Here’s a few tips on getting yourself in the right frame of mind for quitting drinking alcohol.
2. Making your commitment
3. 100% responsibility
4. Conditions to make it happen
5. Fixing your date
6. Getting advice
7. Take your first step
8. Target 30 days
9. Accepting your discomfort
10. Finding your motivation
10 Steps to Stopping Alcohol for Good
The first step is preparation. You can’t really do much in life without preparing yourself well for the things that you expect to happen to you.
Preparation gets you ready for whatever is going to come. It sets your expectations for what’s going to happen. It provides you with a good idea with what kind of things to expect in your mind and how to prepare your mind; what kind of things to expect in your environment and how to effectively prepare your environment; and what kinds of things to expect from the people around you, and how to get the best out of them in the long run.
The second step is to make a commitment.
I don’t think you can move forward if you don’t make a 100% commitment. 99% commitment is not good enough. I think you have to be 100% committed to never putting alcohol into your body again.
That’s a prerequisite to moving forward.
If you don’t commit, your mind is always going to have the opportunity to back out. You’re always going to be able to say ‘I’ll have a drink this week and I won’t drink anymore’, or ‘something’s coming up and the pressure is going to be too much for me. I’ll have a drink and I’ll stop after I come back’, or make excuses for yourself.
If you have 100% commitment, you say that regardless of what happens or who I meet, what problems I come across, I’m never ever going to take another drink again.
Once you have that commitment, then you’re one step further towards getting rid of the alcohol.
Another aspect is to have 100% responsibility. You can say it’s the same as having commitment. Responsibility means your ability to respond. How you can respond, how you can take a situation, regardless of what it happens to be, and how you can move forward and say no matter what happens, it is 100% in your ability to respond.
Having 100% responsibility means you don’t blame somebody else, or the environment, or the fact that your birthday has just come up, or the fact that you’ve got a problem, or the weather is crap and you feel like crap. The responsibility lies firmly at your doorstep and nowhere else.
- Making It Happen
The next one is to understand that no self-directed change is going to happen unless you actually make it happen.
Change happens all the time. Things change in your life. Things change in your environment, with the people around you, with the world around you. Things are slowly ticking along and changing as you move on through life.
But that’s not self-directed change. This is change orchestrated by something, someone or whatever is it, outside of yourself.
Self-directed change is the only change where you get to make what you want happen, and if you don’t direct that change, if you don’t push it in the direction you want, then it’s not going to happen.
You’re not going to get those benefits. You’re not going to be able to quit drinking, because quitting not only necessarily means getting out of the mind-set of a drinker, but pushing yourself into something different. And that all requires change and persistence and consistent self-directed change.
Just realise that you are the only person that can make that happen, the only one. Nobody else is going to make those changes for you. Nobody else can make them for you even if they wanted to.
- Make a Date
Once you’ve done all these things, you’ve done your preparation, you’ve got your expectations and you’ve prepared your mind and the environment and the people around you; once you’ve made that 100% commitment, once you’ve taken upon yourself the 100% responsibility for this, and once you understand that the only person who can move these changes forward is you, then it’s your time to make a date and stick it on the calendar exactly when you’re going to do this.
I think that one of the best times to do this is during your preparation phase. Think about when exactly is the right time for you to quit; when’s the most opportune moment for you to say ‘this is it now. I’m setting myself up for a time when I have little stress, and no worries, and no big celebrations or times coming up. This is the date when I think I can give myself 30 days at least to stop this drinking and to be committed for that 30 days.’
Once you do that, you sort of cement something in stone. It gives you something to look forward to. I don’t recommend you do this for more than a couple of weeks or a month. Don’t allow more than two or three weeks to pass before you start.
For some people, there is just no opportune moment. You might be working a stressful job, you might have a young family that you need to attend to, and that’s stressful in and of itself. You might be a person who has a lot of friends, and there’s always something to celebrate and a party to go to; but you have to understand that if you don’t make this commitment now, when are you going to make it?
Procrastination is one of the biggest reasons why people put this off. It’s why you see people still smoking when they’re 70 and why you see people still drinking when they’ve got cirrhosis of the liver or other complications that come with putting this toxin in their body.
They keep putting it off, and the more they put it off, the longer the time span between one decision and the next gets. You have to make that date, put it on paper, write it on the calendar. You don’t have to tell anyone what it’s about, but you have to do it.
- Get Some Advice
Number 6 is to visit your doctor if you want to. If this makes you feel more secure in yourself, if you’ve got any doubts at all about your medical state, then it’s in your best interests to go and visit a doctor, just for some advice.
There are very few people who actually need to get medical attention, but medical advice about this is something completely different. There are a lot of people who could benefit from that. It means just going down to your doctor, having a chat with them and saying ‘look, this is something I want in my life. I feel like alcohol isn’t doing me any good, and I really want to quit. I want to stop drinking’. You don’t have to tell them everything, but you have to say enough so they can give proper advice.
You’re there for them to put your mind at rest that you can safely do this without going and putting yourself in a hospital. Most doctors are going to say that to you. Most of them will have enough knowledge to understand when you’re in danger and when you’re not. So, that’s number 6: go and visit your doctor if you need to.
- Take That First Step
Number 7 is to take that first step and step across the line.
