Updated: May 29, 2021
I Want to Be Able to Drink = "I Can't" When I ask clients about what they'd like to set up as a "drinking protocol" (meaning what will you drink if you decide to drink?) a common answer is, I want to be able togo wine tasting, be able to drink at happy hour, be able to sip wine with cheese, etc.
The words be able to has an undertone of I can't. When you begin to be more conscious of your drinking thinking you'll start to hear the smallest nuances of your language that ultimately become drinking permission giving thoughts.
When we say we can't, our brains begin to focus on a forbidden fruit. When something is forbidden we suddenly have that forbidden thing in the forefront of your minds. It's seems to be all we can focus on. Hence the incessant drinking thinking. I'm not a big sweets eater (I love starchy salty food) but when I tell myself no sweets all of the sudden the one thing that I rarely give notice to is something that I crave.
This deprivation mindset sets us up for a real mental struggle. We call that cognitive dissonance.
Definition on cognitive dissonance:
Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.
For example, when people smoke (behavior) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition), they are in a state of cognitive dissonance. Or if you want to stop drinking or over drinking because you know of the negative consequences but you continue do drink anyway. This struggle is all too real but we don't have to give in to it.
That is where mind management comes in. As soon as you hear yourself say I want to be able to... stop and pause and think about the subconscious message your sending yourself. We need to stop the deprivation mentality. The more you practice being mindful of your thoughts the more you'll manage your drinking.
Being mindful must become a daily focus. It's just like going to the gym. You must do the workout to gain the muscle tone. You must do the mental workout to gain the mental strength. Think about the first time you did a push up, it was challenging. The more you practiced the easier they became. The same goes for mental exercises. This will become easier, I promise.
You can drink all you want to. You can eat all you want to. You are just deciding not to for the long term benefits of your well being and health.
The holidays are in our midst. What do you have scheduled on your calendar? Parties, shopping, work? Have you scheduled time to work on your mental health? What's stopping you from putting your mental health first? Listen to those thoughts. Are you living in the results that you want in your life or are you struggling to make changes? Don't let this busy time of year wear you down. You'll get the most strength when you practice tools to stop over drinking when life is at its height of busyness. Just like a tree that is succumbed to harsh weather will have stronger roots than a tree with no adversity.
It is the roots which give a tree strength, not its branches - Matshona Dhliwayo
✅ P.S. Need a simple to follow step-by-step process to drink less? Check out my signature programs HERE.