Short Term Vs Long Term Quit – Stop Drinking Alcohol 70 (Transcript)
I’m Kevin O’Hara for alcoholmastery.com. This is Stop Drinking Alcohol Episode 70.
Before I get on with the content of this week’s video which is Quitting Alcohol in the Short Term and the Long Term, I just wanted to let you know about the podcast which will be out on Thursday.
This week I’ll talk about the pain that we’re feeling before and after, emotional pain more than anything else and there’s some physical pain in there as well. I think we all feel some physical pain. I’ve also got a couple of questions. One is can you eat foods with alcohol in it. I’m gonna talk a bit about that, a bit about my own preferences.
Second question is, if you can hold your drink, is it a concern?
So, I’ll talk a bit about who the concern is for, whether it’s yourself or whether you’re concerned about somebody else who’s drinking, and also what you mean by holding your drink. Check that out. You can go over to the website and you can download it from the website. You can also go over to iTunes.
Short Term and Long Term Quitting
This week’s topic is about Short Term and Long Term Quitting. What do we expect in the near future and what we expect 6 months, 8 months, a year down the line.
I’m gonna talk about that, not in terms of bad things because I think it’s all good. Once you get over the idea that there’s going to be discomfort, you’re gonna go through a bit of discomfort and once you can handle that, once you can get that into your head and accept it, I think it’s all good. I don’t think there’s anything not to look forward to.
From that perspective, I wanted to talk about this because I think the short term is the time when a lot of mistakes are made and I think it’s when people give in and go back to drinking because they can’t handle it. It’s important to have rewards. Reward yourself and to have something there while you’re going through the discomfort, so the discomfort isn’t as painful or as uncomfortable as it could be. I’ll talk about a few of those rewards that you can give yourself.
The best way to change long term behavior is through short term feedback. One of the dangers of any drug abuse is that you’re getting a constant feedback in the short term, you’re getting constant pleasure or whatever you’re using alcohol for, whatever you’re using the tool whether it be to hide from something or to relax or like I say, to get pleasure. It’s immediate gratification and it’s something that you forgo once you quit drinking.
It’s very difficult to do the opposite way around. It’s difficult to reward short term behavior with long term feedback because I can say to you about all the implications of drinking, all the long term implications. I talk about that often because I think it has to be in your mind, but at the same time, it doesn’t really work because it is down the road unless you’re physically suffering now at the moment. A lot of that stuff just won’t affect you.
I think visualization, if you can bring the long term, bring the future into the present by visualization, by trying to see yourself in the future and trying to make those visions of yourself as realistic as possible, I think that can cause you enough pain to seriously consider stepping over the starting line at least.
But just telling people that you could possibly get this and you could have a bad liver or your family could leave you or you could lose your job, I think all that’s doing really is winding people up. And when you have an addiction like this and you use alcohol as a tool instead of exercise as your tool, then it’s very easy to go out and hide behind the alcohol and do the exact thing that you don’t want to do. So when it comes to drinking, you need to understand that about alcohol consumption, that it is about the short term gain, about the short term feedback and that’s what you get from drinking, it’s all short term, it’s all “in the now” – that’s what I consider it to be.
Once you look back on yourself and you look back on your own behavior, look back on your drinking life, you’ll see how selfish it is and that’s the way I view my own drinking career in the past as completely selfish. In the short term, you grow and you go through the discomfort. We’ve already said that and everybody already understands that. It’s nearly never as bad as you think it will be because we all wind ourselves up before and it’s very easy to do that by getting online and looking at other websites and listening to other people who have gone through it, especially people who are saying, “It’s the worst time of my life when I quit and I really didn’t think I could do it.” If you listen to too much of that, then all it does is heighten your own fears about quitting. And for a lot of people, it just stops them from ever doing it because they would rather have the short term oblivion of drunkenness and not think about it, and not think about quitting rather than go through the pain of quitting.
I talked about this a couple of weeks ago, that one of the painful things, one of the fears is of never having to drink again. From the immediate perspective of never having to drink, when you look forward, it’s a very daunting task, it’s a very daunting idea that you’re gonna go through life and no matter what happens, you never will have that crutch to hold, to go back on. But you build other crutches, you build … they’re not crutches, they are crutches, yeah. Whatever you want to call them, you build other things to cope with your life and you build the coping strategies for dealing with whatever comes up, you have something to deal with.
