If you are anything like I was you’ll be waiting for the perfect set of circumstances, and the most perfect time when everything is most beautifully in alignment before you start to try to make a change around alcohol.
Maybe you tried in the past and it didn’t go well for you. Maybe you tried to control alcohol or to stop drinking completely and it didn’t work, and so this time you want to get everything ready and have everything perfect before you begin.
The problem, as you may well know, is that perfect time and that perfect set of circumstances never comes does it? And so we keep putting it off, and putting it off, until the next day comes and we are still stuck.
For millions around the world, lockdown has gone hand in hand with ‘lockdown drinking’, and as restrictions are beginning to loosen, you may be finding yourself wanting to do something about that.
It may seem obvious why everyone has been drinking more during the coronavirus pandemic, but let’s take a closer look and work through what we can do about it now.
Alcohol consumption has shot up in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. People are drinking in excess of 30% more than usual, and for some people it has got out of hand.
As founder of The Alcohol Coach, this is the question I am asked most often. It is also a question full of dread, and connotations of down and-outs on park benches drinking out of paper bags. It’s a question loaded with social stigma, and so of course it makes us feel incredibly uncomfortable and fearful.
The question is very easy to answer.
I bet you thought I was going to say A is for ‘alcohol’, or maybe ‘addiction’. Am I right?
I think I have a better A for you.
‘A is for Agency’
This such a powerful word, I love it! And do you know why?
Because no one ever made a conscious change without it.
It’s like a magic key.
I didn’t have it for years when it came to alcohol. I mean years…
I carried a secret drink problem around with me for decades.
How to quit alcohol on your own – can it be done?
The answer is, YES. It can be done.
There are some key things you’ll need to think about and have in place and pitfalls to avoid as well.
As the founder of The Alcohol Coach, its my job to coach clients, train them, educate and encourage them away from a life where alcohol causes problems, and where they are stuck in a growing cycle of addiction.
An alcohol coach isn’t the same as a counselor. I take people from where they are now and move them forwards to a place they want to be. We start from day 1 and move forwards. It’s often said that a coach takes people from the dark into the light, and that’s a great way to think about alcohol coaching and my job as an alcohol coach.
I am also an alcohol teacher who provides learning and information to help people make sense of the alcohol conundrum, and that is so important because there is a dearth of misinformation out there about alcohol and addiction.
So here it is… you have set yourself goals for being sober and not drinking alcohol, and now you find yourself craving the very thing that you promised yourself you wouldn’t have. What can you do about it?
The first thing to remember is that alcohol addiction is 90-95% psychological, and the physical part of addiction is actually very small. It makes sense then that if you can manage the thinking part of the craving, then you are 90% of the way there!
Here are some tips for you:
As the coronavirus sweeps the planet, people are drawing attention to their first and last line of defence: their immunity. A World Health Organisation (WHO) official has issued a warning about turning to alcohol as a coping strategy during the coronavirus lockdown saying that it depletes mental health and physical immunity.
We know that alcohol dulls our ability to think and function clearly, and that it also causes anxiety and stress. (If you are unsure about this watch the free Masterclass HERE).
Alcohol adversely affects our mental health every time we wake up with those feelings of guilt and regret, and right now, we need all the mental strength that we can get. Turning to alcohol as a coping mechanism will further entrench addiction and will reduce your ability to cope well with the challenges that you are facing.
But alcohol damages our health in different ways, and the most significant right now is that it also weakens our immune system and could make us much more vulnerable to viruses.
Corona virus (Covid-19) is causing unprecedented stress, uncertainty and unexpected changes to our lives. As stress levels rise there is a risk that people who are newly sober, and even those who have been alcohol-free for months or years may find themselves wanting or having a drink. This video explains why this is, and what to do about it.
I used to think drinking alcohol in the evening had a positive influence on my energy levels, because by the time I had done a day’s work, cooked a meal and looked after my children I was exhausted, and a drink or two, or three made me feel better.
The bottle or two of wine in the evening seemed to wake me up and gave me a new burst of energy. The belief that alcohol made me feel less tired was particularly evident at the weekend if I was going out and felt too tired to go. A large glass of wine before going used to make me feel alert and less tired. But once again the con artist was at work in ways that I really could not have imagined and only understood through my later research and learning.