For everyone who has a habit that is tied to a time, or a day, or an event, it’s predictable. Predictability means that you can work out a plan to break it, and once you’ve broken that habit just one time, you are immediately stronger. If you’re a weekend binge drinker, or even have a drinking ritual most nights, breaking the habit of reaching for a drink at 5 pm is the first step to getting your life back. In order to break the ritual you need a plan or at least some pointers as to what to do when the booze hour hits.
The Friday evening yeeeehaaa! is so common it’s probably generic amongst all boozers. But that seeming NEED to drink can be tied to other triggers, like a stressy commute home, or the “ohhhh I’ve worked so hard this week” wail. I used this a lot and it wasn’t really true so look out for you telling whoppers to YOU.
When you get a craving it can be powerful, quick, and painful. Especially when you first stop your drinking ritual, it can feel like a compulsion. These cravings to a degree come at fairly predictable times (for me it was at least 5 times a week – weekdays 4 pm, weekends more like 1 pm). So to head off what we delightfully call the fuck it switch, and NOT drink tonight, you can eat, distract, relax AND you can have an HONEST conversation with yourself about why you wanted to stop in the first place.
This is where, just taking 5 minutes or so to check in with yourself can make the difference between making a decision that makes your feel high as a kite the next morning, or one that makes your feel like an utter and complete sack of shit. Generally in my on-line community, we don’t advocate giving yourself a bad time, but this is the time to recall how AWFUL drinking made you feel mentally, emotionally, and physically.
It left you sweaty and bloated, worrying that others could smell old booze on you.
It isolated you and made you ‘absent’ from those that are dear to you.
It made you lazy.
It made you feel guilty.
It screwed with your memory.
You had sex with someone you shouldn’t have.
You made bad decisions.
You gossiped inappropriately and you hurt someones feeling.
You spent money you didn’t have.
You canceled because you wanted to get drunk.
You obsessed about having enough and whether others were getting your share.
and it goes on…..
The Fuck it Switch can be sneaky, especially when you have some alcohol-free time under your belt, it kind of takes on a highjacking strategy. Beware that once you have broken through this, the drinker in you may want to celebrate by getting hammered.
It is highly likely you are manufacturing stress to build up the hype to allow yourself to drink. The body can be fooled quite easily into a stress response. Focussing on breathing can bring you back to a more grounded place. Check out meditation, 4 7 8 breathing, or acupuncture. There are loads of techniques out there depending on how much time or money you have – 4 7 8 breathing grounds you within 30 seconds and is free and easy!!!
What can you do to alleviate stress?
To begin with, give this post a read o understand why your brain calls for a drink to relieve stress – How to Override your Lizard Brain
You might be ramping your stress level up to legitimize drinking so plan an evening of gentle, but interesting activities. Check out Ted Talks or watch a documentary. Chill-out music works. Leave work a little early if possible, organize a takeaway, leave the housework, and have a stash or Netflix. My advice would be to not go anywhere near shops that sell wine or beer or alcohol after 1 pm. Simple ‘bright line’ rules where there is no wiggle room work.
What is likely to be your biggest trigger on Friday? Will it be stress or boredom related?
Tell yourself that this Friday is the day you break this habit once and for all NO MATTER WHAT.
Eat something before the wine hour; Alcohol Cravings and Hypoglycaemia.
Log on to BOOM, post and read and post and read – you have a LOT of supporters there who have your back.
Keep busy or relax, which ever works for you.
Do the housework or go to the cinema.
Take a detoxifying Epsom salts bath.
Go to bed early; How to get a Good Nights Sleep When You Stop Drinking
Meditate, do yoga, or have chill-out music on.
Ask your family to treat you gently for the time being.
Don’t give drinking on Friday ritual that much importance – You are Just Not Doing it TONIGHT.
Remember If you’ve decided to join in the discussion, no matter where you are in your efforts to change your relationship with alcohol, you are here and you are trying and that is epic. You are here amongst like-minded people that can help you in some shape or form move forward. Compared to the amount of time it took up to get into all this trouble, getting out of it can be bloody quick. No matter what challenges lie ahead, as long as you remain committed and engage with yourself and with community, you will get through.
Thoughts from Clare on how to Break the Friday night drinking ritual using our online support community.
If you’re drinking too much too often Rethink the Drink. Alcohol is the only drug that people will question you for Not using .