a card representing a goal to aim for

Habits of successful ex-drinkers 3: Having a purpose

Developing an unhealthy relationship with drink isn’t usually about the drink itself. It’s about how the drink adds something or takes something away from your life (for example, it can add confidence and it can take away fear or pain).

Stopping drinking clears the way so that you can get in touch with yourself and figure out who you want to be, where you want to go and the part you want to play in the world. People who stay successfully sober and enjoy their sobriety are people who feel fulfilled. They become happy with who they are and with what they are achieving. They do this by having a goal, by knowing their purpose.

Being sober isn’t just about stopping drinking, it’s about sorting your life so you live it the way you want to. To do this you need to know how you want your life to be. You need to have a goal that you’re working towards, that’s meaningful to you and that motivates you. A goal or purpose that you can imagine in clear and vivid detail and that has nothing to do with drinking or not drinking, that is just something that you’re aiming for. You can have big goals that are way off in the future and small goals that are just for today, but what I'm talking about in this blog are the bigger goals... the "what do I want to do with my life?" goals. And, it's even okay if you don't know yet... you can focus on how you want to be rather than what you're going to be doing.

And, like anything else that you want to have happen, you can imagine yourself immersed in the future when you’ve successfully achieved your goal. You notice how things are different for you: what you see, hear, feel, smell and taste that’s different. You breathe life into this goal and what it’s like when you’re there. You make it real.

This goal or purpose in life is where you end up putting your energy and focus. When you become more confident with your new, sober habits, you start to focus on this goal and how you’re going to reach it. This gives you a focus away from drinking. It gives you passion and energy – something to get excited about and that motivates you. You don’t have time to think about drinking because you’re focused on this great new life that you’re creating for yourself.

This great new life gives you your purpose and fulfilment and wipes out any desire to drink because you have other things to do and you know the drink will get in the way of something much more important.

When you discover who, how and what you want to be in life, it allows you to create that reality for yourself. Do you already know what your purpose in life is or do you need to take some time and space to figure it out?

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