Updated: Jul 30
Struggling with habits like over drinking or over eating, over "anything" can leave us feeling powerless.
We feel out of control. We tell ourselves that we must have something wrong with ourselves. I used to describe it as the beast that needs to be fed. I struggled with conflicting thoughts about myself. I knew I was smart. I have a great life. I'm involved with my community and I'm devoted to my family. I am a damn good wife, mother, daughter, friend, etc. So why was this fault in me about over drinking? I didn't want to resign to the being powerless. I knew that if I put in the time toward researching I'd find an answer.
The good news is that you are not powerless. I have the power over ALL of my thoughts. The practice of learning how to be an observer of my thoughts changed everything. Our thinking creates our feelings, our feelings guide our actions.
THINK, FEEL, ACT
Learning the thoughts and feelings that were creating the undesirable actions started the chain reaction of change. Once I learned what they were, I could un-do the habit of undesirable actions.
We all have a strong power within us. Just look around you and see all that has been created. We didn't just stumble on to the cell phone, or a home, or a car, a light bulb, a computer. All of these ideas came from a powerful thought. Our human brain-the prefrontal cortex- is a power house.
There is decision making process that happens before you pour your first drink. You are probably just unaware of what is being thought about in your mind. You are having thoughts that drive your decisions. Being aware of the thoughts is the first step.
**I don't want to ignore that there are definitely people who are physically addicted to alcohol. If you are, yes you need to see a doctor and seek medical help. I'm speaking to the people that are over drinking habitually, not physically dependent, non-functioning alcoholics.
Our brains create habits to be efficient. Your brain has created the habit of seeking the pleasure of alcohol efficiently because you taught it to do so. You had a thought which created an urge. That thought created an emotion-desire. Your brain is seeking desire and wants it at the least amount of effort possible. And alcohol gives that to you with a large dose of dopamine in your brain.
The good news is since you taught yourself the habit you can untrain the habit. It all begins with your choice of new thoughts.
Yes, there will be some discomfort in not giving into the urge. But, that my friend is you learn how to sit with a negative emotion. The true and full experience of life is to feel ALL emotions. The goal is not to feel good all the time. That is impossible and it's important to know that you can't know what good is without feeling the bad. It is in our nature to want to avoid pain. Once you allow yourself to sit in a negative emotion and learning that you won't die if you do is where all the good comes in. Just like the toddler that throws a tantrum when he/she doesn't get what they want. You're the adult and you know that the toddler won't die if their desires aren't met.
It's like going to the gym and exercising new muscles. Those muscles will be soar, but over time they get strengthened and the soreness goes away. You have to start your training somewhere. You can't expect to be a bodybuilder after one day of training.
Find the awareness of the thoughts surrounding the urges. That is the first step to your fitness surrounding your drinking.
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