Complacency is the Enemy of Sobriety | Stop Drinking Solutions

Complacency is a funny thing. In the early days of sobriety you want to feel normal again. You want your life to be like it was when you were drinking, but without all the booze. You want to stop thinking about how badly you want a drink.

Tragically, complacency can be the first step towards relapse. Thinking youre cured of your illness, thinking youve conquered your demons, thinking youre out of the woods. Whatever cliché you want to slap on it, it can be tempting to feel good about what youve accomplished.

Well you should feel good about your accomplishment. If youve been off the sauce since January 1st, then youre only a few days away from 3 weeks! Good for you, pat yourself on the back, kick back and enjoy a nice cold see what I did there? 

I dont normally like to talk like alcohol is an actual demon thats taken liquid form to drag you from the glory of the garden of Eden, but in some cases the shoe really fits. AA calls alcohol cunning and they arent wrong. Well, its really your brain thats cunning, but well get to that.

Around this time you might be reconsidering if you really need to quit. Youre just a few days away from being dry for 21 days, 3 weeks, 3/4 of a month! Thats pretty good. If you were a REAL alcoholic youd be a shivering lump of skin on the bathroom floor, right?

Like Ive said before, Im no expert. Im just someone whos been there before and I have to say NO. If youre anything like me, and if youve read this far I think you might be, the idea that you arent an alcoholic is just denial.

If you didnt have a problem, would you really be willing to jump ship on your commitment to make your life better? If you REALLY didnt have a problem would your brain be thinking up ways where youd be able to drink again? If you REALLY TRULY didnt have a problem, would your upcoming holiday/gathering/get-together be ruined if you didnt have anything to drink? Me thinks not!

So dont get too smug there Mister or Misses 3 weeks! Be aware you are at war, even when youre not fighting a battle. That sounds like something some long dead person would have said right? Ok, heres an actual quote from Sun Tzu that fits somewhat:

If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.

To break it down from my perspective: You know your enemy, and right now thats alcohol. If you really want to survive 100 battles, you must know yourself as well. You must know that your dumb ass if going to try and trick yourself in to thinking you can have 1.

Now you dont need to read the Art Of War, youre welcome!

Structure and Purpose aka What Dawson’s Creek taught me about Staying Sober | Stop Drinking Solutions

I was watching Dawson’s Creek on Netflix (guilty obsession* at the moment) and came across a bit of recovery wisdom from the character Andie McPhee. For those unfamiliar with the show, Andie is the perky blonde over-achiever whose role in the show is to create situations for After School Special type moments. The goodie two-shoes who is always letting her good intentions get her in to awful positions, while the principle cast canoodles through melodrama and slings a vocabulary far beyond the reach of most REAL over-achievers.

At some point in the show she has a mental breakdown and spends the summer in a mental hospital and comes back to endless drama. Most of this is side-plot, but something jumped out at me while Andie was explaining to her brother Jack about her obsession with her role as assistant director of her schools play.

Andie: I had this, uh, this mantra in the hospital. You wanna hear it?
Jack: Yeah.
Andie: Structure and purpose. I mean, I know it was just a stupid little school play, but thats what it was to me: structure and purpose. I think when you have something like that in your life, you know, to hold on to, thats not another person, but its more like a part of yourself, like a goal or a dream, the whole world falls apart around you, youll be okay.

So I wouldnt exactly take this as a cure-all for your mental problems, but consider how adding some structure and purpose to your life can help you steer clear of alcohol.

When you have no purpose, then theres no reason to get your life on track. We all have purpose, but a lot of us have lost sight of it and drink to fill in the void.

Structure can be a bit harder to nail down, but having some type of routine in your life is rarely a bad thing. Some people drink to escape the same-old same-old, so its easy to equate structure with monotony. Thats why the purpose is such an important part of that mantra.

Youd be surprised how helpful waking up in the morning, and really having a reason to wake up can help getting over alcohol.

*Not to be confused with a guilty pleasure. I don’t really take any pleasure in Dawson’s Creek but, like a car crash I cant look away.

The last time Canada won a gold in hockey at the Olympics | Stop Drinking Solutions

(note: this was originally written just as Canada had won the 2014 Olympic Gold Medal in Men’s Ice Hockey)

The last time Canada won a gold in hockey at the Olympics, I drove in to town to celebrate with a friend. It was a Sunday night and I had a job interview in the morning. I didnt mean to get drunk, but I did.

I got really drunk. Both me and my friend who invited me out were asked to leave the establishment at different times. I honestly dont know how I got some intoxicated. I knew it was a bad idea, but I did it anyway.

