Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yes, I'm talkin' to you...

(Note to readers: If you think this post is about you, it is.)

For those of you trying to white-knuckle your way to sobriety, I'd suggest you try AA or some other valid, tried and true 12-step program.

If you insist you're too good to join those "other people"...and, yes, I suppose you do...well the road will be much harder and most likely less successful. In fact, statistics say that without some sort of serious help, more than 90% of folks who stop drinking on their own start up again. So, there you have it.

However, if you insist on doing it "your way", I've done some research for you and here are some tips from WikiHow:

1)Understand why you drink. The brain is divided into two basic parts, which we will call the human brain (you) and the animal brain (it). The animal brain is concerned only with survival, and when you are chemically dependent on alcohol, it falsely thinks that you need alcohol to survive. Because of this, you could call it the "booze brain." If you don't understand how the booze brain works, it can easily trick the human brain (you) into drinking. However, once you understand why you drink, you are prepared to take action with the CORE process - Commit, Objectify, Respond, Enjoy. This simple process can help you stay away from alcohol for good.

2) Commit yourself to permanent abstinence from alcohol. You do not need alcohol to survive. The human brain is much smarter than the booze brain, which doesn't understand that you can live without alcohol. You can outsmart your booze brain by learning to think of it as something other than yourself. This way, when it demands alcohol, you can tell it "never." When you think about this, you might hear your booze brain objecting and pleading with you to "never say never." It does not want you to quit drinking, because it thinks it will die. But you are smarter than it is, and you know you need to stop. Make a plan to quit for good.When you're ready, say the words "I will never drink again." Pay attention to how you feel. If you are scared, panicked, angry, depressed, or feeling badly in some way, that is the booze brain at work. Because in all honesty, you WILL feel bad at first. Your body has been operating with this chemical for...however long? It thinks it needs it. It has to learn how to operate without it now, and learning has a curve. Give it time to learn. Your nerve neurons have been being put to rest for some time now, and now are all a-buzz with activity, so resting and sleep will probably be hard to get for a couple of days. Your booze brain will tell you lies. Call it a liar and watch late night TV till it passes!

3) Objectify your booze brain. Think of it as something separate from yourself, and learn to hear it speaking to you. It will try anything to get you to drink, because it falsely believes that you need to drink to survive. If you are feeling bad, it will tell you to drink to feel better. If you are feeling good, it will tell you to drink to party or celebrate. In fact, it will try to use any event in your life (good or bad) as an excuse to drink. Whenever you have any thought or feeling that suggests drinking, that is the booze brain trying to trick you. Objectify it by saying "it wants a drink" instead of "I want a drink." When you objectify the booze brain, you realize that it has no power over you. You are in control, and it is an outsider. All it can do is try to trick you into drinking, and you can outsmart it every time. Human brains are smarter than animal brains. Whenever possible avoid, or substitute non-alcoholic alternatives for alcohol in social settings.

4) Respond to your booze brain by saying "never" whenever you hear it asking for a drink. This causes the booze brain to back down, because it recognizes that it is not in control and there is no way it can force you to pour alcohol down your throat. It will try many different ploys to trick you into drinking (especially at first), but now that you have this information, you will know what it is up to every time. Remember, any thought or feeling that suggests drinking at any time is the booze brain at work. When you recognize it, just tell it "I never drink" and continue with whatever you were doing. Don't argue with it, just tell it that you never drink. It will eventually get more and more discouraged as time goes on, and it will bother you less and less. Before too long, you'll be an expert at dealing with your booze brain, and it will be easy to stay sober.

5) Enjoy your recovery from alcohol dependence. Don't be afraid that you will slip or relapse, because that fear is the booze brain at work, trying to give you an excuse to give up. Once you practice the CORE process for a while, it will become impossible for you to go back to drinking, because anytime you think about having a drink, you will see that it is just your booze brain at work. Remember, only your booze brain wants to drink. You do not want to drink, you want to quit. You are smarter than the booze brain, and now you know how to beat it. After a short time, the CORE process becomes automatic, and you don't have to make a big effort to stay sober. You may feel bad, angry, sad, or depressed at times, but that's normal. If the booze brain tries to use these feelings as excuses to drink, you will know what it is up to, and you'll know how to deal with it. Just tell it "I never drink" and get on with your life.

6) Say "No thanks, I'm quitting." when friends ask about your behavior, or offer you a beer because they expect that with you. Or "I'm slowing down." Or if you don't want to get into it, just "No thanks." If it's people that come around with alcohol all the time because once again, that's normal around you, you may need to tell them directly that you're quitting so that it isn't constantly in your face. Friends will respect that and keep it at home.

7) Remember, you are a strong individual with a "human" brain. You are stronger than you will sometimes feel you are.

Cheers! I'm glad you're no longer drinking and driving (if you really have quit).

Related Post: Grow Up, Would You?

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