Deciding to ditch alcohol can feel like a HUGE statement.
‘Oh God, everyone will think I’m a raging alcoholic’, or maybe ‘if I say I don’t drink, but then I start again, I’ll have failed’.
Those thoughts can be crippling.
But sometimes we set our goals too specifically, and in doing so we talk ourselves out of them before we’ve even got off the starting blocks.
What if the goal wasn’t to ditch the booze, but to find better ways to self-care, to self-soothe, to show yourself a whole heap of self-love?
Because, ultimately, it’s kinda the same thing.
Changing your relationship with alcohol doesn’t mean you have to tip everything down the sink in a blaze of ‘new me’ defiance (although you can if you want). It can just mean thinking, observing, nurturing, and then plotting a new path as all that understanding unfolds.
Big old lines in the sand can give us a tremendous kick when they work, but if they’re stopping progress then… what’s the point? Those small steps we take ultimately add up to the same big jump, just done differently.
Because life can be utterly exhausting, isolating, overwhelming and depleting, and we’ve got used to medicating ourselves through it with a drug we’ve been conditioned to believe is good, clean fun.
‘Take a drink – you know you want to!’
‘Ah, don’t worry, it was all good fun. Hair of the dog?’
When we throw a big ultimatum in there it can feel hopeless. Another mountain we have to climb; another way we’re doing life ‘wrong’. And when that happens, we’re on a hiding to nothing.
Ditching the success/failure equation can be a critical part of this journey, as we start to understand that self-care is the foundation of an alcohol-free life, and that it’s pretty much impossible to flick from self-abuse to oodles of self-compassion in an instant. We have to retrain ourselves after a lifetime of subservience to the needs of others, and learn to prioritise our own wellbeing.
Because there is no greater truth than ‘put your own oxygen mask on first’, except for ‘you can't pour from an empty cup’.
Trite? Overused? Guess why? Because it’s a bloody epidemic.
We’re running ourselves ragged, parched of oxygen and life-giving water while we tend to a needy world. And what are we running on? Wine.
Yes, my friend. We have done the sums all wrong. But that’s ok, because we’re learning and we’re changing and we will do better FOR OURSELVES one day at a time.
Today, and then the day after, and the day after that.
So, let’s add one more proverb to the stack – ‘progress, not perfection’.
And, in that regard, I’m right here with you, every step of the way.
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