You are so right. Telling yourself, "If I don't drink I can do x" is a great strategy. Simple but very effective. I also like how you added we miss out on so much when we are drinking. Not only with rewards, but also in day to day living. Drinking can really sap our energy, mood and motivation.
In my opinion, goals are much better than rules. When I decided to stop drinking my goal was to get to the next day. It seemed to take forever but the days became weeks. Eventually, I set a goal of 90 days. I stuck to that goal but I think what got me through that time wasn’t the long-term goal but the “rewards” I allowed myself.
I had to find something to get me through the day. Rather than telling myself I couldn’t drink, I would say, “if I don’t drink, I can do X.” I made it a priority to do all those things I couldn’t do when I made the decision to spend my nights drinking. I quickly found out I had missed out on so many things. I hope everyone finds their way on this journey we are on.
Thanks so much for all the great information Ashley and your support! I guess I have been doing some of this anyway in an informal way such as exercise, bubble baths etc. But I would like to be more intentional. I will give this some good thought and get back to you.
Yes, rewards as a planned occurance but perhaps unplanned too. When we drink alcohol, dopamine and other feel good neurotransmitters are impacted and this is why we feel good when we drink alcohol. Our brain learns quickly that there is a relationship there and associates alcohol as a kind of reward. There are many things we can do to impact our feel good neurotransitters - exercise, hugging a loved one, rewards, setting and reaching goals, etc. all can impact these neurotransmitters which in turn impacts our mood. When we quit alcohol we miss out on our regular dopamine fix so it's important to look for other ways to feel good. Rewards teach our brain that staying away from alcohol is a positive it also keeps us more committed to our goal. It takes time to set up a new pattern but our brains can be changed. It takes thoughful planning, hard work and practice. Rewards is an important addition to any quit plan.
It is important to note that although alcohol makes us feel good temporarily in the long run it worsens our mood. You likely have felt a bit depressed after a night of drinking and this is thanks to alcohol being a depressant as well.
Rewards don't have to cost money. Anything that you feel would work for you would be great. If you decide to come up with a reward schedule please share it with us if you feel comfortable. I would love to hear what you have planned.
Thanks for sharing your journey Nodrama. It really is helpful to hear about how others are doing. Also, thanks for sharing the positives that you have found along the way.
I spent Canada Day, last night at friends' place. Everyone else was drinking except me; but again I noticed that no one else had more than three drinks. Interesting! Some had only one and were not driven to have more. Best of all, I enjoyed myself alcohol free and it really wasn't difficult at all. Never considered it. I brought lots of drink choices of my own and just said that I was the DD (which was true) versus publicly announcing it. This morning I woke up feeling optimistic and proud!
Glad that you are back on the site! Thanks for the support!
I do! I think it's great to be able to tell that hateful AV to shut up and get out of my head. In fact I've said it outloud several times. Telling myself it's a bad idea...I am not buying any booze...I am not that person anymore. It seems to be working. You have started your own 100 day challenge! That's great! I'm not familiar with the blogs you mentioned but, am going to check them out.
I agree that I was tired of thinking about drinking....and that meant posting and having it in my face all the time. So, I kind of took a break from this site. I found it easier to deal with the AV when I just told it to shut up and moved on not taking the time to post or read. I'm giving posting and reading another try because I believe I can become stronger in my resolve and hope I can help others.
I will tell you that once you find other things that you love to do in your spare time, drinking will take the farthest back seat. I believe that when we give ourselves time to rebuild our brain paths we are better, stronger and more equipped to go about the business of living. I love not having to worry about what I said or did the night before. The best is not feeling so bad---really sick and hurt--with a hangover. They became like 2 day ordeals for me. And what 's interesting is that when drinking 2 glasses of wine, I feel sluggish and tired, crabby and fat/bloated the next day. It's just not worth it, really. Being healthy feels good and clean. Congratulations, Julie! You are really doing great!! :-)
I am on day 18 alcohol free and I am setting a goal for 100 days alcohol free which will take me to September 20th. It seems all the books and blogs I have been reading have said that 90 days is an important milestone. I have been connecting with different blogs "Mrs. D. Is doing Without", "Tired of Thinking About Drinking" etc and I am finding them very motivating and helpful with questions I have. I have signed up for 100 day challenge to be alcohol free and am on a waiting list.
I do know that the addictive voice tells us that things are better with wine but my true self knows that is not true. Things are better without alcohol and I do not want to give that up. Keep reminding that chatter in my head that I am gaining my self respect, energy and enthusiasm for life- not losing anything!
Anyone else have experience with the positives of quitting?