Back when I was drinking too much, I couldn’t understand why it was so hard to change my relationship with alcohol.
I had my “Why” sorted: I wanted to be there for my family and I wanted to look after my health (ie no more hangovers and exhaustion!)
I had the “Where I wanted to go” sorted: I knew that I really wanted to stop, that moderation wasn’t working for me.
I had the “Who” sorted: there was only one person who had to wrestle back control of this pesky habit – me, myself and I.
I had the “When” sorted: soon as freaking possible! I was so tired of thinking about drinking.
I had the “What” sorted: what I wanted to be free of those impulses.
But dammit, I could NOT get a handle on this stopping thing. I kept getting a day or two under my belt of not drinking. Then by about Day Three my resolve would snap, I’d be overwhelmed by I JUST DON’T CARE and I would drink an entire bottle of wine, feeling equally defiant and guilty. And then sometimes open another one.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. And there’s a good reason for it.
It’s not just the addiction. It’s the mindset too.
You see, the first step is often getting your “Why” sorted. Really, really sorted.
We know we need to sit down and have a think about Why we want to change our relationship with alcohol. And I’d sat down and listed out my reasons. But I never really went deep enough. I just wrote down “to be there for my family”. But when 5 o’clock rolled round and I was exhausted and I’d had enough of adulting for the day – I actually wanted to NOT be there! I wanted a break. I needed some space, some time for myself.
My family were triggering me, so they weren’t a great reason to not drink right then!
I had to dig deeper; to understand that I wanted to be fully present for my family in the mornings too and the whole of the next day. I wanted to show my daughters how to deal with stress and exhaustion without drinking. I wanted to teach myself other ways of dealing with uncomfortable feelings without drinking. When I sat down and thought about it, there was a whole other level under that initial superficial Why.
I also found some other Whys that had nothing to do with my family, so if I wanted to drink because I was exhausted/triggered by family life, I could call on those reasons.
I wanted to go to work and feel like I was doing a good job, not hungover and bleary. I wanted to lose the extra kilos and wear that blue dress again.
I also had to find different Whys for different times. I knew that not drinking in front of my daughters wouldn’t work if Matt & I were going out, so I needed another reason for those occasions. I knew how hard it was to run with a hangover, so I’d arrange a challenging training session the next morning with a friend who would call me out if I tried to cancel.
I sat down and had a Post-It party. I wrote down all those different reasons, and I kept asking myself “why?” for each one, until I’d really drilled down into my core beliefs and what my soul really wanted. Then I matched those reasons up with the different times and thoughts about drinking. The reason to not-drink HAS to be more compelling that the wish to drink, for each situation and thought process. I put the Post-Its everywhere and set new reminders and screen savers on my devices, so they were everywhere I looked.
When you have your Whys sorted, then you can work out the Hows. The new routines and habits that you need to implement to get you through (there’s a really simple but strong process called the Daily Freedom Plan that makes this really easy – I’ll cover this separately).
Do your Whys go deep into your soul's purpose?
Have you got multiple Whys?
And do you know the different times you’re going to use them?
How are you making sure they’re everywhere, not just in a book you don’t even look at?
Drop me an email here or leave a comment below.