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 all the way through to sobriety.
Obviously, there are people who 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 conversation that went like this:
Sobersista: I’m struggling.
Jules: I don’t think you are my lovely.
Sobersista: Er, yes I am.
Jules: No you’re not, you’re something else.
At this point we got into what the real story was. This Sobersista had some well dug in 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. Once we explored the possibilities and I gently challenged the negative thinking she started to see things in a whole new way.
If you believe you are ‘struggling’ I invite you dig a little deeper into what is sitting underneath that erroneous belief. Here are some ideas to get you thinking when you are telling yourself you’re struggling.
- Start with asking yourself the question “If I’m not struggling, what is 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!).
- Are you sad? Be sad, cry, get snotty, binge watch something that is always guaranteed to turn the waterworks on.
- Are you fearful of having to admit you failed when you drink? If you never attempt sobriety you’ll never know how amazing it is.
- Are you fearful that you will be bored? You gift yourself back a LOT of time and money when you stop drinking. Work out how much that is and make a wish.
- Do you think that your relationship will fail if you stop? Sobriety gives you the chance to fix things or walk away – either way you will be happier.
The struggle is coming from your resistance to your truth. So, what is your truth? What are you really struggling with?
Finding that answer will set you free. It doesn’t have to be difficult to give up alcohol.
More to Life
It wasn’t hard for me but I didn’t struggle because I acknowledged what was really 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 really 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 gain. 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.