Do you feel like you’re stuck in a cycle when it comes to your drinking? Do you find yourself asking why you can’t seem to stay sober past a certain amount of days? Are you beating yourself up for yet again landing back at day one, wondering if it’ll ever stop and why you keep doing this to yourself?
If you nodded your head while reading any of those questions, then it’s time to get mindful about your drinking cycle. It’s important to focus on what you can learn from when you slip up, rather than focus on the fact that you’re not sober yet. Paying attention to what is instead of what isn’t will help you troubleshoot your sobriety.
Having been an online sobriety coach for over two years now (and sober for three and a half), I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about sobriety. Here are the top five I’ve come across, and what the reality is. (I originally posted this on Medium)
1) Everything will be full of sunshine and rainbows after the first few weeks of sobriety.
While the first few weeks of sobriety can be challenging, you’re unfortunately not in the clear once you get through them. It is 100% true that the days, weeks, and months to follow can be more manageable once you make it past the first few weeks (and, let’s face it, they aren’t possible unless you make it past the first few weeks), but that doesn’t mean things are going to be smooth sailing from there on out. It’s that sort of thinking that lands a lot of people in trouble. They build up a type of confidence that makes them cocky — they think they’re invincible and that their drinking problem is a thing of the past. While it’s awesome to be confident with your sobriety, I constantly remind my coaching clients that they need to be comfortable in their sobriety in order for it to really stick.
Want to play a game that helps boost your good intentions and make the right decision, with the added bonus of feeling more comfortable going forward in your life? It’s a little game I like to call “Don’t Screw Over Your Future Self” and it’s pretty easy to play.
Stop yourself whenever you’re making a decision, big or small, right before you’re about to act on your decision.
Ask yourself: “Will my future self regret it if I do this?”
If the answer to the question in step 2 is no, proceed to act on your decision. If the answer is yes, ask yourself: “What else can I do in this situation that my future self won’t regret?”
Once you have a non-regrettable decision to act on (or the least-regrettable decision in those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situations), act on that decision.
That’s how you play! But, let’s dive a little deeper into the the problem this game helps with, how and why it works, and some gameplay guidance.
Don’t screw over your future self; make decisions your future self won’t regret. Ignore the instant payoff a decision will give you and think about how you will feel in the future if you make that decision in the present moment.