It’s one of those things that people don’t want to talk about. I get it, no one wants to say they messed up. People feel like they are a failure. There are so many negative words and feelings attached to this.
People call these events relapses, slips, going backwards etc. Lots of horrible, negative words that make us feel bad.
Here’s the thing, we are not perfect and life isn’t perfect.
Very few people actually give up something and then never do it again. Even people who are incredible healthy, healthy eaters and fitness lovers etc. eat ice cream from time to time, or have a take away.
Abstinence, for some people is the only way but for most people it won’t be.
When you first stop drinking, or whatever your poison is. Maybe you will have set a goal.
You could be planning to stop for 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, a year or even alcohol free for life. Whatever time frame you have set, there is a chance that you will have a blip.
If you have set yourself a challenge, say 3 months off the booze and you have a drink 6 weeks in you can feel quite disappointed in yourself. Also, maybe the drink didn’t taste very nice, you drank too much and you feel horrible. You might have a hangover or are un-well etc.
Stop right there, don’t dwell in the negative. When this happens I usually hear people giving themselves a hard time, focusing on the bad: why did I do that? I feel terrible, what a waste, now I must start again etc.
It’s in the past you can’t change it, so there is no point giving yourself a hard time. However, what you can do is look at it objectively, when you are ready. Also, if you have done 90 days without alcohol and you only had one night where you drank I personally think that is something to be celebrated. I bet it’s better than what you were doing before?
Look at the bigger picture, turn it around.
Sometimes there isn’t a reason for the blip, it’s as simple as you were there and alcohol/your chosen forbidden fruit was put in front of you and you thought why not? A split-second decision. Or maybe it’s just a habit with those people.
There are so many reasons for having a blip. And each time it can be different. You could be tired, stressed out, rewarding yourself, celebrating, being around certain friends or certain places etc.
There are so many areas of our life, not one of them works all the time, or goes perfectly. Take being a parent, I bet you are not the perfect parent and you have made mistakes? At work things don’t always go well, sometimes things go wrong for many reasons. It’s how we learn when we make mistakes. The point is things go wrong and if we spend our time giving ourselves a hard time every time something went wrong well god our lives would be a nightmare.
So why are you doing it with alcohol?
The other one to watch out for is the in for a penny in for a pound thinking, “I have blown it so I might as well really go for it and enjoy it. “
NO! Stop the “I have had a bite of the cake, so I am going to eat the whole cake.” Believe me I have been there. Quit while you are ahead. Just stop as soon as you can.
If you have just done a period where you haven’t participated in the thing you are stopping. Great, feel good about that. Don’t focus on the moment, the bit where it didn’t go according to plan. Say you did 30 days, awesome, then one blip. Really, are you going to let one blip get you down. 30 days is fab when you are starting to make changes.
Every day is a new day and all that, cheesy I know, but it’s true.
You had a blip, learn from it, move on, stop feeling sorry for yourself and get back on track. If you must, give yourself the day in bed then call an end to it.
Dust yourself down and let it go, you will feel better in a few days.
Stephanie Chivers is a Habit and addiction specialist. Author of There is no Magic Button
If you want to change your relationship with alcohol come and join us in the Women Who Dont Drink closed Facebook group. It’s an amazing, supportive and non-judgemental community helping you to live a happier healthier life.
To find out more about Stephanie check out https://www.ichange21.com/