2 Reasons I Failed at Sobriety in the Past
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
My unhealthy relationship with alcohol has spanned nearly a decade. My conscious and self aware side has always wanted to quit alcohol, but my human side literally felt FOMO (fear of missing out). I didn't want to miss out on any of the "fun" and quite honestly, I wasn't fully committed to giving it up. The 2 main reasons I failed at sobriety in the past were:
1. I wasn't ready to give it up.
I was always one foot in, one foot out. I hadn't fully made the decision to quit or if I had, it was only for a certain amount of time, not set in stone forever. If you give yourself the option to go back or to try to moderate consumption you are WAY more likely to fall back into the same patterns. Alcohol IS an addictive substance, and if you struggle with it, moderation isn't a good option. Things to consider about moderation:
Moderation means you are always making decisions about drinking. This causes “decision fatigue” and makes decision making harder again, and you are less likely to make good, healthy choices.
Alcohol creates a thirst for itself. One drink makes you want another and so on. And alcohol has many impacts on your body: some act as a stimulant, others as a sedative. As your blood alcohol level starts reducing, you will crave more.
Alcohol directly affects your brain’s ability to make good decisions.
Alcohol makes you thirsty and dehydrated, which leads you to want to drink more – and it’s easy to drink more alcohol, rather than water.
Alcohol numbs your pleasure centers over time: the things that used to make you happy won’t give you the same pleasure any more. And drink may seem like the only thing that is fun.
Liking vs. wanting: they are two different things. Drinking creates cravings for more, even when you don’t really even want it, and know it in fact just makes you miserable.
2. I was surrounded by negative influences.
Making the decision to quit drinking alone is hard. Trying to quit drinking while also being constantly surrounded by it makes it nearly impossible for some. Your environment and people you surround yourself with can make or break your sobriety. That's how it was for me, anyways. If you have people in your life that are pushing you to drink with them, even when you make it clear you don't want to, it might be time to re-evaluate those relationships. Surrounding yourself with people who want to help you grow, improve yourself & your health and reach you goals is crucial. If somebody truly cares about you, they will support you in this decision. You'll notice a lot of people want to quit drinking themselves but struggle with acknowledging it or making the change. These people can sometimes be the ones who are pressuring you to drink with them because drinking with someone else is better than drinking alone and makes them feel less guilty about their decisions. Don't fall into this trap!
Unfortunately, for a lot of people it takes hitting rock bottom to truly make the commitment to go 100% alcohol free. It has such a strong hold on so many people and I wish there was a magic solution for sobriety but there isn't. It takes wanting to be better for yourself, your health, your family and your friends. You have to acknowledge the issue and recognize what's at stake if you don't make a change. Then you have to do the work and find the support system that's best for you. Some of us need tough love and some of us need to be nurtured during this time. Don't be afraid of losing people who don't like your new found sobriety. They will fall away and you will start attracting people who love watching your grow.
If any of you are curious about sobriety or looking to change your relationship with alcohol, I highly recommend reading (or listening) to Annie Grace's "This Naked Mind". I've listened to this book a handful of times now and it helps me understand the science behind our unhealthy relationships with alcohol. Having this clarity makes it easier to stay on course. Also, check out her "Alcohol Experiment" to gain knowledge, interupt patterns and find a sense of community throughout your journey!
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