And now, these days, I'm having virtually identical conversations with women who are struggling to conceive.
Yes, it may be normal to have a few drinks every week (or everyday depending on your line of work). But, overall, it is definitely not good for you. And if you're having trouble getting pregnant, alcohol will stack the cards against you from the get-go.
Let's assume you DO NOT abuse alcohol. We all know chronic abuse can cause over two dozen different major problems so let's just assume you only drink socially. Here are a few things you need to know:
1. your body registers alcohol as a poison. It is a neurotoxin that strains every organ in your system.
2. because alcohol is a poison, your body has to spend energy detoxing after every drink.
3. alcohol use makes it more difficult for your body to recover from injuries or physical exertion for about 3 days.
4. if you are drinking to unwind, the stress + alcohol factor is a double whammy for the body - and your body will register that it is NOT a "safe" time to get pregnant.
Now for some women, giving up alcohol 3-6 months before their ideal conception date is no big deal. Others sigh as they say goodbye to their margaritas, but feel resolved enough about it that there's no struggle. And then there's a third classification of women who need support in giving up their daily dose of serenity. They need help implementing an alcohol detox diet, in being committed after the first big push of the detox is over, or in cleaning up the mind from obsessing about not-drinking. As any dieter knows, it's one thing to feel solid in a new diet, and a whole other thing to free up your mental energy so that you can think about other, more important things.
How might support look? Setting up social activities that don't revolve around alcohol. Asking your husband if he'd also choose to not drink (which would be good for your conception goals, anyway). And if it isn't feeling relatively easy to make this lifestyle shift, seek professional support as well. A therapist or coach might do the trick, but if you're struggling with a physical dependence on alcohol, you'll need help from someone who can help shift the body-level issues in order to detox as smoothly as is possible.