When an alcoholic makes the decision to quit drinking it’s a big step. I’d argue it’s the biggest and best move you’ll ever make. Let’s face it, an alcoholic has many reasons to quit drinking.
For many, the withdrawals are a challenge and the initial months require huge amounts of courage and determination. Your body is craving a hit and it will introduce all kinds of distractions and ideas to make you take that drink. You slog it out and when it feels like you can’t take it any more, the clouds part and life starts to improve. You may not have achieved the perfect life, but a lot of the bad stuff attached to drinking WILL go away.
Getting to that stage is a hard trudge, like scaling a mountain with oversized concrete boots on. But once you’re there it feels great.
At this point, many find the temptation to drink reduces – your alcoholic voice loses its power. You can actually be around other drinkers and feel at ease. This is a double edged sword. What may seem like a positive, can actually lead to the resumption of drinking. We get comfortable and let down our guard. Next thing you know, a friend has offered you “just one” drink and it seems like this is a reasonable suggestion! It’s a big mistake but your subconscious spots a weakness in your resolve and goes on the attack. You take that drink and next thing you know the downward spiral begins. First night, just one drink. Next night 2, and so it goes on until you’re back to that same low you were at before you gave up.
I can say from experience that falling off the wagon can be soul destroying. I felt like such a loser and it seemed like all the hard work had been for nothing. My daughter saw the bottle back in my hand and didn’t say anything, but her eyes said it all. My wife made hints about seeing alcohol back in the house and I knew she was worried. I knew something had to be done.
How to deal with setbacks when quitting drinking
It doesn’t have to be the end of the world if you resume drinking after a period of sobriety. It’s all a state of mind. I personally wallowed in self pity for several months before getting my act together again. Don’t follow my mistakes though. You can get your act together now!
- Start by making a list of everything you hate about your drinking. If you’ve done it before, do it again. It needs to be fresh and raw. Get it down on paper.
- Review your strategy for quitting drinking last time. What worked well? But more importantly, why did you start drinking again? If you don’t really know what I’m talking about when I refer to your strategy then check out my in-depth guide on how to quit drinking.
- Give yourself a break! We’re only human remember. No one is perfect and we’re all going to stuff up now and then. Just accept what’s happened and move on. But remember, the definition of insanity is repeating the same things over and over whilst hoping for a different outcome. Well, something like that anyway! So don’t skip point number two which I mentioned above. Uncover what didn’t work and fix it for next time.
- Go forth and stop drinking. It can happen today if you really want this. Set your game plan in place and do this thing.