About making big changes

It's easy to say you want to stop drinking. Indeed it's easy for any of us to have good intentions. It's easy for me to promise myself that I'll run a marathon next year, or that I'll rewire the house. Both of these tasks, though, are currently beyond my ability, and will a need a great deal of intention from me to get them done. They both need genuine and lasting reasons for me to complete them. They both need lots of planning, and I'm probably going to need some research and help.

I've sat in consulting rooms with hundreds of people who have told me that they are 'absolutely determined' to stop drinking this time. Unfortunately many have fallen out of treatment shortly afterwards, having failed to think through what that really meant.

I also notice that when people think or say 'I want to stop drinking', they really mean 'I'd like drinking to stop causing me problems'. Which is totally different!

One thing that makes any of us change is when the cost of things carrying on as they are is greater than the risk of change. Eventually the consequences of drinking become inconvenient enough, or so disastrous, that at least considering change becomes unavoidable.

When you're at this point, a dastardly trick you can play on yourself is just to make superficial changes to minimise the consequences of your drinking, until they're small enough to resolve any dissonance in your mind, and then you can take the easiest route, which is to carry on drinking. Don't just move the furniture around like this. Clear everything out and start again.