|Posted on 29 January, 2017 at 7:25|
When giving up or even cutting down on alcohol I believe it's very important to have things to replace the habits....most people I've talked to over the years say things like 'I don't know what else to do if I can't drink' or 'What do you do with your time'. Completely valid questions and if you spend a lot of time drinking as I did, then you'll have a huge gap to fill fairly often.
Having a 2 year old now takes up a lot of time but I was sober 6 years before he came along. So what did I do to replace it? Lots of things...studying, reading, working, playing guitar, training martial arts, working out, catching up with people for coffee or dinner, meditating, watching my favourite tv shows, sleeping and spending as much time with sober people as possible which thankfully included my wife. In the first months after I really had to find a way to not be around it and that had to include letting go of friends and acquiantances. It often is a natural step.
Some say that replacing these habits is still not addressing the core issue, and they are right. But if you are going to replace activities and essentially 'replace the addiction' then if it's at least productive rather than self destructive then how could that be a bad thing!? Especially when you are in the begining stages where you are completely raw. You can look at the nature of things after you get through the embryonic stages of one of the biggest life changers you may have made.
So how do you go if you are still active in the music scene such as myself and my wife are and were while maintaining your sobriety? Drive to the gig, hang for a little bit, play your set, hang for a bit and then go. Staying around booze for 8 hours and people drinking and having fun was kryptonite for me. Not anymore but certainly early on. You don't have to justify your reasons to leave to anyone. You have to value the journey and your decision first and foremost (that is the topic of my next blog).
What did this look like when I first gave up? Constant nightmares about people holding me down and pouring alcohol down my throat. Therapy to try and work through some of the reasons why I engaged in the kind of self destruction that I did. Having to let acquaintances and friends go. Despising alcohol and judging those who engaged in it. Shutting myself off from the world while I adjusted to this change (I'm aware I did what I don't recommend, haha). It was tough and yet once I was through that initial period I came out the otherside a totally different person with incredible awareness and insight and a sense of balance I had never had before.
So that's it for today. I know it was a short one but sometimes that is the way it comes out. Much love to those reading and I'm always happy to answer questions or chat about it.
Christian L Doherty