Ten different ideas that will help you to fill the time after you’ve stopped drinking alcohol.
I’m not going to give you specific ideas that I or someone else can do, I’m going to give you ways of thinking about these things, ten different ways of changing your mindset to try and help you to think about these things a different way. Once you quit drinking you need to look at that in a different way all together.
Don’t try and fill the time
This is not about trying to fill the time and finding something to fill the gap that was left behind by alcohol. Drinking alcohol was about filling the time. When I was drinking alcohol, I was bored, it was the thing that I did when I came home from work, the thing that I did when I felt shit or wanted to celebrate or all the other things that happened in my life.
It was just the thing I did, and it was filling gaps and not only was it filling gaps but it was stealing the gaps – it was taking massive chunks of my life and just burning them up in some alcohol fuelled nightmare.
So you don’t want to be filling the gaps and you don’t want to be looking at filling the gaps. Any addiction laser focuses your mind down a narrow path. When you are in the habit of drinking alcohol, your whole life evolves around it and the more you drink, the more your life starts evolving around alcohol and the more your life narrows in on that one thing that you do all the time.
When you stop drinking and you pull away from that addiction or any other addiction your life starts to expand again and that’s where you want to focus all of your energy.
Focus on trying to expand your life as much as possible, and its only when you start that expansion that you start to expand outwards and you experiment with different things, that you start to see the areas of life that you really want to go for.
When I first stopped drinking, I didn’t have a clue as to where I wanted to go. I have a general idea of what I wanted to do; everyone wants to have a better house, a better car and all those kind of standard things that I also wanted in my life, but I had no real idea of the direction of where I wanted to go apart from knowing up was a direction I wanted to go, onwards was a direction I wanted to go.
That’s where it comes from the onwards and upwards. Whenever I was feeling shit, depressed and stuff, my Dad used to say, “Look, it’s always onwards and upwards“
So that was the general direction, the general flow of my life but as far as specifics were concerned I didn’t’ know what I wanted to do until I started experimenting with a lot of different things.
You’ve got to put yourself out there, we’ve got to experiment and you’ve got to try different things but don’t try and fill the gaps. Don’t’ try and replace the alcohol with something else, don’t try and replace that narrow gap of time with something else, you want to try and expand it as much as possible, expand your horizons and look for different things.
Learn something new
The second thing that I would try and encourage you to do is to learn something new. When your brain is unfogged from all the toxins, then you are going to have a lot of energy in your mind, mental energy and there’s no better way of expanding that energy than by learning something, whether it’s a language, or you go back to School, whatever it may be, just learn something new. Go to College, expand your life a bit, learn a new hobby.
When I was drinking, I used to try to learn a lot of stuff, but it a lot of it wouldn’t stay in my mind. I would always take one step forwards, two step backwards. If I tried to learn something it would disappear after a few days because of the alcohol fog and that was one of the reasons why I decided to take on the university course because I really needed to channel all that energy and to have a serious challenge.
There’s only so much TV that you can watch and dossing time that you can do. You have to challenge yourself if you want to progress in your life.
From when I was young, I’ve always had a sort of mixed thing about College and University, you will hear Business men talking about it and some will say they went to College and learnt what they did and other people will say they didn’t go to College and learned from experience and the fact that they didn’t go to College helped them out, they’ve got the experience of life.
So, I’ve got that one side of me and the other side of me always wanted to do something like this. I’ve tried two or three times before, this is my third attempt and the reasons I didn’t succeed before were first I didn’t have the money to do it, I had to pay for the course; and I needed to have the time, I had a young Son.
My Son was only a year old at the time I did the first degree, I got three months into it and I just realised that I was falling further and further behind, so I had to stop doing it. The first time degree was Computer Programming and I found that boring anyway, it wasn’t something I wanted to do but I had it in my mind that it was a logical thing for me to progress to because I like Computers and thought I should therefor like programming, but it wasn’t something for me at all.
The second degree I attempted was a literature degree. Shaun was fourteen at the time so it was about ten years ago. Again it was something that I thought I wanted to do but once I got into it, I just realised that liking literature and breaking it down as you have to in a College Degree are two different things and it just wasn’t for me.
This time, I’m having great fun studying. The year is all about basic Science stuff and looking into cell reproduction and nutrition. One of the parts of the course is about alcohol and the damage it causes, so that’s pretty pertinent to what I’m doing, the rest of it is sort of pretty boring, I’m not really into it, but the second year on from that goes into proper psychology, and I’m looking forward to it.
