A lot of people come into this, as I did, without a real clue of where to start and how to step into that first day of not having alcohol in your life any more. I thought I would do a few tips on this … so here are eight tips for getting yourself across that starting line.
Tip Number One
Remember – it is always your choice.
Whether you drink or you don’t drink, it is always going to be your choice. That the thing that people try and fuzz around, they think:
- I will do it tomorrow, as a choice.
- I can’t do this – that’s another choice.
Any choice that you make – whether it’s pushing yourself forward or pulling yourself backwards – is your choice. It’s your choice to think up the reasons why you can or can’t do it. It’s your choice to think up the excuses why you can’t do it or to get up off your arse and inspire yourself. Find things that will inspire you and make sure you are inspired all the time.
That is always going to be your choice.
So, that’s my first tip. This whole journey is about you and your choices.
Tip Number Two
Never look at this as though it is out of your control, as if there is a faulty gene inside you or a disease that you have got that you’ve acquired over many years. You haven’t.
It’s a habit.
There might be a certain proclivity for some people to become more addicted to certain things. It may be easier for them to go down the easy route, to look for instant gratification, but I think 99% has been learnt, from early on in life or as you are going along.
I see kids that are growing up now and I think, when they get to eighteen years of age, or whatever age they are when they leave home, they’re going to be absolutely screwed. They are so spoiled in life, as soon as they demand something they get it. When they enter into the real world and harsh reality strikes, some of these Kids are going to be fucked and it is no fault of their own. It’s the fault of the people that are bringing them up.
It may be the same thing with the Parents, they were probably given the same thing. We are brainwashed now into believing that every Child has to be raised in a certain way.
I remember seeing on the British equivalent of the Shark Tank – Dragons Den. This Guy came up with this business idea which presented this idea to the Five Dragons. Do you know the Rugby Caps that some of the Rugby players wear?
They have to wear them because they’ve got a lot of damage, so it acts as a soft Rugby Helmet that protects their head. This Guy came up with the concept of putting these on Children when they were playing in the School Yard. The five Dragons, or at least the ones had Children, where disgusted and wondered why the fuck would you put your Child out like that. This whole crash, bang thing, that Children go through is a learning process.
When you see Cats, Kittens or Puppies playing it’s the same thing. Children are going to get scraped knees, busted lips and knocked heads, when they are playing. That’s just a part of it. You can’t hide your Kids in cotton wool, because you aren’t always going to be there. You now see people living with their Parents until they die and then taking over their house and never having a life themselves.
Look, the way I started this one out is there is no such thing as a disease or genetics, to the extent that you can blame it for your alcohol drinking. If you start believing in that, you are doing yourself a massive disservice and you are putting a huge road block in your own way. There is no need for that.
Let the Scientist discuss and talk about all this and come up with their own fucking theories and stuff like that, but it does not do you any good. All it does is give these people an excuse to come up with another fucking pharmaceutical that they can pour down people’s throats and make billions out of.
So, it is always your choice. You are in control.
Tip Number Three.
Cravings are also in your control. For the most part they are in your head. You certainly get physical symptoms, for example you get a certain feeling in the pit of your stomach, but you probably get that feeling when you go on a Fair Ride that takes you high up on the air and gives you butterflies in your stomach and all that kind of stuff. But if you go on the same Fair Ride ten times, you won’t get those feelings any more and that is nothing to do with the Fair Ride.
The Fair Ride is exactly the same. It’s to do with you as a person and to do with your mind. You’ve done it three, four times and you know there’s no danger. You’re strapped into this chair or whatever it is, you know you are not going to fall out of it.
Eventually the novelty wears off and you don’t feel that. You may still feel the buzz of the G Force as you are flying around on a Roller Coaster, but you don’t feel the mental thing any more and therefore your mind is not controlling your body in the same way.
Cravings are all under your control. So, can stop them in a couple of minutes. They are very momentary, they will move away if you get up and do something else and don’t focus and dwell on them.
Tip Number Four
Compare the discomfort that you are feeling now, if you have quit drinking, the discomfort of the cravings, not really being able sleep, being a bit shaky and out of your comfort zone to the discomfort that you have been feeling for donkey’s years with the Hang Overs and damage that is starting to be caused to your body.
Compare those two discomforts. What is the worse? Are you going to carry on putting yourself through hell and expiating those discomforts that you feel from drinking or are you going to put up with the short-term discomfort of quitting drinking? Get past it and move on. It takes a few days for the worst symptoms to wear off and then it takes a few weeks before your system stabilises. It takes a bit longer to get your life in order and to choose different things, but you will do, you will get there. So, that’s tip number Four to compare the discomforts.
Tip Number Five
I often tell people not to look back at their past because the past isn’t really relevant to the future in the sense that it is your choice whether you repeat the past or you carry on and do something differently.
Always your choice.
Just because you’ve done something in the past it doesn’t mean to say that you have to do it in the present or the future.
That’s tip number five.
You’re drinking matters or why you drink matters and if you still like drinking that matters.
Why? Because it is going to keep pulling you back to the alcohol to the drinking behaviour and that’s what you really want to try and get away from.
You need to understand what is it that you like about alcohol, what it is that gives you the buzz. I’m not talking about the drunkenness but the feeling that you want to drink. You have to understand that about yourself and that leads me to …
Tip Number Six
Change your thinking.
You understand what it is that is drawing you into the boozing and what it is that you like about it. Once you understand that, change it!
