You’ve dabbled with alcohol-free living, on and off. You’ve read countless sober memoirs. You lurk on sober blogs. You are officially sober curious.
You spend a lot of time THINKING about quitting. You know you need to do something, and taking a break from booze seems like a good place to start. And yet… you can’t quite bring yourself to actually do it.
Next week, you promise. I’ll do it next week. I’ll be ready then.
You’ve already calculated how much money you’ll save when you quit.
You know you’ll sleep better.
You know you’ll feel better.
And you love the idea of waking up without a hangover.
But still. You’re just not quite ready yet … right?
Well actually, I’d suggest you are.
It’s very likely that right now, at this very second, you’re as ready as you’re ever going to be. Here’s why:
There’s never going to be a perfect time to do this.
You will always have a work event, a birthday, a boozy BBQ or a holiday just around the corner. (And when all else fails, Friday night rolls around every 7 days and well, don’t you deserve a drink on a Friday?!) If you look hard enough, there will always be something.
Life doesn’t stop when you’re sober. (This is actually a really good thing. If alcohol-free living meant never going out, and never having fun, it’d be a pretty awful way of life!) There will always be a reason why now just ‘isn’t the right time’. And in a way, that takes the pressure off. If there’s never going to be a ‘perfect’ time to do this, why wait? Make this the right time by taking action.
Look at the flip side.
Whatever your reason for not quitting this week, the chances are it’s the very reason why you should stop right now.
For example: got a busy week coming up? Know that you’re going to be stressed out at work? That’s fine – all the more reason NOT to drink this week. Alcohol is such a time thief. Sobriety will make you more productive so you stop feeling so overwhelmed. Alcohol is scientifically proven to make you more anxious and less able to cope with stress, so why make a tough week harder than it needs to be?
Or perhaps you’ve got a holiday coming up? No problem. What a great opportunity to stop drinking, look after yourself and come back feeling genuinely refreshed. Why would you need to drink anyway? Holidays are lovely – they’re fun and relaxing, just as they are. Why would you need to throw a toxic poison into the mix? Alcohol-free trips abroad are the best – seriously, I’m excited for you!
You don’t need to be perfect.
A common reason for putting things off is a fear of trying and failing. And to be honest, that fear is well founded. If you’re anything like the rest of the planet, then you probably will screw up at some point. It’s almost inevitable, but it’s also ok. It’s called being human!
What’s better: not taking action for fear of making a mistake, or going for it and falling flat on your face? In what scenario do you think you might learn the most and make the most progress?
Success is built on failure. The only enemy you need to defeat right now is not getting started. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
You become ‘ready’ by taking action.
One of the biggest myths about sobriety is that one day, out of the blue, you’ll just know that it’s time to quit. In my experience, it’s rarely as clear cut as that.
When I stopped drinking, it was because I felt fed up. I was tired. I’d been wondering what a proper break from booze would be like. So I challenged myself to stop for 100 days, so I could test drive alcohol-free living properly. I told myself that if I hated it, I could always go back to drinking, but I had to do 100 days first.
That was four years ago 🙂
I became ‘ready’ to stop after I quit. After I started taking action. I see exactly the same thing happen with the women I coach. It’s rare for anyone to start off feeling 100% sure they want to stop. But most people are curious about alcohol-free living, and it’s that curiosity you need to pay attention to.
If you’re regularly drinking more than you intend to, and it’s making you miserable, don’t you owe it to yourself to see what a proper break feels like? You don’t need to label yourself, go to meetings or take any online tests. You don’t need to have it all figured out, you just need to begin.
That’s the secret to success – starting before you’re ready.