Changing your drinking is not a race you are training for, or a significant ’day’ that you have been planning for ages. It is a process.
It is a change process that can take different lengths of time, depending in who you are, your circumstances, or even on the physical you.
It is a process because drinking too much is a habit, a behaviour that you repeat on a regular basis, often without thinking about it. To change it you need to repeat not doing it, time and time again in a conscious way.
An additional complication is the fact that alcohol seeps into every bit of who we are – our body and brain and our interactions with others:
We are constantly bombarded by canny advertisers, product placement and social norms that make drinking easy and desirable to many people. These can all play into our guilt, our shame and our insecurities.
So changing your drinking habits is not a one-off event, it is a long-term process. A process full of events that you need to plan for. What does that mean in practice?
In cutting down or quitting alcohol, you are contemplating a life without being controlled regularly by a mind altering substance.
You are signing up to many possible pitfalls, such as:
There are several stages and experiences you may have to go through:
To make sure you succeed in meeting your goals, you have to plan for the process, and all events ahead.
A WOOP – Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan – helps you develop commitment and confidence in your intention to change, and really helps you focus on the outcomes of success. Come up with your personal WOOP by thinking about the four parts.
What is your wish?
What is your timescale for this wish? Is it long enough to make a difference?
What is your moderation goal? Is it specific?
What is the best possible outcome for you of achieving this wish?
What is the process of change your are embarking on, and what are you hoping to achieve by doing it? You were motivated enough to seek Club Soda out – so really put some work into listing all the reasons.
This is really important whatever your goal. But if you are looking to moderate your drinking, your outcome has to be more specific than just ‘drinking less’. What is it you want to stop happening by moderating? What are the important thing for you that you are trying to keep? Exactly how much and when will you drink in future?
From other experiences of trying to change your habits, what do you think are the weaknesses you need to overcome?
How does the thought of a ‘process’ rather than an ‘event’ make you feel?
What other aligned issues may you need to look at?
What will you do when you go off plan? How can you make sure you pick up the plan again quickly?
What personal strengths do you have that will help you succeed?
What would you be willing to try?
When else in your life have you made significant changes like this? How did you do it?
How often will you review your plan?