11 Costly Misconceptions about Quitting Drinking Alcohol

11 Costly Misconceptions about Quitting Drinking Alcohol

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Today’s video talks about 11 of the most costly misconceptions about drinking and quitting drinking alcohol… We all take a look at disease of alcoholism and the alcoholic gene… We will look at you as an alcoholic or a victim… We will also look at that one drink, the power of the Demon drink, and the higher power… Finally, will look at misconceptions about treatment, fears, the AA, and medication for quitting drinking…

11 Costly Misconceptions about Quitting Drinking Alcohol (Transcript)

1. Drinking Alcohol Is a Disease
The first one is that drinking alcohol is a disease.
Now, there’s no proof of this. This is something that has only been around since maybe the 50s or 60s.
For me, it’s a direct correlation, a direct aftermath of prohibition, that era where people could no longer blame alcohol, and that it wasn’t a problem and it was the individual that was the problem.
Considering that so many people drink alcohol, you have to have a classification that divides those who are normal drinkers and those who are problem drinkers.
For me, every drinker has a problem. Every drinker is abusing their body by putting this toxin into their body in the first place. As to a disease, whenever you hear someone talking about alcohol, you always hear them talking about the disease of alcoholism. If it was a disease, you wouldn’t have to call it that. You don’t say ‘the disease of cancer’ or ‘the disease of cardiac arrest’, but they have to say ‘the disease of alcoholism’.
2. Drinking Alcohol Is a Genetic Problem
It’s the same thing as the second one, which is that drinking alcohol is a genetic problem. They’re saying that there’s something in your brain that is causing you to want to drink lots of alcohol, that you’ve got an addictive gene, or more specifically, the alcoholic gene.
3. If You Have a Drinking Problem, You Are an Alcoholic
The third misconception is that people are alcoholics, that you have to call yourself an alcoholic, or you have an addictive personality.
All 3 of these things, they take away from your power and your ability to quit drinking on your own.
They say your problem of drinking alcohol is caused by something completely out of your control, and you can do nothing about it, and this is going to be with you for the rest of your life, something that is deeply embedded in your brain. Either the disease or the gene, or the fact that you are an alcoholic, and you can never get away from that.
These 3 misconceptions are the biggest reasons which will prevent you from pursuing a life after alcohol and leaving alcohol behind.
If you have this thought pattern, if you think through this mind-set, how can you ever escape from it? It’s always there. As the AA say, you’re always going to be one drink away from being a full blown alcoholic again.
4. You’re a Victim of Alcohol for Life
Number 4 is that you are going to be a victim of alcohol for the rest of your life.
Once you stop drinking alcohol, the alcohol and all its traces are going to be out of your system within 72 hours. Maybe fine traces are left after that but that’s just being pedantic.
If alcohol is not in your system after 72 hours, how is alcohol controlling you? How are you a victim of alcohol?
Alcohol cannot affect you when it’s in a bottle on a shelf. It can’t psychically call you out and say ‘drink me’ like in Alice in Wonderland. It’s just an inert drink that will sit in the bottle forever unless you pick it up and unscrew it and take a sip and swallow the sip.
So if it’s not the alcohol that’s controlling you, then what is? Who is?
You are.
You decide whether you’re going to allow the alcohol into your system on a drink by drink basis, on a mouthful by mouthful basis. Every mouthful that you take, you have to deliberately reach down for the glass, you have to lift the glass up, take a sip and then swallow the stuff.
You make the decision to do that over and over again. You make the decision not to do that over and over again, whether that’s in the moment now, in 5 minutes time, in an hour, a day or 5 years or 10 years down the road.
It’s up to you. It’s your mind and you behaviour. It’s your choice.
5. It Only Takes One Drink to Get You Back Where You Started
Number 5 is that it takes only 1 drink to get you back to where you started from.
How ludicrous is that?
If you leave alcohol behind you, if you leave everything behind you that alcohol caused, and if you start to rebuild your life and you build the habits that are progressing you forward, then why would you ever want to have another alcoholic drink again?
Once you get where you were, once you understand where you were when you stopped drinking, you understand that it was because of your behaviour of drinking it in the first place which caused you to have all this, to get to this situation you’re in.
Why would you go back to that?
It doesn’t make sense to me.
I know myself, the life I’ve built, the things I’ve done in my life since I’ve stopped drinking have far outweighed everything I’ve done before.
My life was going downhill before I stopped drinking. While I was drinking, the only thing on my mind was alcohol. That’s where everything always led me.
Going away on vacations was always drinking about as much as I wanted. Celebrations were about alcohol. So much of my life just revolved around drinking.
The more I drank, the more things were getting sucked into this vortex of alcohol. Relaxation and sleep were getting sucked in. I couldn’t sleep without taking a drink.
Once you get away from that and break the spell, you understand what it is about alcohol and the behaviour, and normalcy of alcohol in our society, why would you ever go back to that?
It’s only if you don’t get that or see that, if you don’t connect those two things, that you’re being denied something in your life. If you see that in your head and figure things out and say ‘I really want to drink. I miss this drink. I’m mourning my loss, but I can always get it back’, then that’s where you get problems.
