What triggers a habit change??

Why now?

Ive thought about quitting drinking for a while, or at least getting control of it.

But why now?

What was it that made it happen so radically and so certainly? Was it really Harrison? And what was it about him being born that made me want to make a change?

What about other people? In order for other people to change do they need to have a child in order to want to change? Be it any habit, is it the child that makes us want to change.?

Ive been thinking about this for a while, because I’ve been thinking about how I can help other people, and advise other people in my book (when I write it at the end of the year). And obviously not every single person is going to be imminently due the birth of their first son when they come to want to change. So what is it? How can that dramatic shift just happen.

I was a hardened drinker. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I didn’t know any better.

I’ve actually been called a functioning alcoholic in the past, if there is such a thing.

I probably was at times.

I have toyed with the idea of quitting drinking in the past, and I can recall a number of failed attempts dating back 15 years. So I’ve had this ‘problem’ all my life. Some people can drink one or two glasses of wine and call it a night. I’ve never had that level of self control with alcohol. Once I start, I’m there till dry or asleep. . . It’s like starting the engine on a car and not being able to turn it off till it’s out of fuel or crashed.

But I drank my last drop of alcohol on NYE 2017 at about 2359 and 59 seconds. And have not looked back since.

Why!?

Cos if I figure out the why. The true why. Then the fundamentals of the change can be applied to other areas of my life, and also to help others win their personal battles.

Why did this attempt to quit work (or is working up to now) but others failed?

I think a few reasons.

This time I’m COMMITTED to change. I WANT to change. I’m held ACCOUNTABLE for the change. I link more PAIN to not changing, and more PLEASURE to changing.

I think for any change to happen, a person has to want it, be ready for it and  be committed to the change. It’s a decision. Just DECIDE to change. In the past my failed attempts were because I never fully committed to it. I was always like ‘I’ll see how it goes’ or ‘maybe I’ll cut down’ .. about as convincing as a damp squib!

In order to commit though, I had to reassess my associations with pain and pleasure.. I had got to a point that alcohol was causing me too much pain in my life. It was damaging my relationships, my health, my career, my mind. This was always the case I guess, but in the past I linked more pain to QUITTING, than to NOT quitting. I thought if I quit I would alienate myself, I would be boring, I would miss out on things and I would lose friends.

I also linked short term pleasure with alcohol. The images of losing inhibitions, ‘having a laugh’ , being confident etc

Since the birth of Harrison, I’ve linked things up differently. I value my mind, body and relationships more now. And so I link massive pain to ruining all of them. The image of my son growing up in tears asking me why I’ve ruined everything through drinking. Is a self fabrication fictional, but realistic image, I use to push myself away from alcohol.

Ive also re associated massive pleasure with going a year alcohol free. I think of the levels of health I will achieve, the improvements in my relationships. The significance and pride I will feel at the end of it and prospect of being able to help other people ultimately pulls me towards my goal.

And then there’s the accountability. I’ve burnt the bridges. I’ve told everyone and anyone I know. I’ve signed up for a fantastic charity, the make a wish foundation (sponsor link at bottom of page if anyone feeling the urge 😉 and I can’t let them kids down. My pride and whole character is on the line. There is no going back.

So the pillars of change are there. But it all starts with the desire. I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t want to. No one can tell anybody else to do something and expect them to do it. The person has to want to do it. Have a burning desire to change, to end the bad habits and create new more empowering ones.

I’d be flogging a dead horse if I tried to insist that everyone does the same. Not everyone wants it. But all I will say is that if you do really want the change, then understanding and reframing your associations with pain and pleasure will definitely help.

Also just making a DECISION.  And getting some accountability will definitely start you off!

If you want to take the island, you must burn the boats!

 

Onwards and Upwards! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “What triggers a habit change??

  1. In this post, you wrote: “I’ve thought about quitting drinking for a while, or at least getting control of it.”

    Then this: “I’ve never had that level of self control with alcohol. Once I start, I’m there till dry or asleep. . . It’s like starting the engine on a car and not being able to turn it off till it’s out of fuel or crashed.”

    My friend, self-control doesn’t grow on trees. How are you going to learn control when you don’t have that switch anymore? You probably lost it the first time you got bombed and thought, “YES!”

    Once you’re a pickle, you don’t get to go back to being a cucumber. I’ve never seen it done successfully. Not once. Ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your outlook bgddyjim… interesting perspective. I think this pickle has always had the strength of mind to go back to cucumber mode, just not the burning desire to.

      I think my point about self control is more, ‘once I start, I don’t stop’, so the game is not to start.

      The year is done my freind, it’s in the bag cos I’ve decided so. Whether you have seen it done before or not, this pickle/cucumber is doing it.

      Who know’s maybe I’ll collapse into my old self on Jan 1st 2019. Though I’ve got a feeling I may be a whole new salad item by then …. 🙂

      Like

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