If you’ve ever wondered how to change your relationship with alcohol, you may think that there’s no easy way to set about it. But the truth is, the key to changing your relationship with alcohol is to grow your new lifestyle by first educating your subconscious mind to be in line with your conscious beliefs.
And then it becomes infinitively easier.
In this post I’ll share some of the steps which for me are key to becoming free from the love-affair which I once had with alcohol, and filled with joy at my new found freedom.
I hope you find inspiration within the words shared in this post to leap boldly forward into the new realms of discovering a new kind of living, without alcohol ruling your day, but with all of the joy and wonder and excitement of the world.
This journey is not about missing out on anything; it’s about gaining everything.
If you haven’t seen the first post in this series, it might be a good place to start. It’s called giving up alcohol (or breaking the love affair. And after this post comes tips on giving up alcohol successfully.
Table of Contents
Get Rid of Cognitive Dissonance to Change Your Relationship with Alcohol
When you set out to ‘give something up’ it’s often because your conscious mind has decided that the thing you’re giving up is no longer in your best interests.
The reason it can be so difficult, however, is that your subconscious mind has been programmed to believe that it’s the best thing since sliced bread, and will do everything in its power to return you to the path which, according to its programming is the best one for you. I.e. back to the behaviour you’re trying to leave behind.
Whenever you want to change something in your life, take a look at your subconscious beliefs around that topic and address those first. You subconscious mind is always guiding you, and unless you bring it into alignment with your conscious desires, you’ll not only be on a difficult path but also on a path with little chance of imminent success.
Get to know how to manifest the life you want and apply that to your alcohol journey.
That’s why you should never give something up (expresses lack) but rather, you want to gain the new benefits of your new lifestyle.
That’s why, at the basis of this method for changing my relationship with alcohol there are three fundamental stages.
- Feeding the subconscious mind continual evidence to change the subconscious programming
- Taking action
I don’t recommend taking action until you’ve laid the foundations. And when you do take action, I believe in counting the positives, not the negatives.
When you reinforce all your successes and congratulate yourself on every step in the right direction, you’re fuelling the desire to increase those successes.
If, on the other hand, you feel like you’ve failed with every slip-up on the way, you propel yourself into feeling that you aren’t good enough, and if you’re already a failure (your reasoning says), you may as well stop trying, because you’ve already failed. This kind of negative approach is quite mainstream, but it’s counterproductive in my opinion.
Step One to Change Your Relationship with Alcohol
Changing your relationship with alcohol is a process in which you move closer and closer to an inner line, and once you cross over the line it’s like a magic switch; the magic switch is your pinnacle moment when you actually ‘stop’ pouring the wine into the glass.
But before you can experience the pinnacle, you have to build the foundations, or as I call it, the mountain below it to support it.
Building the Foundations to Change Your Relationship with Alcohol
There are infinite reasons why we start questioning our relationship with alcohol sooner or later, but three of the most common triggers are:
- A serious catalyst (an event which almost cost you more than you’re willing to pay) that wakes you up to the fact that alcohol is destroying your life.
- Frequent and regular negative events occurring in your life, (continual arguments, failing relationships, near-accidents etc.) which gradually begin to alert you to the fact that alcohol is too powerful in your life.
- You just don’t like it that alcohol rules you. Maybe you open a bottle every evening at the same time and you’re beginning to wonder why it has that power over you and how you could better use that time.
Any of these to starting points (or other) may lead you down the path to questioning your relationship with alcohol and wondering how to set about changing it. The answer starts with questioning what alcohol actually gives you and observing the truth of your situation.
I mean what it really gives you.
We live with this belief that we know what alcohol is, but in reality we don’t. Because what we actually see is a recording in our mind, telling us the same old information, most of which is incredibly out of date or isn’t even true in the first place.
You aren’t an adventurer because you drink alcohol, you’re a conformist.
You aren’t more exciting when you drink alcohol, you’re actually more boring.
And so the list goes on.
Instead of seeing the facts, we see a cartoon version of an image we’ve created in our minds.
The story we think we believe about alcohol is of human making and is quite different to the truth. In fact it’s so different that it takes time for us to change the inner movie which we play and replace it with another, more truthful one.
Time and plenty of repetitive, positive reinforcement.
Please note that this post is not intended to replace getting professional help if you feel you need it.