You get to the day when you’re finally going to quit and you quit. You just don’t take any alcohol anymore. It’s as simple as that. Take that first step and step across that line. As the old saying goes, ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with that one single step’. And you CAN take that journey.
You can’t begin the journey unless you begin with the first step, and you can’t take the second step unless you take the first. That’s the way it goes. So take that first step.
- 30 Days at a Time
Number 8 is to take it in chunks of 30 days.
Why 30 days? 30 days is just an ideal time. They reckon that you can get a lot of the habit uncovered in 30 days. You can uncover a lot of your triggers and cravings and have them dealt with within the first 30 days.
It gives you experience of what it’s like to not drink alcohol. Most of us don’t know what it’s like to not drink.
When I stopped drinking, I had been drinking for 35 years, almost. And, I just didn’t know what it was like to go out and enjoy myself and socialise without alcohol. In the latter part of my drinking life, the last 10 to 20 years, I used alcohol in so many different areas of my life, from relaxation to problem solving, to just getting out of my face because I was tired and didn’t want to face going home and sitting at home and being bored, so alcohol just became a part of who I was, part of my identity.
I didn’t realise what it was like not to have that. That in itself was very difficult, but those 30 days give you a grounding in what it’s like not to drink alcohol. It gives you the opportunity to be a whole 4 weeks without alcohol. It gives you 4 weeks where you have to go to work and go through your day to day routine, and 4 weekends when you would otherwise be out having fun and partying and drinking or other things you normally do on the weekends.
It just gives you a good ground base for carrying on. It also lets you know what some of your strengths and weaknesses are.
You might uncover some things about yourself that you don’t like. When I stopped drinking, I realised how bad my diet was and how bad I was at getting exercise. A lot of other things started coming to the forefront.
Think about an onion, when you look at it, it’s got several layers of skin. The alcohol and it’s behaviour, represents the outside layer. Once you peel that back, you start uncovering different things about yourself. It’s not all bad. There are strengths and weaknesses.
Within that month, you will uncover some strengths about yourself that you didn’t know you had, and some weaknesses too. It’s all part and parcel of the game. I’m just saying that 30 days is an ideal number.
Once you get to the end, you can start thinking about what to do for the next 30 days. It can allay a lot of fears you might have had about whether you can do this, and the fears about the symptoms and side effects that you might have expected to happen.
We’re surrounded by a lot of bullshit, a lot of propaganda about why we drink, and about the things that can happen when we stop. This can put the fear of God into a lot of people. Quitting for those 30 days gives you that ability to uncover a lot of the untruths.
And then you can move on to the next 30 days. Before you know it, you’ll be at 90 days, 6 months, a year. Then once you’re at a year, you can start thinking about never drinking alcohol again, you can think about it in the long term.
30 days gives you a bit of room to manoeuvre. It gives you that ability to just look 30 days into your future. You don’t have to take this as a lifetime commitment. Just commit to that 30 days first. And then the next 30 days. And so on and so forth.
- Expect Discomfort
You have to understand that every negative experience you feel is just discomfort. It’s not going to kill you. It’s a discomfort that will last momentarily. All this discomfort, the sleeplessness, the craving, the boredom…they will pass.
How much time it takes for them to pass is completely up to you. You can use the massive super computer you’ve got inside your head to either lengthen the amount of time it takes them to pass, or shorten it.
You’re in control.
- Motivating Yourself
The final tip is to motivate yourself. This is up to you. This is your brain, and you’ve got it within you to motivate yourself, to do this, to carry on and pursue the goals you want to achieve, to put the alcohol into your mouth or not, to sit there and wallow in self-pity when you get a craving or to understand that it’s momentary and it will pass.
It’s your job, especially in the early days, to de-program yourself from the bullshit that you’ve been programmed with over years and years about alcohol. You’re only going to do that through your own experience and thinking, by changing your mind-set and looking at things from different perspectives.
And once you’ve de-programmed yourself, it’s your job to re-program yourself to fill in the blank spaces and put in things in your life, things that will pull you so far away from alcohol that you won’t ever think about it again. You won’t think about it in any longing for way. It might come through your head as a passing thought, but that’s it.
So, that’s 10 tips on how to put alcohol in our past forever.
If you have any questions, send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be Brave!!! Even if you’re not, pretend to be. Nobody can tell the difference!
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!
You May Also Enjoy…
- Every Move You Make Away from Alcohol, Good or Bad, Makes a Difference
- Environmental and Mental Blocks to Quitting Drinking Alcohol Permanently
- You Cannot Create More Time, You Can Only Create Better Choices
- The Practical Art of Not Giving a F*ck When Quitting Drinking Alcohol
Each of these ten steps ‘appear’ (to me) as an unfolding horrific nightmare. Having the courage, bravery and fearlessness to ‘Commit to Change’ (Step 2) feels like the hardest decision I will ever have to make in life. And ‘Step 7. Take that First Step’ is so terrifying that I fear my heart would literally fail. And yet these steps are also uplifting because I intuit through them lies the path to freedom. Our choice is very simple: Continue to drink to death, or Choose life. I congratulate you Kevin on your courage and your shining example. You are a big man. – Natalya
Thank you Kevin! This article is what finally did it for me. 30 days. I can do 30 days. Not a lifetime, but 30 days I can do. I’m starting today. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!