The model says she didn't feel she had "control", and further caused her both "pain and stress."
This week, model Bella Hadid has opened up about why she’s quitting alcohol for good.
Speaking to InStyle, she shared that she didn’t feel she could “control” herself around alcohol, going on to add that drinking had caused her both “pain and stress”.
“I’ve done my fair share of drinking. I loved alcohol and it got to the point where even I started to, you know, cancel nights out that I felt like I wouldn’t be able to control myself,” said the 25-year-old.
She was also shown scans highlighting the effects drinking alcohol can have on the brain by a medical professional, which she said ultimately made it “a lot harder to pick up the glass”.
“I don’t feel the need (to drink anymore) because I know how it will affect me at 3am in the morning when I wake up with horrible anxiety thinking about that one thing I said five years ago when I graduated high school,” Hadid explained.
“There’s just this never-ending effect of, essentially, you know, pain and stress over those few drinks that didn’t really do much.”
This isn’t the first time the celebrity has opened up about getting mental health help – she’s publically spoken about her own “excruciating” mental health struggles and has been sharing regular images of her crying on Instagram to highlight that everyone -even, and sometimes especially, celebrities – can face anxiety, depression, and more.
Explaining in a separate interview that she’s been “in such a weird place mentally”, she explained that sharing the images made her feel “less lonely” and able to communicate how she was feeling without having to put words.
Quitting alcohol: your expert-led guide
If you’re someone who identifies with the above – feeling the need to drink, but it, in turn, spiraling into feelings of anxiety, depression, or low mood – you’re not alone. For some, alcohol can make your stress and anxiety worse. Research has found that drinking can actually add to the burden you’re dealing with, meaning you’re not getting the break you desperately need.
Sure, alcohol can be a distraction, but it’s more akin to sticking your head in the sand versus actually relieving any of the stress – just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s gone away. (Spoiler: it hasn’t.)
In a recent study, researchers ran a test on two groups of mice — one that lived normally while the other was fed a daily dose of alcohol for an entire month. At the end of month, the mice who were drinking alcohol daily were much more fearful and anxious, and their ability to handle stressful situations was significantly impaired. Even when the things that were stressing them out were removed, these mice still struggled to overcome their anxiety.
So not only can alcohol mean you do less to action your chronic stress, it’s can make you less capable of dealing with any kind of stress in general. (Read up on the difference between stress vs anxiety, here).
Keen to give quitting alcohol a go? Let these tips from Kate Bee, founder of The Sober School, help.
1. Start with a solid commitment
“Giving up alcohol can be scary because we often approach it with only two choices – continue drinking as we normally do or quit drinking forever – which can be overwhelming, to say the least,” the expert shares.
We try to find a middle path through moderation, but it’s actually much harder to control your intake of a mind-altering drug like alcohol because it’s designed to make you lose control. So, try this: say you will only drink one or two days a week, to begin with, and gradually reduce your intake.
2. Or, try taking a break
Similarly, Bee maintains that if you only give yourself the odd day off now and again, you’ll never actually experience the full benefits of sobriety. “Staying sober during the week might seem like a fantastic idea, but when you drink over the weekend, you’re only making yourself go through the struggle of giving it up every Monday, again and again and again,” she shares.
Try this: Aim to give yourself a true break – sans alcohol – for a set amount of time. “The first month can be challenging, so I recommend sticking to it for a few months so you can really start to experience the benefits of a sober lifestyle,” she explains. See – quitting alcohol never looked so easy.
3. Learn healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress
Without alcohol in the picture, do you have a set strategy for coping with stress, anxiety, and overwhelm? “Try and take a look at what you really need in times of stress,” the expert encourages.
“When you feel like drinking, what is it that you’re actually looking for?”
She goes on to explain that we’ve been conditioned to turn to alcohol instead of processing and dealing with uncomfortable emotions, which is exactly the problem. “Instead, we need to learn to pause and address what we actually need. Alcohol may be the perfect solution to turning it all off for a bit for some, but it’s not for everyone.”
Try this: there plenty of other alternatives to give you what you’re needing, it’s just a matter of finding them. If you want to check out mentally, don’t feel guilty about binge-watching Netflix for an hour or two. Dive into a book, go for a walk in the woods without your phone, or try practising guided meditation to give yourself the mental escape you deserve. Our round-up of the best self-care ideas might help, too.
4. Finally, seek out connection
As human beings, it’s something we all crave, and it’s easy to forget that we need to feel seen, heard, and connected to others.
Try this: “If you’re not getting that, it can cause you to feel a lot of stress, loneliness, and anxiety,” explains Bee. “Instead of turning to a glass of wine, try reaching out to a friend. Spend some time in connection with yourself and your loved ones, and don’t be afraid to sift through difficult emotions. It might seem scary, but I promise you that it will be worth it in the end.” Quitting alcohol – sorted.
Remember that everyone is different – for some, drinking in moderation won’t be a problem and will be something they can embrace as part of a healthy lifestyle. But for others, making the move towards drinking less will reap positive rewards. Which are you?