Beating Self-Sabotage in Quitting Alcohol.

by | Déc 1, 2023 | 0 comments

Embarking on the journey to quit drinking is a courageous decision, but it is not without its challenges. One significant obstacle that many individuals face is self-sabotage – the unconscious or conscious actions that undermine their efforts to stay sober. Understanding and addressing self-sabotage is crucial for long-term success in overcoming alcohol addiction.

In this article, we will explore effective strategies to overcome self-sabotage when trying to quit drinking. From identifying personal triggers to developing a solid mindset, building support networks, and adopting healthy coping mechanisms, we will guide you through overcoming self-sabotage and achieving lasting sobriety.

Understanding Self-Sabotage and Its Impact on Quitting Drinking

  1. What is self-sabotage? Self-sabotage is the art of shooting yourself in the foot when things are going well for you. It’s like having a winning lottery ticket and accidentally using it as a napkin. In simpler terms, it’s when you engage in behaviours that prevent you from reaching your goals or making positive changes in your life.
  2. The connection between self-sabotage and quitting drinking. When it comes to quitting drinking, self-sabotage can be your naughty drinking buddy who just won’t leave you alone. It can manifest in various ways, like telling yourself you can have «just one» drink when you know deep down it will snowball into an all-night bender. It’s like having a mini-me on your shoulder, whispering, «Come on, you deserve it! One drink won’t hurt!» But we all know one drink can quickly turn into ten, and that’s where self-sabotage comes into the rain on your sober parade.

Identifying Personal Triggers and Patterns of Self-Sabotage

  1. Reflecting on past behaviours and patterns. You need to play detective and investigate your own shenanigans to conquer self-sabotage. Take a trip down memory lane and reflect on past instances where you derailed your progress in quitting drinking. Was it when you were stressed? Lonely? Celebrating? Once you identify these patterns, you can be better prepared to dodge those self-sabotage bullets next time.
  2. Identifying emotional triggers: Emotions can be crafty little devils, capable of pushing us towards self-sabotaging behaviours. It’s important to recognize the emotions that tend to lure you back to the bottle, whether boredom, sadness, or even happiness. Yes, even happiness can lead to a celebratory drink that turns into a wild night of regret. By being aware of these emotional triggers, you can devise strategies to overcome them without reaching for the bottle.
  3. Recognizing self-sabotaging thoughts and beliefs. We all have that voice inside our heads, and sometimes it can be our worst enemy. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re not strong enough, that you’ll inevitably fail, or that you’ll never enjoy life without alcohol. But here’s the thing: that voice is a lying scoundrel. Recognize those self-sabotaging thoughts and beliefs for what they are – a bunch of baloney. Challenge them and replace them with positive, empowering thoughts that will help you stay on track.

Developing a Solid Motivation and Mindset for Quitting Drinking

  1. Exploring personal reasons for quitting. Motivation is the fuel that keeps your sober train chugging along. Take some time to dig deep and explore your personal reasons for wanting to quit drinking. It could be for your health, relationships, or overall well-being. Whatever it may be, hold onto those reasons tightly. They will be the motivation that propels you forward, even when temptation comes knocking.
  2. Setting meaningful goals and milestones. Setting goals and milestones is like mapping out your journey to sobriety. Break down your big goal of quitting drinking into smaller, achievable milestones. Celebrate each milestone along the way, pat yourself on the back, and reward yourself (with something other than a drink, of course). Doing so will create a sense of progress and accomplishment that will help keep self-sabotage at bay.
  3. Cultivating a positive and determined mindset. In the battle against self-sabotage, your mindset is your secret weapon. Cultivate a positive and determined mindset by surrounding yourself with positivity, whether it’s through inspirational quotes, supportive friends, or a playlist of uplifting songs. When self-sabotaging thoughts creep in, kick them to the curb with a powerful mantra like, «I am strong, and I can do this!»

Building a Supportive Network and Seeking Professional Help

  1. Reaching out to friends and family. They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and that’s true for quitting drinking, too. Share your journey with your trusted friends and family members. Let them be your cheerleaders, sounding boards, and reminders of why you’re doing this. With their support, you’ll have an army by your side, ready to fend off any self-sabotage temptations that come your way.
  2. Joining support groups or attending therapy. Sometimes, talking to friends and family isn’t enough, and that’s okay. Joining support groups or seeking therapy can provide additional support and guidance. These resources offer a safe space to share your struggles, gain insights from others who’ve been in your shoes, and learn coping strategies to combat self-sabotage effectively.
  3. Considering professional treatment options. If you find that self-sabotage is wrestling you to the ground and recovery feels impossible on your own, don’t hesitate to consider professional treatment options. There is no shame in seeking help from experts who specialize in addiction recovery. They can provide you with the tools, guidance, and support you need to conquer self-sabotage and quit drinking for good.

