This blog focusses on abstinence from alcohol but can just as easily apply to any thing else you are wanting to reduce or remove from your life.

When is it easier to stop drinking entirely and when can you just cut down?

It really does depend on who you are as a person and how alcohol is affecting your health and your life.

Cutting down can sometimes be harder than stopping altogether – not just with drinking but with anything at all.

The joy of having a zero-tolerance policy is that the decision is made. There is no need to think about it any longer. The answer is always “No, Thank you.”

It can prove to be a slippery slope when caveats are built in.

I’ll only drink on special occasions.  What constitutes a special occasion? A wedding, a birthday, a Friday?

I’ll only drink one day a week. Which day? It’s normally a Saturday, but this week I’m going to drink on Tuesday because I’ve got a do. Then Saturday comes around and you’ll drink as usual, but you’ll not drink next week. Until next week. You start making and breaking bargains with yourself.

I’ll only have one drink. The problem is once you’ve got a drink in hand you get a taste for it and it’s easier to carry on until the bottle has gone. So, you only buy a small bottle. But this week the big bottles were on offer.

I’ll drink something else. Something you don’t like as much, then you won’t be tempted to drink as much. If covid has taught us nothing, its how quickly a “new normal” just becomes “normal”.

It’s exhausting weighing it all up and I’ve noticed it tends not to work in the long run. Things start to slip with a treat or exception here and there and escalated until it’s the same or worse than before. In that sense it is much easier to do what Grange Hill taught us and Just Say No. (That might be quite a niche reference, apologies if you don’t get it. Apologies if you DO get it and you’ve got it stuck in your head!)

So Zero-Tolerance is the way to go then?

The downside of a zero-tolerance policy is the tendency to abandon your good intentions entirely at the first slip up. I’ve blown it now, so what the hell! The thing is though, that success isn’t linear. Some days you’ll find it easy, some days you’ll find it hard. Of those hard days, some days you’ll win and some days maybe you won’t. They key is to not throw all your success out of the window because of 1 day.

If you’ve got 30 years ahead of you (for example) 1 day is only 0.009% of that – too small to even be bothered about – so think of all the days you’ve done what you set out to do rather than the one day you didn’t.

If your car gets a flat tire you don’t go slash all the others, do you?

On balance – I think for most people with issues around alcohol a time away from it entirely, especially while you do work on whatever the root cause of the issue is, is probably the easiest way forward. It might not be the case forever.

About Anxiety

Anxiety affects everyone in different ways. Whether its general anxiety, phobias, addictions, habits, weight issues or anything else you do it your own way. So, it stands to reason that the solution should be as individual as you are. I use a range of techniques, such as Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy, Life Coaching, EFT, Reiki and many other tools I’ve picked up along the way to work with YOU to find the best fit. We can work online from the comfort of your own home, or you can arrange to come to my private therapy room near Carlisle, Cumbria.

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