Solving alcohol problem step 2: Difficult moments

Although you would like to, changing your alcohol pattern does not happen automatically. Besides the fact that you are busy distracting yourself from giving in to alcohol, there are numerous external factors that put pressure on you and make it difficult not to reach for the drink or to drink that one extra beer. How do you deal with this? There are situations that make it extra difficult not to change tack and still do something different than you had planned. For example, when you visit the cafĂ© with your colleagues where you normally drink happily. Or your niece’s birthday, which should really be celebrated with a drink or one, or two, or three.

Risk situations

Situations in which you find it extra difficult to reduce or stop drinking alcohol are called risk situations . In risk situations, people are more likely to drink more than they intended. Social pressure or simply a craving for alcohol play a major role in this.

Usefulness of the alcohol diary

Some people are more likely to drink when they feel down. Or when they have something to celebrate. Or when they relax behind the computer playing a game. If you know your own risk situations by keeping track of your feelings while drinking in your alcohol diary, you can respond to this and take the risk situations into account. For example, you can make plans about what to do after you’ve had all your drinks that night.

Dealing with risk situations

It can be extremely difficult when you are confronted with your mates who ask you in surprise why you stopped. One drink can’t hurt, right? That means nothing, then you continue to stop. To brush off these questions, you can just say no, right?
Easier said than done, unfortunately it turns out to be difficult to let such pressure pass you by, especially when you are secretly quite hungry… You can get the feeling that you don’t belong, that you are considered strange or that you are a boring person . to be. Nonsense! Your personality is not dependent on your drink . The chance that you will stick to your plan to drink little or nothing is much smaller if you find yourself in such situations unprepared. So prepare yourself!
Make a list of situations that you find difficult and write down several ideas next to them about how you will handle the situation when it arises. You can seek help from friends or family members. Also tell those around you why you drink less or no more. For example: I think it’s nice that you offer me a drink, but I’ve noticed that I sleep better and feel better when I don’t drink. I would appreciate it if you would stop offering me drinks.
When people try to persuade you to have a drink, stick to your position and keep repeating it. Avoids discussion and diverts the topic to another, more interesting topic.

Resist pull

It is almost inevitable that you will feel like drinking at certain times . Think about it: do you crave a drink or do you want to avoid the consequences of not drinking? There are several ways to deal with this craving.

Waiting for the craving to pass

The cravings won’t last forever so you can wait for the cravings to go away on their own. You can keep in mind that the craving is indeed very annoying, but that it is not unbearable. You can also agree with yourself that you can have a drink if you are still hungry after 30 minutes if you are just cutting back.

To seek distraction

Another strategy to deal with feelings of craving is to seek distraction. This can take the form of physical exertion, taking a shower, walking the dog, cleaning up the house, playing a game, calling someone you know, and the like.

Thoughts about alcohol change

If you have just stopped or started cutting back, you will still think a lot about alcohol . Thoughts like now I deserve a drink, one won’t hurt and I can’t sleep without a drink doesn’t help at all. When you have such thoughts, try to rationalize them by challenging them. Can one really do any harm? What happens if you don’t sleep well one night?


Also visit my Alcohol and Addiction special for more information.

read more

  • Solving alcohol problem: is there even a problem?
  • Solving alcohol problem step 1: Action Plan
  • Solving alcohol problem step 3: Trial and error
  • Alcohol detox and sleep and dreams
  • Alcohol addiction under control with self-help tools
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