ReTHINKING Drinking: Playing It Forward!

We’ve all heard of paying it forward, but focus in with me for a minute on playing it forward. By that I really mean, consider the consequences of your choices. One of the best ways to do that is to play the “movie reel” of events in your head as you anticipate they could unfold, based on your choices.

For example, if I decide to stay up late tonight, I can “play it forward” in my mind and I know that I will wake up tired and cranky, rush through a junk food breakfast, and skip my workout.  That is not how I want my morning to go, so I am going to choose NOT to stay up late tonight.

This simple 3-word phrase could be life changing for you, and not just with drinking, but with life in general. It sounds super easy and, honestly, it really is. When the urge hits you to have that “one” glass of wine, beer or cocktail, pause for a second and play it forward.  Some questions you may want to consider could include:

  • Will I really stop at one?
  • If I don’t stop at one, two or even three…. How will I sleep? How will I feel in the morning?
  • Could this one-time turn start me down the road of nightly drinking again? Do I want that?
  • Will the disappointment I’ll feel towards myself tomorrow be worth it?
  • Will my family / friends be disappointed? Will that bother me?
  • Will I have brain fog at work tomorrow?

Naturally, you will have your own list of questions. It may be that you could care less what your family thinks about your alcohol intake, but feeling even slightly hungover at work is just not worth it to you. As you play it forward and ask your questions, you may decide to change your course of action. Or you may not.

Again, the play it forward method can work for anything.  Should I skip my workout today? Should I have that piece of cake after dinner? Should I really buy another pair of shoes?  You are probably doing it already – but have trained yourself to ignore it.  It’s very, very easy to do when alcohol is involved because there is so much perceived immediate reward, while any negative consequences seem so far away.

As I write this column for September I am (we are) approaching six months alcohol free (AF), and I am serious when I say that I have never felt better, and feel extra proud of that coming off of Breast Cancer 2.0, six weeks of radiation, and oral chemo. I’m also happy to report that I had an awesome bone scan and blood work in the past month, and couldn’t be happier. Who knows if being AF has helped (along with the treatments of course), but we all know that cancer and alcohol is not a great combination. When I do “big picture” play it forward, I know that I have too much life to live to take the risk and it’s simply not worth it to me. Remember, it’s never too late to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol – just pause and consider for a second, ask yourself some questions, play it forward, and then make a real decision, not one with your eyes closed.


September Mighty Mocktail


Ingredients(This is a larger recipe, and can easily be cut in ½ or less)

Coconut Water – 4 cups

Sliced Cucumber (very thin!) – I use about 6-8 slices per glass (to taste)

Lime Juice – ¼ – ½ cup of lime juice, I like the Nellie & Joe’s brand (again, to taste)

Sugar (optional) – I use regular… but a very, very small amount (less than ½ teaspoon)

Mint Leaves – Muddle the mint leaves (to taste) with a cocktail muddler or a wooden spoon

Combine all ingredients and add ice. Cheers!


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