Humans are habitual. Fact. We like repetition and we all have addictions. We especially like doing things that are bad for us and love to indulge in modern day poisons! Why can’t we turn our habits around and be addicted to the good stuff?! It’s rare to be addicted to vitamins or lettuce or burpees.
One of the common words used about alcohol is that it is a reward, something to look forward to. We like the ritual of drinking .. buying a beautiful bottle, chilling it, pouring it into a lovely glass, decorating it with fruit and ice, savouring it, feeling ‘normal’ once the ritual has started. But once the ritual becomes more frequent, and the feeling is related to normality, the habit is formed and the love affair starts to dissolve.
Is there anything quite like the first drink of the day? That first sip .. the relief that we made it. I don’t think so. But once we start, we just can’t stop. Realistically, ‘just the one’ should do the trick, to raise the dopamine levels, to bring temporary joy from the day. But not many people that stop at one and more than one is a habit.
Cravings for alcohol are worse in a trigger situation. Trigger situations are caused by habit and need to be broken to survive alcohol free. Mine is, or was, getting home from work on a Friday night after a long week. 3 months on, it’s becoming much easier. I have replaced my wine with Elderflower Presse. I still have it in a lovely glass and I still decorate it with ice and lime and I now look forward to it in the same way I did a Sauvignon. After all, I deserve a treat too! It has just taken time to become the better option over the poison I was rewarding myself with before.
There is nothing wrong with spoiling yourself with alcohol free products if it makes your sober journey more successful. Changing your habit to something poison free is always going to be a better alternative. Avoiding trigger situations in the early days also helps with recovery. Don’t put yourself in a temptation situation unless you are totally sure you can resist. Habits are not easy to break but they are easy to replace. Transfer your love of the bad things to love of the good. And reward yourself with permenant goodness rather than a temporary high. Remember, what goes up, must come down! And usually that isn’t pretty!
‘Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going’ Jim Ryun