As you’re going through this journey, and you’ve stepped over that starting line, you’re heading towards your new goals. You’re headed towards what you want out of life and you might be asking yourself—when does the fear of relapsing, for a better word, when does that stop? When are you free from that?
I’m Kevin O’Hara for AlcoholMastery.com.
Today’s question is when does the fear of relapse stop and when do you get over that period when you sort of keep thinking to yourself, you know… I cannot do this…am I alright doing this? And, I don’t really like the word, relapse from the beginning because it is just one of those words I associate with personally with alcoholics anonymous and all the old bullshit about quitting drinking and that you know, once you’re an alcoholic you are always an alcoholic and you have to live a sober life…all that bullshit.
All those words just keep you firmly glued to your old lifestyle…to your old drinking habits. And that’s basically all they are regardless how far forward you are in your drinking life.
If you are a person who drinks a bottle of wine a day or you drink too much on the weekend or you’re a binge drinker on the weekend, and you want to stop that or you get up every day and you drink. You know, this is just another sort of a progression along whatever scale of what you are doing. It is a personal thing and all depends on your lifestyle and all depends and what got you to where you are right now.
But, at the end of the day, you are where you are right now and there is nothing you can do about it, right? So, keep those words—like addiction, like alcoholic, like sober life—living the sober life and saying to yourself over and over again, “The alcohol is talking to me”, and speaking in words like relapse. I just think that they add an unnecessary roadblock in your way and if you don’t change that language it is going to be an ever present roadblock throughout your life.
You know, there are certain people who are that ingrained in those beliefs about alcoholism and their own disease that they sort of wear it like a badge of honor. And, that they are an alcoholic and they haven’t touched a drop of alcohol in ten years or fifteen years, but “It is only by the grace of God that I’ve got to this point.” “One drink is all it takes and I am right back there.” Again, if that’s the way you want to do things, you know, I am not the right person to be listening to. I am going to stop up that thinking because I do not believe that that is conclusive the way to live a good life at all. I don’t believe that and that it is in your best interest.
That is the word that people look for on the internet when they are looking for that kind of information and so that is the word I am going to have to use for the purpose of this video. But, you should think of it not as a relapse back into alcohol but as a relapse into your old lifestyle—into your way of doing things, your behavior—you know, that is what it all boils down to. Without the behavior…without the pattern…without going to the places or doing the things that associate you with alcohol you won’t drink alcohol ever again. If you start bringing new things into your life and you start building up a change of framework of behaviors-these behavior all add up to something different.
If you build up alternative behaviors that do not involve alcohol, right, and you’ll start to see many different changes in your life and many different changes for the good because you’ll the alcohol brings you down, every time! You are going to take the easiest way out. You are going to look for expediency and then what’s good for you and what’s the best thing for you to do in this certain situation. Anyway, I’m getting dragged off the topic here.
When it comes to the fear of relapse back into your old life, I cannot tell you about your own personal thing. I don’t know you and I don’t know your life, I don’t know the parts of your life, your behaviors. Only you can do that, right? And, I can tell you about my own personal self and my fears weren’t about never going back to alcohol; they were about am I doing too much damage. Right? That’s one of the first things that I feared. And, they were that I’d be a miserable bastard. I didn’t realize my life revolved around alcohol, and part of me thought fears were that that’s who I basically was—that person, that drinker and without that I’d have no identity, right?But, you cannot change and be the same person that you were. Change, all the time, involves changing into a different person. You have to change who you are in order to change, so as soon as you start making those changes, you start to construct an alternative core self for yourself—a core identity—the beginning, the middle of everything we do is that identity—there is what we think of ourselves–our beliefs and what we believe to be true. And, I’ll tell you what most of us beliefs that we have are all based around circumstantial stuff you know, and your beliefs are the most fluid parts of your thinking. You can change your beliefs in a moment by something that happens.
Human beings are—we’ve got a frontal cortex which is right there…the last part of the brain to develop. And, it is the thinking part of the brain and we’ve got the capacity to think about something…to think about a concept or belief or to understand something without actually doing it; to actually go through it in your head…like this is what this will be like—that is what that will be like.
