The psychological struggle

~ There is no denying that alcohol is an addictive substance but I truly believe, for me, and potentially a lot of other people, it is predominately a psychological struggle ~

FACT 1: I drank almost everyday for close to 20 years.

FACT 2: I drank because deep down, no matter how many times I thought to myself “I shouldn’t drink”, or “maybe I drink too much”, I wanted to drink.

I thought it was going to be a horrible struggle for me to give up. On the two successful occasions I can recall previously trying to string together sober time, I would count down the days until in my mind I’d been sober long enough to justify my right to drink. I awarded my attempts at sobriety with alcohol. Hindsight tells me this reward system was never intended to lead to full sobriety. It was like, one week of no drinks well done Brooke! You’ve earnt the right to celebrate with a drink (or six). And surprise, surprise, the drinking cycle began again.

When I decided to give up the drink once and for all – and I’m aware this is a big claim, given so far I’m only six weeks sober – but when I decided to stop drinking for good, I think I was able to do so because I chose to see, not drinking, in a more positive light than drinking. I acknowledged that drinking really wasn’t providing me with anything positive and set about to create a more positive life. Sure, there are plenty of times I’ve thought, I’d love a drink, it’s certainly not all sunshine and roses but I’ve found myself to be strong enough to set those feelings aside and remind myself, I don’t drink.

I’ve been motivating myself by re-embracing early mornings, getting out and being active. Going for long walks along the beach or through the streets and parks, and getting my hands dirty in the garden. I’ve also been reading and listening to sobriety related books, audio-books and podcasts, and writing a lot about my own experiences, mostly just for myself (until now), sharing the occasional bit on Instagram. I’ve found new drinks, tea, not black, caffeinated tea, rather tea of the herbal variety – ‘morning mojo’, ‘ginger kick’ and ‘sweet dreams’ tea have supported me through various stages of my day. All so much more refreshing and life affirming than another drop of alcohol. Not to forget my morning coffee – the caffeinated variety. And when I do feel like a sugary treat to quench a hard earned thirst, I’ve found ginger beer does the trick.

I know it may not be this straightforward for a lot of people. And again, it is only early days for me so I can only speak for my experience right now, but there is definitely hope! The mind can be a powerful weapon against addiction if we can control it well. How we deal with a problem is often a direct result of how we perceive the problem. Most of us have a choice. We can let a problem control us, or we can take the power away from the problem and choose to control it. And I say, no brain, no more alcohol for me!

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