You have to completely divorce yourself from that idea, from the alcohol, and put a line in the sand and say ‘I’m never going back over that line. This is my commitment to myself, to my family, to everyone else around me, to my life, that I’m never going back across that line, go back to that old lifestyle of pouring poison into my body just for the sake of seeing what it did to my body, seeing this buzz that I got from drinking alcohol’.
6. Alcohol Is the Demon Drink
The next one is that it’s the alcohol that’s the demon drink.
We’ve touched on this before earlier on. We have said that alcohol cannot magically transport itself into your body without you physically doing it. It cannot force you to drink it. It cannot call out for you to drink it.
How can it be the alcohol’s fault?
The alcohol will only do damage to you once it’s inside your body. If you pour it all over your body, maybe it will seep through your skin, but it won’t do much damage. But if you pour it into your body, the whole system goes on red alert. Your liver cannot do anything else but control how the toxins are coming into your body before it can deal with anything else.
So if you drink 10 or 12 pints, every single pint you drink, every unit you drink takes 1 hour. I used to drink Guinness; it was over 2 units of alcohol per pint of Guinness. Let’s say I drank 12 pints in a day, that’s over 24 hours that it would take my liver to metabolise that alcohol. That means that for a full 24 hours, my liver would not be dealing with anything else in my body that it was supposed to be dealing with.
The liver does a lot of stuff including keeping your blood sugar levels balanced. It plays a part dealing with proteins; there are a lot of different things. Your liver can’t do a great job of all these essential functions while it has to deal with the alcohol.
So it’s not the alcohol at fault, it’s you and your behaviour.
The alcohol itself is just a means to an end. It’s the behaviour of instant gratification, of you wanting to have a drink now in order to party, to relax and sleep. These are all the things you’re using alcohol for.
It’s in your behaviour. If alcohol suddenly disappeared, and you weren’t allowed to have it anymore, but it was replaced by another drug, you would very easily replace the alcohol in your life with this other drug because it slots into the gap.
But what you have to do is change the gaps. You have to change your whole behaviour, some of the rituals, and dismantle them, and put in new habits that will lead you forward into a better life.
7. You Have To Seek Help from a Higher Power
The next one is that you need to seek help from a higher power.
This is a pure AA thing, but it can be anything else, that you need to focus your mind on seeking help from somebody outside of yourself.
The only thing that you have to do really is to push yourself into doing this yourself. You can seek advice from people, but you are the one who has to do the hard graft, to put in the hours, you have to put up with the discomfort and push yourself through the discomfort.
Only you are going to be able to do that.
If you are a religious person and you find help through prayer, then do that. I’m not a religious person so that does me no good whatsoever. And there’s no chance on this earth that I’m going to go to another human being for help because they have their own problems to deal with.
I understand what my problem is. My problem was putting this stuff into my body, and the consequences of that.
So it doesn’t take a genius to work out what you have to do. You have to stop putting this stuff into your body, and then you have to deal with the consequences of you not having the alcohol in your body anymore.
This means you have to get rid of the behaviours that were facilitating your drinking, or any of the other bad shit, the instant gratification stuff you have in your life.
Then you have to build new habits that are going to sustain you and grow you as a person, that are going to grow you in confidence and self-belief and fire you towards your goals, the real big reasons you want to quit alcohol.
Higher power, if it’s in your life and it helps you, then fair enough. But you don’t need it. What you need is to get your head on straight, to start acting like you’re wearing big boys’ pants. Start taking responsibility for yourself. Put up with the discomfort, and don’t be a namby-pamby. It’s someone who places their responsibility on somebody else, even if it’s a higher power.
8. You Need Costly Treatment in a Dry out Clinic
Another misconception is that you need to go for costly treatment in a dry out clinic.
That’s just not true. There are very few people who need medical attention once they quit drinking, very few people. I’d say the top 5% of drinkers, the ones that are really abusing alcohol. Even then, you’re talking about…for those who are drinking the most, who are getting up in the morning and drinking all day long, only 5% of that 5% are truly at risk of dying.
Don’t take my word for this. Go to your doctor and get advise on that. They are first ones that will be able to tell you if you need to sign yourself into a dry out clinic or not.
All the dry out clinics will say to you, is that everyone who quits drinking alcohol needs to sign themselves in because that’s how they make their money.
I was reading a website yesterday, and it was telling people that not only did you need to sign yourself in for a month, but you might need 2 or 3 months signed in, but you’re going to need extra services. So you’re going to need to come back again and again.
And most of these places are only using the 12 step program. So, they either use the in-house 12-step counselling program, or they’re going to send you to a group outside. It’s like a glorified hotel with a couple of nurses. Some people might like that, but for the cost of thousands of euros or dollars? I don’t think you need it.
