For this blog article, let's delve into the intriguing world of motivation behind kicking the alcohol habit – the renowned WHY. It's a potent force to ponder, and I've crafted a tool inspired by various therapeutic approaches to address alcohol addiction.
But before we embark on this counselling tool that I often use with clients navigating their relationship with alcohol, I want to share something delightfully off-topic yet oddly fascinating to me: the latest Barefoot Investor newsletter, dated January 29, 2024. In our household, we've been enthralled by Scott Pape, the barefooted financial wizard living on a farm, volunteering as a financial counsellor, and writing books about money. Interestingly, Scott kicked the drinking habit in 2021, a fact not overly publicised. Today, in his newsletter, in the section 'Questions & Answers,' a lady contemplating a dry 2024 shared her financial motivations, while Scott revealed that his own inspiration was to model good habits for his kids.
Motivations for changing habits and improving health are personal and diverse. What caught my attention, and I'm eager to share with you (just as I do with my clients), is Scott's mention of the captivating podcast episode 'What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain, and Health' by Dr. Andrew Huberman, a renowned neuroscientist and host of The Huberman Lab. Scott highlighted that this episode is one of the most downloaded in podcast history! It's a sign of shifting times, with alcohol gradually losing its glamorous social allure in Western societies where it was once widely accepted, even encouraged.
Now, circling back to motivation – understanding why you want to make a change is crucial to navigating the journey ahead. It's not the sole factor, but often the anchor preventing you from succumbing to a drink during intense cravings or providing the rationale to resist that sneaky voice coaxing you to indulge.
I recommend starting with a simple piece of paper, diving into the absolute worst aspects of alcohol. Recall hangover memories – the headaches, sweat, nausea, the fear of facing those you partied with, attempting to reconstruct a blackout night, the shame, regret, and the broken promises to yourself or others about moderation or quitting. Visualise and document about 4-5 key events, moments, feelings, and sensations.
Then, flip the paper and jot down the best of not drinking (or call it sobriety). Even if it's just a few days off booze in the last few years, recognise the positives. Capture the feeling of waking up refreshed, at peace, without the looming headache, and revel in the reward of increased energy, pride, and a hangover-free existence. Holding onto this mental image can make it easier to decline that glass of wine or a beer offered by a friend.
Some clients find this exercise so valuable that they keep it as an emergency checklist in their pockets, offering a helping hand when faced with a tough decision. I truly hope that this short article, this motivational tool, and the podcast episode will inspire you. If you wish more individualised support, I provide alcohol addiction counselling services in-person at the Fremantle Clinic and online if it suits you better.