I have the wonderful opportunity to meet a lot of different people, either face-to-face or through email. Many of those people utter the infamous words, “I just want to quit drinking.” But what is it that they REALLY want?
I believe that what they really want is to be healthy and happy. They want fewer problems in their life. They want less drama in their life. They want to have more disposable money available to them. They also don’t want hangovers. They don’t want any of the problems, remorse or embarrassment that comes with excessive drinking. But the truth is that many of these people really don’t want to stop drinking, what they want are the results of being a non-drinker.
People want the results, not the behavior. People don’t say, “I want to watch what I eat and limit my food intake.” They say, “I want to be thinner,” but they don’t want to diet or watch what they eat. Another example, people don’t say “I want to spend dedicated amounts of time lifting heavy things and running endlessly on a treadmill.” They say, “I want a ripped, toned body,” but they don’t want to strain themselves by doing physically and time demanding exercises. People want the results, not the behavior.
This isn’t a criticism of all humanity. This is natural. I want things (results) either without doing any work or by putting in the least amount of effort. That’s thinking in terms of efficiency. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, “I want this project to be really difficult, stressful, time consuming and physically demanding. Plus I don’t really care if I get any tangible results.” People want results and they want those results while putting in the least amount of effort.
Living as a non-drinker doesn’t automatically make you healthier, wealthier, wiser, happier or have fewer problems. But living as a non-drinker puts you in a better position to create opportunities and to make those things happen within your life. Many people want the results of living sober and they want those results the day after they quit drinking. That’s why I wrote the book: Okay, I quit. Now what? It’s a pretty logical and reasonable question. “Alright, I quit drinking. Now what the fuck do I do? (With my time, my money, my mind, my body, my life.)” Followed by a few more questions: “How come I’m not happier? How come (blank) doesn’t love or respect me now? How come I’m not richer? (Whatever.)
There are reasons why so many people have relapses. Without a plan of what you want and don’t want out of living sober, you have no tangible reasons to stay sober. Things start going well and the individual feels confident that they can have a couple of drinks. But for those of us that have no “OFF BUTTON,” this is virtually impossible. Having your own personalized plan, goals, an action list for achieving those goals and having an understanding of your own motives will help you evolve into a genuine non-drinker. Before you know it, living that way becomes a way of life and you ebb away from always thinking about sobriety. This is why so many of my blog articles and podcasts aren’t solely focused on sobriety. Once you stop drinking, that part of the re-invention process is done. What you do with the rest of your life becomes your new focus.
Maybe instead of saying, “I just want to quit drinking,” you will rearrange the words and state it a different way. “I want to live a healthier and happier life. I don’t want to feel like shit all the time. I want to feel good about myself and my behaviors. I want to take better care of myself and my family. The way I’m going to accomplish this is first I’m going to stop drinking, then I’m going to change some of my other behaviors and actions. I’m going to go straight home from work every day. I’m going to go to the gym 3 days a week. I’m going to start a sobriety savings account and make a deposit every week. I’m going to eat better and make grocery lists and follow it when I go grocery shopping on Thursdays. This will help me spend my money more wisely and keep me out of the liquor and beer section.” You’re stating your result, but your stating WHY you want the result and how you’re going to get it.
Take control of your statements and put some commitments into your statements and develop structure into your own life. The nice thing about having power and being in control is that YOU decide how much structure YOU want. Some people perform better under highly structured plans. Others like only a bit of structure. Without some structure (combined with self-discipline to stick to your structure), none of those dreams and plans will ever come to fruition. And even with the best plans and structure, the outcomes you desire may not come to fruition. You might lose only 12 pounds instead of the 20 you were hoping for. Or you might lose 25 pounds and still hate your job (or something else). At least you have put forth effort towards your own betterment. You will have proven to yourself that you can take control of your life, and that’s something you can be proud of.
I hope that I get you to think a bit here. When you state what you want such as, “I want to lose weight, I want more money, I want to quit drinking,” ask yourself WHY. Why do you want this? What do you think will be the rewards of this outcome? When you know what the rewards are, this will help galvanize your motivation to take the necessary actions to achieve the things you want.
Remember that when you say “I want…” you will have to follow that up with tangible actions to get closer to accomplishing and achieving the “I want…” This isn’t just a reminder to you, it’s a reminder to me as well. I can dream all day long, but I won’t accomplish jack shit until I actually do some work that moves me closer to my dreams and wants.
If you hear yourself saying, “I just want to quit drinking,” think about what you really want. Stopping destructive and excessive drinking is a great start. But to get the results of sobriety you have to not drink and then start living as a non-drinker. You’ll have to pursue goals, attempt challenges, risk failures. All of the things you’d probably be doing as a drunk, only now you’ll be facing these things with graphic sober reality. You may not be able to control the outcomes, but you will have taken control of the direction, and that’s something you can be proud of.
These are my own opinions and observations. Think for yourself and come to your own conclusions. If you enjoy this stuff or get something out of it please tell your friends about my blog, podcasts and website. It’s LivingSoberSucks.com. You can find my books in paperback, eBook or if you prefer, you can get my Audiobooks. And please, check out my latest book: Living Broke Sucks. I think you’ll find it interesting, entertaining and valuable. My books and audiobooks are available through Amazon, Apple, all sorts of places. I put my blog, podcasts and website out for people to access FREE of charge. If you like what I do and what I write about, you can show your support by making a donation to my site, it’s done securely through PayPal: http://www.livingsobersucks.com/donate_to_this_site I post a truthful report on my website of how much is donated and what all this costs me. Thank you for spending some of your very valuable time with me. Mark Tuschel.