Facing the New Year Without Alcohol (Transcript)
New Year’s Resolution
I’m Kevin O’Hara for Alcohol Mastery.
Today, I’m gonna be talking about facing the new year without alcohol. So, if you’re basically one of the people that are gonna be quitting drinking for the new year then you’re in good company because there’s so many people around the world that do the same thing. Whether you’re gonna quit for good or whether you’re just gonna have a dry January, it’s up to yourself.
A dry January will give you a brief sort of insight into what it’s like not to have alcohol, and obviously if you’re quitting alcohol for good then the more you go on with this, the more insight you’ll get, the better you’ll feel and the more you’ll be certain that what you’ve done is the good thing. So if you’re just going into this with the idea of stopping drinking for just a month, then just do it. And fair play to you for doing it.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
If you’re looking at it for a more long-term approach and you’re not going to drink again and you’re gonna quit the alcohol for good, the first thing I’d say is basically have a positive approach to it. Don’t look at it in any negative way. You have to start out believing that you’re in full control, that it’s you that pushes the buttons, it’s you that pops the cork, it’s you that unscrews the bottle top, it’s you that pulls the ring cap. At the end of the day, ultimately, it’s you that pours the alcohol into your throat.
So that’s the thing that you have to understand from the beginning, that it’s nobody else’s fault. You can’t blame the alcohol. People try and say it’s the demon drink. There’s nothing demon about it, it’s the demon mind. If you say to yourself from the start, from the beginning, that you’re in control, and if you say it to yourself over and over again that “I have no one else to blame but myself,” then you can’t turn around later on and go, “I couldn’t help it, I had to have a drink.” Because you know that that’s gonna be bullshit. It’s in your power.
Forward Thinking Galore
One of the things that I’ve discovered during the year is that if you focus backwards, if you focus on the alcohol and the things that you’re missing…So, you’re missing alcohol when you go out, you’re missing alcohol for this and that, yadda yadda, then it doesn’t work. It’s like you’re dragging a chain behind you with all these past memories that you don’t need anymore. What you need to do is you have to think about the future.
And in order to think about the future you need to have a goal, so you need to have like a destination – somewhere that you’re going. You wouldn’t leave your house and go, “I don’t know where I’m going today.” Maybe you would, but you wouldn’t get very far and it’s just like a magical mystery tour. That might be good when you’re bored on a day off but when you’re trying to quit drinking, it doesn’t help.
You need to have something specific, tangible, and measureable, as realistic in your mind as you can make it. When you’re thinking about your goals, try and make them very concrete, try to make the images when you’re visualizing where you want to be in a year’s time, or two years’ time or ten years’ time, six months’ time. Make them as visual inside your brain as you can.
Also, bring as many of your senses in as you possibly can. Smell things in the future, smell what it’s gonna be like to be in that situation. See yourself, hear yourself talking and hear other people around you talking. You need to be realistic, and make your visualization as realistic as possible.
Managing those Pesky Symptoms and Cravings
Another thing that you have to realize is that all the symptoms, the side effects, the cravings – they’re all in your control as well. And how you think about those cravings, how you think about the symptoms and the side effects is gonna depend on how they manifest in yourself. If you think that they’re gonna be big badass, they’re gonna kick your ass and they’re gonna make you feel miserable and stuff, then that is probably more than likely what they’re gonna do.
First thing is that they don’t last forever. They’re gonna last a bit longer in some people and a bit shorter in other people, and it doesn’t just depend on how long you’ve been drinking. It really does depend on a lot of the internal – how strong you are inside your mind and how determined you are to quit drinking. So from that perspective, really think positively. Think that you’re gonna just knuckle down and get on with it.
Combating Symptoms and Cravings by Visualizations
Think about the symptoms and the cravings and the side effects as being the alcohol addiction inside your body dying. This is the thing that helped me even view it as some little monster inside you. So, my addiction was always the Gollum from Lord of the Rings and I could see him just withering away and pleading from me to help him and give him his “little precious”.
That gave me the strength to get over those sleepless nights and get over the other little symptoms that I was getting. So if you feel symptoms coming on, if you feel yourself getting cravings or you’re feeling little side effects of not having a drink, then don’t sit down and do nothing and think about it. Get up and do something. Take a walk around the block, take a walk around ten blocks. At the end of the day it’s taking your mind off it and the exercise will do you good as well. While you’re walking, refocus on your future. Do your visualization and think about exactly what you’re gonna be doing in the future, the great things that you’re gonna be achieving because you don’t drink anymore, because you’re not locked into this prison of drunken and then hangover, drunken and then hangover.
Another thing is to try and figure out what your triggers are. So if your triggers are times and places and people and things that have usually triggered the event in the past, have usually triggered your drinking in the past.
For me, my triggers used to always be after dinner, finishing work, the evening time sitting in front of the telly, at stressful times the first thing I would think of would be to have a drink. Other times for me would be weekends. I generally go out and watch football matches at the weekends, and that was always a big trigger.
Altering the Course of the Trigger
The thing about these triggers is that once you know it’s happening you can alter the course of the trigger, so if for instance you’re sitting at the table and you normally have a drink with your dinner, then have something else to drink or change the places where you’re eating your dinner. So instead of sitting in front of the television eating your dinner, go and sit at the dining table or instead of sitting at the dining table, sit in front of the telly.
When you feel a trigger happening, get up and do something. Change it in your mind. As soon as you feel the trigger coming on – you know it’s there, you know it’s happening, so you have to sort of force yourself out of that way of thinking. Because if you don’t, you know where it’s obviously gonna lead you. So it’s basically to have a plan for when these triggers occur. Sit down and make a list of all the times when you would normally drink and what triggers it.
Think about the different things that you’re doing. People that you’re with, the places where you are, the emotions – there’s a lot of emotional triggers. I remember loads of emotional triggers. Bring those in as well, and try to make an alternative version of the triggers, so this is what I’m gonna do when the trigger happens. So hope that helps.
Until next time…
I’m Kevin O’Hara for Alcohol Mastery.
Onwards and upwards!
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Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!