Let’s face it: stopping drinking can be really hard. When we’re trying to quit something that we’ve been doing for a long time, the chances are we will screw up at some point.
Perhaps you’re reading this because over the weekend, that’s what happened to you. Maybe you drank despite promising yourself you wouldn’t. Now you’re trying to muster up the energy to give it another go.
It can be a very demoralising time, but the good news is that you can also use mistakes to your advantage. So don’t let one bad night turn into ten.
Here’s how to recover from slips and get back on track quickly:
If we only ever did things that we knew we’d succeed at, then we wouldn’t get very far in life. Success is not doing something perfectly and without failure. Success is picking yourself back up after you fall and trying again. See this for what it really is: a lesson learned, a step on the path to success. Thomas Edison – inventor of the lightbulb – ‘failed’ thousands of times before he hit the jackpot. If you think of the people you admire most, the chances are that they’ve experienced a major setback or failing at some point. The fact that they overcame it is part of why you respect them.
Stop beating yourself up.
We are really good at criticising ourselves at the best of times. When things go wrong, we go into overdrive. If you keep telling yourself that you’re stupid / worthless / weak etc you’ll start to believe it. So, stop it right now. Start talking to yourself like you would a best friend. Put things into perspective – this is just one part of your life. And remember, all sober time counts. You simply cannot undo all the good work you’ve done or go back to square one.
Look and learn.
A lot of this stuff is trial and error – mistakes are chances to observe what is working and what isn’t. Don’t fall into the trap of blaming yourself and promising that next time you’ll ‘try harder’. The truth is we rarely slip and drink because we don’t have the willpower; it’s more a case of not having the right tools. Look at what triggered you to drink. Perhaps you need to find a new way of coping with stress or dealing with that tricky period between 5-7pm. Maybe you need a bit more day-to-day support? Work out where things started to go wrong – if you could go back in time, what would you do differently? Come up with at least one idea to experiment with next time.
Now I’d love to hear from you…
Trying – and failing – is something we’ve all been through. What are your tips for coping with mistakes and moving on from them? Let me know in the comments. Lots of people come here for inspiration and your words may be exactly what someone else needs to hear.