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.
Ultimately it is that simple. Make a firm decision that you are not drinking any more alcohol and stick with it. If you really want to stay sober because you’re unhappy with your drinking then this is the trick - stop putting alcohol into your body. Just stop. Know that there's a big job ahead of you, and that it will take time to transition from being a boozer to being a sober person. But if you make a clear decision to quit and don't drink any more alcohol ever, you're all set for a shiny new life.
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! And remember; alcohol doesn’t relax, it numbs. Genuinely relaxing 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 doesn’t help you bond with other people, it 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. Alcohol doesn’t make you fun, it messes with your neurotransmitters and artificailly alters your mood. 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 Keeping Up With The Kardashians? Is that ‘quick one’ at the pub with workmates likely to be four, plus the six-pack you grab on the way home? Remember the truth of where alcohol takes you and don't
4. Think about bed.
Cravings usually hit late in the day. When that happens, push your thinking through the evening to bed time. Imagine yourself climbing into bed calm and sober, not sloppy, smelly 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, certainly 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.