Contemplating giving up alcohol can be daunting and exhausting. We end up flip flopping between ‘knowing’ that it is the right thing to do – and fearing that we will never enjoy life again. This constantly shifting mindset in itself is a nightmare.
One minute we are absolutely certain that we are not going to drink again – then the next we are happily downing a bottle of wine or two. We end up in a constant battle with our own thoughts. Some telling us that life will never be enjoyable again, others telling us that we are on slippery slope to self destruction.
The problem is – we have been so deeply programmed about the ‘benefits’ of alcohol that our subconscious brain truly believes that a life without alcohol is not worth living.
So we start our attempts to cut down or stop with a deprivation mindset. All our thoughts and feelings about stopping are centred around what we will ‘lose’
We call it ‘giving up’ or ‘quitting’. We think about what we won’t be able to do without alcohol and how much we will miss drinking.
This mindset can only lead to failure. The more we focus on the ‘downsides’ of not drinking – the more likely we are to experience them. In psychology, this is known as ‘selective attention – we focus on evidence that supports our beliefs and filter or outright reject anything that might contradict them.
Changing our mindset around stopping drinking involves seeing alcohol for what it really is – misery in a glass. All the benefits we associate with alcohol are very superficial and short lived.
Yes, it gives you something to look forward to at the end of a stressful day. Yes it gives you a little bit of ‘me’ time to contemplate life and shut out the world for a short while. Yes, it gives you a temporary reprieve from anxious thoughts about where you life is going or regret about the past. But all these benefits are fleeting. When the alcohol has worn off, and the lethargy, anxiety and depression of the hangover kick in –
Whether you want to stop drinking for good or have a rest from drinking for a while To give yourself the best chance at having a period of sobriety – we really need to look at the benefits for what they actually are
The benefits of alcohol are really just smoke and mirrors.