We can’t always be perfect but we can always try to do our best – not just in what we do, but also in how we do it. Striving to reach goals (like becoming alcohol-free) is all well and good, but I’ve noticed that there’s a small fraction of a difference between less than ideal and terrible; between average and fantastic. It’s the details that count.
Know your alcohol triggers
A big part of successfully kicking the booze stems from identifying one’s alcohol triggers – understanding what will definitely stir the desire for a drink and then avoiding such situations as if your life depended on it (which it may well do).
Sometimes it’s the big decisions, like where we choose to go on holiday and with whom (holidaying in a boozy resort with a bunch of big drinkers, for example, will make life very hard for the newly sober person to remain that way), but it can also be the little choices we make; what we eat for dinner (pasta always made me crave red wine so I just stopped eating it for several months when I first quit drinking), and what films or TV programmes we watch (Sex and the City had a habit of making me lust after cold white wine as I always used to drink it when watching this programme, as a ‘treat night’ for myself).
As sober life gathers pace, we can more easily understand what makes us want to drink and adjust things accordingly so that we don’t have to endure quite so many battles against the bottle.
Recognise patterns of behaviour
The lessons we learn can, and should, be utilised to help us build sober strength. We can, if we examine our histories, recognise patterns of behaviour that have not worked in our favour. Time can be perceived as a series of tutorials, a lifelong system of education, where each month is filled with both the things we wished we’d done differently and can thus make an effort to not repeat, and the things that have worked for us and which we can therefore continue doing.
If we begin our alcohol-free journeys as though we are a malleable ball of putty then every knock and let-down; every exciting and happy occasion; each moment of pride and self-satisfaction that we travel through; the cravings we beat and the triggers we learn to recognise and not act upon will strengthen us, and our sobriety, until one day, being a happy non-drinker just becomes who we are and how we live.