What Normally happens? This can be applied to many things...
You start off feeling excited, determined.
It drops off – either you have done really well worked really hard, put a lot of effort into making the big change, For some reason you feel you need more of an external reward , and you aren't getting it from others any more, there is a sense of lack, . You can't keep up with doing something that feels like hard effort forever.
You feel depleted. It's mentally exhausting.
You may feel angry and discouraged.
Or: You may start of with these amazing intentions but something happens that is hard for you to deal with, it makes you react from your feelings of helplessness – It can be something relatively small if you are living in a stressed emotional state – like the washing machine breaking down, or someone complains about you at work, or just one more thing that sets you off. Or it could be more significant such as a death or job loss, or relationship breakdown.
Or you have done really well for some time, but become complacent – forgetting your resolve as your mind conveniently forgets how bad things were in the past. The sneaky lies get through from the subconscious part of you that still likes alcohol , you decide to go to moderating but eventually that doesn't go well, and you end up at square one.
What is going on? Firstly, the reason you drank hasn't been fully resolved – as a learnt coping mechanism for difficult or painful times, it numbs down the feelings til the morning. Secondly, the reason why you stopped drinking is forgotten/ become less significant as the mind pushes away from painful memories. And you feel well, non of the bad things about drinking have been happening recently and it is buried as being not important.
The mind is doing a fab job of helping you survive.
So what do you want to do about it?
When I work with my clients on changing their relationship with alcohol, as well as breaking the belief that it helps you cope, enable them to truly feel all their emotions, I get them to look at all the negative impact it has had on their life – it can be quite uncomfortable. It is a bit of a reality check.
Doing this exercise is key to committing to yourself to make real changes.... (Then we sort out the emotional connection so staying alcohol-free isn't hard work any more.)
So for the reality check:
Write it all down – the list of cons (pun intended) the list can be very long. and what are the positives? Most of the positives are lies – it relaxes, (it causes anxiety) helps me cope … helps with social anxiety – gives me courage, helps me connect with others
Also it is familiar which is comforting. If you need comfort, switch to a hot chocolate, or even better a hug from a friend! Our mind loves what is familiar, and feels fear when you try to change, as it's only job is really for you to survive – and so far you have been surviving doing the same things and thinking the same thoughts... When you choose to change, you can feel an increase in anxiety and discomfort for a while, until your subconscious mind recognises that the new habits you are making are safe.
Also drinking is socially acceptable and expected of you with your drinking friends and family – it is familiar to them and is part of their perception of your identity. Change can make them uncomfortable too – when you accept that, and stick with it, they will accept you with your new identity... And if they are questioning their own drinking, it may make them angry at you – but you don't need to let that in, just be ready for it to happen. You may be accused of being boring, but you will soon see that watching others get into a state is pretty boring, and you can tell them all the embarrassing things they did. Or you can go home early and feel energised the next day...
So to wrap up, write down the cons, and look at what you believe are positives, and question them. Keep it handy. Bring it out and revisit it as often as you need to. Journal about it and see the changes you make in your life each day.
If you are struggling, you know I am here to support you, so message me. I would love to help.
Have an awesome week!