“Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.” — Michael Jordan
How Michael Jordan helped me to quit drinking for good is something I write about in my book and I thought it would be good to share a little snippet of this with you today, because it literally shifted everything for me and helped me to quit drinking and feel good about it with no worry or fear that I would pick it up again, which is very powerful, I know.
Five years alcohol-free
What I am going to share with you today is also the reason that I am over five years alcohol free, feel 100% secure and confident that I will stay alcohol-free, and have been able to face life and the awful events of the past few months without the thought of alcohol entering my head, even the tiniest little bit so it is very powerful. But before I get into the details and explain just how Michael Jordan helped me to quit drinking for good, I just want to say thank you.
Recording and releasing the last podcast and video about my son was really difficult, and it still hurts, you know I feel sad and sick and hollow all of the time, it hurts too much but the support and kindness I’ve received since I put the video out has helped such a lot and has gone a little way into restoring my faith in humanity.
If you sent me a message or an email I am so very grateful to you, and while this pain is going to be with me for a very, very long time I do feel that I have people helping me to bear it a little, so thank you. Talking about it has also helped me to start to take steps forward and through and I am slowly moving forward. As I explained in my last video, I felt I couldn’t just pick up and talk about sobriety without addressing what has been happening in my own life.
I think I should point out that I don’t know Michael Jordan personally, never met him, watched him play or even owned a pair of his legendary trainers but I did read about something he said once and it landed with me so much it created a shift in my thinking and feeling about sobriety. The thing he said was,
“Once I made a decision I never thought about it again”
And I share the quote by Michael Jordan all the time because for me making that firm, clear decision was what finally freed me from the battles that had been raging inside my head for so long and allowed me to start to make progress and move towards where I wanted to go.
It was the indecision that had been keeping me stuck, and trying to moderate and telling myself things like, I’ll stop drinking when, its summer, its winter, I have more time, money, books or whatever or telling myself that now just wasn’t the right time, or I needed to wait until after Christmas, or after the summer or until I had done the inner work or I knew about self care and boundaries or I had more confidence or any of the other many excuses I told myself.
Making the decision
But really what it came down to was that I had to make the decision first and then work on the other things. Even things like cravings for example, I thought I’d be able to stop once I worked out how to manage cravings successfully but I was never going to do that until I actually committed to stopping first. I had it the wrong way around in my head.
Now this is nothing new, Holly Whittaker talks about making the decision, or rather Never Questioning the Decision in her book ’Quit Like a Woman’. She read Alan Carr’s ‘The Easy Way to Control Alcohol’ which says at the end make the decision and never question it because that is where the doubt and temptation can creep in.
That’s when a thought enters our head, we start questioning and before we know it we’re back where we started.
What Michael Jordan said is very similar, make the decision and never think about it again. Unlike what I had been doing before which was make the decision and then unmake it again, usually many times a day. But this time, I made the decision and that was it! Furthermore, I feel that the decision to quit drinking for good while, of course, utterly terrifying, it was also extremely liberating.
The magic of mantra
And I added a little extra magic to my decision with the mantra no matter what. I told myself, ‘I am not drinking, no matter what‘ and that was the gamechanger for me, it really was. No matter what happens, if I’m having a great time or a shit time, a wonderful day or a bad day, no matter what happens, I just won’t drink – decision made. I can’t tell you how freeing that felt.
I’d always been uncomfortable with the one day at a time thing that they say in AA and other places because it felt like such an effort, not only that but I felt like I didn’t want to keep making the decision every day, how miserable and binding to keep reminding myself in this way. At least with Michael Jordan’s way I just got to do it once and that was it.
A past client of mine shared her own feelings about why making this clean break was so powerful for her “[otherwise] It would be like dragging around the past like a ball and chain instead of simply undoing the ankle chain and stepping lightly away to the future without a backward glance.”
It freed my mind of the internal struggle that I had been living with for so long. It made such a difference, to feel like that was it, there was no need to keep reliving all the horrible past mistakes, fight or struggle or try to (unsuccessfully) moderate anymore, what a relief!