The bouncers kicked me out, and wouldnt let me back in to find my coat. Thankfully there was another friend who was willing to grab my coat and give me a ride to my friends house to crash. I had brought a change of clothes and went to my job interview the next morning. Needless to say, I didnt get that job.

I didnt wake up early to watch hockey this year. I dont particularly care for hockey, especially since that night. Im glad that we won, ice hockey is Canadas national pastime and I wouldnt want to take that away from anyone.

What I would like to see is more focus on the celebration of sport and athletics, and less on the obsession that if youre not playing, its your national duty to get drunk.

Killing Yourself to Live | Stop Drinking Solutions

Drinking out of social obligation

Sometimes it seems like there is more to lose than gain when you want to quit drinking. Its true that there is a lot of social obligation surrounding alcohol. A few things Ive read and heard:

What about New Years, Birthdays, Vacations?
What about this upcoming work convention?
What about my friends? WHO WILL THEY DRINK WITH?

Continue reading “Killing Yourself to Live | Stop Drinking Solutions”

The Art of Distraction | Stop Drinking Solutions

Its Friday night and this is around the time you’d be two beers in to a six pack right? I usually leave work at 4:30 pm and the patios (in the summer) are usually getting towards being full by that time. Its not unusual in our culture to begin imbibing in the early afternoon when the weather and circumstance allow.

So you get off work a bit early and your normal stop at a patio or liquor store becomes a direct route home. You see its before 5pm and you wonder what youll do with your time. Youre still going out with your friends, but the party doesnt really start till around ten.

You dont feel like sitting around with your buds pre-drinking and watching sports before grabbing a cab. Youre just going to say hi to the birthday girl, have a soda, some tapas and a slice of pizza on your way home at midnight. So now you have at least 4 hours to kill.

So you flip on Star Trek the Next Generation and do the same thing you might normally do when you were predrinking: veg out in front of the TV.

Theres a problem though. Youve got a craving. The action triggers something in you and you want a beer. You resist, remembering your recovery so far, thinking about everything youd have to lose. The memories of your bottom, the reason you quit become very clear and the craving passes.

You grab a pen and a piece of paper and you write an expletive word in the middle of the page. Surrounding the word you dash enough exclamation points to get over your silent frustration. Your attention diverts back to Capt. Jean Luc Picard and his crew.

A commercial break snaps you from the fantasy world, and back in to the cold reality of capitalism. The television tells you that this program is brought to you by a popular brand of beer. The lifestyle they are selling is appealing to you, and again your body gently aches for a cold sip of that popular drink.

Your hand finds the pen and more scribbles meet the page. Picard is back, debating Data in the prime directive or perhaps hes back on his familys ancestral vineyard in France. The space captain tastes the fruits of his family and you sit in a lonely room with your science fiction program and still 3 hours to kill.

Again you find the pen and you begin to take out your frustrations in sketches. First they are crude and chaotic, evolving like single celled organisms into more complex shapes and patterns. Faces are drawn and scribbled over in an ever changing smudge of pen marks that resembles a plate of spaghetti.

You find some more paper and your artistic odyssey continues. Your shapes turn to letter, and the letters come together to form words. Your elegance in penmanship is both remarkable and absurd, youve no clue why you are making these markings.

You look to the clock and you’ve lost an hour, and gained a tableful of unmitigated artistic expression. You save one of the drawings, and put the rest in the recycling bin. You fold the remaining sheet once, then again, and in an ink of contrasting colour you inscribe:

Happy Birthday Old Friend

(and you head to the party a little bit earlier than you normally do, and its cool and you have more time to actually talk to people before it gets super loud, and the pizza on the way home was definitely worth waiting for)

Welcome to Stop Drinking Solutions

While I don’t believe alcohol addiction can truly be “solved” or “cured” here at Stop Drinking Solutions we believe there is a path forward. If you desire a life without alcohol we think we can help!

It’s not easy to quit drinking, but the benefits are there!

Benefits can include:

  • Saving money
  • Repaired relationships
  • Improved physical health
  • Improved emotional/mental health
  • Weightloss
  • Better focus and concentration
  • A new outlook on life

Everyone is different, but we truly believe that curbing or eliminating alcohol from your life can be extremely helpful for all people. Even if you don’t feel you have a problem with alcohol, you’ve read this far and you’re clearly very interested in how quitting alcohol can improve your life!

There are many resources to help you end the cycle of addiction, or simply to drink less in your day to day life. Read more about them on StopDrinking.Solutions

Don’t spend another minute wondering if you are strong enough to be able to quit drinking! You are, and you can do it with the right tools! Conquer your addiction and get your life back on track!