The question – “How can I change the way I drink?” – was recently sent through to me and I thought it was one that many of you may have.
It was certainly a question I struggled with.
After years of trying to moderate my drinking (spoiler alert: it didn’t work) I finally changed the way that I drank and now have a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ approach to alcohol.
The key was to stop trying to change my habits, which only worked short term, and instead work on changing my mindset.
While it was simple and profound, it did take some professional guidance to work through it.
The methodology that I used to break free is the same one that I now use with my clients in my one-on-one coaching sessions and my online program.
As a certified This Naked Mind coach this liminal thinking approach, called the ACT technique, is about finding freedom from alcohol rather than living with constant restrictions and rules.
What’s the ACT Technique?
This is a very short overview to help you understand the steps involved:
Identify your beliefs around drinking. For example, my key beliefs were that drinking helped me to relax and I needed a drink to socialise.
Use the three-step ACT technique to work through each belief. This is the technique I use with my one-on-one clients to work through their beliefs and there are always a few a-ha moments! In a nutshell it’s:
Awareness: Name the belief (e.g. I use alcohol to relax)
Clarity: Where did this belief come from? Look back on your own experience, what you have observed and absorbed from society to understand why you believe this.
Turnaround: State the opposite of the belief. Phrase it in a range of different ways, e.g. alcohol actually stresses me out or alcohol makes me anxious. Then work on reasons why these statements may be truer than your original belief. E.g. Alcohol actually stresses me out because I’m worrying so much about my drinking and the impact it is having on my health, etc.
Then go back to the original belief and consider whether it is still true.
Then let it be. Don’t push it. Don’t try to make it true if it doesn’t feel true. There is a method to work through these beliefs to find a turnaround that resonates for you.
This is not about stating the opposite and suddenly believing that is true. It’s unpacking your thoughts and beliefs and really questioning them.
The beauty of this technique is that it works on a whole range of things besides alcohol, e.g. beliefs around food, smoking, etc.
It may feel strange – and a bit too simplistic at first (at least it did for me) – but once I started using it to work through all my beliefs around alcohol it was really powerful.
I went from trying to moderate my drinking (which wasn’t working and was making me feel like I was doing something wrong) to changing the beliefs that were getting me stuck.
Can I use this technique myself?
Some people can use this technique themselves to great effect while others need support to go through the process.
This is one of the key reasons my one-on-one coaching clients work with me – to help them work through their long-held beliefs and other things that are holding them back.
If you want to try this technique, you can click here to download the ACT Technique worksheet – a free resource that will help you work through this process.
What my clients say
Here’s feedback from a recent client summing up how this technique worked for her:
“I experienced a fundamental mind shift. I realised that I was a product of my environment but I didn’t have to be and, for the sake of my health and quality of life, I very much needed to make a change. Two months later both (my husband) and I have reduced our drinking by 90% and have cut out hard liquor completely (we did love our martinis!). It’s been a game changer.
The cliche of feeling like you are now free from a trap is so true. And man I feel good! We both do! The massive change was truly because of you.”
Want to know more?
I am about to launch an online, self-paced course where I guide people through this mindset work. I also offer one-on-one a coaching for clients.
Feel free to book an obligation-free 30-minute discussion call if you are interested in either of these.