What’s The Deal-Breaker in Your Relationship With Alcohol?

Remember that song that went like this – ‘I’m a bitch, I’m a mother, I’m a child, I’m a lover, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed’?

I was reminded of it earlier when I was thinking of all the different roles we play in our lives and how our minds frequently jump about like grasshoppers, lurching from one thought to the next. One minute we can be so fixed on a particular goal – ‘I will definitely stop eating sugary foods, that’s it, I’m on it!’ – and then a couple of hours later we’re standing in Costa faced with a piece of Rocky Road and all those good intentions waft out of the window like a puff of smoke.

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Alcohol is a bitch for exacerbating this mental swapping and changing. Which of our personas is the real one? Is it the sensible one who knows we really do have to get this drinking business under control, or is it the life and soul of the party version who persuades us (usually as the weekend approaches) that one little glass won’t do any harm and that life without booze would be a dreary existence not worth living?

And when we wake up after a heavy night, filled with remorse and bursting with solid intentions of never touching the evil stuff ever again, we cannot conceive of those thoughts and feelings disappearing; it seems impossible that in just a few hours we will be throwing caution to the wind and deciding that perhaps, after all, we don’t have a ‘drink problem’. But for me, once upon a time, and for countless others, this is exactly what happens and it’s why it can take decades to crack an alcohol dependency.

Through all our alternative identities and with the never-ending stream of ideas and desires that float about our minds every day, it’s essential to latch on to one very good reason why you should stop drinking – and one that will survive your fluctuating mind sets as each day passes. That reason needs to be the deal-breaker with regards to your relationship with alcohol. There are many negative consequences of heavy drinking, and if you’ve ever written a list to help motivate you to quit you may have included things like weight loss, clearer skin, less depression and saving money.

But when your mood alters, it’s easy to ignore these positive benefits of an alcohol-free life and choose to listen to the devil on your shoulder. That’s why it’s important to find your deal-breaker; for me, it was that alcohol eventually put me in A&E and I thought I would probably die if I carried on pursuing my wine habit. But there are many, many others – if you’re a parent it may be that you don’t want to let your kids down. If you have fallen into money troubles then it could be that you want to escape a spiral of debt. If you have had a worrying liver function test, it might be that you are terrified of developing cirrhosis.

Whatever that deal-breaker is, it must be able to stand up to the whispering Wine Witch. No matter how tempted you are, or how harmless one small Prosecco might appear at a given moment, that reason must be able to hold its own. It has to silence the internal booze chatter. It needs to be non-negotiable. Seek out that reason, and use it to help you fight the cravings – no matter which role in your life you are playing.

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13 thoughts on “What’s The Deal-Breaker in Your Relationship With Alcohol?

  1. This is such a good post. Through all my struggles with addiction I’ve always responded best to good old reason and logic. Don’t drink or you will ___ fill int he blank – die, hurt your kids, be broke, whatever – wake the f up and stop doing it. As much as addiction can be controlling, we do have control over our bodily functions. Whether we will get up, walk to the fridge, and open that bottle. And while I love the idea of positive reinforcement, lots of people like to reward themselves when they reach a certain goal, I don’t think it’s as effective in this context as negative reinforcement. Like letting fear eat away at you until you stop. Because here the object is not to raise well-rounded happy children, it’s to stop drinking, every day stop. And it’s so hard that we need to use whatever we can.

    • Thanks for this, and for pointing out who the song was by – I thought it was Meredith Brooks and checked on the internet only to find loads of stuff saying it was Morissette! Anyway, thank you for letting me know, and glad you like the article 🙂 Lucy x

  2. wendy chapman says:

    I’m exactly like you. Just last night I said I will just have one Prosecco and I did and then back to the same old same old eventually with the excessive wine. Your post really resonated with me. I will remember to say no to the Whispering Wine Witch (love that!) hopefully more and more until there’s a solid yes to sobriety with HIS help. Believing there is so much for me and realizing that wine is not glamorous but scandalous will give me a whole new beginning, a life of living in peace and freedom, a life not so small…..

  3. So helpful! I have 3 episodes in my memory (there are more but these are the ones that I keep right in the front if my memory) that I think about whenever I get tempted. I have never written about them yet, but they are in my head as my deal breaker(s). Thanks for putting it into words!

  4. Kim says:

    Another excellent post Lucy xxx Bizarre that you are quoting Alanis. Just bought another of her albums yesterday xxx I need to have a deal breaker this time. I don’t want to go back there xxx

    • Hi Kim, thank you. We always focus on the benefits of not drinking but sometimes when you are really craving a drink, I think you do need to keep reminding yourself of that really major thing, whatever it is, that you want to avoid. I had so many days when I felt like I was going mad – I want a drink, but you’ll end up in hospital again, but I want a drink, but you’ll end up in hospital…and on and on. Eventually, because I stuck with not drinking, the wine witch shut up. It does happen, that peaceful state, but it takes a while. Stay strong, you can do this!!! Lucy x

  5. Soberforlife says:

    Thanks so much Lucy. This was a post that really made me wake up and take a long hard look at my situation. Both my parents developed dementia in later life and both were heavy drinkers, so I’m finally prepared to admit that by drinking, I am putting myself at risk of a similar fate.
    Thank you for helping me find a reason to clean up my act! Your blog does an enormous amount of good.

    • Hi Soberforlife, thanks for your comment and I’m so pleased this has helped. I’m sorry that you have been through the terrible experience of having both parents develop dementia but it’s a positive thing if you can draw on that experience and use it to keep yourself healthy and well. Best of luck, and sending strength – Lucy xx

  6. Vida005 says:

    Great post. This struck a chord for me too. Just what I needed to read when i opened my laptop first thing this morning. There couldn’t be more wiser words for me right now.

  7. Gail says:

    I am just about to start my journey…..its a journey that I know I have to take but have put off for years. I can have a drink and be perfectly rational but sometimes it seems to light a touch paper and the slightest little thing turns me into a raging lunatic. My OH has been very patient but now is the time before I do myself some real damage. What I would like to know is how to I ignore “the wine witch” how do I break that habit and view every day that I am AF as a conquest instead of having that disappointed feeling that I get when I know I can’t have a drink ?
    I suffer from depression and have low self esteem and having a drink seems to bring out the more gregarious side of me….a side that I know I have….confident, funny…..but, for the most part, I feel like I can’t be like that without a drink.
    I want mmy OH to be proud of me for doing this but I also want to get rid of the confusion, muzzy head and lethargy and become confident and focussed again.

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