Thursday, 14 January 2016

Reasons to Quit Drinking #8: Because it's Easier

Before you start yelling at me, please note I said easier, not easy.

What we all secretly desire is to be like those intensely irritating people who can drink just one glass of wine and then stop. The ones who almost seem to forget they have a glass sitting in front of them.

I mean, what is all that about?

Our goal is to be able to cut down. To moderate. To be in control.

Well, I'm really sorry to have to break this to you, but once you're addicted to alcohol (and even seemingly moderate drinkers can be addicted), it might be possible to do all those things, but it is immensely hard work.

The problem with any addiction is that your brain has been wired to want MORE.

(For more on how your brain chemistry has been buggered up by alcohol read this one: Is Moderation Possible? Part 2)

So you either give in and just give it what it wants until you end up the classic low bottom drunk pouring vodka on the cornflakes, or you constantly fight it.

And constantly fighting is exhausting.

It's like being on a never ending diet. The more you try not to do something, the more you want it. The more you attempt not to think about it, the more it preys on your mind.

And, let's face it, we were never very good at restraint, moderation and denial in the first place, were we? That's what got us into this mess!

I know that sounds all rather depressing, so here's the GOOD NEWS....

You can fix it.

Remember when you were a child and all you were really bothered about was learning to do a wheelie on your new Chopper, and whether it was a better idea to spend your pocket money on a Sherbet Dib Dab or some Space Dust? You spent no time at all thinking about booze. Cherry Cola maybe.

Well, you really can go back there. Not to the 1970's, obviously (who'd want to?), but to a place where you don't have to worry about drinking, or not drinking, or how much drinking, or what you did while drinking, or anything at all to do with drinking.

All you need to do is to STOP. For long enough.

The tricky bit is that initially, instead of thinking about booze less, you'll think about it more. That's the addiction talking. The wily old wine witch putting up a fight.

You have to kill the old crone, and the only way to do that is to starve her of alcohol for long enough.

It takes around 100 days to get through the worst, and about six months before you start to feel completely free.

BUT, be warned, as soon as you have a drink, you breathe life back into the wine witch, and your addict brain is back with a vengeance.

(Read my post: The Obstacle Course for more on this one).

Please believe me, once you're out the other side (and you will get there) it's EASY. And you think why on earth did I struggle for so long?

Then it's your job to spread the word....

Love SM x

23 comments:

  1. When this post popped up I initially read the title as "because it's Easter", and I thought Chr*st, seriously where is this year going already?? But yes, I'm looking forward to life being easier, and it is already a little. Can't wait to hit the glorious 100 days :-). Red xx

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    1. Lol! I'm trying to think of an Easter post now just for you ;-)

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    2. I shall look forward to it!! Whenever Easter is ;-) xx

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  2. Day 11. Focusing on the positive benefits definitely helps to make stopping easier. I am already sleeping better (last night straight through from 11.30 - 6.30!) - reading your early comments on this I was so looking forward to quality sleep and it's happened so quickly. Just finished Jason Vale's book, generally helpful but don'T agree with the idea that we are all addicted. I do still believe some people are more addicted than others. Watched Ch5 programme last night. Found it very upsetting. Wish they wouldn't use the term 'alcoholic'.

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    1. I agree about C5 programme. Planning a post on it... Isn't the sleep great?!?

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  3. Day 11. Focusing on the positive benefits definitely helps to make stopping easier. I am already sleeping better (last night straight through from 11.30 - 6.30!) - reading your early comments on this I was so looking forward to quality sleep and it's happened so quickly. Just finished Jason Vale's book, generally helpful but don'T agree with the idea that we are all addicted. I do still believe some people are more addicted than others. Watched Ch5 programme last night. Found it very upsetting. Wish they wouldn't use the term 'alcoholic'.

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  4. True!!! Easier to stop than moderate. Not easy but easier x

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  5. I so needed to read this today, day 14. I'm clear headed, sleep better (but have the oddest dreams) and love the mornings; but the wicked WW is creeping in, poking me, luring me...I don't want her back in my life. I have faith that one day it will be easier.

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    1. It really will! Just hang on in there! X

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  6. Ha ha yes timely reminder for me. Moderation is impossible if you have lost your off switch along the way. Starts off fine, haven't had a drink for a bit so one pint in a country pub won't hurt, and so it begins .... Pleased to say am on day 11 ( have to start back at zero obvs). Would have been on day 100 and odd by now if I hadn't succumbed at xmas. Not tempted now but a bit worried about a nice weekend away in Feb. Country hotel, wood fires, long walks and big dinners. Hope to have nerves of steel by then !

