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How Do You Make The Final Decision For Consciously Stopping Drinking Alcohol?

by | Questions | 6 comments

How Do You Make The Final Decision For Consciously Stopping Drinking Alcohol?

Everyone is different

First of all, everyone is different. We’re all unique in that our thinking is shaped by our experiences, by our perceptions, and by many other factors as well. So what works for one person is not necessarily going to work for everyone else.

What works for you?

Having said that, finding what works for you, the thing that pushes you over the line will depend on a fairly narrow set of areas in your life.

Where to Begin?

A great place to start searching for the answers is inside your mind and body, and in your outside environment. You should also take a look at your past, your present, and your future. Finally, examine what is causing you pain and what is giving you pleasure.

Before we take a look at each of these in turn, let me be upfront in saying that things are a little more messy than those areas would presume. More than likely you will not find the answer in any one area, but in a blend of several different factors.

The internal you

Start off by taking a look inside. From a physical perspective, there isn’t one area of the body that alcohol doesn’t harm. What damage have you already done that you are aware of? What damage have you done that you are unaware of?

Kidney damage for instance is not immediately noticeable. It takes a lot of damage for any symptoms to appear. The same goes with many other organs. The symptoms just don’t show up until there is already significant damage done.

Your thinking?

Again, with your thinking, the damage is gradual, so you don’t notice it as it’s happening. It’s only when you try to do something that you used to be able to do, but no longer can, that you begin to see the damage. Even then, you might mistake the causes, linking it to just being tired, growing old, or some other benign cause.

What ways are you finding that alcohol is affecting your thinking? How is alcohol affecting the way you make decisions? Are you finding your memory being affected because of your drinking? What is it doing to your expectations about yourself, you life, your goals, your hopes and dreams?

Where to look on the outside?

Trying to find motivation to make that final decision outside of yourself takes many forms. How is alcohol affecting your relationships with others? How is it affecting your relationships with the people that you most care about? Is your ability to do your job being compromised? Do you find yourself avoiding other important areas of your life because you’d rather be drinking?

Don’t forget, a lot of the time it’s not about the drinking. Rather, it’s about the life that we’ve shaped for ourselves around our drinking.

Past, Present, Future

The past, present, and future is a place that is very personal and unique to us. Our past drinking has determined how we drink today. How much we’ve drank in the past determines the tolerance levels that we now have. By looking at the past, you can see how bad your habit has come. Look at how many much alcohol you used to drink in the past in comparison to the present. How much time did you used to spend drinking compared to now? Look at your hangovers, your relationships with other users, the amount of money you spend on it, and so on.

Now turn your attention to the future. I think this is the most important area of your life to look at. Look at it from two points of view… you carry on the way you are or you stop using alcohol.
Where how who what why

Think about all the areas of your life that you thought about above. Your health, the state of your mind, your relationships, your job, your bank account, and so on. Visualise where you will be? Be honest as much as you can.

Pain and pleasure

The pain and pleasure principle is that we all are looking to experience as much pleasure in our lives as possible and to avoid as much pain as possible. We know there is going to be pain, but we try to avoid it, or at least keep it in balance. Doing something we don’t want to do is a form of pain. Taking the hard route and not drinking in favour of being kind to ourselves and those around us might give us a sense of pleasure, but if the pleasure of getting pissed is stronger, there’s no doubt what will win out in the end.

Where are you seeing pain from drinking?

Where is the pleasure slipping away?

These are all areas where you can start your search for your reason.

Finding Your Meaning For Stopping Drinking

Victor Frankl, said “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” With the right reason for doing something, for making the decision and not looking back, we can endure anything. He also went on to say that one of the best areas to find your meaning in life is on the outside of yourself. Whether that meaning is in a person that’s relying on you to fill a specific and unique role in their lives, or a thing that only you can do or make. It’s a meaning that only you can fulfill.

Take being a father or a mother. There is no-one else that can do that job. What about the writer of a book, the maker of something special, that thing which is utterly unique to you.

Find Your Unique Reasons

So making the decision to not drink again can come from a variety of places. It all comes down to how much it means to you, or how much meaning you can find outside of yourself.

It’s a great world, full of mystery and magic for anyone who’s willing to take the plunge. The plunge means facing life head on, no crutches, no brainwashing, eyes wide open, full steam ahead!

Thanks for visiting the site.
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!
Stopping Drinking Alcohol

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  1. Eddie Duncan

    Great blog and advice. Thanks

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Cheers Eddie!

  2. Daniel Wippermann

    Hello from Germany,

    A couple of weeks ago I discovered your outstanding blog by accident … and I remained stuck. Seeing myself as an “average German drinker” I didn’t actually want to quit drinking. But many of your concerns about alcohol made my alarm bells ringing. So I felt inspired for an experiment: No beer or other alcoholic drink during the Football World Cup 2014 – not even if Germany carries off the victory (hooray, they did!!!). The reward was loads of positive experience. Now I will keep on being dry for a while. Thank you so much for your brilliant weekly features which really kicked off a new approach on my own questionable habits.

    By the way: How did you manage to shoot these relatively smooth videos while walking? Did you use a steadycam or something like that?


    • Kevin O'Hara

      Welcome on board Daniel! Congrats on the World cup. I support Arsenal, so hopefully our guys will come back with a lot of positive energy for the rest of the team. I shoot the vids using a monopod and iphone.

  3. Mand

    Thanks so much for this Kev – your videos are always helpful but this one really hit home – I’m on day 3 after a few false starts – your honesty sharing about your visualisation about your son really touched me, and has helped me to apply to my own situation concerning my own son, and strengthen my resolve going forward 🙂 thank you

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Use everything you can, Mand. It’s all worth it!


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