The biggest problem with my food was controlling drinking. I’ve discussed quitting – or at least severely curtailing – drinking for a long time. In An Identity Approach to Alcohol: Parts I and 2 I discuss how willpower-eroding it can be, and how counterproductive it can be in developing skills. I discussed pretty much the same thing almost 6 years ago at the very beginning of this project in Habits of Omission. I even successfully completed a 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge.
Back then, I didn’t understand the unmatting process or have the tally clicking system. Now I do.
Anytime I have an urge to drink alcohol for the next 90 days, I’ll click.
At the end of the day I’ll record the total number of urges for the day.
This is to satisfy my curiosity for the question “How many clicks does it take to remove the habit of wanting to drink alcohol?”
Separating out the triggers regarding drinking will let me understand how to truly control myself. I think it will help foster greater skill in things like socializing. I think it will also help me make better gains in fat loss. I think it will make me feel better overall, and will help me sleep better. It will help cement the tally clicking process as one that’s replicable and highly efficient. I’ll finally be able to have true control over a habit I just fell into. And I won’t feel like I’m using it as a crutch, either for socializing, having a good time, relaxing at the end of the day, or just feeling bored. I think it will also help me shift to becoming a more active person, perhaps even a morning person, or an outdoor person. It’s a key component of a family of behaviors that will eventually result in a massive identity shift. I think if this works, it will have massive implications in helping other people with their own lives and addiction patterns.
Boredom, especially the feeling of release triggered by drinking a glass of wine or going out to a bar, will be a big obstacle. As will the connection between celebration and drinking. I’ve conditioned myself to think that those are all one and the same. I have fear of missing out on unique drinks or experiences. I think it feels like I might have a more difficult time building a community because most of the people I have met or socialized with in the past have been when alcohol was around. I’m worried that it may be awkward.
I think treating this as an experiment that can always be changed is a good safety net for me. I also think the reintroduction phase of clean eating - namely the potential for having one cheat day a month - offers a psychological respite from the odd fear of never drinking again. I also know that the craving mind isn’t the same as the one that will emerge after 90 days, when the majority of urges will subside.
I think coming up with a list of alternatives for getting out of the house is important. Gong for a walk or a dip in the pool, for example, would deliver a similar hit of joy, contentment, and activity. Honing a nightly ritual might not only give me that similar feeling of release, but also become the beginnings of a sleep ritual for better sleep hygiene, something I’ve also wanted to work on.
I’ve got my spreadsheet ready, let the challenge begin!