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Eight important things for you to ponder
One of the biggest causes of failure is not being thoroughly prepared when you try to stop drinking, whether you're getting outside help or not.
I've compiled a list of things you should consider very carefully before you start.
1: BE STRONG & COURAGEOUS
Giving up alcohol successfully, and for the long run, is a difficult business. It'll need all the determination, resolve and courage you can muster.
2: BE OPTIMISTIC
Although it's difficult to stop drinking - it's do-able. You can manage it, however stuck you might feel now. Lots of people have done it, many of them from a much more pessimistic and seemingly hopeless place than you are now. You've every right, and every reason, to feel optimistic about succeeding. Drinking can kill all your positivity - If you feel overwhelmed at the moment, remember that once you get a little way with not drinking, you should be able to find hidden reserves of energy and hope – it'll be like rolling a bigger and bigger snowball.
3: MAKE IT IMPORTANT
You will need to make not drinking the number one priority in your life, and pay attention to it every day. Not drinking will be the foundation on which you'll build the rest of your life. Too many people fail because they take their eye off what's important. For melodramatic effect, write 'the most important thing today is not to drink' in lipstick on your bathroom mirror. I'm serious.
4: BELIEVE IN IT
You need to believe that if you don't drink, everything will, in time, fall into place. And that if you do drink, everything will deteriorate and fall apart. Make this belief the centre of everything you do. And remember to keep optimistic. Do the right thing, feel good about it, and enjoy yourself.
5: DO IT PROPERLY, DO IT ONCE, DO THE WORK
Trying to stop drinking and then failing is a miserable experience. It only makes you feel more trapped and more hopeless. So when you're going to start trying to give up alcohol, you need to give yourself every chance. Have a definite plan, with some structure, some goals, and some method in what you're doing. And of course you'll get out of all this what you put in. As we'll see in this book, there's a lot of help available, and there's a lot of good advice for you, but it's up to you to use it properly. No-one can pick you up, dust you down, and put you down again with a new, happy and normal life. You've got to put in the effort (sorry to sound like a pompous & tiresome teacher).
6: TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF
You’ll need to be 100% sure that you are doing this for yourself. It’s unlikely that you’ll succeed if it’s to please someone else, or if you feel you’ve been cornered and pressured into it. You also need to take responsibility for yourself. It can be easy to:
- Blame other people for your drinking.
- Blame your circumstances for your drinking.
- Blame other people for the consequences of your drinking.
- Minimise the effect your drinking has on yourself and others.
But if you do this, then you’re probably not going to get very far.
By blaming other people, you render yourself helpless.
You need to be fearlessly honest about your own part in how your drinking problem came about, and in how to get rid of it.
Until you take full responsibility for your drinking, you won't be able to take control and stop drinking. You're not a passenger, you're the driver.
The good news about realising that you've been choosing to drink - that it's your fault, I suppose — is that then you can take control and decide not to drink again.
7: MAKE BIG CHANGES
You should be prepared to make significant changes to your whole life. Drinking has, in all likelihood, woven its way into the very fabric of your day-to-day living. You should be prepared to unpick everything you do, all your habits & routines, your social life, the way you think and feel about things, how you react to how you feel, how you react to things that happen to you, and make a new way of living for yourself.
8: GET SOME HELP
Whatever help you get, whatever advice you take, make your own mind up about what you need to do. Taking full responsibility for yourself includes choosing your treatment. Research all the options, decide what is most likely to work for you, and then put your all into it.
Think it through carefully
Now go back and read those points again. Slowly. Fully understand and digest them. Print them out and make some notes.
Go for a walk, come back, and read them and think about them again. Discuss it all with a friend or a professional.
Being ready is the foundation on which you'll build the rest of your campaign.
"I don't think I'm ready yet.."
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