“I am going to do something about my drinking — just as soon as this is out the way.”
I must have said that at least a hundred times 🙂
You know what it’s like: you have a lot on at work. Your partner’s feeling neglected. The fridge is empty and you have a to-do list longer than your arm. You want to stop drinking, but you’re so busy, it feels easier to put things off.
At this time of year – with Thanksgiving, Christmas and party season just around the corner – it’s easy to decide you’ll just forget about sobriety for now… but I hope this blog post motivates you to keep going.
It’s not too late to make 2017 the year you kick alcohol out of your life!
This is a tough one to start with, but it needs to be said. We all have excuses about not being able to quit drinking, and being ‘too busy’ is the perfect kind of excuse, because it is kind of true – we ARE busy!
However, when we say we ‘don’t have time’ to address our drinking, we overlook the fact that alcohol itself is a massive time thief. And sometimes, busyness is just a cover for something else.
Looking back, I think I often chose to be busy, in order to not have to deal with important things, or get out of my comfort zone.
Get clear on how alcohol is dominating your time
You already know that you’re less productive when you’re hungover, making it even harder to get through your never-ending to do list. But alcohol gobbles up time in other places too.
How much of your day is taken up worrying about your drinking, or battling with yourself about whether you’ll drink? How much of your day is structured around alcohol and giving yourself opportunities to drink? How many hours are you losing because you have to factor in time to drink and time to recover?
Get super clear about this.
Treat yourself like a project
Whenever you want to change something about yourself, you have to make a bit of time for it. After all, you’ve got a journey to go through: you’ve got to educate yourself about alcohol, learn how to handle cravings and find some new coping mechanisms.
If you’re not drinking, you can afford to put aside 15-20 minutes a day for sober homework: reading, learning and planning how you’ll deal with different situations. Schedule this time in your diary, in the same way you would do a doctor’s appointment or a deadline at work.
There’s something uniquely powerful about dedicating time and space to your sobriety. It honours the journey you’re on, and makes it a priority in your life.
Say NO to stuff
Remember, some people go away to rehab so they can stop drinking without the distractions of everyday life. You’re doing this whilst getting on with normal, day to day living, so take it easy!
You can ask for help and you can let people do some things for you. Say no to stuff. Just because you’re saying no now, doesn’t mean it’s going to be like this forever.
You should definitely say no to the kind of thing that you can only survive by drinking. (Nothing in life should require a mind-altering, toxic drug – if you have to drink in order to survive dinner with friends, it’s time to stop and think.)
Remember, there is no magic window of opportunity
You don’t have to quit drinking on a Monday, or in January. You don’t have to wait until that work party, holiday, or birthday etc is out the way. You can just take action right now. After all, there will never be a totally ‘perfect’ time to stop drinking, because there will always be something on the horizon.
If alcohol is making you miserable, then right now is a good time to make a change.