Sharing some of my alcohol free support pointers
Prior to 2018 I would have had the look of fear in my eyes if you had asked me to navigate my life without alcohol. Then in 2018 something triggered me to ask myself was it all worth it? Was it really all so much fun? Lots of false starts.
Lots of learning. Lots of reasons why stopping drinking wouldn’t work for me - believe me when you look for THOSE you will find them and they will be loud! But when the seed is planted and you start to just explore the idea, when you start to look for support and information that is when the adventure is beginning and 2020 became my year of change and I feel very lucky to have arrived.
If you are curious or are trying Dry Jan even, then here are a few of my coaching pointers. Linking it all together ....that's where I can help. If you want any detail on any points just ask. If you would like to get involved by way of coaching or my online course, again just ask.
You need to feel POSITIVELY ready: if an effort to quit feels like it might be a knee jerk reaction to a recent unpleasant episode you are going in with a negative head and it won't work. e.g. if a hangover is your reason - hangovers fade so the reason disappears
Change the map: someone quoted recently on a zoom call "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" (attributed to Einstein). You need to make your life different. Our brains create paths. There is currently a powerful path that leads to drink. That needs to be detoured. Make life interesting. Try new things. Change the map!!! This is absolutely critical.
Be focused on an outcome : what is the feeling you are after? energy, focus, mentally stronger, fitter? - spend some time picturing the YOU without alcohol and what does he/ she look like. This visual can be so powerful and used whenever you feel the pull to drink.
Don’t worry about getting to a certain point: be it a certain number of days or months. This can be daunting and on tougher days, feel unachievable and therefore be a reason to abandon the plan. Focus on one day at a time. How do you want to feel today? Reflect on how good it felt yesterday to not drink. Or if you did drink yesterday how is today/tomorrow going to be different?
You have to want the outcome more than you want the drink. This is with anything you want to stop - sugar, alcohol, TV, food, overspending. You name it. We had the outcome defined from point 3 but if you don’t make it more compelling than a drink it won’t work. Keep your eyes on that. What are you already noticing if you have a stint under your belt? Always reflect on the positives.
Understand that your drive to drink is a small part physical and the rest mental. The physical compulsion passes quickly. I use a tool called the ambivalence see saw and together I work with clients to break down and then banish those reasons to drink. Where there is ambivalence there is a trigger.
Rose tinted glasses- don't shrink memories - look at the whole experience. When you are triggered your mind chooses to remember only the good bits as this supports your desire to drink. Don't allow it. Be honest. Give yourself a fair fight by widening the lens to remember the whole picture - not to dwell on it, just to support you in your quest.
Acknowledge it is but a momentary fix drowning in potential problems. When life is tough alcohol provides you with that f**k it button. It’s an internal cry for help. A declaration that life is just not fair. And it often feels that way whether you drink or not. But until you are honest about what alcohol can really do about it nothing changes. If you label it as your escape it button then that is where it remains in your mind.
Life is a lesson - so why would quitting alcohol be any different? You need to learn to create a different map, work at painting that different life, work at enacting that life, challenge your thinking when you are triggered, read, learn, engage in the alcohol free world. This is new. You are back at school and if you want to pass you need to learn.
Don't compare yourself: we are triggered to drink for so many reasons: environmental, genetic, social, economic. Everyone's combination of factors is totally different. Never compare yourself. You are you, creating your own unique map, taking learning from sources that will support you, bolstering those trigger moments and using whatever tools you need to get the result you want.
Life in colour
Your life has the potential to be so much more colourful and so much bigger than it is now and I say this with nearly four years personal experience. If you compared my current map with that four years ago you wouldn't associate the two lives. I had never tried being alcohol free before. I thought alcohol was a necessary part of me. Until I realised it wasn't and did the work to make the change. Be kind to yourself and give it a try if alcohol isn't serving you.