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You Don't Need to Wait for a "Rock Bottom" to Quit Drinking

There does not need to be a label associated to the reason you decide to quit drinking. In fact, I think labels are quite damaging, in the sense that if you don't fit into a certain "category" you may not believe you have enough reason to give up drinking. The thing about "rock bottom"is that it always has a trap door. Provided you aren't in jail or dead, things can always get worse. That may sound extreme, but talk to any number of problem drinkers and they will most likely agree.

Another concept that has crossed my mind, is that we consider "rock bottom" to be job loss, relationship/marriage failure, DUI or other extreme scenarios. Another way to view a rock bottom, is the process in which you decide not to give up drinking because nothing "extreme" has occured and over time it affects the overall well being of your life. Your relationship is affected, your general mental health declines because you are in a constant state of shame/blame and anxiety. Or perhaps those hangovers last a little longer than they used to and you are missing out on moments with your kids because you'd rather lay down for an extra couple of hours. Instead of story time with your kids, you are fixated on that glass of wine and you skip reading that story or blow through it as fast as you can, and you may not notice it, but your kids sure do. The thing is, we think kids don't notice or that we are hiding our habits from them, when we really aren't. I do not have children but I was a child of a mother with Alcohol Use Disorder and believe me, I noticed. When I was young I wasn't angry, I lacked understanding, but overall it just made my heart feel incredibly sad.

In general, I think the idea that you need to hit a "rock bottom" before you change is an outdated concept. I also think if you even consider the fact that there could be a rock bottom in your future, maybe you should re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol. Instead of shaming yourself, just get curious about the idea of potentially giving up alcohol or challenging yourself to 30 days alcohol free to see how you feel. I'm not saying quit, I'm not saying do anything extreme, I am just saying that maybe educating yourself around what alcohol actually is would be beneficial. Books and communities like "This Naked Mind" by Annie Grace are incredibly supportive, compassion based and eye opening.

The fact that people think you need to be an "alcoholic" to give up alcohol is another incredibly damaging concept. Problem drinking is a progressive concept, it gets worse, it doesn't get better. Prolonged use over time can put anyone at risk of addiction and to think you are an exception because no one in your family struggles or "it couldn't happen to me" is a very dangerous mindset. Rock bottom doesn't have to be an overnight extreme scenario, rock bottom can be a long dragged out concept where alcohol literally robs you of living your authentic and best life. Alcohol numbs our receptors, which means it numbs the bad AND the good, you may drink to numb the bad, but you are numbing the joy right alongside it. And the loved ones in your life are collateral damage throughout the struggle. Be open minded to education surrounding alcohol. Do not create hard lines and instead be curious about the concept of change. Instead of focusing on what you are "giving up," focus on what there is to gain instead. Which, by the way, giving up sleepless nights and the shame/blame and anxiety cycle is something I have NEVER missed! I have never woken up and thought "dang I should have drank last night!" Throw out the idea of rock bottom and instead visualize how your life might improve if you were to quit drinking or reduce your alcohol consumption.

From someone who hit more than one rock bottom, I urge you not to wait. I can genuinely say I have never felt more grounded, fulfilled or happier and I have never questioned the decision.

There are beliefs you may hold about the benefits of alcohol and I would urge you to explore them deeply. Whether that is with yourself, a friend, a coach, or an amazing community member online, open up the discussion and feel the weight of judgment and uncertainty lift from your shoulders.


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