Playing The Movie To The End – Are You Doing It Right?

Playing The Movie To The End – Are You Doing It Right?

When you’re tempted to drink, playing the movie to the end is a good idea.

This means forcing yourself to think about how things will really turn out, if you have “just one drink.”

(Because the truth is, it’s probably NOT going to be just one…)

This technique of ‘thinking though the drink’ can really help – if you do it properly.

But a lot of people don’t.

In fact, they do the opposite of playing the movie forward… 

In this video, I want to make sure you’re not getting this wrong too:

Key points: 

What ‘playing the movie to the end’ means

When you’re tempted to drink, stop and make yourself think about how things are *really* going to work out. It’s probably NOT going to be “just one drink”. So what does the end of the movie look like for you? 

How will you feel later in the evening? What mood will you be in? Will you sleep soundly? How will you feel when you wake up? What will you be saying to yourself? Is there anyone else who will be affected by your decision to drink? 

 

Don’t get stuck on the opening scene

Here’s what many people do without realising: they play the first 10 minutes of the movie over and over again in their head, but they never think past that. If you went to the cinema, you would judge a film in its entirety, not just on the opening scene. 

If you find yourself saying things like “drinking is so relaxing” then you’re not thinking past the beginning of the movie. Remember, your ‘drinking movie’ lasts for 24 hours, because that’s how long you deal with the fallout of drinking for. How much of that is ‘relaxing’? 

 

Which movie are you going to play tonight? 

You have two choices: you can carry on romanticising the opening scene and playing a movie that’s good for a few minutes and bad for 23 hours. You can waste your time, energy and brain power on that if you want to.

Or you can push play on a different film: the alcohol free movie. It might not have a great opening scene and you might wonder if you’re going to like it. But it will grow on you. And this movie has a very happy ending 😊

 

If you’d love some help and support to quit drinking, click here for details of my online course.

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“I’m Not Lazy Or Stupid – Why Can’t I Figure This Out?”

“I’m Not Lazy Or Stupid – Why Can’t I Figure This Out?”

“Why can’t I figure out how to quit drinking?” 

I must have asked myself that question so many times. 

In every other area of life, I was pretty good at making things happen. 

I wasn’t afraid of hard work and I considered myself to be a fairly resourceful person. 

But I just couldn’t make sobriety stick.

I couldn’t figure out why I kept breaking promises to myself. 

If you’re starting to wonder whether you’ll ever get this, this video is for you:

Key points:

When quitting drinking is the one thing you just can’t seem to figure out, it can be tempting to make up stories about it, such as:

“Maybe I’ll never get this.” “Maybe I’ve got an addictive personality.” “Maybe I’m just not strong enough.” None of that is true.

 

Success is like an iceberg

You know all those other things in your life that you’re really good at, or proud of? Well, there was a point when you weren’t so good at them. Whether it’s parenting, exams, running, driving, whatever – you had to figure out all of them. 

The brain loves to look back at the past through rose tinted glasses. We forget just how much work went into an achievement. If you’re struggling with your drinking right now, all it means is that this is the next thing to work on. 

 

It’s ok to struggle with alcohol

When you can’t figure out how to quit, part of the pain comes from feeling that it’s wrong to struggle in the first place. We’re conditioned to think that we should be able to control alcohol and that you’re ‘weak’ if you can’t. (I shared more about this ridiculous idea here.)

Alcohol is addictive. It’s portrayed as fun, sophisticated and exciting. As adults we’re told that we need alcohol in order to survive work, parenting, the pandemic… So is it really a surprise that you’ve come to rely on drinking?

 

Choosing short term discomfort

When you drink, you choose the short term comfort of saying yes, but get the long term discomfort of being hungover and feeling bad. In sobriety, you’ve got to be willing to choose short term discomfort, in return for long term well being and satisfaction in your life.

If you’re someone who’s experienced success, reached goals and done things you’re proud of elsewhere in your life, then guess what? You’re used to choosing short term discomfort for long term gains. You can figure out how to do this with alcohol too.

 

Successful sobriety

It’s not about ‘being stronger’ or ‘trying harder’. It always comes back to the thoughts you have about you and alcohol. If you want some help to change your beliefs about booze, my stop drinking course will show you how to quit and feel good about it. You can find out more here

 

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“I Deserve A Glass Of Wine Tonight…”

“I Deserve A Glass Of Wine Tonight…”

“I deserve a glass of wine tonight!”

As soon as the thought popped into my head I knew I’d be in trouble. 

When I was drinking, I always felt I deserved wine after a tough day. And if I’d had a good day? Well, I still deserved wine.

If I was busy or bored or tired – or whatever, really – I could always find a reason why I deserved a glass. 

Only it was never really just one… 🙄

This video is about how to shift the “I deserve it” thought into something useful:

Key points: 

“I deserve a glass of wine” is a thought that’s quite hard to resist, until you start unpicking it. We’ve got to be willing to examine our thoughts – that’s where the real work of sobriety is. 

 

What is it you really deserve?

In the moment when you’re telling yourself, “I deserve a glass of wine” what is it that you’re really wanting? Is it a treat or reward? Relief from a negative emotion? Happiness and pleasure? Or distraction, relaxation or something else?

Once you’ve identified what you’re really craving, then you can look at how to give that to yourself. There are so many other ways you can meet that need without alcohol. Think about how you’d look after a child in this situation.

