When you first decide you want to stop drinking, it’s normal for there to be a struggle between wanting to stop and having the will-power to see it through. It can seem as if there are two parts of you in conflict, one that wants to stop drinking and one that wants to carry on.
When we have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, we’ve kind of programmed our brains to reach for alcohol automatically. The unconscious part of our minds will be on automatic pilot. To make it easier to stop, you need to teach your mind to do things differently so it doesn’t sabotage your efforts.
One of the things you can do to get started is to list every job that drinking does for you. Every benefit it brings you. The positive intentions behind your drinking.
Some examples might be:
(You can add your own.)
Even though drinking might be bringing you misery and you want to stop, on another level, there will be jobs that alcohol is doing for you and these will be the reasons why part of you wants to carry on. Once you’ve worked out what those jobs are you can work out alternative ways to get them done.
For instance, if one job that alcohol does for you is give you confidence, then you need to work out other ways to build your confidence. When I first did this, I started by doing one thing every day that scared me. I made myself go into uncomfortable situations so that my confidence grew. I took up dance classes because I’d always wanted to and it terrified me to go to a dance class on my own and join in with a group of strangers. I got some coaching and worked on building my confidence and my belief in myself. I also learnt to get comfortable with being shy in social situations. I learnt that it was okay to NOT be the life and soul of the party and it was okay to be quiet and observant rather than loud and attention-seeking.
It doesn’t matter what the job is that alcohol has been doing for you (it might not be confidence in your case), there will be other ways of getting that job done. They might not give you the instant gratification that alcohol does but they’re better for you in the long-run. And, just knowing that you’re taking steps to get that job done makes it easier to stop drinking. The unconscious part of your mind that’s been driving your drinking behaviours will be satisfied that its positive intentions are being met and is less likely to sabotage your efforts.
Here’s a suggestion for an action plan for you to get started:
a. how can you set yourself up for success?
b. what support do you need to have in place?
c. can you do something symbolic on that date that will be meaningful to you?
d. plan what you’re going to tell people
e. plan what you’re going to do with any booze that might be around
f. plan what you’re going to do instead of drinking on that day
g. predict any challenges you might face on the day you stop and in the following week and decide in advance how you’re going to deal with them
And, start a habit of daily visits to the free blogs on my website – they’ll help you to get into a positive and motivated mindset for stopping drinking.
If you want extra support, daily contact with me and tips and strategies to help you get confident, you can join one of my memberships here:
Support Membership £9 p/month
For access to:
Guidance Membership £29 p/month
For access to everything in the Support Membership, plus:
One of the biggest indicators of your likely success in stopping drinking is your commitment to doing things differently. There’s a big difference between thinking about it, worrying about it, wishing things were different and actually taking action and doing. And, it’s the doing that changes things. If you want to live your life free and sober instead of imprisoned by alcohol, you need to take action do things differently.
You can commit to yourself right now that you’re going to take action and follow the steps on this blog. It doesn’t matter whether you access the free resources here or whether you sign up for one of the memberships. You need to do what works best for you and what represents the best commitment you can make to yourself right now. The bit that's important is you commit to daily action and putting some energy into changing your habits.
You keep visiting the site, keep reading, keep connecting and keep yourself supported. You put your needs and your future at the heart of what you do.