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Self-sabotage is one of the things that got us caught in the cycle of alcohol addiction in the first place and it can come in all shapes and guises.
As with everything I teach at The Alcohol Coach, knowledge and information is the key to understanding what is happening when we self-sabotage, recognising it and knowing what to do about it.
When you get that little voice that shouts at you saying ‘I want to because I can!’ ‘I want to drink!’ then that is self-sabotage in action. That petulant naughty child fighting for control is self-sabotage.
The reason we self-sabotage when we try to stop drinking alcohol is ultimately because the subconscious mind is holding on to what it has always known and feels comfortable with.
The easiest way to deal with this is to recognise that everything to do with this aspect of addiction is historical. None of it is related to the present moment right now and none of these subconscious responses are related to what brought you here to this point where you wanted to solve the alcohol problem and outsmart the alcohol con artist and make changes in your life.
The easiest way to deal with this is firstly to recognise that it is the past talking. It is past memories past voices, and past responses, and the second thing is to say to yourself is, ‘this is not related to now… this is what I used to do in this situation.’
Our subconscious minds draw on what they believe served us well in the past every time we are faced with a new situation, and when I say served you well clearly that is not the case because the unhelpful responses of your subconscious mind are what brought you to this point in the first place . When we’re trying to cope with something in life our subconscious mind draws on whatever resource is it has at hand, and our subconscious mind will do whatever it can to try to help us and protect us, even if it is mistaken.
This is part of our drive to survive, it is our survival mechanism working. But what you now know is that those mechanisms that we used in the past were not helpful. When your subconscious mind was trying to protect you and trying to help you, you now know that none of it was very appropriate – it’s like a child trying to fix a leak in a house by emptying out spoonfuls of water. It doesn’t work.
If occasionally your subconscious mind screams at you, ‘Just forget it all! Give up!’ that is because it is trying to protect you, because it doesn’t like change and it is trying to cope, albeit badly with what you now want.
When you ignore that voice and say, ‘Thank you very much but that’s not what I want anymore,’ you are getting control in a different way, in a healthy positive and empowering way. Instead of responding to the child, do something different, and do something that you have control over even if it’s something small. If you’re feeling stressed, then you can control your breathing or walk outside. What we don’t want is the kind of control that says, ‘I know I’m going to mess up, I know I’m going to fail, I might as well do it right now.’ Again, that is our subconscious mind trying to protect us by giving us what it thinks is the easiest path. But it is not the easiest path because the easiest path is to get awareness, and new resources, because you are worth it.
You are getting a different type of control now because you have new choices and that comes through a different level of awareness. For every human being it is a basic requirement of existence to have control and so taking control in a new and healthy way is helpful on the route to counteracting self-sabotage. Giving up on what you want may feel comfortable but that is because it is what you’ve always done. When we do something different and make new choices, we are building new neural pathways in our brain and every time we make a new choice those pathways are getting stronger, and the old pathways are getting weaker.
You are worth it. Our alcohol-affected mind is incredibly good at telling us that we are not worth it, that we are failures and that we are rubbish, because when we wake up with that hangover, feeling anxious and vulnerable we do feel rubbish. But it is alcohol that has conned us, hijacked our natural biology, and put us in that situation. It isn’t you because you are strong and capable. In fact, the strongest most capable people will be reading this and watching the video because you are turning up for yourself.
Now is the time to use that strong and capable mind to re-educate your subconscious mind and to be calm and know that it is safe to make changes. So when you hear that voice which is driven by panic and fear tell it it’s okay, you’ve got this!
If you need help to take a break or to quit drinking alcohol and thrive sober, click HERE for details of my Discover Sober Program.