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...
Have you tried to cut back on your drinking and found it hard?
Do you look at others and wonder how they do it?
I did too. I’d see other people decide they weren’t going to drink during the week, or were only going to drink with others, and think to myself, How are they doing that?
Now I know.
It’s because I kept repeating Day 1. I didn’t realise that I simply had to get some distance between me and the last drink.
When we’re Grey Area Drinkers, it’s hard to admit that drinking has become a habit. When it’s a habit, we’re regularly drinking an addictive substance. Regularly drinking an addictive substance will mean we’re somewhere on the spectrum of addiction. Maybe only lightly on the spectrum, but if drinking is part of our lives, we’re constantly in withdrawal.
So the first few days of not drinking...
One of the tools we can use to escape from the alcohol trap is dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that most people think make us feel happy, but is actually associated with reward and motivation.
There are three ways that we can not only outsmart dopamine as it tries to encourage us to drink, but we can harness it to our advantage.
Start noticing when dopamine receptors are trying to make you push you towards believing something will make you feel good, but that will actually make you feel guilty, unhappy and just craving more.
So when you find yourself craving a drink so badly you can’t think of anything else, remind yourself what’s actually happening in your brain, and that dopamine just wants you to feel cravings, not satisfaction (that sneaky lizard brain).
And if you do give in and have that drink, and feel sick and furious after the first rush has...
Our caveman brains are driving us towards them all. Amazingly, our ancient brains push us towards them as part of our survival mechanism, thanks to a little thing called Dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter — a chemical messenger that carries signals between brain cells and communicates information throughout the body, and it plays HUGE role in our cravings.
When we have an alcoholic drink, dopamine is released and we get a little “high”.
Lots of people think that because of this high, dopamine is connected to happiness – but it’s not. Dopamine is actually connected to motivation and learning.
Dopamine is designed to keep you alive. This is the chemical that’s also involved in movement, motivation and reinforcement. It’s part of the survival mechanism – it drives us to crave high energy foods (hello, Cadbury’s Family Size Bar), finding a mate and social connection...