Human beings are comfortable with automatic responses. Over the years that it takes to develop as a person, and for many years after, we learn to do things automatically. They then become locked into our behavior, and we start to react to those automatic responses before we have even given it a moment’s thought. Even if the behavior is excessive, or damaging to one’s health, or even illegal, we start to justify it in our own minds rather than consider the alternative of change.
- If we think that putting ourselves into a situation is going to unduly test our resolve, or introduce a temptation that is going to be difficult to resist, then the best solution if possible is to avoid the scenario completely.
- If only in the short term after deciding to be alcohol-free.
- If we think that we will be “sucked” into the drinking culture again, and until we feel strong enough to say “no thanks” to the alcohol, then don’t put ourselves in the risk category. This doesn’t mean living a hermit life or cutting off from friends and family, but the first few days & months are going to be the most testing, so give yourself the best chance of making it to the next week alcohol-free.
- If you used to go into certain shops to buy alcohol, then refrain from those and try others for a few weeks. Disturbing the pattern, or scrambling the programmed behavior, will make you more self-aware, and able to just “buy the newspaper”, not “a bottle”.
- If going to the bar was an accepted work event, then make some excuses for the first few times. You may be persuaded to drink alcohol, especially if other people are unaware of your commitment to being alcohol-free. It may be easier to say “yes”, rather than explain why you are in a pub and not drinking.