You build other avenues for pleasure, for giving yourself entertainment, and having fun. And you realize that in the long term, once you get down the road and you’re off the drinking, you’re not thinking about it every day and you’ll start to think about it. I think all those years when I thought that I was afraid of missing out on alcohol and not being able to go to parties and not being able to do whatever, not having your crutch, it was a straitjacket, not a crutch that you had. It was holding you back from so much, from everything good in life and fooling your mind into thinking that alcohol was any good.
We live in a world unfortunately where alcohol companies are no better than drug dealers but have all the legality and all the money to brainwash your mind with propaganda. And it’s all legal. They need to keep within guidelines but most of those guidelines are made up by the fucking drink companies anyway. It’s self-perpetuating cycle.
At the end of the podcast this week on Thursday, there’s a letter that came across as well from a woman in England who just wrote about her alcoholic father. It was a letter that she never sent when he was alive and he’s dead now obviously. It’s a nice letter. And it goes, for me, I don’t want to excuse his behavior or say he’s a fucker and she’s a saint or whatever. I’m not trying to take sides on this but I think for me it showed the generational thing where one generation gets spilled into the next, the habits, the bad habits that one generation get spilled over into the next. So have a listen to that.
Speaking about short term quitting, you’re gonna go through the discomfort, you’re gonna have the sleepless nights more than likely, and you might have some weird shit going on that you just don’t understand, but this is probably the first time in a long time that you’ve gone for any sustained period of time without drinking, without alcohol and poison in your bodies. If you think you had it from the perspective of your body recovery, it’s like a perspective shift that your brain is getting cleaned and your brain is … there’s chemicals that are sent to balance out inside your brain that haven’t been balanced in a while and it’s bound to cause some bad shit, you know what I mean?
Some people get hallucinations because the chemicals balances again, you know? But in the short term, I think it’s important to give yourself immediate rewards. Try and give yourself rewards as often as possible.
It’s an ideal opportunity to do because you save your money for one thing without spending your money on drink, and you’re saving time. You got all these time in your hands. You can reward yourself obviously by buying shit for yourself, going out and spending your money or play soccer on the back of your door like one lady did earlier on this year. I thought it was just a great idea with the dollars going into the soccer.
Whatever it is that you need to do yourself, I mean I can’t really tell you what rewards, maybe you don’t know. So maybe you have to go out and you have to find new things and you have to find a new hobby for yourself, a new pastime, a new group of people. And even that’s gonna be daunting at first. You’re not gonna want to do it and you’re feeling awkward and you haven’t got your familiar crutch but it’s all well rewarding when you do it. Once you stick your neck out and you go out and you try and meet other people and you try something different, the worst that can happen is that you don’t like it so you try something else. You keep doing that until you find something that you do like doing. And once you find that then carry on doing that.
Other things you can do treat yourself to a makeover, treat yourself to a beauty spa, something like that. If you’re a bloke, don’t be afraid to do these things. I used to be the same. I wouldn’t go and I’ll say, “A beauty spa? You’re having a laugh? I’m not going there, that’s for sissies.” But yeah, I was forced to go one time because I was bought a ticket by my family and it was the best couple of hours that I’ve ever spent in a long time. It was so relaxing and it was all these weird stuff being done to me, but I’ve got to it, you know? It was nice. You just have to treat it like it’s not, you know?
Men are gonna treat these things differently than women. We’re not going in there. I wasn’t going in there for a beauty treatment. They’ll take a lot more than an hour or two, so … you know what? I was going in there, I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. And my ideas about massage were rather completely screwed up from being grown up in Ireland, but it was completely enjoyable. It was lovely.
When I quit after a few months, we saved up enough money and we went away on holiday for the first time in a long time. And it was only to the south of Spain but it was something that I wouldn’t have done. It was the first time I had also gone away without drinking. That was an experience in itself and something that I really enjoyed doing.
