You have a new plan for your drinking. How do you overcome the over-desire for a drink? The way you unlearn anything on purpose is by using your prefrontal cortex, the higher part of your brain, to manage the lower part of your brain. Think of the lower part of your brain as the subconscious area where your thoughts and actions go unsupervised and things are done without question. It is like you are running on autopilot.
You will need to learn the skill of using your prefrontal cortex to manage your lower brain.
Teaching yourself not to over desire alcohol can be relatively easy. Re-programming can take a short amount of time. For many people, it has taken 10+ years to create their desire for overdrinking. This over desire can literally be undone in a short time span. If you are willing to put in the time and the effort to practice unlearning something, you can learn to cut back or completely quit drinking.
The thought comes, and the desire surfaces, but we don’t allow ourselves to answer the desire
The Way to Interrupt a Neural Pathway
We interrupt a neural pathway the same way they did it with Pavlov’s dogs. Right now, you may have a trigger – the drive home from work, walking into a bar, making dinner, walking into a party, seeing a certain friend or family member. You experience a circumstantial trigger, and then you have a thought. It may be as simple as “I want a drink” or “I need a drink.” You might tell yourself that this one drink won’t matter. Once you trigger that desire, you act on it, and that will perpetuate the desire.
The thought, the desire, the alcohol, then the drinking.
But, when you engage your prefrontal cortex, you have decided to not drink that drink ahead of time. The thought comes, and the desire surfaces, but we don’t allow ourselves to answer the desire with drinking. We are utilizing the prefrontal cortex now instead of the lower brain. We are developing the skill of using the prefrontal cortex and activating a new neural pathway to form – one that doesn’t allow drinking to answer the desire. Over time, this new neural pathway gets deeper and becomes our new default way of operating. We may even notice the trigger goes away as well.