The One Thing You Need to Stop Drinking for 30 Days
If you’re wondering how to stop drinking alcohol for 30 days or more, this post explains what I think is the ONE thing critical component for success.
Without it you’re setting yourself up for disappointment, I know because it’s something I’ve done a number of times during the last couple of years and I’ve made stopping drinking for 30 days my only formal new years resolution this year.
I stopped drinking alcohol on January the 4th (I never start new years resolutions on the first) and today’s my 41st day without a drink.
Like many men of my age, I have a long history with booze, in fact it’s been an institution in my life for 25 years. I think if you’re over 30, especially in the UK, alcohol is synonymous with many British men’s way of life.
More so perhaps for me, because I lived in one from the age of 8, (it’s the one in the image below) about the same time I recall having my first alcoholic drink, swiped at a family wedding.
I started drinking socially with friends at fourteen, a habit which soon became a regular affair that’s continued since, although become less frequent during the last 10 years.
So whilst I wouldn’t class myself as an alcoholic, alcohol’s been significant in my life.
I know the health risks associated with drinking, such as brain shrinkage contributing to memory loss and dementia and its link to more than 60 diseases including cancer, stroke, depression.
I totally get drinking’s hardly a tonic of health!
I’ve recognised for a longtime drinking’s debilitating impact in my business too. I know that when I stop drinking alcohol, my ability to create, plan and problem-solve is way more effective. I look, feel and sleep better.
I have more passion and energy probably in part due to rising testosterone levels, which get depleted by alcohol.
So I’m intellectually very aware alcohol doesn’t serve me, that said whilst my consumption has lessened after 30 days are done, I usually return to having a few glasses of wine 2 or 3 evenings a week.
Why I Quit Smoking
It is relevant to share with you my experience with stopping smoking. I TRIED numerous times over a period of about 5 years and likewise I knew smoking wasn’t serving me, but each time I’d start again within a few months.
The defining factor was the birth of my son. His birth led to a change of perspective. I now wanted to ensure I set a good example and be around to see him and my grand kids grow up.
I didn’t need any patches, aids or any other intervention. I decided enough was enough. That was 9 years ago.
Whether you’re wanting to stop drinking or any other habit, what I believe you need is AN INSIGHT. A new understanding about why you want to stop drinking, that goes beyond the intellectual rights and wrongs of the habit.
An intellectual decision will only get you so far.
You have to have an embodied, powerful new idea about drinking that negates every other rule, belief or concept you’d created about drinking in the past, such as I need alcohol to have a good time, I need alcohol to relax, to socialise etc etc.
This is how lasting change occurs, a resolve to create better results in your life which comes from a deeper understanding about what you really want.
Experimenting is great, it helped me find out the benefits of non smoking and drinking, but if you’re quitting because you think you SHOULD, NEED or MUST, you’ll probably find it hard work.
What you need is an unequivocal WANT to.
This is where the power lies, without it you’ll constantly be questioning your decision, which will mean alcohol, at least the thought of it, is perhaps more present in your life than usual. The more you think about being unable to have a beer, the desire to drink will intensify.
Willpower Won’t See You Over the Line
If your purpose for wanting to stop drinking isn’t big enough, at some point it’s likely your willpower (defined as “control deliberately exerted to do something or to restrain one’s own impulses”) will fail.
There is a belief that willpower is a constant resource, but as Tom Tierney points out in his book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, your capacity to make yourself do something you don’t really want to do, wains dependent on your energy levels.
Research has shown that willpower is stronger earlier in morning than nearer lunchtime, which is when decision fatigue sets in, defined by wikipedia as “the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual, after a long session of decision making”.
Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist found that decision fatigue is directly tied to low glucose levels, and that replenishing them restores the ability to make effective decisions. Interestingly (unless you’re going to trial in the afternoon!), judges have been shown to make less favorable decisions later in the day than in the morning.
Decision fatigue is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making. For instance shoppers, who shop without a list, often make poor choices picking up chocolate over fruit, when they’re tired because they’ve had so many decisions about what to buy on their journey around the store.
The same may apply to you, if you’re constantly fighting with the decision to drink or not to drink, especially when your energy levels are low, you’ll probably give in.
This is why the decision to stop drinking or any habit you want to change, needs to make complete sense beyond the rationale.
So to conclude, if you want to quit drinking for 30 days or more, check in and see how strong your desire to stop drinking really is. This isn’t something you can rationally figure out, this is something you’ll feel.
It will make complete sense. You will know before you start there’s no compromising, this is how you’ll stop drinking for 30 days or more.
I’d love to hear from you…
Do you think success in quitting drinking or any other habit depends on how big your why is?
If you’re thinking of stopping drinking for 30 days or are midway through, how are you doing?
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