Scott Pinyard, head coach at This Naked Mind, is BACK! In today’s episode, Scott tackles another batch of commonly asked questions – 4 to be exact! Scott answers these with so much great insight, information, and personal experience, that you won’t want to miss what he has to say. Scott responds with his top tips on how to manage your way through changing your relationship with drinking.
Staying Alcohol Free
I’ve had several longer periods, 30 and 60 days over the last year. Currently I’m on day 23 and I’m not quite there yet but I’m looking for advice on keeping the reasons for sobriety in mind when stuff comes up. Yesterday was a very stressful day. At the end of the day I really felt like having a drink would have helped me relax and enjoy the evening. I didn’t do it, the evening was okay, and I’m glad I didn’t, but I think the longer I go the more amnesia I get about why drinking isn’t right for me.
Drinking amnesia people call it, forgetting your reasons of why you quit in the first place is very common and here’s why. So picture yourself, you’re having a problem quitting alcohol, you’ve been trying for years. You’ve tried all these different methods. You finally find, in this case Naked Mind and it works for you. You’re feeling great and then you’ve got a couple of days and then you’ve got a week. You start sleeping better and feeling better, and it’s amazing, and everything in your life seems to be going better because you’re not drinking. This continues for a while. But what happens is, this exciting new thing just becomes normal, right? When every day is the amazing, exciting alcohol free experience, you begin to expect amazing, exciting alcohol free experiences. Then over time you just adjust to it and so suddenly your baseline for existence, maybe it was down low when you were drinking now it’s up here, but it doesn’t feel any different.
You begin to feel like, okay this is normal, maybe I can handle a drink. Maybe it is okay if I have a couple beers on the weekend. This amnesia starts because you completely forget how bad and difficult the day to day was when you were drinking all the time. I see this a lot with people that enter in to our programs. People will tell me it’s like I forgot why I quit in the first place. Inevitably what happens is people end up having one or two, and again this is the story I’ve heard over and over, people end up having one or two one night and then that’s one or two another night, and then it’s two to three and then quickly it can get back to their previous levels of drinking.
Been There, Done That
I know that was absolutely the case for me although it took two nights, even with a week or two off I would reset that quickly and go back up to my old levels of consumption or maybe even more. So how do you get around it? How do you deal with this amnesia. A very easy way to do that is to track your progress. So as you’re getting started when you’re in early days of alcohol free, anything less than 30 days, keep a journal. Or even better, as you’re working up to going alcohol free keep records of how you’re feeling. I ask people to journal with pen and paper sometimes, sometimes people like to do it with video. I actually film myself all the time on my phone. I’ll just pick my phone up and make a movie, and I’ll be talking about how I’m feeling that day on a certain topic. But whatever it is that works for you taking and recording your experience, recording your emotions, how you feel mentally and physically will be a just unbelievably valuable record for you down the road.
When this amazing, exciting new alcohol free becomes normal, and you start maybe having some of these thoughts you can look back, and you can say, “Oh no, that’s what alcohol does to me. That’s how it made me feel.” It’s so useful to have a reminder from your own lips or your own hand, if you’re writing it, of what it was that alcohol was doing to you and why you quit in the first place.
Now, to the other part of your question, which was actually the question part of your question, you want advice on keeping reasons for staying alcohol free in mind when stuff comes up, and you stumbled on a couple of beliefs. I would view this as a really good opportunity, and we all have these when we first go alcohol free. As you know If you’ve gone through This Naked Mind material we focus a lot on what are the beliefs we have about this thing we want to change and are those beliefs absolutely true? And so this question says, let me just find where it says it, at the end of the day I really felt like having a drink would have helped me to relax and enjoy the evening. So right there are two beliefs that seem to still kind of be stuck for you. That alcohol helps you relax and that alcohol helps you enjoy the evening.
Do you need reasons for staying alcohol free? Start reading This Naked Mind today to find plenty!
Use Your Tools
It’s awesome when this happens because it gives you an opportunity to step back and use the tools that you learned inside Naked Mind programs. “All right, I need alcohol to relax, is this true for me? Is it true for other people? Where did I learn this belief?” What you can is you can take this belief out into the light. You can really examine, is this actually true or is this not true? If you can do that with these beliefs the next time you encounter something where that thought might pop up in your head, like oh man I’d really be relaxed if I could have a drink right now, you’ll catch yourself, and you’ll say, “No, as a matter of fact it won’t relax me.” And same thing with enjoy the evening.
Tune in to hear more on staying alcohol free and the answers to three more questions!
Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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