It’s a real challenge for me. That’s the reason I took this up, it was just to get back into skills. I’m writing, I’m listening, I’m just applying myself to things and I’ll see how it goes.
Learn about yourself
The third one is to learn about yourself. It is very important that you look into yourself both physically and mentally and learn about yourself, truly deep down, to what makes you tick. It is of huge importance in your life.
You know you’ve got to look after yourself first and foremost before you can look after anyone else. When you go onto an airline and the Air Stewards says to you that if the Plane gets into a problem, the Gas Mask will come down and you have to put this onto yourself before you help anyone else around you and there’s a reason for this.
If you try and help somebody else the chances are that you won’t get the air you need, you have to put your own mask on first, look after yourself first and then move on to somebody else, so the priority should be looking after yourself first, learning about yourself first.
There’s a lot of ways you can do this, you can read self-help books, you can listen to self-help audios, do courses, join different groups, Facebook groups or there’s plenty of other groups on the internet that you can join nowadays. Join groups that you can go to physically in your own neighbourhood. There are so many different places where you can go to learn about yourself, so make that a priority.
Relieve your stress.
Number four, is to do something to relieve the stress in your life. Learn something new to relive the stress.
If you are anything like me I used alcohol as a stress reliever and alcohol is not really a great reliever of stress. I think people are in a de-stressed, comfortable environment, they are in a nice warm house, with their arm chair, they’ve got the TV on in front of them and they are surrounded by people that they care about and that’s the thing that’s making people relax but they associate the relaxation with the alcohol.
Once you take the alcohol out of that equation you will feel a hole there, so use this as an opportunity to find much more relaxing ways of de-stressing and preferably before you put yourself in the position where you would normally drink.
Let’s say that you drink in the evening when you come home from work, so what you need to do, between that time of stopping work and coming home, is to go and do something that’s going to relieve that stress, even if that’s going to the gym for an hour or going for half an hours walk, going to a boxing club, going dancing, yoga, meditation, whatever it is, make sure that you are bringing something into your life and incorporate it into your life, so that it’s not effecting everything else around you, but will instead be a seamless transition from work and into that de-stress environment place, where you can de-stress and then go home.
I walk a lot, I tend to start my day off walking, it gets me into a routine and that routine just leads me on to one thing after another and it sets me up for the rest of the day. I’m thinking about getting back onto my bicycle again if not for anything else, just to do something different. I also do a little bit of meditation every so often and I do some yoga. I want to do more of those things, but walking is the big thing for me.
Improve your Nutrition
Number five is to concentrate a reasonable amount of time in improving your nutrition. Good nutrition will improve your life in general. It will improve:
your physical wellbeing
it will improve your mental wellbeing
it will improve your outlook on life and your perspective and just put you into more of a positive frame of mind.
Bad nutrition will do the opposite, it will have a negative effect on your life and the thing about bad nutrition is a lot of bad food tastes nice in the moment, so in that momentary feeling, you’re having a buzz. That’s not the alcohol thinking, it’s instant gratification thinking and instant gratification thinking can get you into trouble.
So you have to think about this on a long term basis because bad nutrition will do you a lot of harm in the long term in terms of your physical and mental well-being and all these things add up together. I can’t tell you what is good nutrition, I only know that the closer you can get to nature, the closer you can get to the food stuff that come out of the ground or grows off the trees or comes out of the field, whatever it is, the better it is going to be for you.
The less, oils, salt and sugar, fat, the better it will be for you. Margarines are processed fat that do nothing for you. Personally, I eat whole foods, plant based type most of the time, 99% of the time, vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, bean, pulses there’s a whole wide variety of different things I eat. I don’t eat animal flesh and I don’t eat diary products for the most part.
Sometimes I have to eat things, if I’m in a Restaurant and there’s something in the food that I can’t avoid then I’ll eat it. I don’t eat fish or meat, if there’s fish or meat in the food then I ask for it to be taken out but I’m there for my health not primarily for the welfare of animals- although I do agree with that.
So, that’s just me but you have to look at your own nutrition from your own perspective see what you’re saying to yourself, look into it, read about it, get to know yourself, learn about yourself and this is one of the most important things that you are going to do in your life – to understand the food that’s going into your body.
What goes into to your body is what your body builds itself on, it’s what it builds your life and brain on, so if your body is built out of crap what is going to come out of it?
Get a good night’s rest
Get a good night’s rest and sleep well. At the beginning, you are going to say to me “I don’t sleep well without alcohol. Alcohol made me go to sleep.”
