MP900433130-300x225We all know that alcoholism is a complex, multi-faceted problem. While much of it is biological, a lot more of it is behavioral. That means we have to learn how to stop abusing alcohol. While products like MODER8® help to address the physical issues, only YOU can change your behavior.
One of the first things you have to do is determine what the usual triggers are that set you off chasing an escape and determine the healthy, non-alcohol way to deal with them. Members of many 12-step programs, including AA, recite the Serenity Prayer at every meeting. It goes something like this: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” You know the things that used to set you off into a binge – your stepson, your ex-husband, the incompetent cashier at your neighborhood grocery store….whatever. But you should have a plan for how you are going to deal with these things now, before they arise again. Here’s a hint, usually it involves changing how YOU react – not changing someone or something else.
I. IDENTIFY YOUR BUTTON OR “TRIGGER” – determine the things that usually send you to the bottle. Start a log and begin noticing the things that initiate that “gosh, I’ve got to have a drink” feeling.
II. DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO CHANGE IT. Sometimes this can be the most difficult step…figuring out whether or not you have any control over the issue. There may be a situation that we are allowing to continue because we don’t want to stir up conflict, so we continue to drown our feelings and emotions instead of taking action. Or on the other side of the coin, there may be a situation because of legal or health reasons that we truly cannot change, in which case we have to ACCEPT the fact that we cannot change it, and determine how we can change the way we react to the issue.
III. PLAN (AHEAD OF TIME) FOR HOW YOU WILL DEAL WITH THE TRIGGER . If you’re used to drinking a glass (or more) of wine while you are cooking, switch to another type of non-alcoholic beverage that is equally tasty or refreshing. If your children make you nuts because they are fighting all the time, find a good parenting book and use the tools that they recommend for dealing with sibling rivalry. But whatever you do, do not drink to deal with the issue. This is not a part of “drinking in moderation” – this is full blown alcoholism and its best. If you are really thinking about having a drink, think through the drink and remember what the result will be if you chose to drink instead of dealing with these issues head on.
IV. Try using this worksheet for identifying your triggers and plans for how to deal with them ahead of time.