With any experiment and when you try new things, you have to get outside your comfort zone and push yourself into other areas and experiment with things that you wouldn’t otherwise be doing. One of the biggest hurdles you face with experimentation and trying new things, is the fear of failure.
You have to invite failure if you want to experiment. I keep talking about this in respect of life after drinking. Before drinking doesn’t really matter, it’s gone, it’s in the past and it makes no difference. It’s no point having regrets about it, all that energy and focus should be pushed forwards at what you’re going to do now.
That’s the most important thing, that’s the thing that’s going to keep you away from alcohol. It’s the thing that’s going to keep you sane. It’s the thing that’s going to keep your brain from freezing up and focusing backwards, in the direction where it shouldn’t be and it’s the thing that’s going to keep you driving yourself forwards.
People will always think – what happens if I dare do this, dare say this, or dare go there. What happens if this happens, what happens if that happens. What happens if I fail? What happens if I make a fool out of myself? What happens if I don’t like it? What happens if I really like it and I decide I can’t do it. These are all considerations.
There some things that you’re going to experiment with and put some time and effort into only to realise that you didn’t really want to do them in the first place, or it’s just not for you, or it’s been a complete disaster or whatever it is and that sucks, that’s a part of life and experimentation. It’s part of finding that new life for yourself and moving forwards. And it can be the easiest thing to turn around, go well what do I normally do in cases when my life is turned upside down, when I’m doing something that I don’t like, when I’m in discomfort, is that I normally turn to the Whisky or the Wine or the Beer or whatever it is, so it takes a lot of courage to continue to move forwards and to take the failure.
To take the disappointment of putting all that effort into doing something and still stepping back and going fair enough, if I didn’t try that I wouldn’t know and now I’ll go for Plan B.
You know a lot of life before you quit drinking revolves around doing the same thing. Something happened in your life and the response was to drink alcohol. Going back to my life before I quit drinking there were so many different things which triggered that response, something happened or that one thing happened, like I didn’t feel relaxed or I felt shit, had finished work or when I was hungry or when I was thirsty, so many different things that as an event happened in my life or happened in my mind and that event came out with a reaction – not even a response- it was an automatic reaction to go for a Beer.
As soon as I was tired, bang, go for a Beer. As soon as I finished work, bang, go for a Beer. As soon as I couldn’t sleep or I felt I couldn’t sleep, get some wine out of the cupboard and have a couple of glasses of that and that would solve the problem. As soon as there was a problem that I couldn’t solve, bang go for a beer. As soon as there was a problem I didn’t want to solve, bang, go for a beer. All of those things still happened in my life and caused that automatic response, so when I had quit drinking, these things were still firing off. These events and the automatic reaction were still firing off, but I couldn’t do what I used to do any more and it was like stopping and hitting a brick wall, what do I do. I didn’t know anything else to do.
That is the big problem of stopping drinking especially when you’ve been doing it for a long time. Because your world is so encompassed within this tight reaction that it’s difficult to find something else to do. so what do you do? And that’s where experimentation comes in.
As far as I am concerned, there is the quit day, for me it’s T day, transformation day, from that day onwards it’s all about trying new things and everything is an experiment because there is nothing that you can fall back on. If you fall back on the old life, what happens? You fail and you go back to the drink. So, you have to find new things to do all the time to experiment and experiment and experiment. And the only way to do this is to have many different attempts, they say, throw enough shit at the wall and some of it will stick. That’s your mentality that’s what you’ve got to do, in a cleaner way than that, but that’s basically what you have to do, you’ve got to make a list of all the things that you want to try or that you can think of that might interest you and you’ve got to try those things.
You’ve got to try one thing at a time, don’t go all out and try too many at one time, just try one thing at a time, maybe two things at one time, go in two different directions at one time and just do it bit, by bit, by bit. Just take a little step forward and a little step forward and then maybe take a step back and take a breather, see how far you’re going and see what you think of it. But take it bit by bit by bit, one step at a time. Try many things and if it fails, who gives a shit? It’s failed, it’s a failure, you just chalk it off and you go right that’s one thing I don’t want to do. That’s one thing less on your list. That’s one thing that you can look at and go, well, yeah, at least I know I don’t want to do that anymore. At least I know I don’t want to do that anymore.
