I stopped drinking alcohol 15 months ago.
I didn’t identify as an alcoholic or think I wanted to abstain forever, I just knew I was tired of having competing desires in my head to drink or not to drink. It took up too much mental space and energy.
Practice, a willingness to make mistakes, and curiosity instead of judgment, all helped.
When you stop drinking, it’s a pattern you’re unlearning, so it’ll be uncomfortable at first. But since we created the desire to drink, we can uncreate it.
Today I have no desire for alcohol – none. Even I’m amazed.
I started by allowing my urges to drink to be there without rewarding them. Think Pavlov’s dogs – you stop answering the bell and just allow yourself to salivate.
Allowing urges is one of the best life skills I’ve learned because when you’re willing to trade temporary discomfort for your long-term wellbeing and success, your whole world starts to open up.
I allowed 100 urges; so that’s 100 times I had a desire to drink, and left it unanswered.
It’s important you don’t react or resist the urge; just be present with it and let it be there. Sometimes, I breathed through it; other times, I wrote down what and how I was feeling – I stayed curious and compassionate.