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“I can’t quit drinking, I don’t have the willpower”.

Have you heard someone say this before? Maybe you’ve said it in the past? Maybe it’s still what you believe? I remember saying and believing it for years. The fact of the matter is, quitting drinking is not simply dependent on willpower. If you’ve tried to quit in the past, white knuckling it through (imagine clinging on to a scary rollercoaster, praying for it to be over), then you were never going to see lasting change. I know that’s how my attempts at ‘dry months’ went anyway, and they never lasted past the month (if I’m being honest, they hardly ever made it to a month, let alone past it).

How do we ever expect to quit drinking if all we do is ‘hope’ we don’t drink. When we go on a diet, we don’t just ‘hope’ to eat less. We prepare. We buy healthy food, we plan an exercise regime we remove unhealthy snacks from the house. Why should quitting drinking be any different. We need to formulate a structure around our lives that is going to ensure we succeed.

There are easy practical ways we can start building this structure:

  • Remove all the alcohol from your house. You wouldn’t keep all your chocolates in the kitchen if you were trying to lose weight would you? So why would you keep alcohol there?
  • Replace all the space you’ve made, with alcohol free (AF) drinks. There are two schools of thought around AF drinks. The first is to avoid them as you are replacing one drink with another (and they can be triggering for some people). The second are people who credit them with their success, as they help them get through cravings. I am the latter. They were a fundamental part of my recovery so I advocate for them massively.  
  • Learn about what you’re trying to do. Whether you’re doing KETO, WW or going vegan you read about it right? Reading Quit Lit books can be a real help in the early days as they provide you with additional information that supports your decision. 
  • Download a tracker app. When you go on a diet you track your weight loss on your scales. Downloading a tracker app does just that. You can track how many days you’ve been dry (not that you’re likely to forget in the early days), but it is such a confident boost seeing that number increase day after day.    

So, do you still think you can’t quit drinking becasue you don’t have willpower? Willpower shmillpower. When you’ve got your plan and your structure, willpower plays a very little part.