I know the process of quitting alcohol is incredibly complex and different for everyone, but here are four steps to think about that might help you achieve that glorious goal.
1. Don’t drink alcohol
Make a firm decision that you are not drinking any more alcohol, stop putting it in your body and stick with it. It’s that simple. It’s a big job transitioning from being a boozer to being a sober person, but it starts with that one step. Don’t drink alcohol – ever.
2. Call bullshit on your hard-wired beliefs about booze
Be very aware of the messages you are sending yourself about what alcohol does and challenge those beliefs. Every time you find yourself thinking something romantic and positive about booze, challenge it and turn it around. For example, you might think to yourself; “I’ve had a terrible day and could really do with a drink to relax.” Stop! Remember; alcohol doesn’t relax, it numbs. Genuine relaxation is about finding authentic ways to turn your brain away from worries and stresses, or working on real solutions to problems. You might think “alcohol helps me bond with others.” Stop! Remember, alcohol is a drug that loosens the receptors between your brain and your mouth & ears, giving a false sense of connectedness. Genuinely bonding is about listening, caring, being warm and interested in other people. You might think “I’m no fun without alcohol.” Stop! Alcohol doesn’t make you fun, it artificially alters your mood and slows your brain function. Being fun is about having an open, positive state of mind, chatting freely, telling jokes (bad or otherwise) and dancing!
3. Play the tape forward
Think beyond the romantic image of the first drink and be honest with yourself about how the night is likely to end up. Is that 5pm chardonnay that you deserve for a hard day is going to turn into a bottle and a half and find you in sloppy tears while watching TV you’ll forget in the morning? Is that ‘one quick drink’ at the pub with workmates likely to end up being four, plus the six-pack you grab on the way home? Remember the truth of where alcohol takes you and don’t
4. Use visualisations
Cravings usually hit late in the day. When that happens, push your thinking through the evening to bed time. Visualise yourself climbing into bed calm and sober, not sloppy, smelly and drunk. Picture your head hitting the nice fresh pillow, your brain sleeping but not numb, maybe your face nicely washed and some night cream on. Imagine yourself reading some pages of your book knowing you’ll remember them in the morning, and having a lovely gentle drift off to sleep. Visualise yourself waking up fresh and proud after a blissful 8-hour sleep, not wrecked after a night of toilet trips, dry horrors, head poundings and guilty thoughts. Remember – no one ever woke up in the morning regretting not getting drunk the night before.