What does Alcohol Really Give You?
Make a list of everything that alcohol brings you. Create one page with the positive things and another page with the negative things. Make sure to keep this as an open list which you add to over time.
At first, you’ll probably fill the positive list up much quicker than the negative list because we’re more used to focussing on what we think we like about alcohol, so you may be surprised to find the list of negatives growing longer and longer over the upcoming days.
Keep the exercise going, without judgment, as an observation, for as long as you can keep discovering new things to add to it. Every time you come across something more in your life, positive or negative, add it to the list.
For now, do nothing to change your relationship with alcohol beyond observing the positive and negative effects on a daily basis.
If you like, you can take a journal and keep record on a daily basis, but it isn’t essential as long as you are paying attention with an open mind.
The list might look something like this:
What Positives does Alcohol Bring?
The list below isn’t representational of truth, rather of how you may perceive alcohol to be positive in your life. In time, you may come to be of the opinion that there are no positives, but in the meantime . . .
- Much laugher
- I’m more chatty
- Calming in group situations
- Helps me be at a party without feeling awkward
- Love the taste
- An activity I love doing
- My partner and I share it together
- My friends all drink
- Sociable (see 9)
- I get invited out to parties
And in the beginning, your list of negatives may only have a few pointers on it. But with time it will start to fill up. It may look something like this:
What Negatives Come with Alcohol?
- Wastes a lot of my time
- Robs me of the fun-times memories
- Starts off fun then turns bad
- Creates arguments with my friends/partner
- Tearful and crying isn’t totally unheard of
- Brings accidents (remember that time you . . . )
- Causes me headaches
- Robs me of the next day
- Makes me black out
- Creates the feeling of guilt
- Raises doubt as to whether I behaved myself ok
- Damages my liver
- Makes me look bloated
- Costs me my fitness
- Is my crutch at social events
- Makes driving dangerous
- Limits my day because I’m always planning my next drink
- Disguises itself as an activity but it doesn’t give me anything back
- Costs me lots of money
- Gives me anxiety
- Bad sleep
- Shortened life span
When you’ve got your two lists, carry on observing your life. Make a mental note of whether your evening becomes more fun or whether at some point it turns into wasted time/arguments or whatever. For now, just observe, but draw real conclusions from what you discover.
The exact amount of time you spend on this stage is up to you; it could be weeks or months, as you build up a true picture of what role alcohol is playing in your life.
What if You Want or Need to Stop Immediately?
If you feel you need to stop drinking immediately because of its destructive consequences in your life, then you can still follow this same process but put drinking on hold as of this moment while you do the observation stage based on memories.
Every day, write down the memories you have of all the different drinking sessions you can remember. Start from the beginning and compile as comprehensive a list as you can of the different events as they occurred.
As you compile your evidence, you’ll be having the same effect on the subconscious mind as if you were doing the observation stage. Just be sure to work on your compiling-journal every day.
Another thing you can do if you stop drinking alcohol immediately, before doing the work on your subconscious mind, is to skip ahead and immediately join the alcohol experiment (see below) which will give you the support as you make the change.
What to Do After You’ve Made Your Lists of Positive and Negatives
Next start to make a list of what you would like to have in your life, which you don’t have now because of the alcohol.
This foundation stage is fundamental to shifting your inner perception of alcohol and enjoying success in your new journey. In fact, this stage is everything because it’s when you really take time to get to know your friend alcohol for what it really is and what it’s costing you.
Change Your Relationship with Alcohol: List of Desires/Goals
Now that you’re beginning to witness the reality of your relationship with alcohol and you’re nurturing your desire to change, it’s time to create a list of desires. If the term goals resonates with you, by all means call it your list of goals.
Personally I go with the word desire better than goal!
It may look something like this:
What would I like to see becoming part of my life?
- Get fit
- Love myself
- Choose my battles
- Learn new things
- Use the whole of the day (not lose part of it to alcohol)
- Great sleep
- No hangovers
- Meaningful conversations
- Remember everything
- Be healthy
- Feel better
- Take up new hobbies
All the time, just continue to live your life normally. And notice as you become more aware of what’s going on in your daily life, it’s likely that you’ll begin to feel a shift about how you feel towards alcohol. It won’t suddenly change, but it will begin to open the door by a little crack.
