For Those Struggling to Stop Drinking : Overriding your survival instincts or Walking through the Ring of Fire

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Most of us are addicted to alcohol on some level when we decide to stop drinking. We may not be physically dependent but we are most likely neurologically addicted. Even with weekend binge drinking it is possible to become neurologically addicted. If you drink routinely at a similar time under similar circumstances, your brain will learn that it needs alcohol in those situations. That could be every day at 5 pm or every Friday and Saturday night.

Addiction works on your survival, instinct or “Lizard Brain”. Many people are confused by why it can be so difficult to stop but if you put it in the context of survival instinct I think it’s easier to understand. Survival instinct has NOTHING to do with rational thought .

If you are starving you will kill for food.

If you are in danger you will run or you’re body will fill with endorphins and you will fight. 

You will instinctively hunger for sex because that’s how we’re wired to keep our species alive.

Survival instincts are not about making a decision … they just are.  

If you’ve been drinking habitually, even if the habit is Friday/Saturday, it’s that survival instinct brain that will fight to get a drink when you make the rational decision to stop. You have to DECIDE to make it NON-Negotiable and get comfortable with being uncomfortable for a while. It will pass! It won’t last forever. Once you have experienced NOT drinking repeatedly in those situations your brain will eventually stop trying to trick you into drinking to survive.

I remember how hard that is not only with drinking but also with smoking 

I paid 200 and a bit euros for Allen Carr’s online program to quit smoking, after paying 200 and a bit euros the year before for hypnosis, after paying 100 or so a few years before that for hypnosis as well. I also read Allen Carr’s quit smoking book and I paid for acupuncture and the patch and tried nicotine gum and Bach Oils.

Every single time, however, I picked up a cigarette within a week or ten days of paying someone to help me stop, usually about 24 hours, and the money and momentum went down the tubes because if I open the door, if I smoke one cigarette, or have one drink I’m sunk…. that’s how I flow.. 

What finally worked for me in quitting both drinking and smoking was to pick a day, accept that I was going to feel like crap for a while, and then keep walking through the ring of fire. That meant that no matter how crappy I felt I stuck to my quit, I found something safe to fill that empty space when I had cravings, because picking up a drink or a smoke means starting over for me.  

It would mean going back and feeling stuck until I got to the place where I bottomed out enough again to pick a day and accept I’m going to feel like crap for a while, over and over again, and that is something I don’t ever want to have to do again.  

Because I feel really good now !!!!! In every way

I’m not edgy or nervous or apologetic or insecure or frenetic. 

I’m focused, self-assured, calm, happy and able to focus my energy on creativity rather than recovery. 

Paying for a program did not work for me. Somehow every time I paid for a program or technique I expected it to do the work for me. I had to accept that it was my responsibility and ask for help from a community.

Writing out my thoughts and feelings and sharing them. 

Finding my solutions.

Asking for help. 

Reading other peoples stories and supporting them.  

Community, vulnerability, and introspection.  

This community, BOOM Rethink the Drink, plus the broader sober community in the world is reaching out to you with books and podcasts. Use those resources and learn. Open your mind to the possibilities.

Thrive don’t just survive!

The way that some of us drink or drank is quite deadly, immediately dangerous, like Russian Roulette, and the only one who can make you not pick up the first drink is….. you.

Learn as much as you can about your Lizard brain 

Heavy drinkers are SURVIVORS!

We survive all kinds of stuff that other people couldn’t, that’s how we get addicted. We are NOT lightweights.

If you are a SURVIVOR and you’ve taught your Survival brain that it NEEDS alcohol by drinking habitually, your brain is going to FIGHT BACK HARD in all kinds of creative ways.

Use your powerful ability to survive to fight back against the addicted instinct to drink.  

You’re going to have to fight hard but you ABSOLUTELY CAN DO IT.  

KNOWING rationally that your brain will FIGHT to trick you into drinking because it has LEARNED that it NEEDS alcohol to survive … that is the key for a while … the first key.  

You’ll need to find more keys as you move forward. Reading this may help The Fuckit Bucket . But the first key is accepting and understanding that no matter what you do not NEED to drink.


If you are drinking too much too often and want to take a break…come join us for Sober September or 100 days of Change .

We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using

You can read more about us Here

Download the Mighty Networks app here for easy access and search BOOM Rethink the Drink

Related Posts From Boozemusings

Using Antabuse to Beat the Binge Drinking Routine


Resources on Understanding Your Lizard Brain :

Read ; Mind Your Lizard Brain  Understanding and Controlling a Sometimes Problematic Part of Our Brains.
Mark Ring, Ph.D., M.A.

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Through the Ring of Fire
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