The birth of a New Year brings forth new opportunities, rekindling the often promised commitment to change a habit or lifestyle that we know hinders any attempt to become the best that we can be. It is a time when we stop and scrutinize our behavior patterns, seeking to swap out the unhealthy choices for a healthier lifestyle. So often we begin the New Year with plans to exercise more and eat healthier. For some the quest is to drink less alcohol. It begins with a “Dry January” wherein the 30-Day break is a method of detoxing the body from the needless calories and negative mental and emotional effects of alcohol.
The misconception lingers that a dry 30-days will lead to a “cure” for going overboard in the future. I personally had this misconception for years and completed numerous “dry” January’s hoping that this 30-day break would eliminate my over-drinking behavior for good. I believed that if I avoided alcohol for this amount of time, my desire for it would change significantly. However, going “dry” for 30-days does not delve into the underlying reasons why one drinks excessively. One must learn and understand the reasons for the habitual return to an old pattern before one can embed the new approach into one’s daily lifestyle.
What is most effective is not just taking a break, but understanding the triggers causing the desire for alcohol. How will you respond come February when you’ve had a bad day and the self-imposed break from alcohol is over? Or when you are feeling lonely, irritated by your children or spouse, or depressed about the news. Will that trigger a return to a former habit of relying on alcohol to ease the pain?
The abstinence of something isn’t what removes the desire. Desire is learned by the brain through cues or triggers. The most effective way to change the behavior of over-drinking is learning new ways of reacting to those triggers and learning a method to dismantle the triggers once and forever. When the triggers are gone, so is the desire. This process requires learning the proper tools and skills which I teach in my programs. Empowering yourself with these skills allows you to be in control. You learn the methods by which you may choose to take it or leave it, and begin to love your life once again. And that’s the ultimate freedom – living life empowered while in control.
Sherry B. Price, PharmD, MBA, APh, BCPS is a certified life coach, pharmacist, and creator of the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast and program. Using an empowerment-based approach, she helps women to stop overdrinking and teaches them how to live as their most epic self. If you’re ready to begin your journey to a new you <START BY CLICKING HERE>.
Photography by Becki Freed Photography.
Article published February 2022 in Discover Magazine, Page 59. click here to see the original magazine article.