It’s all in the Planning: 6 Tips to Stop Drinking
I have used the 6 P’s many times and I will use it again with the following 6 tips to stop drinking. It is so important to get to grips with your current situation, so you understand the goal in ‘more clearer’ terms. As a reminder the 6 P’s are as follows and keeping them in mind will help you stop drinking:
Planning & Preparation Prevents a P*** Poor Performance
Because many of us have and will go into a sobriety attempt underestimating how difficult it may be, it is a good idea to get to grips with the actual size of the challenge, in some cases well in advance of cutting out booze for good. If you are like me, I was thinking about it for years but never actually put the steps in place, and never admitted, or tried to understand the level of drinker I was or the impact it was having on those around me. That is why it is important to plan sobriety:
This is the catalyst for many of the other tips that follow as writing down your thoughts and findings on your current situation really helps put things in perspective. Journaling is also an excellent release of tension and supports anxiety. I have a whole other post on journaling and have even written an Early Discover Support Journal because I know the importance of it. Maybe you’ve never had any interest in logging your innermost thoughts, but journaling is one of the best tools to track your feelings as you work on quitting alcohol.
It also helps you notice when you most want to drink and helps you understand patterns that offer more insight into your alcohol use. Comparing the emotions that come up when you have a drink, with the feelings you experience when abstaining also helps you recognize when drinking doesn’t fix the problems you’re trying to manage.
Finally, if you have a space, a personal space, to brainstorm and write anything that is on your mind you can reflect, and believe me, it works!
Now you have a journal, you can use it when making your preliminary plans as follows…
BE HONEST AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHY YOU DRINK
It is likely that drinking is the tip of the iceberg as many people use alcohol to numb emotional pain or face stressful situations more easily. If drinking is helping you manage emotional insecurities or circumstances from your past, in order to beat alcohol, you need to try and face them without it. It’s worth considering whether drinking prevents you from finding more helpful ways of managing emotions. There is a great piece on this on the Insight into action therapy website where it explains that knowing the reasons behind your alcohol use — relationship stress, trouble at work, insomnia, or anything else can help you explore alternative ways to address those issues more productively.
This is also one of the key things I address in my book Finding Your Sober Bubble
OPEN UP TO CLOSE FRIENDS AND LOVE ONES
Letting those around you know about your choice to stop drinking may help motivate you to stick with your decision, give you accountability and above all else, valuable support when you need it. You never know, some of them might even question their own drinking and come along for the ride. If they do, this is a great help when attending events that involve alcohol, although, in the early days it isn’t written in stone that you must go to such events! If those closest to you are aware that you are planning on sobriety, this becomes a much easier topic to get around.
GET SOME PERSPECTIVE AND WORK OUT HOW MUCH YOU REALLY DRINK, HONESTLY
Maybe you don’t think you are dependent on alcohol, but you know you drink too much. Perhaps you don’t have any cravings when you go without drinking but then, when you do it turns into a session. When you’re having a good time, you find it hard to stop, especially in the company of friends having the same amount.
Journaling comes in extremely handy here, even if you are writing down your intake in past tense because you have already stopped. The reality of this step is often hard to swallow when you compare it with the safe guidelines of drinking alcohol.
THINK ABOUT YOUR APPROACH
You might know you want to give up alcohol entirely but maybe, you are one of those who can moderate your drinking. You need to be careful here and see if you have tried this before… And failed. I did, but I knew I wanted to go for full blown sobriety. What is most important is to take a look at your drinking habits and find a way to cut back that works for you.
The key thing is to get to grips with however you are going to go about it, so write down all the things that you can think of to help you get through, say the first month and go from there. It is also good to try and understand what to expect. If you’ve recently found yourself longing to get back into an old hobby, now’s the time to go for it.
The most helpful coping mechanism often depends on the circumstances but getting an idea of the above when planning is a must.
FIND A COMMUNITY
Building new relationships with people who also choose to avoid alcohol. This is where social media comes in and there are literally hundreds of Facebook groups, Instagram influencers, Pinterest and Twitter. They all have them. In addition to that there is of course AA, and if you are not on social media then google local support groups or even ask your doctor. The main point is, by finding people on the same train, it makes the journey a whole lot easier to both understand, and to succeed.
By thinking about, planning, and using journaling in consideration of the above you can improve your chances of kicking booze out of your life dramatically. These 6 points are the very first things I would focus on and I wish you every success.
Feel free to reach out and make contact.
All the best… Darren