Alcohol isn’t making you go to sleep its making you go into a form of coma, if you’ve drunk enough, alcohol might help you to drop off into sleep but you are not getting the type of sleep you need.
You need to build up a night time routine before you go to bed. When I was drinking alcohol it was easy to have a bed time routine, drink, go to bed, hit the pillow, go to sleep. My routine now is read a book, fall asleep and that’s it. I read a book, go to sleep, every night without fail.
I have the odd night when I have something on my mind and I can’t sleep, which is something we will all experience at one time or another, it’s just part of life, but in general just try and concentrate on getting yourself in a bed time routine.
- Switch off all the bright lights an hour before bed
- Try and turn of the TV and anything else that is over stimulating your mind
- Don’t have a TV in your room
- Make your bedroom comfortable and warm.
I read a Science Fiction book before bed, I don’t really read Science fiction any other time of the day so my brain associates it with going to sleep and within five to ten minutes I’m off to fairy land.
So, you have to establish your own bedtime routine. You’ll find out there’s lots of different ways that you can do this. If you want to look for more information about this there are a lot of different places where you can find information. I’ve also done a few videos about this so use go over the the alcohol master website, look at the sidebar and use the search function and you’ll find them.
What are you aiming towards?
- What is your end destination?
- Figure out where this journey is going to take you?
- Where do you want to be in five or ten years’ time?
- What do you want to do in five or ten years’ time?
This type of thinking can shed a lot of light into what other areas of life you want to go into, what you learn, what you do for relaxation, who you hang out with, all these different things can be an offshoot off where you want to be in five or ten years’ time.
Let’s say for instance you want to start a business and you want it to be successful in five years’ time, you will have to read a lot of information based around setting up a business. Maybe you don’t know how to set up a business, so you need to learn about that, you will need to learn how to set up the particular type of business that you want, how are you going to get there, the different aspects of business, accounting, learning, selling, marketing all that type of stuff – you may even take a course.
When I first quit drinking alcohol, I wanted to learn psychology, I’d always had an interest in psychology and read a lot of books on it, self help books and all that kind of stuff, on the human condition, understanding people, and understanding myself more than anything else. I think if you have a good understanding of yourself it helps you to have a good understanding of other people as well.
I started out with alcohol mastery as a means to help me to learn camera skills, to help me to speak on camera, how to edit film, how to set up a microphone and a camera properly and all of those things. I did that because I wanted to set up a website where I could help people with other psychological problems. I didn’t think about this at all, and it was only after time, after I read a lot more books and I got a lot more responses from people listening to alcohol mastery that I decided that this was the path I wanted to do.
Alcohol mastery has just taken on a whole different meaning to me in my life. In the beginning when I was figuring out my journey and where I wanted to go, it was a completely different place to where I am now but that’s okay as well, in the beginning you have to have a direction in which to aim towards, if you don’t have a direction you are just going to be spinning around in circles.
It doesn’t matter if you have to change that direction, if you have to change it by a big margin or if you change direction all together and decide you no longer want to go there.
Life is like a windy road, it’s not a straight road, you can sort of take branches off that raod and then come back and take on the main road again, it’s just experimentation, so try and figure out where you want to go, figure out what the end result is going to be, in five or ten years down the road, try and figure this out from as many different perspective as you can, from a business perspective, from a personal relationship perspective, from hobbies, health all that kind of stuff, just try and push yourself down the road to five years’ time, see yourself where you want to be and then how you are going to get there.
Remember that all of this takes time
But time is on your side, once you stop doing this to yourself, once you stop the inflow of the poison and you get rid of all the shit that alcohol is causing in your life. Once you’ve stopped the mental fog, the deteriation of your body or your organs all that kind of stuff, when that stops then you can work on trying to improve things.
So you work on your nutrition, you work on where you want to be, you work on learning new things about yourself, learning new things on what you want to do in your life, and you’ve got extra time.
Not only have you got extra time, but in my opinion you extend your life by stopping drinking alcohol and have a better quality of life and that’s the important part.
What’s the point of having a long life if you have a shit quality of life. I see people around here, where I am living now, ex pats and they are basically eating and drinking themselves into early graves. You see them on walking sticks, young enough people, in their seventies who are still reasonably young and should be reasonably active but who are on the last legs because of what they’re doing to themselves.
You can go into a hospital in any country in the western world and you will see this for yourself. 80 to 90% of people that are in those hospitals are in there for problems that they have caused or done to themselves. That’s a sad thing, but you don’t have to do that.
