Have you ever said this to yourself? “I’ll stop drinking when…..” When the weather warms up, when it cools down, when lockdown ends, when I come back from holiday, when life is less stressful, when I’ve started my new job, when the kids go back to school, when the kids break up from school. I’ll stop drinking when I’ve got my life together, when I know who I am and what I want. I’ll stop drinking when…….”
I used to think about all the things that I had to do before I could quit drinking. I decided I would stop drinking when everything was just right, I had cash for posh AF drinks, time to do yoga, freedom to go to awesome places, enough journals to write in, when I had my head together, when I had the perfect app or enough sobriety reading. I would stop drinking when winter came or ended, next week, when I had a day off. I would stop drinking when everything was just right.
Here’s the thing.
Everything is never going to be just right and waiting to stop drinking is like putting your life on hold.
I stopped drinking on March 28th 2018 and I didn’t have everything ready. None of my ‘whens’ were there. It wasn’t summer or winter, the kids were at school, I had no money to stock up my fridge, life was pretty stressful, I wasn’t doing yoga, I didn’t have a journal or any of the things I had previously told myself I needed, before I would stop drinking.
“I’ll stop drinking when I’ve got my life together, when I know who I am and what I want. I’ll stop drinking when…….”
I didn’t have it all figured out first.
One of my gorgeous members told me that she’d been doing the inner work for years, but still something was missing. All this work she’d been doing on herself just wasn’t getting her as far as she wanted. Something was still blocking her dreams, her creativity, and taking up too much head space – alcohol.
All that thinking about drinking. Thoughts of I’ll stop drinking when, just gets in the way. All that thinking takes up so much room in our heads and our hearts that it’s no wonder we have little time or energy for anything else – the things that really matter.
I have discovered, and so have my Transform members, that thinking about quitting drinking is the hardest part of the process. Often, the thought of something is far scarier than taking the action. They say that the hardest part of yoga is getting on the mat, and it’s true – I can relate.
Some of the things I used to worry about were what other people thought of me and what I would say. How would I cope with a stressful situation, even a happy one for that matter? What would I do on a Friday evening, at Christmas, on my birthday, at the weekend, even on a rainy Wednesday afternoon? How would I relax, how would I have fun? What if I went out, what if I stayed in?
So much time spent worrying, thinking, wondering. So much energy and headspace thinking about the what ifs and the whathaveyous. And it always came back to the same thing, “l’ll stop drinking when……”
All that worrying and wondering just made it more painful and dragged it out for far longer than it needed to be. Actually, when I decided, when I made the promise to myself, all that fear, doubt, worrying and wondering disappeared, like Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects, just like that, they were gone.
Now, I’m not saying it was easy because it wasn’t, at least not at first, but honestly making that decision just to go for it now, instead of saying I’ll stop drinking when, was the most liberating, uplifting and soul freeing decision I have ever made. I found thinking about quitting hard, but actually quitting drinking was simple. Learn more about how I quit drinking for good in this podcast.
My own experience has taught me that removing the alcohol is the first step to real change and progress and growth. It has to be. You can’t really explore your spirituality or deal with your emotions or think about changing your job or learning a new skill or writing your book, if you are still being plagued by hangovers, self doubt, living in a fog or having your head full of thoughts and distractions about drinking.
My members and one to one clients tell me that the thing they love the most, even in the early days of sobriety, is the clarity that being alcohol free brings. It is only with that clarity and freedom of mind, that you can dig deep and work through the things that have been holding you back or keeping you stuck. It doesn’t have to be the personal or spiritual things either, it can be the practical and the physical.
* It was only when I stopped drinking that I managed to lose 20 kilos
* It was only when I stopped drinking that I finally got my morning routine sorted out
* It was only when I stopped drinking that I learned how to meditate
* It was only when I stopped drinking that I was able to work out who I was and what I wanted
* It was only when I stopped drinking I was able to spend proper quality time with my kids
* It was only when I stopped drinking did I sleep properly, eat better, exercise more, have more money, read books again, feel confident in my own skin, take care of myself, drink more water….(you get the idea)
All of the ‘whens’ I had been waiting for were only possible because I’d stopped drinking.
Instead of waiting, make your decision based on how things are for you right now, not how you imagine they will be in the future. Forget about other people for a moment and think about yourself.
Here are some questions to ask:
Are you truly happy with your drinking right now?
Is it genuinely serving you?
Is alcohol helping you to be the person who you want to be or is it getting in the way?
Is your drinking preventing you from doing what you want?
How is your drinking making you feel, really?
Would you be better off taking a break?
Are your reasons for keeping drinking good enough?
If your answers to the above questions make you think deeper or throw up more questions than answers, then it might be time to take a break and do it sooner rather than later. Don’t worry about next week or Friday, or Christmas, or the wedding, or meeting people for the first time since lockdown, just think about today, or the next 5 minutes. You can do anything, just for today.
And, it is not about stopping something or giving something up. What it is really about is choosing to live your life how you want to. Creating and living in your truth so you can move one step closer to your dreams.
Why would you want to wait for that?
You don’t need approval, don’t need all your ducks in a row, you don’t need permission and you certainly don’t need to wait until when.
Life is simpler without alcohol, it truly is so take a deep breath and take that first, scary step towards your dream, your future, the life you’ve been waiting for. You have the power to make this happen and when you look back, next year, next month, even a week from now all those things you were dreaming of, they will be your truth.
I’d love to know what you want to do with your new found alcohol-freedom. What, ‘when’ can you achieve now instead of waiting?
And if you’ve decided that your when is now, then come and join us in the Transform Support Membership, we’d love to help you on your journey.