“I want to quit drinking but I’m not sure this is the right time…”
I’ve lost track of the number of people I’ve heard say that. I know I said it countless times. Once I’d decided I needed to stop drinking, the next big decision was when. And the more I thought about it, the harder it was to find the ‘perfect’ time. Somehow, it never felt like quite the right moment.
At this time of year, with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, it’s easier than usual to decide that ‘it just isn’t the right time.’
If you’re wondering whether quitting now is really worth it – or perhaps you’re tempted to put everything off until the new year – then here are three things you need to know:
There will never be a ‘perfect’ time to stop drinking!
The truth is, there will always be something on the horizon – a birthday, a wedding, a holiday or some awful team building event at work. There will always be something that could get in your way and derail you if you let it, because real life continues whether you’re drinking or not.
I know it’s tempting to wait until you’re less stressed, or you have more time, or you don’t have to leave the house for a month. But … when is that ever going to happen? Stopping drinking is actually one of the quickest ways to reduce stress in your life and claw back more time. If alcohol is making you miserable, or you suspect it’s holding you back, then the perfect time to quit is always going to be now.
Success happens when you take action.
I was always very good at thinking about my drinking but not very good at doing anything about it. Turns out you don’t learn very much, or make much progress, when you’re trapped in your own head with the same thoughts playing on repeat.
You make progress by taking action, even if things go wrong. When you’re trying to do something great – and sobriety is great – then the chances are you will trip and fall flat on your face at some point. But then you get back up, learn from what went wrong, see where you need more support and look at what you’ll do differently next time. That’s how you figure out what works.
Standing around, waiting to have all the information before you begin, is a sure fire way to never take action. You don’t have to know what’s going to happen next. You just have to start, and now is as good a time as any.
Imagine how great you’ll feel if you do this now.
Let’s say you quit today. How are you going to feel in two months time, having navigated Christmas and New Year and all the other festive stuff? You’re going to feel invincible, that’s what! There are a lot of sober firsts in sobriety, and you’ll have powered through some of the biggest challenges already.
You’ll end 2016 on a real high and will set the tone for how you want to start 2017. And along the way, you might just discover that you can have a brilliant Christmas without alcohol. The festive season is a great excuse for drinking a lot, but not drinking doesn’t mean you’ll miss out or not enjoy it. (As I’ve always said, if alcohol-free living was anything other than fabulous, I’d go back to my boozy old ways pretty quickly.)
Even if you try now, last a little while and then slip up over the festive period, so what? You’ll still have learnt so much from that experience. You’ll be much further ahead than you would be if you stopped trying. Remember, when you slip, you don’t return to the starting line, because you cannot undo all the hard work you’ve already done. All sober time counts. The most important thing is to keep at it, because that’s where you make the big breakthroughs.
Keep going! And have a great week 🙂
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(It’ll help keep you on track tonight)