And then I could get on with the business of sorting out the rest of my life, so in some ways making the decision was the easy bit, the bits that came afterwards were more challenging, but at least I didn’t have to think about drinking anymore.
I hear it from my clients too, they tell me, ‘this time it feels different’ and the reason for that switch flipping? A strong, clear, positive and empowered decision to take back their lives and not allow alcohol to sabotage them anymore.
Now just because you made the decision to quit drinking for good, it doesn’t mean the next steps are all sunshine and roses, not always. And that’s usually when the need for support comes in but it is much easier to ask for the support and commit to yourself when you’ve made the decision to do it.
A lovely lady I worked with just recently came to me and said,
“I’m done with it, I know I’m done but I don’t know how to move forward.”
“I’m very clear that this is not something I want in my life anymore but I need the support and accountability to help me with the next phase of actually being without it.”
And that’s what I help you with the how, the support, the accountability and the safe space to explore and learn how to navigate a life free from alcohol.
Flipping the switch
Because I know what it is like. I know what it is like to struggle and I also know what it is like to begin to navigate life and take those scary steps into the unknown. I’ve been there, I’ve made the decision, experienced the flipping of the switch and I am walking the path of alcohol-free living and all the obstacles that go with it.
My own switch flip happened unexpectedly when my husband decided that he wasn’t going to have a drink one day. There were still three beers in the fridge so of course I drank those. The next day I asked him, “So, are you drinking today or not?” “No,” he said, “and I don’t think I’ll be drinking again, to be honest, maybe you should try it with me.”
Oh wow! I hadn’t been expecting that.
Part of me went into a complete panic and thought, nooo, I’m so not ready for this and the other part felt the biggest sense of relief and I thought, “Thank you, I am so ready for this.” It wasn’t the right time at all really. None of my ducks were in a row, in fact there were no ducks, and I hadn’t got anything figured out but it felt right, like I could give it a try.
Don’t look back
And that’s when I made the decision and never thought about it again! Instead of the horrible never-ending ‘will I, won’t I’ tug of war in my head, I focused my attention on doing this and making it the best, kindest and loveliest experience I possibly could.
I decided to show up for myself in a way I never had before and I’ve never looked back.
So, the decision to quit drinking for good was the first step really to helping me approach this journey from a completely different perspective. Making the decision helped me to start to figure out the how and to face all the things that had been putting me off before.
Making the decision cleared the path if you like, and helped me to start to look at the things in my life that needed work. Making the decision meant I was free to start living my life again.
How do you make the decision?
Making this decision for yourself is many layered and often not something you can just arrive at. Usually the decision to quit drinking for good is a result of time spent exploring, experimenting, trying some sober time and checking in with yourself.
It is also important to try and work out what has been keeping you stuck in the past and what your deep inner motivation is because once you know your why then nothing can shake you from your path. I always spend time at the start of every client journey helping them to connect to this deep internal compass because it is so powerful. To help you get started listen to this guided meditation I created which will help you to connect to your own, powerful why.
Once you know what it is you want, why you want it and what has been standing in your way, then you can work on putting tools and practices in place such as self care, habits, reframing thoughts and beliefs so that your actions, environment and, day to day living begin to reflect and support your decision.
In other words you begin to live in alignment and that’s when the feel good part comes into it. And that’s what I help you with in my one month intensive and three month one to one coaching program.
But the key to coming to that place is committing to, and showing up for yourself. This has to come from a place of love and kindness.
I will say this often, you cannot bully or beat yourself sober or come at it from a place of shame or guilt. The only way and I really mean this, the only way you will be able to do this and feel good about it is if you make this a priority, you make yourself a priority because you absolutely deserve all the love, joy, happiness and peace that come with the rich and full life of alcohol-freedom!
Are you ready to get the support you need to make the decision and never think about it again?
Are you ready to start living the life of alcohol-freedom you deserve? If you are and want to be held, supported and empowered with all the encouragement and accountability you need and deserve then book a free discovery call to talk about one to one coaching.
I’d love to know how you feel about making the decision to quit drinking for good. Let me know in the comments below.