I posted this to the Alcohol Explained Facebook group in response to posts from people struggling with endless days ones. I thought it was worth sharing further.
Sometimes when you hit an obstacle, you need to back track a little way to give yourself a run up.
For those struggling to get some momentum going. Think about trying this.
The usually dynamic when stopping and starting over and over again is that you spend your non-drinking time wanting to drink. Try changing the dynamic for a spell.
Give yourself a time period. The exact period is for you to choose but I would suggest not less than a week and not more than a month. But whatever you decide on is set in stone once you start and can it be changed.
Then, for that period, drink. Drink your usual amount, as much as you want, but you have to drink every day. There is no option of stopping for this period, you have to drink every day for this period. And the point of this is that for every waking second for this period you are going to be comparing how you feel to how you would be feeling if you weren’t drinking.
Instead of not drinking and fantasising about drinking, drink and fantasise about how things would be if you weren’t drinking.
So every time you wake up anxious in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, think about how you’d be sleeping a deep, restful sleep if you had stopped drinking. Every time you wake up feeling exhausted and miserable, think about how you’d be waking up bright and positive if you’d stopped drinking. Every minute of the day when everything is hard work and effort and all you want to do is crawl away and roll up into a ball like a hedgehog under threat, think about how you’d be flying through things effortlessly if you hadn’t been drinking. Think about it every time you feel fat and out of shape, when you’re eating crap you really don’t need because alcohol has created a false hunger.
Most importantly think about it when you finally get your pay check for all the misery and heartache and loss of quality of life you are putting in. When you get the ‘buzz’ from that first drink of the day. Really analyse how you feel, and compare it to how you’d feel if you hadn’t drunk. If you had never drunk you’d feel generally positive, happy, fit, energetic and buoyant. Do you feel like that after that first drink? Or do you just feel slightly less tired, lethargic, and anxious than you did before that first drink?
Compare how you fee after the second, third, fourth and subsequent drinks. Do you fee good? Or tired and depressed? Again compare it how you’d feel if you’d never drunk.
You’ll very soon find you hate drinking, even the supposed good parts of it, and you will want to stop. But don’t. Keep going for the full period you’ve given yourself. Force yourself on to the end. Compare every moment to how you’d feel if you stopped.
When the last day comes and you finally get to stop drinking, and you take those last few drinks, drink them alone and really concentrate on every aspect of it. Think about the foul taste, how every mouthful is going to ruin your sleep, make you exhausted and anxious the following day, make you want to eat food you would otherwise have no desire for. Think about how any ‘pleasure’ is simply a slight lessening of all the anxiety and exhaustion caused by the previous drinks. Really analyse and make a firm decision whether what are you paying in terms of quality of life, is really worth such a paltry return.
As soon as you finish your last drink know for a fact that you have some unpleasant times ahead. Look at the section of this website dealing with how long it takes to feel better when you stop drinking. Remember the processes you need to go through before you get back to that wonderful feeling of being normal, of being away from the constant chemical imbalance caused by alcohol. Know above all that every second that goes by is a second closer to your getting back to that wonderful feeling of being positive, well rested and resilient. Everyone is different and the time scales aren’t the same for everyone. But whether it takes a day or a year, every second is taking you closer as your body and brain slowly heals themselves.
Remember that alcohol is your enemy, but it is a powerless enemy. The only power it holds over you is that power which you yourself give it. The only person that can make you take that next drink is you. It’s like being in an abusive relationship, but one where you are far physically stronger than your abusive partner. You can sit there and take a battering. Or you can walk away. The only way that partner can ever hurt you again is if you yourself make a decision to let them back into your life, and let them start abusing you again.
You need to go into this knowing that this is it now. There is no turning back. You are giving yourself a set period to compare life as a drinker with life as a non drinker. At the end of that period you are going to make a firm decision about which life is better. When you have made that decision, and taken that step into your new life, that decision is done. It is made. There is no going back. Never question it, and never waste time thinking about it. You’ve thrashed it out, you’ve analysed it to the fullest extent possible, you’ve made your decision. Know that now that process is over it is done. If ever you start to think about drinking I the future, think of this experience and how you’ve already made your decision about whether to drink or not, so don’t waste time rehashing it.
You will have good times and bad, just like every other human being on the planet, just know that without drinking the good times will be better, and you’ll be far better equipped to deal with the bad times, however frequent of terrible they are.