Step 2 to Change Your Relationship with Alcohol: Awakening your Inner Mind
Step 2 is to start reading all the about an alcohol free lifestyle. Reading quit lit books will build up your subconscious and shine a light on what’s happening behind the scenes plus give you an insight into someone else’s AF journey.
Top Books that have been highly recommended to me by other people on the AF road.
- This Naked Mind by Annie Grace is the most raved about book of them all for having an impact on how people view alcohol.
- You’re not obliged to read it before joining the alcohol experiment, but lots of people say it helped to change their perspective.
- Alcohol Explained by William Porter.
- Another comprehensive and factual book giving hard evidence about the true nature of alcohol. So many people have recommended it to me that it had to get a mention here.
The more you read, the more your subconscious mind learns the truth behind the veil, but the truth is, after lots of observation, online reading and just one book, my whole perspective had deeply shifted already.
As you begin to feel more in alignment with the idea of a YOU who doesn’t drink, do an experiment. Skip one glass of wine and congratulate yourself on your success.
The trick is that this isn’t about forbidding yourself from drinking, this is about discovering the truth so you WANT to not drink.
Step 3: Join The Alcohol Experiment with Annie Grace
When you’re really beginning to piece the puzzle together and you’re starting to see the big picture, it’s time to join the alcohol experiment. (Or join it sooner if alcohol is causing severe issues in your life.)
Joining the alcohol experiment is the deal-maker. The alcohol experiment is an amazing place to be and on top of that it’s completely free – so you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Once you join, you’ll get a video to your inbox every day for a month with access to the site with more info, plenty of other members to interact with and live videos too.
You spend the month doing an experiment with yourself by going alcohol free and observing the changes you see and feel happening. There’s no pressure and no need to call it anything other than an experiment.
You never need to feel trapped because it’s just for 30 days. In your heart you might know already that you want to continue beyond the 30 days but the secret to quietening your ‘I want alcohol voice‘ is to allow it to approach this as temporary, just until you feel stronger in your determination.
When you join the alcohol experiment, you also get access to the awesome private facebook group, which is full of really supportive members going through the same journey as you.
It’s a supportive, positive group to hang out on and reinforce your positive vibes.
Here’s a look at the alcohol experiment home page:
What the Alcohol Experiment Gives You is Worth a Fortune Yet the Platform Remains Free
I really want to thank Annie Grace for creating the Alcohol Experiment and for keeping it free so that anybody who’s curious about exploring their relationship with alcohol can access it and benefit from the supportive community there.
At the end of the month, when you finish the Experiment, you have two choices, you can leave the alcohol experiment and put it down as an experience, or you can make a donation (and it can be as little as 5$) and have lifetime access to both the fb group and to keep your workbook which you completed during the 30 day experiment. Or maybe you’d like to start the moth over again.
Personally I gave a donation as a thank you and also because I want to stay a member forever and give back to the community. I mean the money you save in the 30 days of not drinking is enough reason for a donation alone, let alone the fact that it’s a life changing, super-cool initiative set up by Annie Grace to help anyone who wants to explore the possibilities.
Thank you Annie!
Change your perspective from giving up alcohol to embracing a new, super cool, healthy, active, hip and chill lifestyle!
Step 4: Apply Your New Attitude to Your Relationship with Alcohol
When you reach the end of the alcohol experiment, you’ll be already feeling equipped to take your relationship with alcohol to a new level: either to ground zero or to moderation.
Most people find moderation difficult to do, and once they’ve discovered the joys of sobriety they choose to leave alcohol completely, but it’s a very personal decision which only you can know the answer to.
In the next post I’ll be sharing the tips to include for success and the pitfalls to avoid. In the meantime, be sure to take in the beauty of your surroundings wherever you are, and allow yourself time to breath.
Go easy on yourself; we all deserve to receive love, and self-love is possibly the most powerful love of all to enable you to move forward.
Conclusion on How to Change Your Relationship with Alcohol
I hope this post inspires you to realise that no matter where you think you are at this point in time, you can change your life and start enjoying this super cool new energy that comes from being sober or cutting the power to alcohol.
The next post in the series is called tips on giving up alcohol successfully.
Please remember to seek additional professional help if you feel you need it or if alcohol is destroying your life.
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Previous post: Giving up drinking alcohol (or breaking the love affair).