2 February 2021 — DrinkCoach
DrinkCoach asked Will, Alcohol Advisor from the West Sussex Wellbeing Team to document his new year’s resolution to cut back on alcohol. Read his series of blogs throughout Dry January
“We go again” the mantra that Liverpool Football Club used which took them (among other things) to their first league win since… a long time. What I am asking though is how do we maintain behaviour once we have established it? Whether that’s winning football matches, practising the piano or in my case reducing my alcohol intake.
You make that initial change and it seems quite easy but then, then you start to feel it: an invisible weight that’s snowballing behind you gathering momentum, picking up speed, looming over you all the time. You can feel it pressing down on your shoulders. The weight of success, expectation, constant vigilance, it becomes exhausting. When will this go from being a challenge to being my everyday behaviour where I’m not constantly thinking about my cravings? What I’m looking for, and am in need of, is resilience.
The first thing I need to be is optimistic. Optimistic about my future and that I will be successful. Visualising myself reaching my goals and what that will mean to me. I have an adaptable and well thought out plan that I can follow to help me with my targets.
I may occasionally fail but this is to be expected, in fact it’s in the plan. I can learn from these failures to enable future me to be more successful. I believe in myself and my ability to succeed. All these factors will help me build resilience. So that in fact this is the second thing, having coping strategies for dealing with tricky situations. I need to rely on them and to believe in their ability to work.
Connecting on a meaningful level with those around me is also really useful and something that I have often easily overlooked. So often during this pandemic I have felt adrift, the ropes mooring me to the shore of my past life have been cut away with each new restriction put in place; with a desperate attempt to keep the metaphor running, I need to cast out new lines now more than ever (or maybe some kind of anchor). If the world has changed I need to change to.
I know that the pressure of not drinking will dissipate over time, and not be so all consuming, as new habits and structures are put in place. From past experience of stopping smoking, I know that these feelings will pass. When I first gave up smoking I felt the need for a cigarette daily, now it probably happens once a year at best; I just need to keep persevering, because the future will not be the same as today.
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