For many people, the decision to change their drinking habits is not clear-cut. The pros and cons of your drinking might seem quite evenly balanced; occasionally the negative consequences might increase, you have a binge and do something embarrassing perhaps; but then at other times those costs can seem more tolerable, more manageable.
When you’re feeling concerned about your alcohol consumption, this back and forth swing of apathy and motivation can go on for years. The truth is, most people find alcohol to be a pleasure, they enjoy the effects, the relaxation of emotional pain, the reduction of anxiety, the dissolving of barriers with those around us, the warm glow of not caring about the pressing issues in our lives. We tend to view many choices about our lives in this way – a simple weighing up of the pros and cons.
When we drink, we just don’t care any more, and that is such a delightful state of being, it seems worth the high price of admission. Most of the time. Until you’re woken by indigestion and anxiety again, until you wake feeling retched again, full of guilt, shame and regret. Many people are aware that their drinking is a problem, but not enough of a problem to do something about it. The idea that we can just force ourselves to change our behaviour, commonly referred to as ‘willpower’ is just not supported by reality – willpower comes and goes unpredictably.
Eventually though, the scales tip slowly but surely towards a point of action. By reading this, does it suggest your motivation is tipping towards making a commitment?