Whenever I would take a break from drinking, such as Dry January or FebFast, I would follow a similar pattern.
The first few days I would be inspired and motivated so would find it fairly easy.
“Nailing it” – I would think!
But as each day went on, the novelty would wear off until by the end of the week when I would start questioning my decision.
Sometimes I would cave, particularly if there was a social occasion where I felt I “had to drink”.
But other times my stubborn nature would triumph and I’d vow to make it to the end of the month without a drink.
From motivated to white knuckling
This is when white knuckling it through the month would kick in.
I’d start by counting down the days until the end of the month and have constant debates with myself about why I was taking a break.
The conversation in my head would go something like this:
- “Why are you even taking a break – you’re not that bad. It’s not like you’re an alcoholic.”
- “You’ve been so good, you deserve a treat.”
- “It’s been a crappy week – surely this calls for a drink.”
- “You can’t go to out on the weekend without drinking. Everyone else will be knocking them back.”
It was relentless and exhausting … and not a lot of fun.
So what’s the alternative?
Whenever I would take a break from drinking I would always look at it as a month of depriving myself and therefore expected it to be difficult, boring and a challenge.
However, once I changed my mindset around drinking my approach was completely different and, best of all, it didn’t require white knuckling it through.
The difference was that I didn’t approach it simply in terms of a habit change (although that was important too) but as a mindset shift as well.
I started to look into the subconscious beliefs I had around alcohol.
They were so ingrained (hence being subconscious!) that I had never even questioned them.
My beliefs were that alcohol helped me to:
- Cheer up
- Numb sad feelings
So, whenever I needed to relax, go out, treat myself or drown my sorrows I would reach for a drink because it ‘fixed everything’.
Once I started to question whether or not it was really doing those things, I realised there were other things I could do besides having a drink.
It may sound simple, and it actually is once you start delving into your subconscious beliefs, but it does mean looking at it in quite a different way.
I love it when I’m working with clients and they have the a-ha moment when they realise that they don’t ‘need’ alcohol the way they thought they did.
And better still, that realisation helps them to cut back or take a break without feeling like they’re depriving themselves or white knuckling it through.
Looking for support and community?
If you’re interested in learning more feel free to reach out for a discussion call with me.
And, if you haven’t already joined the private Alcohol Reset Facebook group, you are welcome to join and be part of the conversation.