This week I asked my lovely members to suggest blog topics for me to write about and one Sobersista asked this:
Why is it that coming to the realisation that you need to stop makes you drink even more?!
Unfortunately, there isn’t one easy answer to this question but I will suggest a number of possibilities that might give you something to think about.
You Don’t Like What You See
When you realise you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, you’ll likely feel bad about yourself. You’re likely to be thinking about all the reasons you want to give up such as the guilt, shame, waste – whatever it is that has brought you to the decision. So it makes you feel bad about yourself and so you drink to take away the fact that you don’t like what you see in yourself.
You have to break the circle of negative thinking and accept that what is in the past cannot be changed. Deep down you know sobriety will be a good decision so feel proud of yourself that you’ve realised what you need to do and start moving forward to a better future.
It’s a Loss
One of the things I advise women all the time when I am coaching is “don’t push alcohol away, embrace sobriety instead’. The day that you realise that you want or need to give up alcohol the way you think about what you’re doing makes a huge difference. If you think that you are losing something, it’s perfectly human and natural to try and hold on to it. No-one wants to lose anything, but of course, the issue here is how you are framing it.
If you can look at your decision as a positive one that will improve your life and that sobriety will bring lot’s more adventures and opportunities then it will. If you believe that you will have lost something when you stop drinking then you will always crave and want it.
Fear of Change
Most people don’t like change but rarely ask themselves how they feel about change. We get right in the midst of our choices and the things life throws at us and we react and usually not in a healthy way. If you believe that change is a bad thing and that it makes you stressed you will use the same coping mechanism you always have.
Ask yourself a few questions to get some clarity; “Do I like change?”, “How do I usually react to change?”, “How would I feel if I reacted differently than I usually do?”
Remember, this is a change you are choosing so you are fully in control of this change in your life.
Lack of Growth
Now, I say this with a bucketful of love, but when alcohol controls a significant proportion of your life it’s really difficult to operate as a fully functioning adult. When you use alcohol to deal with your problems you don’t learn to deal with them or learn new coping skills. This process of dealing with life’s difficulties and learning what works and what doesn’t work is what makes an adult and if you aren’t going through this process on a regular basis then it’s difficult to grow.
I’m not saying you’re immature, but drinking more alcohol when you know it’s not good for you is reminiscent of children who want, want, want chocolate when they’ve been told they can’t have it.
You want this and it’s a good decision to make.
Lack of Belief
It’s not enough to want to stop drinking – you need the motivation and drive to move forward. It’s really easy to list all the things that are bad about drinking and say ‘I don’t want this anymore’ but what DO you want? If you don’t believe that life will be immeasurably better without alcohol then you have no reason to give up. If you don’t believe that you can create an amazing sober life then the tension between your desire to give up and your lack of belief will prevent you from moving forward.
You’ve already done the hardest thing by making the decision, allow yourself to get excited about what the future holds and what you can create in it. That way, you won’t want to hold onto alcohol.
No Life Raft
If alcohol has been your primary coping mechanism for a long time it is natural to imagine you won’t be able to cope with life without it. Having to deal with emotions and feelings that have been drowned out by alcohol can feel like you’re adrift and could end up anywhere.
The truth of being human is that every emotion and feeling that we have is perfectly natural, otherwise we wouldn’t have them. Alcohol has become so common in our culture that we have inserted it into every day life as if it’s normal. When you begin to realise that you never have to feel sad, lonely angry again why would you want to stop drinking and invite that stuff in?
Every woman I have supported and coached who has become permanently sober has become stronger and actually discovered a calmness of spirit that has enabled her to deal with life’s difficulties with ease.
YOU are your own life raft.
Journal it Out
Self enquiry is a powerful tool that you can use to understand your own motivations. Try journaling this question out to get your own answer:
I’ve come to the realisation that I need to stop drinking but I’m drinking even more because…
The fact that you have asked yourself the question in the first place means that there is an answer within you that you need to find. It is within you. Take a few quiet moments to think about what your answer is.
Let me know what your answer turns out to be.
Much love always, Jules xxx
PS If you are struggling to find the answer and think that coaching might be for you, you can check out your options here.