The key is to give yourself short term feedback in the terms, in the form of benefits, in the form of rewards. And your rewards are gonna be different to my rewards but think about these things before you quit and think about what you’re gonna reward yourself with, how you’re gonna reward at the end of each day, how you’re gonna reward yourself at the end of each week. And a long term reward that you’re gonna head towards.
In the long term, your rewards are far more intangible but a lot more real and a lot more long-lasting. I’m talking about in terms of the benefits of physical and mental well-being, just feeling so much better, of having more energy to do things. Especially if you can combine quitting drinking with changing your diet and your exercise regime so that you’re eating better food, you’re getting more nutrition into your body and you’re exercising. It all contributes to the next … you get into a vigorous cycle of health.
You eat better food which allows you to go out and do more exercise. You do more exercise which brightens up your brain and makes you think better. You think better so you can think of better exercises to do and better food to eat. Your life just takes on a different rollercoaster. And it’s not so much the downs that you’re going through now. There will be downs. There’s always ups and downs in life but the downs are nowhere near, the downs are pretty good in comparison.
Another thing that you can look forward to is driving a car without fearing getting stopped by the cops anymore. I remember the first time I got stopped after I quit drinking and it was 1:00 in the morning, I was picking up my son and I got stopped by the guys. They just blow it, you know. I couldn’t help it but it was like a really, “Spare me. I don’t drink, you know?” as soon as it came out, I thought that sounded really bad. But the guy said to me, “Good for you, you know?” I felt good about it. It means I can drive anywhere now without any fears at all.
Maybe you’ve got problems in your life with child custody or you got battles other than that, they’re gonna resolve themselves as soon as you don’t drink anymore. One typical thing about any drug user is the lack of self-control. We may have certain levels of self-control but it’s not the same. Once you quit, you’ll realize how much self-control you were lacking and it’s a bit like what I’m saying earlier on about you realize how selfish you were.
It’s only when you stop drinking and you go through that period and you’ve come out the other side of all the discomforts and you now start to see your drink in a different way and how much out of control you were, it’s as simple as that, and how much more control you’ve got now. You’ll have a really improved awareness about who you are as a person as well and where you’re gonna go, what direction your life is gonna take.
Your job security will improve, whether you work for somebody else or you work for yourself; you’re just gonna do a better job. And if you do a better job, more likely your employer is more likely to keep you in the job or to promote you or whatever. And if you’re working for yourself in your own business, things just improve, you just cannot help it.
For me, I can plan more now and I can do more things and I’m up every morning and I know what I’m gonna do the next morning. There’s no hangover standing in the way. There’s no temptation to go off and just get out of my face when I should be working. Not only does that give you better security into the future, it gives you better piece of mind knowing that what you’re doing is worthwhile and I think for me, I was always thinking I won’t ever be able to leave anything behind for my son, that I’m gonna die and he’s gonna have to scramble the money together for my funeral and there’ll be just nothing there for him. I’ll leave him no legacy. I mean I haven’t got a will or anything because basically I’ve had nothing to leave in that will up until now. And that’s a sad state of affairs for a bloke who’s coming up to his 50th year, but it is the way it is.
Now I have that peace of mind where I can think about it and go up. Yeah, I’m glad. I’m glad that I’m building something now for my own future and the future that I will have, that I can enjoy, and for passing down. And finally, the thing that will improve more than anything else is your relationships. Just dealing with other people and being unselfish, being there for them, that’s what it’s all about. Life is about your relationships with other people.
I’m still getting to this stage where I have to get out and make new relationships and I’m doing that all the time. But it’s bonding and getting closer and sort of repairing ties with the older relationships as well. Anyway, that’s about enough for this week.
If you want to catch up on the podcast, that will be up on Thursday. I’m heading out to the website on Thursday or to iTunes if you’ve subscribed there. If you want to leave a comment or if you have any questions to ask because … and like for some questions for here and another podcast. So if you have got anything like that, any stories that you want to talk about, subscribe to the YouTube channel if you haven’t already subscribed and give us a like on the video. Click the like button. Just help us to spread the message.
Thanks a lot for listening. This is Kevin O’Hara for Alcohol Mastery. Onwards and upwards.
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Onwards and Upwards!