Thursday, July 9, 2015

Self Help Guide – HOW TO QUIT DRINKING ALCOHOL

SELF HELP GUIDE

HOW TO STOP DRINKING ALCOHOL
QUIT DRINKING THE EASY WAY BY THE FORCE FIELD ANALYSIS METHOD
Self Help Guide
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Many years ago – at work  I used to employ a Management Technique called Force Field Analysis in Project Management.

Later – I improvised the Force Field Analysis Model to great effect and success  in my personal life too – for self improvement  to break bad habits – to change my life for the better.

So can you.

Let me tell you my story.

It was a tough and stressful working day.

It was hot and humid – I was tired, sweating profusely  my throat parched with thirst  and as I walked home late in the evening  I found myself opposite my favourite bar.

I stood outside the bar – and looked with yearning at my favourite watering hole. 

I was tempted – overcome by a strong craving  desperate to have a glass of chilled beer.

Nothing to beat a glass of cold beer to drive my blues away – the best “panacea” to my “stressed-out” state!

But – I did not go into the bar.

Instead – I rushed to the nearest Chaat-wala and ordered some Pani-Puri.

The moment I put the first pani-puri in my mouth – the intense overpowering medley of sweet and sour, pungently hot, fiery and spicy flavor of the chutneys, jal jeera and “pani” overwhelmed my olfactory and gustatory systems.

And this made my craving thirst for beer disappear pretty fast  and this enabled me to stick my resolve of giving up drinking alcohol.

I had suitably improvised the concept of “Force Field Analysis” to break my drinking habit and then keep it that way.

During the same time – I had quit smoking too  using NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) – and to stay that way  make sure I did not start smoking again  I had used force field analysis with great success.

Link to my Article on HOW TO STOP SMOKING is given at the end of this Article.

But – Dear Reader – Please read this article first to enable you to better appreciate the same.


FORCE FIELD ANALYSIS

Force Field Analysis provides a framework for looking at the factors or forces that influence a situation or activity.

RESTRAINING FORCES

Restraining Forces are those which inhibit or discourage the occurrence of a particular activity.

DRIVING FORCES

Driving Forces are those which promote, facilitate and encourage the occurrence of the same activity.

Let’s say that:

Driving Forces are Positive Anchors

and

Restraining Forces are Negative Anchors

(similar to the anchors in NLP)


HOW TO STOP DRINKING USING FORCE FIELD ANALYSIS

Let’s take the case of drinking. 

Sit down – close your eyes  and introspect.

Can you identify the stimuli – the triggers  the situations  the driving forces  which create in you the desire to drink – things that give rise to the urge to drink alcohol.

These “driving forces that drive you towards drinking alcohol can be anything  internal and external  tangible or intangible. 

The driving forces that encourage you to drink can be people, situations, events, parties, tendencies, moods, foods, social factors, organizational trends, practices, norms.

For example – when I was in the Navy – it was the social norm to drink alcohol with fellow officers to build camaraderie – especially during various occasions – formal, informal, social and celebratory.

Military Social Norms and easy availability of the best liquor at concessional rates are strong driving forces that propel most defence officers towards drinking. 

Nowadays – even in the civilian world – serving alcohol is a must at every party or celebration – and this social norm  coupled with peer pressure  is a strong driving force which propels youngsters towards alcohol.


INTROSPECTION EXERCISE

Do a simple exercise.

DISCOVER ALL THE DRIVING FORCES THAT PROPEL YOU TO DRINK ALCOHOL

For the next week 
 or  even for a month  be yourself  live as you do  but mindfully record all the occasions on which you had alcohol – and carefully list the driving forces that motivated you to drink.

Was it a social event 
 a party – or your drinking friends  that motivated you to drink?

Or did you have a drink as an “aperitif  before some gourmet food?

Or did you have a sip of Rum to enhance the pleasure of Smoking?

Maybe you had those shots of Tequila to get you in the dancing mood.

Or a drink of whisky to get you in the “creative” mood.

Maybe you imbibed that potent exotic cocktail as an aphrodisiac” to stimulate your sexual desire  for giving a fillip to your libido  or to reduce your inhibitions  or to enhance excitement as a prelude to sex.