 

Flip the script

Remember to ask whether you “deserve” all the side effects too. So the thought “I deserve a glass of wine” needs to be answered with, “but do I deserve a hangover? Do I deserve to break my promises to myself? Do I deserve to feel bad tomorrow?”

Drinking wine can feel like self care but it isn’t. You don’t ‘deserve’ a toxic, cancer causing glass of rotting fruit juice. You just don’t. 

 

What do you deserve in life? 

In the grand scheme of things, what do you really want? What do you believe you deserve? Maybe it’s a great relationship, a better job or more time to yourself.

If all you ever tell yourself is “I deserve a glass of wine” then that’s all you’re going to get. Drinking will keep you stuck, tolerating your problems instead of working through them and making changes. 

 

If you’d love some help and support to quit drinking, click here for details of my online course.

 

Stay sober tonight - listen to my free pep talk!

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Taste, Tolerance And Triggering Posts

Taste, Tolerance And Triggering Posts

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook last week:

“After Dry January, my first glass of wine tastes like 80 per cent whisky.”

It’s interesting because I’ve met people in long term sobriety who still mourn the taste of their favourite alcoholic drink. 

They really feel they’re missing out… but they’ve never stopped to consider whether their taste buds might have changed!

The end of Dry January always brings up a few interesting issues.

Over the past week I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about taste, tolerance and triggering posts…

So I wanted to tackle it all in this video:

Key points

Taste

Many of us have a story about loving the taste of wine and feeling deprived of that in sobriety. Appreciating the taste of alcohol – particularly wine – is a very socially acceptable reason to drink. 

Think back to your first drink after a break from booze. If you winced at the taste of your favourite wine, but you forced it down anyway, then you’re not truly drinking for the taste. 

You’re drinking because you want the effect of the drug in your system. It’s harder to admit that, but it’s really important to be aware of what’s driving your actions. 

 

Tolerance

After Dry January, or any break from booze, your tolerance to alcohol will be lower. This means you won’t need as much to feel the effects, so you’re more likely to be able to just have one or two drinks and then stop. 

Don’t let the tolerance trick convince you that you’ve “reset” or “learned to moderate”. And don’t beat yourself up if you later find yourself needing more and more to get the same effect. 

It’s not personal – you haven’t won or lost some willpower battle. When you’re using a powerful, addictive drug like alcohol, craving more and more of it is a predictable outcome. I talked about moderation here.

 

Triggering posts

If you’re struggling to change your relationship with alcohol, it can be frustrating when other people boast about how easy they found Dry January. 

Remember, being able to take a month off drinking doesn’t really mean much. Besides, what people share online only reveals a fraction of what’s really going on in their lives.

I think we’re lucky that we get to do this work and find a healthier way of handling life. Many drinkers will never get to experience just how amazing an alcohol free lifestyle is. So they’re the ones missing out, not you!

 

Looking for help and support to quit drinking? Click here for details of my online course.

Download your free Wine O'Clock Survival Guide!

(It’ll help keep you on track tonight)

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Don’t Forget To Tell The Other Side Of The Story

Don’t Forget To Tell The Other Side Of The Story

What’s the story you tell yourself the most often?

I’ve noticed that many of the women who are drawn to my work are very good at doing this:

– Judging themselves
– Telling untrue stories about their capabilities
– Thinking negative thoughts
– Ruminating
– Beating themselves up

So… not exactly the kind of skills you’d boast about on your CV, right?!

Many of us mistakenly believe we can shame ourselves into changing our behaviour, but we can’t. 

The real secret to change is to examine your thoughts and start telling the other side of the story…

I explain all in this video:

Key points:

Beliefs are just thoughts we practice over and over

We can choose our thoughts and the story we have about ourselves. We can pick stories that are unhelpful and keep us stuck, or choose ones that help us take action and feel better.

 

Examples of story reframes:

“Lockdown means it’s too hard for me to quit drinking at this time.”

“Drinking through lockdown is also hard.”
“I’ve already drunk through two lockdowns and it didn’t make me feel good.”
“Not drinking is caring for myself. Caring for myself makes the tough times easier.” 

 

“I’ve quit drinking but I still have all the same problems as before, so what was the point?”

“I’m an action taker who doesn’t waste time waiting for the perfect moment to come along.”
“I’m someone who can get stuff done despite having less than perfect circumstances.”
“I choose not to drink through problems and make things worse.”
“Sobriety will never fix all my problems, but it gives me the space to work on them.”

 

“I’m only doing well right now because we’re in lockdown and I’m not tempted by nights out.”

“I’m a pretty amazing person because I’m nailing my sobriety during lockdown – a time when many other people can’t even contemplate doing this.”
“I’ve figured out how to not drink at home. When the time comes to socialise again, I’ll be able to figure that out as well.”

 

Remember…

Successful and happy sobriety isn’t just about not drinking. It’s about learning how to manage your mind and have a better relationship with yourself. These negative stories might feel true to you, but it’s only because you’ve practised them a lot. Your brain is used to looking for the negative.

 

What’s the other side of your story?

If there’s an unhelpful thought you keep dwelling on, how could you reframe that? What would you say if you were going to talk yourself up for once? How would it feel to choose a kinder thought? When you feel good, your chance of success increases.

 

💜 Need a dose of motivation? 💜

Grab a copy of my 20 affirmations to support your sobriety – they’re empowering statements to stand by when you’re questioning your decision to quit👇