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    1. I am the same!! Already worrying about a holiday in September...aah! One day at a time xx

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    2. Sober holidays can be awesome! You don't miss any of it! Bet it's much easier than you expect....

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  7. It is easier, SM - I'll back you up on that. I attempted to moderate on my own for some years without much success - then over three years ago I found Moderation Management. A group of very nice people in a mostly virtual community who are trying to learn to moderate their drinking - as most have self - identified as problem drinkers. There are quite a few people who have been able to successfully moderate - or at least cut down their drinking at the group.

    But everyone - to a person agrees that moderation is harder than simply abstaining. Moderating means counting, tracking, recording - and while it is possible for some - it's sooooo much work - and many people - including me in the end decide it's just not worth it.

    Since deciding to go abs it's freed up so much mind space. I don't have to wrestle with should I drink today or not - should I save my drinking for the weekend - all of that. I simply choose not to drink. And as it's a conscious choice that I've made - I don't feel I'm being deprived of anything. Rather I'm reinforcing the healthy choice that I've made.

    It basically eliminates cognitive dissonance - which is uncomfortable. It's actually incredibly liberating. There are a couple of books on this topic which I can recommend if anyone is interested and I think you're reviewing one now.

    I'm a headstrong person - so for me it took a while to sink in - I had to give moderation a try - and determine if it was right for me - then finally while reading your blog - a light went off. I would agree with other posters that just keep the abs going - as our brains have been negatively conditioned - or as you put it in your English way our "brain chemistry has been buggered up by alcohol."

    Trust one who took a long time to learn - alcohol abstinence is easier than moderation. - E

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    1. I would be interested in the books you suggested please? X

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    2. Hey, lastchancesaloon! One of the books is Jason Vale, Kick the Drink, the other (which I'm currently reading as Eeyore says) is Control Alcohol: This Naked Mind. X

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    3. Thanks have read Jason Vale and I do like it but am still struggling with some of his concepts-I suppose I'm still looking at some of my alcohol days with those rose tinted glasses! Thank you-will try the second one. I'm also reading 'Mrs D goes without' at the moment-she describes the emotional roller coaster well xxx

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    4. This Naked Mind - Control Alcohol - by Annie Grace. The book quotes liberally from Jason Vale and others (and gives credit) and is sometimes a bit redundant (which the author says is intentional). I found it on Amazon and selected based on the reviews. Sober Mummy's blog (if you read it from the oldest entry to the newest) was incredibly motivating for me - and Annie's book reinforces much of this to me. So that's why I recommend it (with the caveats mentioned).

      I had done stretches of abs before (over 100) but the change is that if you let it - a switch can be flipped and you understand - you're not weak - for many it's not about willpower - it talks about addictive substances and the changes they can have on the brain. And then you are empowered to make the choices you want for your better life. - E

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  8. I'm not really missing drinking or thinking about it much, truth be told. Struggling with being infertile is taking up all my headspace. Finding it easy to not want to drink when I've been referred for IVF and know it won't help. What's harder is I've been told to not eat sugar as I've got pcos and this is affected by insulin resistance. i fail every evening without exception in eating sugar. Leftover Xmas choc. I know it won't help but it's not poison like booze so I sort of "allow" my self a pass on it.

    I never visualise having a baby anymore, I visualise what I'll do when treatment doesn't work. That doesn't include getting blotto on wine, but i fantasise about things like going on a crazy crash diet for a month and getting really skinny. I can only conclude that this deep desire is to punish my shitty shitty body. I guess my screen name's a joke; sober maybe but definitely not healing.

    Oh well. Least I'm sober.

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    1. Oh Sweetheart, you sound so miserable! Please don't visualise defeat, try and visualise success. There's so much we don't understand about the connection between mind and body, and imagining failure can't be helping you. Be kind to yourself, and look after yourself. Try eating fruit to satisfy the sugar cravings rather than chocolate. Sending you hugest hugs xxx

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    1. 116 days is awesome! You're over the worst! Go girl! X

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  10. It is easier!
    Trying to moderate was exhausting!
    xo
    Wendy

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  11. Hi SM - totally agree - can't moderate - and wouldn't want to because it is sooooo exhausting and mind -time - consuming!! Still feeling strong here - although no major tests recently - have 2 nights out next week - which could have been problematic - but luckily either hubby or I need to drive - so I'll take that opportunity for my sober excuse (I know we shouldn't need excuses but you've got to do what works for you, partic in the early days). Have also just booked a holiday and worry about managing it sober(crazy when it's so far in the future - thanks for your advice on sober holidays by the way - really helps. Happy sober weekend SM - Love SFM xxx

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