Being grateful can really help when we’re trying to manage our drinking. It can be very easy to get totally negative about trying to reduce our drinking.
“Everybody else can drink normally, why can’t I?
“Why do my friends make it so difficult to not to drink?”
“I have no social life, now that I’m not drinking”
“Why am I finding it so difficult to control my drinking”?
So how to stop getting into the cycle of negativity? Here’s a few tips.
Being grateful that you’re trying to reduce your drinking
I know this sounds crazy, after all in our alcohol obsessed society, this is pretty challenging. But if you’re trying to reduce your drinking, you actually have more awareness of alcohol harm than most Irish people. You’re ahead of the crowd. The majority of Irish people who drink, are harming themselves according to the Health Research Board.
So be grateful, that you have more awareness of the harm that alcohol does than many Irish people.
Many people have commentated on the Irish habit of saying thanks when we get off the bus. I always feel more positive when I say thanks to the bus driver with all the other passengers as I get off. Showing appreciation to the bus driver makes me value the fact that the bus got me to my destination. I enjoy this lovely nice Irish habit and it makes me feel happy. So saying thanks and appreciating what you have can make you feel happier.
Focus on what we have
The writer David Steindl-Rast argues in daily life, gratefulness makes us happy. Susan Jeffers states if we focus on what we have, we feel better. If we focus on what we lack our life feels lacking. So if we focus on drinking less as a negative we’re more likely to feel bad. If we concentrate on the fact that we’re great for trying to drink less, we‘re more likely to feel happy.
But I can’t pay my mortgage, there’s no wine and the kids are hungry
It’s really hard to be grateful if you’re in this situation as many Irish families are. I know one family in this situation. They had a really tough time and even lost the ownership of their house. But they kept focusing on the positives – their children were healthy, they had friends they could borrow from. It was tough and stressful. But they remained happy, because they were grateful for what they have.
Try to be grateful for alcohol cravings
Alcohol cravings can be really tough. It’s a major reason why many people don’t control their drinking. So why would you be grateful for them? Well, try reframing it. See the alcohol cravings as a concrete sign you’re taking really positive action to control your drinking. Then alcohol cravings become a badge of progress. (Note, this assumes you don’t have a physical dependence on alcohol, which needs medical attention. You can find out more here)
You can find more tips on managing cravings here.
Getting started on being grateful
A useful tip for getting started is before you go to sleep, think of ten things that happened on the day that you are grateful for. These can be big or little things. Initially you might find it difficult but start really small. Last night my 10 things were
- I had a nice chat with my sister
- I saw the most beautiful pink cherry blossom tree in full bloom as I was stuck in traffic
- The building work for a downstairs disability bathroom for my elderly parents is going well
- I saw a little child laughing happily with her Dad on the way to school
- I managed to get in a full hour of hydrotherapy
- I managed to get enough of the paid work I needed to do, done
- My daughter had a good day in work
- I met my new neighbour for the first time
- The garden bed I’ve not gotten to weed is now actually blooming with lovely yellow flowers!
- I managed to stay patient with my Dad when his hearing aids just kept making that horrible high pitched squealing sounds in the car (think nails on a black board )
So why not try thinking of your ten happy things before you go to sleep? It can help you sleep better and really make a difference to daily life.