Maybe means yes

Just finishing the Live Alcohol Experiment and they asked yesterday what was our biggest takeaway from this experiment. I had completed the Alcohol Experiment (non-live version) back in March and my takeaway then is the same as it is today. I learned I cannot moderate.

In order for me to remain alcohol free, I’ve learned a number of strategies to do so. For one, maybe means yes. That was HUGE! I know it might sound like a no-brainer, but when planning on going to an event where there will be alcohol, to say “I don’t know if I’ll drink or not” will lead to drinking, for sure. I had to tell myself, “no, I will not be drinking tonight”. And it worked. I didn’t have to think about my answer to the question “what can I get you to drink?” I had my answer.

Another strategy is using visualization. The first time we went out to eat at our favorite Thai restaurant when I was a couple months AF, I used this strategy. We have been going to this restaurant since we moved here. We know the bartender, we have a favorite waitress. We were meeting our good friends, who like to drink. We always shared at least 1 bottle of wine. So, planning the evening, I visualized getting ready. What I was going to wear. Which direction we would take to get there. Arriving there and saying hi to the bartender and waitress. Ordering hot tea instead of wine. I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

And, lastly, is something called “lengthening”. This is just building on success. So, going out to my favorite restaurant and not drinking. Next, I can go to Buffalo Wild Wings and not order Pinot Grigio. Going over to friends’ houses for a BBQ and drinking water or iced tea. Also, extending the time period for not drinking. I started out with a goal of 45 days of AF. Then I lengthened it to 2 months, 3 months, 6 months, etc. These little steps of success, all achievable and they kept me motivated and feeling proud!

I like the expression “the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time”. Using strategies like the ones I’ve mentioned have helped me so much remaining AF and with very little effort. Just reminding myself to put them in practice everything has been working out!

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