Learn how to reject alcohol in your life.
Learn how to reject the alcohol thinking.
Learn how to reject the alcohol rituals.
Learn how to reject the alcohol behaviour
Ultimately – learn how to reject the alcohol habit
There is a few ways of doing this and most of these things are going to happen in your mind. You’ve got to cut this down to the smallest part that you can.
To chunk it down to, whenever you even think about alcohol, every time you look at a Wine Glass and think ‘that’s a nice looking wine glass’ or look at a design of a wine label and think ‘that’s a lovely looking design’ or look at people and think ‘mmm.’
Every time you get a positive thought about alcohol, alcohol paraphernalia, alcohol drinking or alcohol drinking behaviour – you’ve got to reject it. You’ve got to think about it from the perspective, from the reality of that it’s a drug. The nice glasses, the nicely designed wine bottles, these are all designed to make you addicted to bring you in and to bullshit you up with all this stuff and to get you coming back, time and time and time again.
Realise every time you go to the poison well, that is exactly what it does to you, it poisons you. So just think about it from that perspective. That you have to reject everything to do with alcohol. Everything to do with:
- Alcohol Paraphernalia
- Alcohol Thinking
- Alcohol Rituals
- Alcohol Behaviours
- Alcohol Habits.
Tip Number Seven
Find alternatives for everything that you rely on alcohol for:
And there are many alternatives. Don’t forget when you are a Kid you can find many solutions to the same problem. When you don’t drink, when you are involved in your life outside of alcohol there are many different solutions that you come to but because we drink alcohol we tend to focus in on the same thing, more and more and more.
So, we may focus in on it, at the beginning to get us over the threshold of a Pub, without feeling shit, without feeling shy, to be able to talk to somebody without feeling shy and then you realise that you can do that and you carry on doing that with the same thing, without learning the skills needed to do it for real, right?
So, all you’ve got is a watered down basic version of this skill and everyone knows, you know, the more you drink the less sociable you are.
When you start out with this journey you might need only one pint of beer, one can of beer, one glass of wine, whatever it is, to allow you to be sociable. Then you need two, then you need three, then you need four and it goes on like that because of alcohol tolerance. Once you get into this role, this is what you have, this is what you need, you need to do this, you’re stuck into the cycle now.
You need to drink to be able to talk to people, be in a social situation, but the increasing alcohol levels needed – four pints of alcohol compared to one pint – is going to do a lot more garbling to your mind. It’s doing a lot more damage to your insides. Six or seven pints is going to do a lot more damage than four or five, so, it is just a bad tool.
The alternative is to learn how to do it. How do you do that? You have to find that out. You have to go for courses in self confidence, you have to go out and do it, be with people, talk to people.
Experience is how we learn – more than anything else you learn far more from doing something than you will ever learn from reading something or listening to someone else and their journey and how they did it. You have to do it and that’s the crunch of everything.
If you don’t do it, you’re not going to learn – period.
Tip Number Seven
Find Alternatives and there are plenty of alternatives for everything that you can find with alcohol -there are plenty of alternatives.
Tip Number Eight.
Reward non-drinking behaviour, behaviour that is pulling you away from alcohol and you need to correct any behaviour that is pulling you towards alcohol.
As I was saying earlier on with the drinking thinking – you have to reject it.
The only way you can do that is by noticing it every time it comes up in your head and correcting it. Every time that you feel that pull towards any alcohol drinking and behaviour. It is not just the alcohol it’s the whole thing. So, you’ve got to gradually correct this behaviour as you along and it’s not going to happen overnight, days or weeks, this is going to take months.
It is not one of those things that happens, that comes up and you’ve got this thinking drinking and you haven’t got it right. It’s a gradual process, it’s a gradual decline over many months. Sometimes it takes many years. I still get it even though this is my fifth year now and I still every so often look at a glass of Red Wine and think that’s look lovely know and it’s the brainwashing.
I’m going back to Ireland soon and I know I’m going to be in a Pub with what was my favourite drink at the time, which was Guinness. It was my favourite drink of all time, that was what I used to drink and I’m going to cope with that. I am not going to drink. There is no fucking way on this Planet that I am going to drink. I won’t taste it. But I know, thinking about it now, it’s like I feel the bullshit, the brain washing, and that’s all it is so you have to constantly correct for that.
Don’t think that the thinking by itself means anything. That it means you’re an alcoholic and it means you’re a lost cause. It doesn’t. If people went through with everything that they thought, there would be more people locked up in Prison than out of Prison.
How many times have you had a conversation with somebody and you’ve just thought to yourself, I would just love to smack that person in the face now, because of what they are saying or who they are, but you don’t.
If you did, like I say, you would be in big, big trouble. So, that’s where free will comes in. You’ve got a choice in this. Everything is under your control.
So always believe that about yourself. You need to correct anything that’s pulling you towards drinking and reward things that are pulling you away. Often times, new activities are going to be a reward in themselves but in the beginning, they can be very strange and everything is new.
Being without alcohol in certain situations is new so you have to be kind to yourself. If can be anything, it can be very simple rewards, there is no point in me going into them here. That’s tip number eight is to reward yourself for behaviours that are pulling you away or alcohol and correct any behaviours that are pulling you towards alcohol.
Good luck with everything, stay safe and keep the alcohol out of your mouth ..
‘We can not control the wind but we can control the sail’
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!