Today, I want to talk about using substitutes for alcohol once you stop drinking.
I think this is one of the first things that people think about, is what can I replace the alcohol with?
Can I replace it with alcohol free beer?
Coke or Fanta?
Alcohol free wine?
This is one of the things that people actually think about.
You’re heading down the wrong road if you think like that.
This is not about stopping drinking, it’s about changing the lifestyle, it’s about changing the lifestyle, changing the routine and the rituals.
If you try and replace the alcohol with something else, you’re not changing the ritual.
Let’s say you normally come home from work and sit in front of the TV and enjoy a few glasses of wine, so then you take the wine out of the equation and put in something different, say orange juice, what you’re doing is taking the old ritual and substituting with the orange juice, but you’re keeping the ritual.
It’s the same if you go to a bar – I’ve done this – and say ‘I’m not going to drink any alcohol, I’m only going to drink orange juice’, it’s not going to work because it’s horrible.
I’ve tried to do this, it’s just completely boring because the whole reason for being in the pub is gone.
The whole reason for being in a bar is to drink.
You might say you’ve been to a bar and had a cup of coffee and had a chat and had a great time, I’m not saying that’s not a good thing, but it’s occasional.
It’s not part of the ritual.
The part of your life that you normally drink, the part you’re trying to take out the alcohol and do something different, and you can’t do that.
You’re trying to get rid of the ritual.
Trying to break down all those big parts of your habit.
It’s not the alcohol only it’s because of the whole thing.
It’s because of this is what you do in the evenings to relax, this is what you do to deal with stress, or whatever you use alcohol as a tool for.
You’ve got to find something else.
A soft drink is not going to be a good substitute for alcohol because it won’t do the job.
If you’re using alcohol to relax and now you want to use orange juice to relax, it’s not going to work, you have to find something different, and better.
Believe me, there are way better things to do out there than simply drinking to relax or solve problems.
There’s a lot of things out there that are ten times better.
Your job is to find that substitute.
find the substitute to the bigger problem and not just the alcohol.
What you have to do is prove to yourself as soon as you can that you don’t need alcohol in your life anymore.
You don’t need that habit.
This is what you’ve got to do.
You’re fighting two things, on the one level is the alcohol and that small area of your life.
Once you stop putting the alcohol into your system, that’s going to be a slow decline.
The cravings will decline slowly, and all the discomfort that used to be in drinking, it’s all going to disappear.
But the big fight you’ve got in your hands is in your head.
If you don’t immediately start saying you don’t need alcohol anymore, then you’re keeping that whole thing alive.
If you don’t get rid of the ritual, you keep the whole thought alive in your life.
I keep talking about these e-cigarettes because I think it’s a good example of how people are going wrong.
They replace the cigarettes with the e-cigarettes and not getting any pleasure out of it.
It might be hitting the spot of the nicotine, but it’s not the same as smoking.
You see them, they’re fucking miserable.
They don’t want to be doing this.
They want to carry on smoking.
And it’s all because they’re out getting rid of the ritual, they still have to go outside and smoke.
They still have to do the ritual of standing outside with the other smokers who are smoking real cigarettes, the one that smells and tastes like a cigarette.
These people are still doing that, but you with the e-cigarettes, you’re doing the ritual but not getting the end rewards.
You’re always feeling like you’re being cheated.
You have to get rid of the ritual quickly.
Break it down, throw it out and replace it.
That’s the quickest and easiest way of defeating the alcohol.
Don’t look for substitutes.
I’m not saying that you don’t have to eat or drink, obviously you have to.
But don’t do it as a replacement.
Don’t do it to excess.
If you used to drink 5-6 cans of beer every night for instance, and you start drinking 5-6 cans of coke, then it’s 6 months you will have another problem to deal with which is obesity.
So, start out where you mean to go.
Start out making good choices.
Replace that original and behaviour, break it down bit by bit.
That’s all a habit is.
Minor rituals in this big framework.
The habit is the framework, the behaviour is what keeps the framework up, and the rituals keep the behaviour up.
So one ritual might be sitting there drinking your alcohol at night after you stop work, another might be drinking alcohol with your friends, another might be with a meal.
These are all rituals.
One thing usually leads to another.
It’s like a trigger-action-reward.
Break down the rituals, get rid of the rituals, push yourself to replace them with something else, and you’re home free.
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Until next time, stay safe, keep the alcohol out of your mouth, don’t use substitutes.
Break down the rituals, the habits, the behaviours.
It’s a gradual process but you’ll get there.
You’ll never get there if you keep feeding the ritual with something else.
It’s a losing battle which will eventually lead you back to the thing you want most, the alcohol.
If you hold up the ritual, then the alcohol is going to survive.
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!