When I start talking with women about how and why they use alcohol as a crutch to escape their negative feelings, it's not long before the conversation turns to sex.
It's easy to see why: the bedroom is one place where it's difficult to escape our deepest vulnerabilities. Our body, our preferences, and our ability to satisfy our partner are all on display. The fear of another person's judgment and not measuring-up run high.
For many people, the dating scene and the drinking scene are one in the same. First dates would be excruciating without a buzz to ease the way. We grow accustomed to navigating the awkward back and forth with a glass in our hand.
Being sized-up by someone else can be uncomfortable when you're fully clothed. Once they come off, these fears can skyrocket. There's no question that when it comes to intimacy, many women tell me they find it daunting without a little liquid confidence.
When I start working with my clients, most believe that their anxiety, insecurity, and body shame are created by external things. These emotions are stirred up by waiting to find out if another person is attracted to them or having to reveal a body they would rather hide.
The problem is that they've created a scenario in which they are powerless to change how they feel. And when you feel powerless to reign in your anxiety and insecurity it's easy to get into the habit of turning to a couple of drinks to numb your discomfort.
The work that I do with my clients shows them how to move to an empowered place by understanding the role their thinking in creating how they feel. I teach them it is possible to shift their anxiety and insecurity on their own without needing a buzz to take the edge off.
With practice, intimacy (the path toward getting closer) and alcohol (the path toward disconnection) start to seem like strange bedfellows.