Change your thinking, change your drinking is a powerful concept. Too good to be true? Not at all! And this blog is going to help you see how your thoughts have been affecting your behaviour and emotions and perhaps keeping you stuck in the negative thinking loop and therefore stuck in the drinking loop too. By simply changing your thinking though, you can literally change everything, including your drinking.
You will discover
- How your thoughts have formed your beliefs
- Your thoughts and therefore your beliefs are not necessarily the truth
- How to find evidence to support more positive thoughts
- How to stop negative thoughts bringing you down
- Practical tips to encourage more positive thinking
- Simple daily activities to change your mind set for powerful results
If you would prefer to listen to the podcast episode of this, then you can do so below.
Inspired by you
This blog post and podcast, which you can listen to below, has been inspired by some conversations I’ve been having with my one to one clients lately. Just this morning one client told me,
“I had a fabulous lunch with my friend today the food was amazing and I had a really nice time, no thoughts of alcohol at all. Then when I got home and arranged to go out on a date tomorrow, all these thoughts about how I’ve never been on a date and not drank came up, how it will be weird and I won’t feel very confident and maybe I will just have one! “
She then went on to say how much it surprised her and said, “I recognised the anxiety coming from those thoughts, so I did the breathing exercise we did together the other day and felt much better.”
See how a thought popping up like that can lead to a spiral of more thoughts and also a physical reaction.
Another friend, who is a previous client, was telling me about a recent experience and how on reflection she realised that much of our experiences and expectations are shaped by our thoughts and as she continues to embrace the AF lifestyle she’s confirming to herself over and over that this is a better way to live, way better.
In those two examples you can see how powerful our thoughts are, they can shape our experiences, our perception, our beliefs and even cause emotional reactions and physical sensations in our body
It’s no wonder then that our thoughts can be so instrumental in influencing our sober journey, and the experiences we have along the way. Because the mind and our mindset is so powerful, I want to help you to change your thinking so that you can change your drinking and move in the direction you want to go.
You have the power
You have the power to change everything. And today you’re going to see how your thoughts have been affecting your behaviour and emotion and how you can use this information to help you.
Your mind is very powerful, you know this and up until this point, it has probably been working against you, keeping you stuck, filling you with self doubt and uncertainty, making you choose the easy way out, making you numb out and run away.
You know what it’s like when a thought about drinking pops up and you allow that thought to take over, it can turn into a really powerful craving that just won’t go away. Similarly, when you remember something great or funny, you start to feel better, you smile you might even laugh and your energy is elevated.
Today, right now, you are going to start using your mind in a more positive and powerful way. You are going to get your heart and your head aligned. You are going to change your mindset so you can quit drinking but not just that, you are going to feel free, happy, proud and strong about doing so.
Thoughts are just thoughts
It’s important to remember that thoughts are just that, thoughts. They come and go, and while they can be very strong, as they shape our beliefs and influence our behaviour and emotions, they are just thoughts and can be changed or dismantled and even pushed away all together. You are in control.
Some of the ways our thoughts can step in and sabotage our efforts to stop drinking or to push through the challenges, is the way they focus our attention on the negatives of quitting drinking.
The problem with repeatedly listening to these negative or scary thoughts is that they start to become something we believe and it is these limiting beliefs that keep us stuck.
I mean if you always tell yourself that being sober is dull or boring, that you will lose all your friends and you’ll miss out on all the fun, then that becomes a belief, an ingrained belief that is difficult to see how it might not be true.
It’s the thinking that booze equals fun, the “I can’t socialize, relax, have fun go on a date, meet with the mums from school, have Christmas without a drink” thoughts. These thoughts have been in our head for so long together with the fact that they come from repeated behaviours, from seeing other people behaving and thinking in the same way. It is therefore of course, difficult to imagine an alternative.
But as you and I know, and I know you know this – there is an alternative, people all over the world have let go of these thoughts and beliefs.
Which means that even though the media and our drinking buddies and the marketing tells us that drinking is great and sobriety is hard, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the gospel truth.
Finding the truth
Now those words and others like them might feel like the truth if that’s what you’ve been allowing into your head and heart, but that doesn’t make it the truth.
And it might be someone else’s truth, but that doesn’t make it your truth.
So how do we start to live a different truth, how do we begin to separate ourselves from the thoughts and not let them control our actions, how can we begin to have more positive thoughts and therefore new positive beliefs about sobriety and an alcohol free lifestyle?
Well this is the exciting part of the story and the coaching bit. You will have heard what I’m about to say before no doubt numerous times, but have you stopped to really do the exercises?
This is a little taste of what it is like to work with me one on one, this is how I teach and guide and help and support you.
Making your thoughts less powerful
I want you to think about your thoughts about quitting drinking, sobriety and not drinking in general.
Write them all down, doesn’t matter if they seem ridiculous or silly or honest to God the truest thing you’ve ever heard.
You will have a mix of thoughts some positive, some negative and the idea here is to try and turn those negatives into positives because while you do, of course, have good thoughts about not drinking, of course you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be here – it is the negative thoughts that take over that keep us stuck that keep putting us down.
