A huge part of letting go of alcohol for me was really identifying why I was drinking in the first place (if drinking isn’t your thing, sub in whatever). One of the things I had to work on and one of the first things I try to work on with my clients, is identifying the Why.
We often use a generic word like stress, bored, happy etc. Example: “I had such a stressful day at work and then the kids were insane when I got home… I need a drink.” Why am I drinking? The easy go to answer is stress. The harder to get to answer is… I have too much to do at work and I don’t feel like I can get it all done. I am overwhelmed, I am nervous, I am scared I can’t do it. I came home too tired to deal with the kids, I was hungry, I was already annoyed so I yelled and then I felt guilty. I feel like should be doing better. Naming it, saying the words, writing it down, being able to accurately identify your feelings allows you the space to make a choice. Another example: It’s a party! I need to drink to loosen up and have fun. Easy answer: I am celebrating. Harder answer: It has been so long since I haven’t had a drink at a party, I don’t even know if I can be fun with out alcohol. I feel awkward around people I don’t know very well. Everyone else will be drinking, I will feel left out and like I am missing out on something. I have been taught since I was old enough to understand advertisements that party=drinking and I don’t know how to be here sober. I am uncomfortable in a crowd as just me.
Before you reach for your thing, ask: “What am I trying to feel?” or “What feeling am I trying to escape?” and then sit with that question for 30 seconds or couple of minutes. This process can apply to so many places. Food (hey cookie dough, what’s up?!), social media, alcohol, sex, gossip… fill in the blank. A good follow up question: Is what I am reaching for the solution that I truly want? or even simply Is this the choice I want to make?
This process for me really helped take me from the mind space of “I can’t drink” to “I don’t need to drink”. Alcohol worked really well for me until it didn’t. It was my bandaid on top of a bandaid on top of a bandaid.
Bandaids eventually fall off and if we haven’t dealt with what is underneath, it will just be a big yucky mess that needed attention a long time ago. Count to 3…rip that bandaid off, arm hair and all.
PS If you need a hand to squeeze while you rip off the bandaid, let’s talk!