The biggest thing is not to be afraid of it. It’s alright going into it with a little bit of fear, a little bit of tingly and going – ‘oooh, yeah this is making me nervous.’ But nervous energy is good, is pushes you forward, it can pull you forwards. But don’t be afraid, there’s nothing to be afraid of, all the fear is inside your head, it doesn’t exist in the outside world.
Try different places, go to different places, try meeting different people, different types of people in different walks of life. Don’t just stick to people you’ve already met over the years. When I was a Drinker, all my friends were all heavy drinkers. Because that’s what I wanted to surround myself with, that’s what I did and I was embarrassed to be around other people. When you’re a heavy drinker and you’re around people who aren’t heavy drinkers and you’re drinking two drinks for their one drink, it’s embarrassing and it’s embarrassing when you get pissed drunk at the end of the night. It’s embarrassing to say some of the shit that comes out of your mouth. Having said that, I know a lot of people who aren’t’ really heavy drinkers and all it takes is for them to have a few drinks and they start coming out with a load of shit, and some people just come out with a load of shit anyway. It’s just a fact of life.
So, don’t be afraid of going to different places, putting yourself in different situations, and meeting different people don’t be afraid of any of this. Push yourself just gradually out of your comfort zone into your discomfort zone a little bit and don’t be afraid of failure.
Failure is good, failure means that you’re essentially heading in the right direction. Or that you’ve failed at something or you didn’t like doing something and you’ve stepped back. It means, you’ve just gone off in a direction that you know now, that you didn’t want to go down. Don’t be afraid of any of that stuff.
Just think about this from the perceptive – in order to succeed in this journey, in this journey of quitting drinking alcohol – this pushing yourself forwards into your new life, you’ve got to accept that failure is an inevitability, you’ve got to invite it. because if you don’t grasp failure and see failure as a learning experience, then you’re just going to sit down on the couche and do nothing and once you do that. Once you resign to doing nothing and never trying to push yourself forward again, then it’s only going to be a matter of time before you start drinking again or you start looking for some release in some other way, some way you already know works.
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Until next time…
Keep the Alcohol out of your Mouth,
Onwards and Upwards!
I realy appreciatie your help
Onwards and upwards
no worries Bengt
Great article, Thanks Kevin!
Laughed out load at the some people just come out with a load of shit.
I love the idea of just experimenting. I am away with 3 mates at the end of the month, the subject of me not drinking will pop up. I am going to answer with; I have drank all my adult life I have decided to experiment with new things, I don’t want to live my entire life by rote. Which is what I was doing when I drank alcohol. This is my stage one polite answer. I have others but I can sound a bit fanatical so I am hoping this is enough. I am nervous about this trip, not totally sure why.
These are good guys, drinkers but not piss heads, but I know this is the ultimate challenge in that there will be mind games probably all in my own head. I don’t want alcohol so I will be fine, but I know I am exposing myself to a plethora of triggers.
I am now an adventurer, my adventures are not worthy of a book yet ha ha. But I have moved forward at a good pace since I quit the alcohol last August.
What can slow me down, can be good old fashioned procrastination. To avoid this I have adopted a simple strategy that for now is working. it works because it is so very simple.
1, Take full responsibility for everything, full stop, everything.
2, Don’t take your self too serious. (Note: all winners and losers get to go in a box at the end)
3, Do things, don’t over think, just start doing. (what things? just do things, start)
If your house is a mess, you car is a mess or if your tackling a big adventure, this simple strategy appears to work.
Combine it with a goal and a to do list for a big adventure. But it works just fine on its own.
You videos are the best source of inspiration, you should be very proud of them.
Thank you & Kind regards
nice way of looking at things… Not living your entire life by rote… As you say, this stage one polite answer… Then it gets nasty… I understand completely where you are coming from… Thanks for all your input Mick