sneaking alcohol nightly. Getting tipsy by myself and chain-smoking cigarettes alone in the garage until well after my husband went to sleep. Many nights I would sneak upstairs, throw up in the spare bathroom and then crawl into bed with the spins hoping my husband wouldn’t notice.

This is what being an alcoholic looks like.  I admit it- I am not good with alcohol and alcohol is not my friend.  Every time I drink I feel terrible the next day, even if its just two drinks.  And its not because I’m hung over, it’s because I feel guilty and I know that alcohol messes with my brain chemistry.  I can sometimes even feel it when I have one drink. I feel less clarity, I feel sad even if there is no reason and I don’t feel love for myself.  It’s just not good for me.

This is a tough thing to put down on paper.  Our culture is very heavily based upon the consumption of alcohol, not only for celebration but also for commiseration and dealing with stress. We drink when we’re happy; we drink when we’re sad and when everyone else is drinking it feels pretty weird when you‘re not.  Alcoholism is a huge stigma to carry and I am currently trying to navigate each situation I enter, with the help of my husband, the best that I can.  I haven’t cut alcohol completely out of my life, but I have drastically reduced my consumption. I have found substituting with kombucha to be a great help at gatherings where everyone else is drinking.

I haven’t spoken openly about this to many people, not even my friends.  I am incredibly good at hiding it when I’m not okay.  It’s been a frightening road and I’m learning how to be vulnerable so I can know that it’s okay to not always be okay. I’ve decided to share this with you now because it’s a part of my healing. I know that online appearances are very deceiving and I never want to create the impression that I’ve got it all together. I’m sharing this because if anyone else is experiencing anything similar I want them to know their story isn’t the only one like it.

I know there are tons of people who have said exactly what I just said and I always thought that was cheesy. The thing is, I never found a story that I thought was the same as mine because I didn’t see that I was self-sabotaging and I didn’t know that my behavior was truly and deeply harmful.

Just because you’re young and its “normal” to get drunk and have hangovers doesn’t mean its okay.  Some people can handle alcohol and some people just can’t handle it as well.  Maybe you don’t even realize your behavior is unhealthy, but that’s okay because maybe my story will make you want to examine your own habits.

You know how you see someone practicing a dance routine and they are going through the micro-motions of all of their steps?  That’s basically what I have been doing with my healing for many years.  Going through all of the motions but not really committing to the full routine.  I was doing just enough to make myself feel as though I was putting in the work but didn’t really understand how to go deeper.  I also definitely wasn’t acknowledging all of my actions that were basically making any and all of my healing efforts null and void.

I wasn’t asking myself the real questions I needed to ask myself.  I didn’t even know what those questions were.

It’s hard enough to admit that your actions are not serving you and it’s even harder to look at yourself in the mirror and realize that you have at some point stopped loving yourself.

“What? Me, no! I’m confident, I’m healthy! Of course I love myself! What could you possibly be talking about?”

Right.

Self-deception plays a strong game. Look at your life. Are you nurturing yourself? Are your behaviours and your day-to-day actions reflective of someone who actually cares for themselves? And I don’t mean someone who brushes their teeth and goes to the gym. I mean are you empathetic with yourself? Are you tender with yourself the way you would be to a sister or a friend? Get real.

This life tells us that we better be our own worst critics because we are molded to believe that if we don’t do A, B or C we aren’t worthy of love. So what is the first source of love that we cut ourselves off from when we don’t think that we’re deserving?  Self-love.

We punish ourselves in all these little ways that add up to a life lived in shackles, ruled by beliefs about ourselves that are simply untrue. It took a lot of physical and mental suffering for me to realize how my past had really affected me and a hell of a lot of asking myself why and how.

In all of the self-help reading I did to find myself a solution to my problems what I mostly found was a lot of inaccessible language; a lot of airy feel-good strings of words. Sometimes I found action steps that gave me this go-getter attitude. Like, YEAH! I can do this, I’ll just follow these 5 steps and my life will be healed. LOL!

Here’s the truth: there is no cookie-cutter answer or method to healing.

There are tools that you can pick up a long the way that are useful, but they are not the solution.  The solution is you.  The solution is sitting with yourself and digging into why you might act or react the way you do to certain situations and then asking why again and again until you can’t anymore.

Most of the time you’ll end up back at some very similar answers like: I do this because I’m afraid of losing love.  But it’s the process of getting to that answer that is the most important part.  And then its the process of questioning these beliefs that run you from the core that starts to break apart this self-loathing way of thinking and operating.

I almost guarantee you’ll find yourself resisting this process and probably wanting to deny a lot things because you’ll think you’re better than that, or your situation is somehow more complex or you’re so unique that couldn’t possibly apply to you. But what I have found to be the most true in all of this is that most actions and thoughts stem from love or fear in all of us. They might present themselves in incredibly strange ways but if you keep on digging and digging you’ll often find love or fear at the root. Hate stems from fear and so it’s actually fear that is the opposite of love.

