First the man takes a drink. Then the drink takes a drink. Then the drink takes the man.
In many circles, addiction to alcohol is perfectly acceptable. Indeed, alcohol does enjoy a certain cultural acceptance. We tend to view alcohol addiction differently than being an alcoholic, yet the behavior is still the same—an inability to control drinking.
You might think that going out a few times per week and having a few drinks is totally acceptable. It is—socially. It’s socially acceptable. But to your body, it’s not.
Just a drink of alcohol totally alters your fat burning, provides a bunch of useless calories, and it’s a nerve toxin. Sure, it makes you feel good. Sort of. If you actually pay attention, it really feels like diminished awareness.
For many, it’s simply an outlet to avoid facing the reality of life. The alcohol helps you temporarily cope, but long term (see: preya / shreya) it impedes your ability to take proactive action to eliminate the things in your life that cause you to need a coping mechanism in the first place.
Alcohol is a huge social menace, too. How many abusive fathers have been created because of alcohol. Too many.
If you’re not a father yet, and you’re a drinker, and occasionally lose your temper, watch out. Quit while you can. You’re in line to become the next abusive parent. Whether it is physical or mental abuse.
Note: What I’m doing here is building up a case. If you want to quit something, you must build up a “thought case” against it. Then, pick an alternative and build up a case for it.
Pay Attention to Your Alcohol Consumption
Pay attention. Pay attention to what it does to you. The morning after drinking, pay attention to how you feel. Pay attention to how much you’re drinking, keep track of it. Note how many drinks you have. Count them all. If you pour yourself a drink, measure how much alcohol you are actually putting in there.
Pay attention to how your spouse responds to you after drinking. Pay attention to what it does to your relationship with your kids.
Build Up A Case Against Your Alcohol Consumption
Figure out how much alcohol is costing you. What does it cost to support your drinking habit? Again, how do you feel after drinking. Recall all the times you drank too much and how you felt. Recall the times when you did stupid things because you were drunk.
Think bad thoughts about the alcohol consumption. Conversely, think good thoughts about times when you were sober and behaved admirably. This is called attraction and repulsion. Use emotion to attract yourself to the behavior of being sober and to repel yourself from the behavior of drinking alcohol.
Avoid Situations Where You’ll Be Tempted to Drink
In the early stages, avoidance is best. People are keen to foist alcohol on you. I can remember times when I was cutting back where the same person asked me no less than three times, each time with increasing fervor, to have a shot. You have to question the mentality of people like this—why are they trying to get you to do something you don’t want to? For power? For control? Because they want to get one over you? Whatever the reason, it’s not good. There are some dark parts of people’s psyche’s.
Remove the alcohol from your home. If your wife drinks, ask her to avoid doing it in front of you and to support you in your efforts.
You might need someone to help you. Someone who has been there before. It might be AA, Al-Anon, or some other support group. Do what it takes.
Change From the Inside Out
Don’t try to use willpower to overcome your alcohol addiction. It can work, but you’ll be miserable and you’ll always feel restrained. Instead develop a higher desire that supplants the alcohol desire.
I desire to be healthy and fit, and a role model for people. Being addicted to alcohol is incompatible with that desire. If I do find myself tempted, it’s easy to realize that it’s not worth it. My healthy and fit desire far outweighs my get drunk desire. Because it far outweighs it, I find that I am occasionally able to enjoy a drink. But rarely.
Alcohol Addiction is Insidious
Alcohol was the bane of my life for quite a while. Even if you think you have it under control, you’re doing damage. You’re gaining weight. You’re making poor judgments. You’re putting yourself in a position where you might cheat on your wife. Where you might crash your car. Where you might offend someone who means a lot. Where you might injure yourself.
When you change your thoughts, you change your reality. You can change your thoughts about alcohol and all your other addictions and you can improve your reality practically overnight. What are you waiting for?
What to do in the throes of addiction