If you stop doing this and you think about the repercussions of everything that you’re doing to yourself, the food that you are putting in, the exercise you are getting, whatever, if you do that then you’ve got time on your side. You’ve got proper time on your side, you’ve got quality time on your side and you’ve got time to think about things.
You’ve got time to do things, just that one thing quitting drinking alcohol has given you a massive extension of your own life from both perspectives in terms of longevity and in terms of quality of your life, you’ve got the time to build your self confidence, to build your momentum, to build your motivation and to build your own personal inspiration and it’s a good thing. It’s a great thing.
Live in the present moment
This is the only thing that you’ve got, don’t worry about the past and what’s gone on before, all that drinking that you’ve done before is in the past you cannot do anything about it so there is no point in worrying about it.
Don’t worry too much about the future apart from putting your plans in place. Thinking about where you want to go, setting yourself off on the right course, all the thinking and behaviour change, all the actions that you are going to take only can only happen in the moment.
You can only really concentrate on yourself in the moment, so you can concentrate 100% on what you are doing, know what you are thinking now and what you are putting into your body now and how you are treating your body now.
If you’ve got problems, don’t think about the problems tomorrow think about the problems right now. What can you do right now? Who can you call right now, where can you go, what advise can you seek out, what can you do right now to improve your situation and that’s always what you should be asking yourself.
All of these questions should be about what you can do right now. It’s all right planning for the future, to say I want to be here in five or ten years’ time but I always advise people to break down those long term plans and goals into much smaller chunks and then break those smaller chunks down into even smaller chunks and just figure out what is the next step that you can take and then once you’ve done that figure out the next step, and then once you’ve done that figure out the next step and that’s as easy as it gets.
It makes it very easy for you to get to the goals because one step after another is how you do it. Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, well a journey of a thousand miles begins with that single step and then the next one and then the next one. You don’t get to the thousand miles by taking the first step and then skipping to the 100th and then the 500th you get it by going from the first to the second, to the third to the fourth and that’s how you get to any of your goals.
So always think about things from that perspective, what can you do right now? Because right now is the place where you can take that next step no matter what it is, whether it’s in your thinking or it’s taking an action. Whether it’s changing the way you think about something, whether it’s building or breaking a habit, whether its thinking about nutrition, exercise or thinking about how you are going to overcome the boredom.
Think about the boredom from today, don’t think about the boredom from tomorrow or the next day.” I’m going to be bored here, what happens next week if I go to this place and I am going to be feeling left out“, don’t think about it like that. You have to do a certain amount of thinking about tomorrow otherwise you will just be going around in circles. You have to have a direction where you want to go, so when you are going to these places, say you’ve got a party next week to go to, put some thought into what you are going to do when you get there, but then once you’ve put the thought in to it, once you know what you are going to do, you can forget about it. Then you can go to that party in full confidence that you know exactly what is going to happen.
Don’t be a Victim
Victim mentally is blaming everything else for your problems, it’s blaming the weather because you couldn’t get out today, it’s blaming other people because you couldn’t stop drinking today.
Everything – your feelings, thoughts, emotions, actions, behaviours, your habits, these are all your reality and they are all under your control.
As soon as you start seeping out control to other things, blaming others for the things you control then you start having a victim mentality.
I am not telling you to blame yourself and to say “I am a weak person, I can’t do this because I am a weak person or I can’t do this because of blah de blah” Don’t give yourself individual digs where you are saying to yourself “yeah it’s my fault.”
It’s always a skill problem. If you have a problem in an area of your life, if you have an weakness in an area of your life, you have a skill problem, it’s not a personal problem, everyone can learn new skills and that’s the way you have to do it. So once you’re looking at things from that perspective, then you’re never looking at it from a weak victim mentality, you are always looking at it from “I’ll admit I’ve got a weakness here“
Everyone has got weaknesses, no matter who they are in this life, they’ve got strengths and weaknesses. Congratulate yourself on your strengths and always admit to your weaknesses, but don’t allow the weakness to reflect on your as person. It’s always to do with a skill shortage – there’s a skill that you need to learn. So figure out what it is that you need to learn and learn it, don’t be a victim.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this one. These tips are not actual ideas that you can take and implement, because everyone is different. What I might suggest to you to fill in the gaps could be something you would never look at, so what I’ve tried to do is to give you some general help and advise on how you can chaperone different skills in your life, gather different skills in your life, different ideas and mentalities that if you take on board, will drive you down a positive path and I think that’s the most important thing. If you can look at things in a positive way you can have a positive life, be persistent in that positivity and then it can take your anywhere.
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“Put yourself at the top of your To-Do List every day and the rest will fall into place”
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!