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Question number one. I’ve noticed that when we have a slip, but many talk about going back to day one, however, this feels a little bit like groundhog day. As an example, I might go seven days or eight days without drinking, and on day nine I end up drinking, and then on what would’ve been day, 10 I’m now calling it day one again. This doesn’t feel good. Is there a more productive way of looking at these slips?
Thinking About Drinking
So a couple of things to think about this. What we do and what we work on here at This Naked Mind is we work on your thinking about alcohol and your thinking about your own drinking so that the behavior change part of it becomes a choice. Not something that you’re gritting your teeth and just getting through, so you’re not white knuckling it.
Want to learn more about counting days or start your own day 1? Begin by reading This Naked Mind!
It’s Up To You
Now, I want to just first make a comment about counting days. Some people find it very helpful. Some people like to cross off days on the calendar and see this long line of X’s, while to others that just looks like a bunch of days of being deprived. So this is ultimately up to you in terms of what you prefer. If you like to maybe use an app on your phone and track the number of days alcohol free and pay close attention to it, or if you don’t really want to worry about it that much and just have a date on the calendar.
Personally, when I did this, I used an app on my phone, I set it and then I just didn’t look at it for awhile. And then from time to time, I’d be like, “Geez, I wonder how long it’s been.” And I’d pick up my phone and be like, “Oh, 25 days.” “Oh, three months.” “Oh, eight months.” That was what worked for me, but it’s different for everyone. So first of all, if counting your days and seeing that momentum is something that pushes you, great. If, and it sounds like this might be the case for you, you don’t like the fact it always resets, then I have another idea for you.
Measuring Success by Counting Days
One thing that we talk about in a lot of our programs is, again, taking the frame of reference that we have around quit alcohol and quitting alcohol and shifting it. And this is a perfect example of that. We’ve got a 30 day program. Many times people will say, “Man, I made it to day 28 and then I drank. And the whole thing is a failure.” That is not true. That’s not the way we see it. As a matter of fact, if you go through 30 days and you drink one of those days, you are 96% successful. What a great way to look at it instead.
Instead of saying, “Oh, I went through 28 days, I drank on day 29, so the whole month is a waste.” No, not at all. You had a bunch of alcohol free time under your belt. At the end of the month you are 96% effective. If you look at your goal is 60 days and in those 60 days you drank five times, that’s still 91% successful. Even if that percentage is lower, the point is looking at it in this positive way. Looking at it in this way that says, you know what? I set out to achieve a goal. Maybe I didn’t get all the way there, but I got this far. I would challenge people, say you had 30 days and you drank 15 out of those 30 days, so you’re exactly 50% successful.
I would challenge people to go back and look over the last year of their life. When was the last time you were 50% successful at a goal like this? Chances are it’s been awhile. So that’s the answer to the question really is stop. If counting days is something you don’t like, don’t count days. Instead use this percentage figure and say, look, I’m shooting for 100% at the end of this 30, 60, 90 day stretch. When you get there, look back over your experience and figure out how successful you are. We have people involved in programs that will do that over the first month, alcohol free. They’ll do that even over the first year alcohol-free and it makes a huge difference to take that spin on it and to celebrate that win of 90% effective over celebrating the, I didn’t make it and the whole thing was for not.
Scott has more great questions to answer so tune in to the complete podcast to hear his advice!
Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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