What’s the process of stopping drinking alcohol? There is none.
It’s a simple decision, it’s as simple as you decide to stop drinking alcohol and you don’t put it into your mouth anymore, there is no process about it. The processes are all involved afterwards in breaking down the habit, and changing your thinking and changing your attitudes, looking at yourself in a different way, and changing your identity ultimately, but then building a life around something which you want to live, something which is bringing you happiness and success, not something which is slowly killing you.
And one of the biggest mistakes that I see with people who stopped drinking alcohol is that they don’t prepare, you know, there’s an old quote, failing to prepare, is preparing to fail. And that’s basically what it is, a simple process behind preparation and getting prepared. But it gives you so much of the back end, there’s so much to be gained from preparing and spending a couple of weeks just in getting things ready. When I’m talking about getting things ready, I’m talking about mostly preparing your mind. So you prepare your thought processes, you’re preparing yourself for the triggers, you’re preparing yourself for the cravings, you’re preparing yourself for the discomfort, and for all that entails. You’re also preparing your environment so that you’re reducing or minimizing the impact of all of these things from the beginning.
From day one, you can set yourself up to be in the best possible position that you can be in terms of your mind, so that you know exactly what your expectations are raised, you have a good idea about what’s going to happen, and what’s not going to happen, it just makes your journey a lot easier for a start, but the chances of succeeding are a lot greater. And it’s just for taking that short period at the beginning to spend some time in preparation. And you know, it’s one of the hardest things to do. Because we’re all used to instant gratification, we’re all used to just doing the things that we need to do anything that smacks of pain, or discomfort, we turn to the bottle. I’m saying that we do that all the time.
But it starts to become a trend in our lives, and then it starts to become a default. If you know what I mean. You know, if you look at the importance of preparation on a scale from 1 to 100, and you look at it in comparison to other life events in your life, people will go shopping and there will be at least a little bit prepared, they’ll know what they’re gonna do. What’s that out of 1 to 100, the importance 10 or the things holidays, maybe a 25 on the scale from one to 100. But you would put in a good deal of preparation for buying a car, maybe 25 to 30, buying a house may be up there at 50. And these are all things that you should be doing a lot of preparation, most people would think wouldn’t think twice about doing a lot of preparation for these things are getting themselves in the right frame of mind. If you’re taking on a new course of studying, or you start a new job, what’s not gonna take maybe 60 or 70, there’s a lot of preparation involved in that.
And I think making big habit changes like this, especially stopping drinking alcohol is up there with that, because the one thing that you do here is going to change so much. And the frame of mind that you approach this with is going to really affect how you act after you’ve stopped drinking alcohol, how you think after you stop drinking alcohol. And that, for me, is the most important thing. You know, it’s all part of this wonderful journey that we’re all on together.
If you’re afraid, you know if you’ve got no confidence, if you’ve got no confidence in your own abilities, or what’s going to happen next, you don’t know what’s gonna happen next, that’s one of the best things to do is to put yourself through this preparation phase because you will learn so much about yourself, you will learn not only about how to do things and how to get things done, but you’ll learn how you’re responding in certain times, especially if you’re thinking clearly about alcohol. I mean, one of the things that we do in our program is we spent two weeks on preparation and part of that is to really look at alcohol in a completely different way. So by the time you get past that two weeks, you’re approaching your first day of alcohol free with the idea of “I can’t wait to stop drinking this shit.” That’s an important part of the whole process. And it is a process.
I mean, my philosophy is that most things in life can be, can be broken down and systematized, you know, you can do things in a step by step manner, you know, you do this, then you do that, and then you do the next thing. And if you follow a system, in general, you’re going to be in a much better position to do the next step. I mean, everything that you do in life is built up in this way, you know, you learn one thing, and then you move on to the next thing, and then you’ll learn something different, you move on to the next thing. And you gradually build up a tolerance for the discomfort, you gradually build up a knowledge.
There’s an old saying that when anyone’s learning anything these days, you’re always standing on the shoulders of giants, or you are standing on the shoulders of the people that came before you, it’s the same thing here. But in this respect, you are learning from your own experience. So one pair of experience, you create the next part, and then the next part, and you get comfortable with the next part. That’s what I’m talking about with systematic learning, and having processes.