I haven’t stopped drinking; I have become a non-drinker.
Those two things may seem the same, but they are profoundly different.
A drinker tries to stop drinking, whereas a non-drinker just-doesn’t-drink (There’s a clue in the title)
‘Stopping’ is an action and comes out of our ‘doing’ mode.
‘Becoming’ is identity-based and resides in our ‘being’ mode.
Our ‘doing’ mode has a ceiling of achievement because its pool of resources is limited.
Doing relies on willpower and the ability to exert force to bring about our intended objective, which is fine if we do something with a natural end, like cleaning or painting the house, running a marathon or pushing through a night shift.
The problem comes if we are looking at a long-term goal like breaking an unhealthy behaviour pattern or addiction.
At some point, we find ourselves running on empty just as the perfect storm day arrives, and the whole thing implodes itself.
When I was a drinker, my average consumption might have been only six beers per day. However, when I stopped, my thoughts would prompt me to relent almost every three seconds, which is the equivalent of digging into my reserves 16,800 times each and every day to maintain my ‘doing’.
It’s exhaustingly relentless.
‘Being’ mode is a deliciously different story.
I don’t need to try (#doing mode) to be something I am because I already ‘am’ it.
Instead of pushing and forcing my way through, I sit back and recline into who I am. It takes no effort to be me because I am me.
I am a non-drinker.
Previously, I was operating out of two camps:
- I thought of myself as a drinker.
- I was trying not to drink.
My identity as a drinker caused my well-meaning, supportive brain to bombard me with thoughts of drink, which I then had to resist.
I was at war with myself, and my internal software was conflicted.
I have reversed the mechanism.
I made the transition around day 30 when I realized that I didn’t need (or want) to drink alcohol again, and I changed the narrative in my head.
I claimed and put on the mantle of a non-drinker and reinforced it with words and thoughts.
I am a non-drinker.
My internal software was slow to pick up on the upgrade and continued inviting in well-intentioned but now irrelevant prompts to drink. Still, it eventually caught up, and those thoughts, like the last remaining guests at a party, finally went home.
Interestingly, those enduring thoughts didn’t need wrestling or combatting and didn’t diminish my reserves; instead, they just bounced off my new identity like bullets off Superman’s chest.
Underpinning identity is belief.
Belief is a choice.
I leave you with a quote from the 1980s golf comedy film ‘Caddy Shack’ where Chevy Chase at Ty Webb says:
“I’m going to give you a little advice. There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it; Stop thinking, let things happen and be the ball!”