Or you had a quick shot of booze to pep you up and eliminate your tiredness and cure your fatigue  or to calm you down.

A neat shot of rum or whisky down-the-hatch to give you Dutch Courage. 

A few drinks in company of friends to enhance your happiness.

A bit of alcohol to celebrate.

Or drinking in solitude to get rid of depression or boredom or to dissolve your blue-mood

Maybe you drink to drown your sorrows  to obliterate memories of some people  to get rid of sad memories  in moods of self pity, jealousy, inner craving, addiction…

You can find so many reasons to drink and to justify your drinking.

Do it thoughtfully 
 and make an exhaustive list of the driving forces that urge you to drink alcohol.


DISCOVER ALL THE RESTRAINING FORCES THAT CURB YOUR DESIRE TO DRINK

Now  make a list of restraining forces that discourage or inhibit you from drinking.

Introspect – for you  what are those things that restrain you from drinking ?

Here are a few restraining forces which may discourage you from drinking:

Concern for Health. 

Wife’s Nagging (or Husband’s Nagging for Women Drinkers)

(It is best for a drinker to marry a non-drinker – as a counterbalancing restraining force – otherwise both husband and wife may become alcoholics) 

Physical Exercise 

(For me – Exercise like a long walk is a good restraining force that curbs my desire to drink)

Values.

Religious and Cultural Taboos.

Regulations like Prohibition and No Drinking Zones

Workplace Restrictions on Alcohol – Being at Your Workplace for Long Hours may make you a Workaholic  but it will save you from becoming an Alcoholic.

Hobbies.

Social Encouragement/Pressure towards Temperance and Sobriety

Foods  Some types of foods are effective restraining forces.

For me – pani-puri, bhel, jal-jeera, lassi, milk, ice cream etc are quite effective restraining forces which put off the mood to drink alcohol.

Also – I lose the urge to drink after a eating hearty fulfilling satiating meal – so eating dinner early in the evening before a party helps me lose the desire for alcohol.

Through self-awareness  mindful living  and personal experience  record these restraining forces meticulously.


PRACTICE FORCE FIELD ANALYSIS AND QUIT DRINKING

Now all you have to do to quit drinking is the following:

1. Strengthen the Restraining Forces (that restrain you from drinking)

2. Mitigate and Weaken the Driving Forces (that cause a craving for alcohol or urge you to drink)

and, most importantly,

3. Convert Driving Forces into Restraining forces (Yes  where possible  change the direction of some driving forces  and convert driving forces into restraining forces by using techniques from concepts like NLP, 4T etc or  best of all  devise your own improvised techniques – like the in lieu substitution method I have evolved for myself in which I do an alternate activity like going for a long walk whenever I feel like drinking alcohol).

Learn how to tactfully and effectively avoid drinking.

Suppose your friends try to force you and taunt you saying that you are a sissy, spoil sport, killjoy etc  you must simply say  I really must go – and leave the place quickly.

Remember what Epictetus said: 

If you want to do something  make a habit of it
If you do not want to do something  refrain from doing it

I have also read somewhere:

If want to be happily married  remain in the company of happily married people

Always be with like-minded people whom you want to emulate.

If you want to stop drinking  try to be in the company of non-drinkers

Avoid situations which encourage drinking or elicit craving for alcohol


Substitute healthy activities like physical exercise, recreation and creative hobbies instead of drinking.

If you are serious about giving up drinking  you may even have to:

1. Change your Lifestyle

2. Change your Friends

3. Change your Activities 

if any of these are driving forces which motivate you to drink alcohol.

Identify your stimuli, triggers, situations, people and anchors, internal and external, tangible and intangible – identify the driving forces that create in you the urge to have a drink  and encourage and facilitate the drinking habit.

Once you have identified the driving forces  you must try and mitigate these driving forces by improvising force field analysis as it suits you best.

Force Field Analysis works for me.

Dear Reader  do let me know if it works for you.

Links to My Self Help Article HOW TO QUIT SMOKING -> 

Wish you a healthy addiction-free life.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
1. This is based on my personal experience. It may or may not work for you. So please do due diligence before trying out this technique.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

I wrote this article more than 12 years ago in in the year 2002 when I quit drinking and smoking.
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