Visualisation was a really powerful tool for me early on. It was one of my main strategies for dealing with the awful hours between 4 and 7pm when I was desperate for a drink.
Other strategies were cleaning the house, distracting myself with lots of noise and stimulation (radio and TV on, magazine open, computer on), eating lots of food and drinking sugary fizz.
But the most effective strategy was visualisation.
Here's how it would work: I would form a very clear mental image of myself climbing into bed stone cold sober. I would literally see myself in my minds eye climbing into be with my PJs on and in the mental image I could 'feel' the contentment at having made it to that point in the evening without drinking.
Please note this bedtime could be as early as 7.30pm!! Who cares if I'm being a nana so long as I am achieving at getting my head on the pillow SOBER.
It's almost like I was charging through the evening with my head down...pushing aside the hours of 4pm, 5pm, 6pm staying firmly focussed on the finish line and BED. Just get me to bed sober and I'll be happy.
And then I'd flick my mental image forward to the next morning. I'd visualise myself waking up snuggled between the sheets with no hangover, no guilt, no sick-guts, no overwhelming feeling of disappointment in myself for boozing yet again the night before.
I KNEW that I would be so so happy with myself when I woke up not having drunk the night before (no-one wakes up regretting not drinking the night before!!). I knew I would be so proud of myself and so relieved that I didn't let myself down yet again.
So I'd visualise that getting into bed sober moment and that happy waking-up moment. Really clearly I would form these images.
Me taking my slippers off, pulling back the bed covers and climbing between the sheets with a clear, wide-open, un-inebriated brain.
Me waking up in the morning (without having gone to the loo five times in the night!!), coming to consciousness without a dry mouth or pounding head, feeling quietly proud and happy that I didn't drink the night before.
Visualisation - I'm telling you it works really well to get you through. Try it, you never know it might work for you too!
Love, Mrs D xxx