I’ve talked about rehearsal. You can go into your brain and do something into your mind and think out how you are going to say something, how you are going to do something, before you actually do it. Your brain doesn’t know the difference—you know the difference between it. But, your brain will accept that knowledge—will accept that as part of the learning process. Right, so, how am I explaining this—there are so many athletes that do this all the time. There are business people that do this all the time. I am not sure if they started out in the athletic world. Michael Phelps—I read a book—one of his books lately, and he said that before he wins a race he goes thought the race over and over and over in his mind-every stroke…whatever it is, hundred meter or butterfly. I mean I am not a swimmer so I do not understand these things, but whatever swim stroke he is doing. He will start off as he is diving in the pool he’ll go through the swim, stroke by stroke as he gets to the other length and he will do this for ever how many lengths he is doing this until he wins. He will see everything else…the other swimmers around him and he’ll see himself beating these people over and over again. And, it’s a form of mental practice. If you do it physically in the real world, that’s practice. If you do it inside your brain, your mind sees this also as practice and it gets used to doing it because you are doing it in your brain.
So, what I am basically trying to tell you is that the main part of this whole process, whether you fear failure, whether you fear relapsing or going back to your old way of doing things, that’s all in your head so the main part of the whole thing is how you deal with it. How you think things through. How you picture things. You know, this whole mental rehearsal process that I was talking about, this mental practice that I am talking about, that works in the opposite direction as well. If you see yourself failing then you are practicing failure. That’s basically what you are doing. So, it is your choice to practice success, to practice saying ‘no’ or practice saying—oh ok then, I will take that drink.
It is only when you’ve dealt with that thinking part of it…y’know, you’ve dealt with putting your mind in the right place, then you can start dealing with the environment and the people. These are the three most important aspects of this journey. It is getting to dealing with your mind first, dealing with the environment and then dealing with the people. You have control in sort of a decreasing level with these three things. You have the most control on your mind, then your environment and then the people. So, y’know…to ensure that you don’t relapse you have to try and try and control your environment as much as possible. Get rid of the alcohol. Get rid of all the alcohol paraphernalia and avoiding places if you can. If you can’t control it with it you can control it by avoiding it and just don’t go into these places and same with people. I mean the people who are going to persistently and consistently try and influence your decision to stay off drinking–you have to avoid those people if you can. A lot of times you can’t but if you can and you don’t have to avoid these people for the rest of your life. Even if it is family members, in those first few days if you have people who are getting on to your case in saying, y’know,
“Hey, what the hell is wrong with you?” and
“What the hell are you thinking, you are not an alcoholic.”
“You are not this.”
“You don’t have a problem.”
Whatever. You have got to move them out of your life for a temporary period…for a short term until you’ve got more control of the other things. That’s what it is all about…you’ve got to get control of different areas of your life as possible. Because although you’ve got a lot of control over your mind and you’ve got a lot of control over what’s going to happen in your head, that’s the most control you’ve got. The other parts of your life, if you let it, can influence you that so your environment can influence your brain. People in your life can definitely influence your brain, y’know, because they can give you fairly persuasive arguments about the positives about alcohol and if you’re not sufficiently got the determination and your persistence is not sufficiently embedded in your own thinking, then it can be difficult to sort of overcome these persuasions. There are some pretty persuasive people out there especially in our own lives—people who we look up to, people we care about, people whose opinion we value and so it’s important that you sort of take as much control out of these three areas as you can.
The last line of defense is always going to be you and not putting the alcohol into your mouth. That’s what it all boils down to. As long as you do not put the shit into your mouth then, it cannot do you any harm, so regardless, if everything else fails all down the line—if you persisted in that stubbornness. Be absolutely stubborn on this one that, no matter what happens you are not going to put the alcohol into your body. If you do that then you’ve won. There is no way you can fail, right? Now, this will guarantee there is no fear then. If you persistently and stubbornly refuse to put another drop of alcohol in your mouth, then your brain is going overtime—it’s going to develop those new habits that you need…it’s going to develop those new behaviors that you know. Whatever it takes to do that. Hide under your bed if you have to to do that, y’know. Do what it takes to not put the alcohol into your body. And, like I say…that is your last line of defense. You should be doing the other things as well. Get your head around these things. Get your head prepared for it. Get your environment prepared for it and the people around you—get those prepared for it. And, that’s where you are going to get a lot of benefit in the beginning.
Look, if you’ve got any questions about this leave it down below in the comment section. You’ll find the audio for this underneath the video on the website for AlcoholMastery.com. There’s also the free course over there and there is also free video course to help you deal with your stress and help you to deal with your relaxation and to help you to channel your energies and to get a little bit more relaxation. And you can get that free by signing up for the newsletter. I’ll send you a link out and where you can get the course for free. And till next time, I am Kevin O’Hara for Alcohol Mastery. Onwards and Upwards!
Are we there yet?
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!