What Are You REALLY Afraid Of ?
If you’re reading this post then the chances are you’re contemplating stopping drinking.
Maybe alcohol is only just starting to become a problem for you or maybe it’s wreaking havoc in your life. But whatever stage you are at, you’re likely to be experiencing a certain amount of fear.
This is totally normal and happens when we try to change anything.
The subconscious part of our brain works on a very basic principle – avoid pain and move towards pleasure.
It has no concept of time – it lives purely in the moment. And for your subconscious brain – alcohol equals pleasure and living without it equals pain and uncertainty
So as soon as you start to think about stopping drinking, this part of your brain anticipates the discomfort it’s going to feel and churns out endless reasons not to try:
“I’ll be miserable without alcohol”
“I’ll never be able to have fun”
“Life is going to be so boring”
or even worse “ I’ll be boring”
What will I have to look forward to?” and on and on and on it goes.
And in the case of trying to quit drinking – we have a lifetime of programming of the ‘benefits’ of alcohol to deal with.
The thing is, the majority of these fears are all smoke and mirrors. The fear of change is often far worse than the change itself.
We get stuck in a cycle of wanting to quit and not wanting to quit because we are terrified that we are going to be deprived of something that makes our life better.
One way to try and break this cycle is to really look at the reality of these fears.
Maybe you are afraid to commit to stopping because you can’t imagine never drinking alcohol again.
Right now, your subconscious brain can’t envision a life where you are happy not drinking.
It has probably never experienced this so has no memories to draw on. But one thing we know about our brain is that it actually changes in response to the environment it finds itself in.
As you start to experience waking up with a clear head, having more clarity and more confidence, your subconscious brain will begin to associate not drinking with pleasure and drinking with pain.
This is the ‘switch’ that many people often experience after stopping for a while
Perhaps you are afraid of never enjoying yourself again. But now, stuck in the misery of alcohol dependence can you really say that you are happy? Do you think you will ever be truly happy if you carry on drinking?
Are you happy being a slave to a poison? – because that’s what it is.
Are you happy knowing that your world is revolving around putting yourself in a drug induced coma on a regular basis?
Another common fear is that you won’t be comfortable socializing.
But when you really look closely at this – is the rapid stupefaction, slurring and acting in ways that later make you cringe, really that comfortable? And the next morning, experiencing the debilitating shame and anxiety about what you said and did – is THAT comfortable?
Another fear that you very likely have is that you are going to be very boring.
If you’ve spent anytime around a drunk person when you weren’t drinking you know that this is laughable.
Repeating the same boring story over and over again is NOT interesting.
Stumbling around slurring is NOT interesting. You don’t look at someone slumped in a drunken stupor and say “wow, I really have to talk to him – he looks so interesting and so much fun!”
You only think you’re fun and interesting because you’ve lost all capacity for rational thought.
Having a full life, a wide range of interests, being able to articulate yourself, being able to listen to another person without constantly interrupting and having meaningful connected interactions – now THAT’S interesting.
So in the same vein, lets look at the “I’ll be bored” fear.
If this is indeed true – if drinking stops you from being bored then it makes sense to assume that drinking regularly and a lot makes your life infinitely more exciting and interesting. Never a dull moment eh?
But I bet nothing could be further than the truth. I bet you’re feeling pretty bored most of the time.
Bored with the constant thinking about stopping
Bored with all the broken promises to yourself.
Bored with the same drunken conversations. Bored with the repetitive groundhog-day quality to your life.
And the final one for this post – probably one of the biggest fears is “how will I be able to relax?”
We think drinking relaxes us but how relaxed are you? I’m not talking about the 10 mins when alcohol enters your system and starts shutting it down. I’m talking about your life in general.
IS it relaxing waking up with panic at 4am?
IS it relaxing trying to hide how much you drink?
IS it relaxing watching your life slowly go down the toilet?
Of course not. It’s extremely stressful!
Alcohol makes life so stressful that you feel like you have to numb yourself and escape from it with – EVEN MORE alcohol.
And what many people don’t realise is that alcohol damages the only part of the brain that can manage stress – the Pre-frontal cortex. So the more you drink – the less natural ability you have to reduce stress.
Your chances of quitting are infinitely better once you take a good hard look at the supposed ‘benefits’ and start to see alcohol for what it is.
It isn’t solving your problems, it’s creating them.
Yes of course there will be some discomfort as you start to get accustomed to managing feelings in healthy ways. Of course there will be awkwardness at first in social situations. And yes, maybe for a while you will be at a loss as to what to do with your time.
But the majority of stress from quitting comes from obsessing about what you are missing.
You know exactly what you are missing – endless hangovers, constantly feeling lethargic, stuck in an endless cycle of wanting and not wanting. You don’t want it. You want more for yourself.
If you want a little help getting past the fears and shifting your mindset, why not sign up for a consult to see how we can help you.
Go on, your future self will thank you.