Over the years I have seen many comments and had lots of conversations about the journey to sobriety being described as a struggle. ‘The struggle is real’ has almost become a sobriety mantra, as if you can’t give up unless you accept and embrace ‘the struggle’ and grit your teeth every moment of every day through to sobriety.
Obviously, some people struggle with alcoholism and in this context, that description is accurate and real for those people.
However, for Sobersistas who have discovered that alcohol is just getting in the way of their lives and they recognise that life would be better without it, giving up is not a struggle.
Using struggle as a way of describing how you’re feeling is a catchall term that is placing a layer over the truth. If you describe something as a struggle what you’re not doing is getting underneath what is really going on.
During a recent coaching session I had a Sobersista share that she was struggling. I asked her what exactly it was that she was struggling with.
Her first response was simply in staying sober, however, after some gentle coaxing, she realised that it was her fears of a sober future that were keeping her drinking.
This Sobersista had some deeply held but negative beliefs about what her sober future would look like. She described it as dull and boring and had no idea what she would do with her time. For her, the ‘struggle’ was in not knowing what life would be like.
Once we explored the possibilities and I gently challenged the negative thinking she started to see things in a whole new way.
Very often, the struggle is coming from your erroneous beliefs that you created to keep yourself ‘safe’, also known as; ‘keep things the same’.
If you are drinking regularly, not doing so will have a pretty significant change to your lifestyle. Subconsciously, at the moment of deciding that alcohol has become a problem, the prospect of what life might be like could feel overwhelming.
This is why women so often define the process of giving up alcohol as a struggle.
But the struggle isn’t in the physical act of giving up drinking, it stems from sitting inside your fears and not tackling them.
So, what are you really struggling with?
Here are some of the things I recommend when I am coaching:
Start with asking yourself the question “If I’m not struggling, what is really going on?” Is it stress, anxiety, habit? Getting to the bottom of what brings on that automatic reaction could give you the insight and confidence you need to stop drinking and start tackling what’s really going on.
Think HALT – are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired – you can do something about all of these. Eat, smash plates, call someone you love, go to bed (no matter what time of the day it is!). Similarly to the point above, check in with yourself to see if there is something kinder that you need to do for yourself than drink.
Sad and Depressed?
Are you sad or feeling depressed? Embrace it. You are human and these are human emotions. You are not an emotionless robot. If you recognise that you are drinking to avoid ‘negative’ feelings, remember that alcohol is a depressant and it may be that without alcohol you won’t feel so bad. Allow yourself to feel – it’s very cathartic. Be sad, cry, get snotty, binge-watch something that is always guaranteed to turn the waterworks on.
Fear of Failure?
Are you fearful of having to admit you failed when you drink? If you have been drinking regularly for decades, expecting that you should be able to succeed at the first attempt is a bit crazy. If you manage 7 days sober and then drink, you didn’t lose those 7 days. Consistency and determination are needed so you can build your resilience. Alcohol is great for making you feel like you can’t succeed at anything, but, if you never attempt sobriety you’ll never know how amazing it is.
Boredom and FOMO
Are you fearful that you will be bored? Or that you will miss out on all the ‘fun’ when you can’t socialise without alcohol? Much of this thinking requires a shift in perspective and sobriety gives you a chance to redefine what is fun for you.
You gift yourself back a LOT of time and money when you stop drinking. A great way to shift your perspective is to work out how much that is and make a wish for the future you truly want.
Relationships Will Change
Do you think that your relationship will fail if you stop? Or that your friendship will falter because you can’t have your usual girl time with wine? Those who truly love you will always love you, regardless of whether you are putting poison in your body.
Sobriety gives you the chance to fix things or walk away – either way, you will be happier.
More to Life
Finding that answer will set you free and allow you to find your sobriety with ease. It doesn’t have to be a struggle to give up alcohol.
I didn’t struggle because I acknowledged what was going on. I realised that I was hiding and feeling a sense of unworthiness because that was what I had been taught as a child. Forty years later I had had enough of carrying that nonsense around with me.
I knew that there had to be more to life than this daily misery, this droning boredom and feeling that my life was going nowhere.
What’s Your Problem?
What are you really having a problem with? What are you using alcohol for? Whatever it is, don’t use ‘the struggle’ as a way of avoiding the truth about yourself. If you keep telling yourself ‘the struggle is real’ that’s what your brain hears over and over again.
So, here’s your new mantra:
It’s really easy to give up alcohol and I’m loving getting to know my authentic self.
I love it that I am honest with myself every day.
Don’t struggle my love, there’s no need.
If you would like me to prove to you that it doesn’t have to be a struggle you might want to consider one to one coaching with me. Find Out More Here.