You know that old cliché the only thing to fear is fear itself? Well that’s pretty damn true. Fear makes us push others away, fear makes us hide, fear stops us from exposing ourselves, fear of losing out on love makes us actually lose out on love, its so backwards.

In order for anyone to face their fears, the ones that cause them so much pain, we must be vulnerable and that is so hard because that means letting go of all these defences that have kept us safe for so many years. You have to ask yourself what you are afraid of and admitting that is scary.  All openness, all love stems from vulnerability.  So that’s where I’m starting with you.  I’m setting the tone.  I am exposed.  My mission here is to be real with you about what it’s going to take.

My healing journey started with the physical and went inward; maybe yours will be the other way around or maybe it will be a bit of both at the same time.  I read recently that your relationship to food is a reflection of your relationship to life.  For me food was a huge tool to start nourishing myself and I will be writing another post about my physical health and that entire journey as a sister-post to this one sometime down the line.

Ultimately- I feel incredibly good about 2016 because I’ve made some really important changes this past year and I plan to continue on this path of exposing the sore spots and letting them get enough oxygen so they can heal.

I’ll share with you what I’ve been doing and what I have found to be helpful and effective in my journey.  But for now I want to turn it over to you; I want to know your story.  If you would like to share with me, please email me at millifox@live.com because I’d love to offer whatever support I can, even if its just me saying: I see you girl, and you’re gonna make it.

Much love and I hope you’ll continue to follow me and my evolution through eating and loving!

Xo

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I Like to Leave the Door Open.

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There was a time in my social media presence that I wanted to keep it professional. I wanted to appeal to as many people as possible and offend no one. Mostly, I wanted to be like all of the other self-help gurus that I followed because I wanted to reach their level of success.

Now I know there is nothing I want less. 

My life is one of constant growth. I’m one of those people addicted to learning and improvement. Sometimes this really hinders me because I’m way too hard on myself “gotta improve faster!” and other times it leads to magnificent moments of self-discovery. 

One of the most important discoveries that I’ve made is exposing my deep desire to feel authentic. I need to live and work from a very real and unfiltered place. And I’m going to be un-apologetic in my realness and transparent in what I have to share.

I want to reveal to you little by little why this blog is called EAT. LOVE. EVOLVE. and not some generic food-blog-type-name. 

This blog is about nourishment and growth and that’s what I’m here to offer. I know that because this is an authentic work of love from my realest place that it will nourish me as well as I hope it can nourish you.

Nourishment comes from food on a very fundamental level but it also comes from the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual levels of our experience as well. It comes from love in our relationships with those close to us and also the love we feel or don’t feel for ourselves. It comes from evolution – the way we change over our lifetimes that leaves us with feelings of self-worth and accomplishment. 

Obviously, what this looks like for each of us is incredibly different, but I’m here to offer you my hard won insights. And in order for me to offer you a well-rounded source of nourishment that I feel is authentic I need you to be able to really see me

I’m offering a piece of myself in hopes that some of you will relate. I don’t need all of you to relate to me all the time but I need to open the opportunity for those who have felt anything remotely similar to the things I’ve felt to know they aren’t the only ones. 

My journey has involved stripping away the many layers that cocooned my sense of self and becoming incredibly vulnerable. I spent years of not knowing who I was but desperately wanting to be that person.

I’m still on the path to embodying a true, full, bold self in as many moments as I possibly can but what fun would it be if I were already there? 

Along the way I’ve been embarrassed, desperate, lost, confused, and felt trapped. All of these situations have given me the unique perspective I have on food, health, psychology, spirituality, sexuality and love. If I can give you even a glimmer of the experiences that my hard earned lessons have come from I will be satisfied

A teacher very dear to me named Teal Swan wrote an amazing blog you can find here about leaving the ‘delivery room door open’ during your re-birthing process.

This portion of the blog really resonated with me and I wanted to share it as my promise to you in my work:

 “…the very comfort that is needed is the knowledge that you are not alone.  You are not the odd one out.  It’s just that every one else has kept the door to their delivery room closed.  But I refuse to be one of them…  I’m keeping it open…” 

You might be wondering how any of this relates to food. Well, our relationship to everything around us greatly has to do with our relationships to ourselves. Often when we set out on a course of self-improvement and we only focus on the physical realm we fall short and don’t make the changes that we really want to see. 

Don’t get me wrong, our relationships with food can be incredibly complex. Its just that you might start out with just the urge to get “healthier” and end up falling down the rabbit hole. I’m here to discuss food, and all the other weird stuff that might come up along the way. 

 So… this is just the beginning, and hopefully I’ve set the tone for a lovely, delicious growth filled journey, for the both of us 🙂

 If you have any topics you’d like me to cover or questions I can answer please email me at:

millifox@live.com 

 Xo

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