“The way to become strong is by doing small things you’ve made up your mind to do, however much you don’t want to do them at the time.”
– Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson
We all start the new year off full of good intentions. 2020 will finally be different! This is the year that you finally get your act together, stop drinking and make the changes that will make your dreams come true. It’s so easy to say and dream but can be much harder to do.
There are so many things that hold us back when it comes to creating change in our life – fear, old habits, indecisiveness or personal relationships. For as many reasons that we can come up with on why we aren’t changing one truth remains – you must ACT to change.
ACT = Awareness, Clarity, and Turnaround
ACT is a three-step process I’ve developed. Using this process enables you to work your way through some of your long-held beliefs around alcohol and unravel the truth from the myths. Thus, when the time comes to make a change, there will be no battle to fight because your beliefs – more specifically your subconscious beliefs around drinking – will have shifted. You’ll no longer be holding on to your assumption, instead you’ll be making a change based upon reality.
Through the ACT process, you will become aware of your belief by naming and putting language to it. Next, you’ll clarify the belief, where it came from, and how it feels inside you. Finally, you will turnaround the belief by drawing upon a few reasons why the opposite of your long-held belief may be as true or truer than the original belief.
Let me give you an example of how this will work.
Belief: Alcohol helps me relax and forget about my problems.
You believe that alcohol is a stress reliever and allows you to relax.
You believe that alcohol helps you relax because that is what you’ve been told and shown through friends, family and the media. “You had a bad day? Let me get you a drink!” “Man, you must need a drink after dealing with that!” “That would drive anyone to drink!” We hear it all of the time and it’s what we see too – in the movies, on TV, and in our daily lives. It’s no wonder that we are led to believe that alcohol will relax us and take away our stress when we are constantly being bombarded with that message.
Is that always how you’ve handled stress though? Have you always needed alcohol to relax? Can you relax without drinking alcohol? What does relaxation really look and feel like to you? Saying alcohol relaxes us is easy but being forced to define what relaxation truly looks and feels like to us forces us to not only examine the belief, but also to question whether alcohol is really providing the results we think it is.
I know that I didn’t always need alcohol to relax. In fact, I didn’t even start drinking until after college and I know that I certainly went through some really stressful times during those years. If I didn’t drink alcohol to relax, I must have had other ways of dealing with the stress that were also effective. I define true relaxation as removing the source of discontent. Until I’ve resolved whatever is causing my stress, I can’t truly relax because the issue is still lurking out there for me. I have yet to find any bottle of alcohol that has been able to eliminate the source of my discontent and resolve a problem for me. So was the alcohol actually helping me relax or was it just making things fuzzy for a bit while not solving anything?
Actually, if alcohol is so great at helping us relax and alleviate our stress, the more we drink it, the less stress and issues we should have – right? Yet, as anyone can tell you, the more you drink, the more stress you create. More alcohol leads to more problems, more discontent and more unhappiness. How can something that you believe relaxes you and eliminates stress also be the cause of it.
Now comes the work portion of changing your beliefs around alcohol. In this case it’s our argument that alcohol helps us relax. Now that you’ve spent some time clarifying that belief you need to reexamine it and rephrase it based upon what you discovered. Is your former belief still true? Make a list of three or more discoveries that turnaround your previous belief and make your newfound belief true or truer. For me these were –
- Alcohol does not remove the source of my stress.
- Alcohol has never solved any of my problems for me.
- Alcohol actually increases my anxiety and makes my stress worse the next day.
Putting those beliefs down on paper was a shocker for me. It literally went against everything I had been telling myself for years. If those bottles of wine I had come to rely on weren’t making me relax – why would I keep drinking them. More importantly – what changes could I make in order to find how to really relax and unwind?
Obviously, we hold on to more than just one belief around alcohol that makes the idea of giving it up uncomfortable. Try applying the ACT Technique (Awareness, Clarity, and Turnaround) to each belief that comes up. Work through them one by one until you’ve created for yourself a new belief system that is rooted in reality rather than misconceptions. Soon, you’ll no longer be seeing alcohol as a magic potion that holds within it love, happiness, a social life, courage and the cure to all that ails you.
Instead, you’ll discover that within you and your life experiences is the ability not only to change, but to create the life you’ve been dreaming of and wishing for all along. You’ll learn what truly makes you happy, helps you relax, sparks your joy and makes you feel loved. Most often, those things can’t be found in a bottle but they are contained in the people and places around you.
When you ACT to change, you’re rewarded with the awareness, clarity and turnaround that leave one world behind and the freedom to create the world you were destined to live in.
Post Submitted By: Annie Grace
Annie Grace is the author of This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life. Annie grew up in a one-room log cabin without running water or electricity outside of Aspen, Colorado. She discovered a passion for marketing and after graduating with a Masters of Science (Marketing) she dove into corporate life. At the age of 26, Annie was the youngest vice president in a multinational company, and her drinking career began in earnest. At 35, in a global C-level marketing role, she was responsible for marketing in 28 countries and drinking almost two bottles of wine a night. Knowing she needed a change but unwilling to submit to a life of deprivation and stigma, Annie set out to find a painless way to regain control. Annie no longer drinks and has never been happier. She left her executive role to write this book and share This Naked Mind with the world. In her free time, Annie loves to ski, travel (26 countries and counting), and enjoy her beautiful family. Annie lives with her husband and three children in the Colorado mountains.
This Naked Mind book link – https://thisnakedmind.com/
The Alcohol Experiment book link – https://thisnakedmind.com/
This Naked Mind webpage – https://thisnakedmind.com/
The Alcohol Experiment – https://learn.thisnakedmind.