A friend recently shared a post on Facebook about a conversation between a therapist and client where she was advised to ‘break the rules’. The main idea behind this was that in suffering the overwhelm of ‘should do’s’ and ‘must do’s’, breaking the rules is an acceptable way forward. The advice went further to say ‘there are no rules’ and we can create them as we see necessary.
This really struck a chord with me as I was reading it as I was thinking about doing something that I consider to be unthinkable. As a business owner, I have felt it impossible that my tiredness, crabbiness and a general feeling of ‘offness’ should be cured by time off. NO! I run my own business. I MUST keep going. I cannot rest in case all the hard work of the last three and a half years disappears, that everyone will forget who I am and go somewhere else.
Talk about a lack of faith in myself!!! Sheesh, no matter how long I spend in the glorious happiness that is sobriety, I still occasionally doubt myself and my ability to thrive and succeed. Which is nonsense – obviously. Logically, if my entire business can go down the pan in one week it really isn’t the business I believe it to be.
Even in my state of tiredness and brain fluff, I can acknowledge that two weeks off isn’t going to be the undoing of a service that helps so many. Therefore I am going on holiday soon and I really feel like I am breaking the rules. Waaaaaaah!!!!
I will be doing some much-needed reading, resting and more importantly, thinking and not thinking about Sobersistas so I can allow my intuition to bloom because all work and no rest makes Jules stuck in doing mode. Me in doing mode is very much head down, bum up and utterly unable to see the bigger picture. So I’m sure that when I return I will be back with some great ideas to help you get sober and stay that way so you can live the life you truly want.
Even as I write this and feel what it feels like to have a week off I already feel free.
Breaking Your Rules
I often wonder how many of you live by rules that you can’t let go of or hold you back or, worse, are someone else’s bullshit rules that you’ve never thought to question?
Even worse, how many of these rules keep you drinking?
It’s 6 pm so that’s the time you drink? You’re going to your friends for dinner and feel you must join in with the ‘fun’? You can’t say no to your parents when they force wine on you? You drink when you’re with your friends because that’s what you feel you should do?
If you made a list of ‘I shoulds’ and ‘I musts’ what would be on that list that would surprise you?
Here’s a journal prompt to help:
The rules that I live by which are keeping me drinking are…
There is a lot of advice out there about how to give up alcohol that sometimes feel like rules. Here are some that I’ve seen over the last few years:
- Drinking alcohol-free drinks will only keep you close to alcohol.
- Drinking alcohol-free drinks will help.
- You can only do this one day at a time.
- You’re an addict and therefore will always be fighting alcohol.
- You can only give up with support (and by paying a LOT of money!).
- Only you can give up and you don’t need to pay any money at all.
- It’s not possible to moderate.
- It’s entirely possible to moderate.
- Your motivation to give up needs to come from within.
- You can be motivated to give up by giving up for your children and loved ones.
- You need to embark on a sugar detox at the same time as giving up.
- When you give up you can eat all the sugar you like.
- You need to leave your unsupportive husband.
- You need to get sober and then you will see your relationship thrive.
- Giving up alcohol is easy.
- Giving up alcohol is hard.
Whilst most of these have been offered in Sobersistas as loving support, they can come from the root of rules that have worked for someone else.
When I gave up, I got to 21 days and realised I would never drink alcohol again and felt truly free for the first time in my life. Is this something that I can tell every Sobersista they must do to be successful? Of course not. What works for me won’t necessarily work for someone else.
We often live by rules that have been created by people who aren’t even on the planet any more. Of course, there are always some rules that will stand the test of time because they work, but how many rules are you living by that were made by people who are now dead? My granny always said no woman should ever wear black unless at a funeral and stubbornly knitted cardigans for me in sky blue or pink. Turns out I look really good in black.
Living by rules and ideas that have been handed down to us through the generations stops us from exploring a million different possibilities of how to live life.
Freedom of thought is a gift we shouldn’t hand over to other people.
The reality is that any rules you live by or are given to you as the ‘truth of how to give up’ are crap. Of course, you will receive advice that will resonate with you, that you can try. If it works, great! If it doesn’t – ditch it and try something else.
However, in the end only you can create the rules that work for you.
I will continue to keep offering whatever content I can to help you to understand yourself better, to inspire you to a brilliant sober life.
BUT. This is YOUR LIFE and YOUR JOURNEY.
Do as you choose. Give up in any way that suits you.
If you want to let go of alcohol kicking and screaming then do it! If you want to let it gently ease its way out of your life, let it. If you want to drown yourself in alcohol-free drinks for the rest of your life, then take out shares in a company that produces 0.0% alcoholic drinks and get to it.
If you want to believe it’s hard to give up you can – just make sure you are fully informed before you adopt that ‘truth’ because I have lost count of the number of women who have given up easily.
Whatever you believe are the rules you live by.
If you believe that you will always be in a state of tension with alcohol then you will be. But you can change your mind. You can change your mind about anything. How many things have you changed your mind about in your life to date? It often happens in the blink of an eye – that guy you thought was ‘the one’ till you got a call from his other girlfriend. More information on any subject will help you to change your mind.
If you believe that you can’t live a sober life because you have trauma that will always hold you back, it will. But you can change your mind. You can get sober and get the therapy you need to move forward – and this time it will stick because you’re sober and you will be seeing the world through clear eyes and not those clouded by trauma and booze.
I think you get the idea by now.
For me there is only one must’ or ‘should’ when it comes to alcohol and that’s to get it out of your life by hook or by crook. It does you no good. It helps with nothing. It doesn’t, and never will make your life better in any way at all.
My one rule is MLT – which stands for Most Loving Thing. If you follow this rule you will be fine. Remembering to do the most loving thing for yourself in any given situation will ensure that you keep doing the right thing for yourself on every step of your sobriety journey.
Or don’t follow MLT. It doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you live in a way that speaks to how you want to live your life. Here’s a journal prompt if that’s something you struggle with:
The reason I’m on this planet is to…
If this is a bit too deep, try connecting with your inner mentor – she will have the answer. I have a guided meditation to help you connect with her. Click here.
My reason for being on the planet right now is to serve you, but clearly, I can’t do this if I am too tired and overwhelmed to see straight.
Make up your own rules darling. They will never lead you to anywhere but your best life.