It’s Friday, the beginning of the weekend and the start of (for many) the really difficult and persistent cravings. Monday to Thursday you’re flying high, with work commitments, appointments and a desire to be productive all adding weight to your alcohol-free intentions. And then somewhere, sometime, perhaps on Thursday evening as you slowly acknowledge the fact that the next day marks the start of the weekend, the idea that one or two alcoholic drinks could be a good thing creeps into your conscience.
By Friday morning it’s almost a done deal; the cravings kick in with super strength and the will to remain on an even keel, to be ‘good’, begins to wither away like a wilting bloom.
So, is it possible to maintain the desire to remain alcohol-free, right through the weekend? Yes, it most definitely is, and here are a few pointers for getting you safely to Sunday evening where you will feel very proud of yourself for resisting all temptation;
a) Don’t just THINK positive but VISUALISE positive – imagine yourself spending Friday night enjoying whatever you want to do, only without alcohol poisoning your body and your mind. When we picture ourselves doing something it becomes easier to do it in real life. Map out how you want to spend the entire weekend, and cover the most mundane elements too – observe in your mind this imaginary you going about your weekend MINUS any alcohol, and being content and HAPPY.
b) Plan something to do on Saturday and Sunday mornings that would be seriously impaired if you had a hangover. Ideally, make these activities stuff to do with a friend or family member; that way you’ll have an extra incentive to stay alcohol-free so as not to let that person down by calling it off due to the physical effects of excessive drinking.
c) Accept that life will be different as a non-drinker, but think this through carefully. Apply yourself – what are you scared of? Why would spending time without alcohol be so awful? What’s the worst that can happen? If you think logically you’ll recognise that the bad things happen when we get drunk. Take away the booze and life is calmer, more manageable and easier.
d) You know that you want to quit drinking otherwise you would never have joined Soberistas. But now you are fighting with yourself internally because you desire the very thing (i.e. booze) that you, up until now, so desperately wanted out of your life. These inner tantrums are easy to put an end to – tell yourself ‘Yes, I can have a drink. If I choose to, there’s nobody who can make me not drink alcohol tonight’. Because there IS nobody but YOU who can make that decision – take away the notion of ‘can’t’ and accept that you can CHOOSE to drink if you want. But DO you want everything that is ALWAYS AND INEXTRICABLY linked with drinking? That’s the real question – which brings us onto point e)…
e) Make a list of the reasons why you want to quit drinking. Now add all the reasons why you think you want to drink this weekend. Which list is longer? Which sounds more like the real you? Which list do you think makes the most sense?
f) Finally go back to point a). Picture yourself waking up on Saturday morning after a great night’s sleep, no hangover and with complete freedom to do exactly what you want without the inconvenience and debilitating effects of a hangover. Acknowledge how much more time you will have when half the weekend isn’t spent lying in a darkened room hating yourself. Visualise the money you will save by choosing to stay alcohol-free. Picture yourself happy and well on Sunday night, enjoying all the positive consequences of CHOOSING NOT TO DRINK.
And now remind yourself that you are capable of all of this, and much, much more.