Most of us feel pretty desperate and a bit lost when we’re unable to get control of habitual drinking. If you’re trying to stop drinking, Make a Plan. Make a plan and share it ! That may sound simplistic but it works. It works especially well if you find a community and share that plan with them. The simple process of sitting down and committing to a plan of action can begin to soothe your frazzled soul. Making a plan is the first step in taking back control and sharing that plan will bring it to life. Sharing that plan with a community keeps you accountable not only to yourself but to them.
I spent years writing tortured private journal entries promising to stop drinking. I didn’t journal often but when I did I wrote impassioned, apologetic, sad, and frustrated pleas to myself. I wrote promises to my kids and husband swearing that I would stop! That I would stop TODAY! But I sealed those promises inside my journal and hid it in the bottom of a drawer.
I wrote those journal entries sincerely but when I wasn’t able to stick to the promises I made I would kick myself hard for being weak-willed, and then settle back into the routine of lying to myself about the dangers of daily binge drinking until the next colossal hungover guilt fest. Then I would write another tragic, impassioned, apologetic, sad, and frustrated secret plea to myself and a promise to my kids and husband that I would stop drinking this time, finally, today, because enough was enough!
But it never worked.
My addiction was absolutely dependent on lies and secrecy. I drank like my friends in public but when I got home I continued, and continued, and continued. The further I sank into secrecy about the extent of my drinking the more important it became that I get real in a public way ……. public but somehow private at the same time. The first day that I started journaling publicly, by posting my plan anonymously to an online community, was the day that I finally stopped drinking once and for all.
Writing to-do lists and checking off what’s done is something that most of us have tried at some point or another. Aside from keeping you focused, writing out a plan or checklist and working from it daily, releases the same “feel good” chemical in the brain that feeding an addiction releases :
“Dopamine increases when we are organized and finish tasks – regardless if the task is small or large. So, don’t allow your brain to worry about things that need to be done. Instead, write these tasks down and then check them off one at a time. It’s been shown that it’s more satisfying to the brain’s dopamine levels when we physically check something off of our to-do list.” from 10 Ways you can release Dopamine in the Brain without Medication
Make a plan
Tell us why you will not drink today, tell us about the resources you’re using to help, find some resources to share with us and if you need help we’ll reach back with lots of great ideas. Come back every single day and keep working your plan. Give yourself the gift of committing to finding YOUR solution and YOUR voice. If you do the work… It’ll work for you!
1- What do I want to achieve
Stop drinking forever and happily…… or take a break …. cut down ….
2 – List ALL Drinking Triggers:
When do they happen during the day week month year e.g. 4 pm
What situations mix with times to create a powerful trigger e.g. commuting home past shops
What emotions do I recognise (and for me I escalated these emotions) e.g stress and tension
What other behaviours or traits collide to make drinking more needed e.g. hunger, a list of fking jobs at the end of the working day, reliving negative conversations that may or may not have happened in reality
3 – HOW do I Do It (examples include)
Read recovery books, TED talks, YOUTUBE – immerse yourself in all things recovery – it is a fascinating subject
Looking at a craving with curiosity: Surf the Urge
Eat well before trigger times
Meditate, tap, therapy, massage, yoga, acupuncture, exercise, keep busy, binge netflix, cook/don’t cook, ice cream/suer healthy whatever you fancy
Post progress, post issues, post revelations, post thoughts
Make rules that will help you when in craving situations E.g No shops after 2 pm, eat and post before acting on an impulse.
Blog your journey here on BOOM or in another community that fits your style, it will really help you and others which is magical
Be accountable to you and your plan – if it’s not working for you change it so it does 🙂
Work out what drinking costs you: Financially, Physically, Emotionally, Impact on Family and Friends…
4) Milestones and Rewards
If you’re working from a plan you can keep track of milestones and reward yourself as you pass by each one. Set up milestones that you think you should be rewarded for achieving and then DO reward yourself with a sober treat! Sober Flowers Friday, Spa, try something new, hire a cleaner once a month or every week (this was major for me and it might sound trite but it removed a massive stressor that I would escalate commuting home)
5) What to do if it goes to shit
E.g. learn from the experience, look at how you felt before during and after the slip. Tell your community about it. Having your plan, your successes and your failures on record will help you move forward.
For many people, it can take a while to get momentum going even with an accountability plan. Someone who has been a “high functioning” binge drinker, desperate to stop but publicly “getting away with it”, may find that milestones as small as 7 days, 8 days, 12 days, 3 weeks, can be a beginning that leads to long-term success. As long as you keep checking in daily, keep learning from your own experience and the experience of others, slips can be recovered from.
The process of recovery for me has been about finally growing up, finally accepting responsibility, working out my truth, and unexpectedly awakening to a childlike wonder at the world around me. It took courage to state my plan publicly and It took courage to lay my thoughts on the line each day but in return, for trusting the people around me to gently catch me if I fell, I was rewarded with genuine freedom.
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