When things get tricky we say unkind things to ourselves about our failures and lack of willpower and we believe them. We tell ourselves that we’re just not that person who doesn’t drink, or maybe we’re not that bad or that we can moderate, or that one won’t hurt…
Remember these are just your thoughts
Now take each thought and ask yourself, is it really, 100% absolutely true? Then once you’ve got your answer, ask again – are you sure? Where’s the evidence?
For example, one won’t hurt… really, is that 100% true? Will it just be one, and that’s it, I will never drink again after that? Are you sure?
Or what’s the reality? Have I said that before, what happened, is it likely to happen again, do I really want this? Lay it out, get it into the open, face it, dismantle it, break it down and take away its power.
Again a thought might be, life is just so boring when I’m not drinking.
Really? Explain yourself to me thought, why is that? What makes you think that, is this 100% the truth, why, are you sure? Where’s the evidence? Show me why this thought is true for me.
If it helps you can give your thoughts a persona (like the wine witch) to distance yourself from them. Your thoughts are not you remember.
Do this for a few of your most recurring and paralysing thoughts about not drinking. I would imagine they feel less threatening now? And maybe even a bit ridiculous? No judgement, these are your thoughts, they are not you so you can think what you like about them!
Empowering yourself to change your mind
Okay, next, now that you are feeling a little bit more empowered by your ability to see through your own thinking and you may have new thoughts about your thoughts, can you offer anything that might bring a more positive experience?
For example, the thought that one won’t hurt. Okay let’s imagine I don’t believe this, I don’t want to drink, what happens if I don’t? How will I feel? (this is a bit like the playing the movie forward in your head, a brilliant technique for getting through a craving you want to bring as much positive reinforcement to the thought now that not having that one drink is a brilliant thing.
How does that feel?
Again do the same for the boredom thought and whatever else you have there in front of you.
Now, I’m hoping that by doing this exercise you can see that actually, thoughts really are just thoughts, and you can choose which ones to focus on, the ones that support your decision to live alcohol-free of course.
Whenever a negative thought pops up for you now, I don’t want you to just take it for granted. You are aware now of just powerful you are, how much you are in control and can therefore override your own thinking and change your drinking.
Encouraging a more positive mindset
While looking at these thoughts as they pop up and doing the exercises is a great way to change how you feel as and when, there are some things that you can do on the day to day, to help you feel more positive in general about your sober journey. Maybe you can do these things as part of a morning or evening routine or whenever you feel yourself getting pulled away from where you want to be, or the doubts creep in.
Focus on the benefits
Always, always look for the benefits of not drinking. As humans we are programmed to focus on the negative, that’s why we naturally think that sober is boring or it is going to be hard instead of how wonderful you will feel and how amazing it is (even though this is the actual reality) So yes, it might take a bit more effort but try to focus on what you are gaining, not what you are giving up.
Find ways every day to treat yourself and give yourself permission to feel good. This is more evidence that supports the fact that not drinking feels amazing. Dance to your favourite song after breakfast, wear your fancy pyjamas, eat the food that is healthy and nourishing, learn to say no, go to bed early, take your kids for an afterschool walk along the beach – you get the idea.
Do what feels good. You will start to associate not drinking with feeling good.
if you remain open and look for the good, treat yourself, be kind and celebrate yourself often then your sober journey will be one of joy and empowerment.
If you begin to feel stuck or a bit down or stagnant, like you’ve hit a wall, challenge yourself to do something to lift yourself out of that funk. Get up off the sofa and move your body. Exercise is a great way of shifting stuck energy and is a natural mood enhancer so dance, run, swim, whatever exercise you enjoy, do it often.
Oh how I love meditation. I am doing a meditation course at the moment and honestly, just 5 or ten minutes a day has so many magical benefits, not least calming the body and mind, helping us to release negativity and reduces stress, anxiety and anger. Check out some of my meditations here and choose one to do today.
Stay in the moment
Practice mindfulness and slowing down. If your negative thoughts are focused on a future event or an idea that may or may not be true but is causing you stress and anxiety, come back to the present. Open your senses and drop into your body.
Focus on stroking your cat, sipping your tea, looking at the view outside of your window, use all your senses and come back to the now. Because the now is really all that matters, and if you’re not drinking right now, then you are winning. If you are not drinking right now, then you can thrive at not drinking ever.
And finally, pick an empowering affirmation to help keep the negativity at bay and the positivity become part of your truth.
My affirmation, as you know was “I am not drinking – no matter what. “
Remember, this is your choice, your life, they are your thoughts and you have the power to change them and choose the ones that support and guide you, you really do.
If you think that this journey will be difficult and dull then changes are, that is what you will experience. However if you remain open and look for the good, treat yourself, be kind and celebrate yourself often then your sober journey will be one of joy and empowerment. I know which one I’d rather experience, do you?
So, what are you going to do? Are you going to begin to work towards more empowering and positive thoughts and beliefs? I hope so.
I will leave you with that but before I go, I want to remind you that if you want more personalized, intimate and highly transformational support then book a call to chat about one to one coaching. Every month I work with a small number of incredible people and if you are ready to change your thinking, your drinking and your entire life for the better then I’m here to help.
Let me know how you get on with what you learned today, share your experiences and your thoughts in the comments below.