This is such a powerful question. I love asking this of my clients. There is always a long pause as they seem to not have thought about it in a long time. It’s like their brain can’t imagine life without drinking. Many times, when we try to cut back on our drinking, we focus on all the things we are missing out on or lacking. We tend to focus on the loss of the benefits we perceive as coming from alcohol (and I do mean perceive – since there are very little benefits from alcohol). We may have these false perceptions when we cut back or take a break from drinking:
“I am no longer fun and easy-going at social gatherings.”
“I can’t deal with the stress in my life without feeling miserable if I stop drinking.”
“My partner drinks, therefore, it is too challenging for me to sit and watch and not join in.”
“My friends will think I am lame if I cut back or stop.”
“My life seems duller without drinking.”
“My dinner tastes better paired with a fine wine.”
I want to tell you the honest truth – alcohol does not make you more fun, more social, make your food taste better, etc. And all the rest of these statements are false beliefs. You have just trained your brain to think that these are true.
Many times, when we try to cut back on our drinking, we focus on all the things we are missing out on
A better question to ask yourself is: “What would be BETTER in my life if I didn’t drink?
I want to you sit down and answer that question. Keep writing and don’t stop. OMG, my list was so long when I wrote it out. I filled up all lines on a piece of notebook paper. Seeing it written out REALLY hit me. Let me share a few of mine:
I would get better sleep.
I won’t worry about who is driving me home and how much they had to drink or calling Uber.
I would feel in control.
I would have higher self-esteem.
I would remember ALL the conversations I had and what I said and did.
I would be healthier (especially my liver and brain).
I wouldn’t have crazy mood swings and get nasty.
I would have no mental chatter around drinking.
I wouldn’t be second-guessing if I am slipping into the disease of alcoholism.
I would keep my promises to work-out.
I would lose weight.
I would save so much money.
No more brain fog.
The list went on. Once I cleaned up this area of my life, other areas started to improve. The mental shift was amazing and helped fuel other areas where I had desired more self-control. I just had to learn to use my brain the way it was designed for creating new habits and lasting change.
How about you? What’s on your list if you gave up drinking?