9. Only a Costly Dry out Clinic Will Help You in the Long Run
The next one is that only a costly dry out clinic is going to help you quit drinking in the long run.
For me personally, I think that when someone goes into a dry out clinic, they’ve taken him out of normal circumstances and into this sterile environment. No chance of getting any alcohol.
They’re being watched 24/7 so they can’t take a drink.
But the problem with this approach is that you’re definitely going to have somebody who, once they go into this place, they’re not going to drink for a month. But you can achieve the same result by going up and smacking a police officer and getting yourself locked up for a month.
There are plenty things you can do in life that will put you into a situation where you can’t drink for a month.
But once you get out of that environment, and you go back to the environment you used to be in, then how long are you going to stay off the alcohol.
Can you stop on your own?
Ask yourself a few questions.
You’re the only one that can really and truly understand this on your own. You can go to the doctor and ask advice, but the doctor is going to ask you some similar questions.
How much do you drink?
Do you drink when you get up in the morning?
Do you drink all day long?
Do you take breaks from drinking alcohol? I’m not talking about do you break for a nap in the afternoon, I’m talking about taking a couple of days off during the week.
If you’re constantly drinking alcohol from morning to evening, 24/7, then you seriously need to get some help. You need medical help to overcome the damage the alcohol has caused, and you need to get psychological help. You need therapy from someone who can help you.
If you’re doing that, you don’t have much of a life outside that. You can’t have a job. You can’t drink like that and still go to work. I’ve known people who have just pissed their businesses down the toilet because of alcohol. There are people like that around.
Most people aren’t in that bucket. Most people are drinkers who drink a few in the evening or every day, but not all day long, and certainly not massive amounts of alcohol.
I was capable of drinking 25 pints on a good stretch. That would be getting up on Sunday morning, no work, and going out at 11 o’ clock am to an early house, and we’d go out, drink all day long, and stagger home at 2 o’clock in the morning. But the whole point is that those 25 pint session weren’t every day. That was once in a blue moon.
Most of the time when I drank, it was like 4 or 6 pints in the evening. A bottle of wine in the evening. There were some evenings that I didn’t drink at all. I knew from the fact that I quit drinking for almost a year, 5 years before I actually quit drinking, that I was going to do this.
10. Doctors Will Push You towards AA
Another misconception is that all doctors are going to push you towards joining the AA.
A doctor is there to give you medical advice, to see if you’re in physical danger.
Go to the doctor. If your doctor suggests the AA, then it’s only a suggestion. You don’t have to follow the advice.
Everyone needs a bit of help from somewhere, if not from knowledge, then from another person who can keep them on the straight and narrow.
The hard work is going to have to be done by you.
If a doctor suggests he AA, and you don’t want to go to the AA, you don’t have to go to the AA.
11. Medication Can Help You Quit Drinking Alcohol
Another misconception is that your doctor can prescribe you a medication for quitting drinking, and this medication can help you quit.
From my perspective, I hate medication. I think it’s another one of those short term, instant gratification solutions.
All the alcohol drugs help you quit alcohol in the moment, they help you not want it in the moment.
There’s one called Antabuse, which makes you feel ill when you drink alcohol because it blocks off one of the chemicals your body uses to metabolize the alcohol. So when you drink, it makes you want to vomit.
In order for that to work long-term, you have to keep taking the drug. Otherwise, as soon as you stop, then you can drink as normal.
So unless you deal with your life and the behaviour, and what’s causing you drink, unless you deal with the habit itself, then it’s still going to be there when you stop drinking.
So why not deal with the habit first?
You don’t know what the side effects of these things are, the short or long-term. And none of the drug companies know that for sure. All they are interested in doing is selling you the drug, and getting it past the FDA or whatever administration they have to get it past, in order to prove that it’s viable and it’s not going to kill too many people. But they do have serious side effects, though.
Nobody knows what they are, but you can be sure they are there.
I think it’s one of those instant gratification things. People don’t want to put up with the hard work of doing this.
It’s like people taking sleeping pills because they don’t want to put up with a few sleepless nights.
Your body will adjust without the medications. If you start messing around with medications, then you’re lengthening the time your body needs to adjust.
There are just so many misconceptions about quitting drinking and these are just a few of them. We’re surrounded by misconceptions that alcohol drinking is normal. That’s what the alcohol companies are trying to sell us.
That’s rubbish in my book.
We propagandize ourselves and brainwash ourselves about this all the time. We like to hear good news about our bad habits. We tell ourselves lies about what we’re doing in order to placate that part of our minds that doesn’t want us to think we’re dumb.
I drank for 35 years. I put the toxin into my body for 35 years. I had loads and loads of different excuses for doing that.

“Nothing is more dangerous for a new truth than an old misconception”… Goethe


Until next time...
Onwards and Upwards!

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Kevin O'Hara

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