Creating a Comprehensive Plan for Quitting and Staying Sober

  1. Setting a quit date and making a commitment. So, you’ve decided to quit drinking and reclaim your health and happiness! The first step is to set a quit date and commit yourself. It’s like breaking up with alcohol but without any regrets or longing texts at 2 am. Choose a date that gives you enough time to mentally prepare, gather resources like support networks or tools, and bid farewell to your favourite cocktail glass. Write it down, stick it on your fridge, and let it serve as a daily reminder of your determination.
  2. Developing strategies to cope with cravings. Ah, cravings. Those sneaky little monsters that whisper sweet nothings in your ear, urging you to have «just one more drink.» But fear not! You can outsmart them. One way is to have a plan in place for when cravings strike. It could be anything from distracting yourself with a hobby or calling a friend to practicing deep breathing exercises or nibbling on healthy snacks. Remember, cravings are temporary, like a pesky mosquito buzzing in your ear. Swat them away with your arsenal of coping strategies!
  3. Creating a healthy daily routine and structure. When you’re trying to quit drinking, having a healthy daily routine can be your secret weapon. Replace those blurry hangover mornings with a structured schedule that keeps you engaged and focused. Wake up at a consistent time, exercise, eat nourishing meals, and engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. By having a routine, you’ll minimize free time for thoughts of alcohol consumption and create space for healthier habits to take root. Plus, you’ll finally be able to answer the question, «What do you do in your free time?» with something other than, «Uhh, well, I drink.»

Overcoming Setbacks and Managing Relapses Effectively

  1. Understanding the nature of setbacks and relapses. Let’s face it, setbacks happen. Relapses occur, and we’ve all stumbled on our sober journey. But hey, it’s not the end of the world! Understanding that setbacks are a normal part of the process can help you bounce back even stronger. It’s like that time you tripped and fell in front of everyone at the office party – embarrassing, but you got back up and laughed it off. Treat setbacks as learning opportunities, not as a reason to give up. You’re on this journey for the long haul, so a detour here and there won’t derail you.
  2. Learning from relapses and adjusting the approach. Relapses are not failures; they’re growth opportunities. Take a step back, evaluate what triggered the relapse, and adjust your approach accordingly. Maybe you underestimated a certain situation or overestimated your willpower. Learn from it because, hey, practice makes progress. Consider seeking professional help or joining support groups that specialize in addiction recovery. Surround yourself with individuals who understand the struggle and can offer guidance. Remember, you’re not alone in this. We’re all just humans trying to navigate a world with too many happy hours.
  3. Implementing strategies to prevent future relapses. Prevention is better than a pound of cure, or in this case, a bottle of tequila. After learning from your relapses, it’s time to implement strategies to prevent future slip-ups. Identify your triggers and find ways to avoid or cope with them. It could involve changing your social circle, finding healthier outlets for stress, or seeking professional help, like therapy or counselling. Surround yourself with a robust support system, communicate your goals, and ask for their assistance when needed. With a solid plan in place, you’ll be armed and ready to tackle any potential relapses that come your way.

Practicing Self-Care and Adopting Healthy Coping Mechanisms

  1. Prioritizing self-care and stress management. Self-care is not just bubble baths and scented candles – although those are great, too! Prioritizing self-care means caring for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Find healthy ways to manage stress, like practicing mindfulness or exercising regularly. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion, just like you would a friend. And remember, self-care is not selfish; it’s essential for your sobriety journey, just like a solid Wi-Fi connection is essential for binge-watching your favourite shows.
  2. Exploring Alternative Coping Mechanisms. When you rely on alcohol to cope with challenges, it’s time to find healthier alternatives. Explore other coping mechanisms that resonate with you. It could be journaling, practicing yoga, painting, meditating, or even adopting a furry friend. The key is to find activities that allow you to express yourself, process emotions, and find joy without relying on alcohol. Who knows, you might discover a hidden talent or passion in the process. Move over, Picasso – there’s a new artist in town, and they’re painting their way to a brighter, alcohol-free future.
  3. Engaging in activities that promote well-being. Incorporate activities into your life that promote your overall well-being. Engage in hobbies that bring you joy and fulfillment, like dancing, hiking, playing an instrument, or knitting sweaters for squirrels (hey, it’s a thing!). Surround yourself with positive influences and engage in meaningful connections with others. Remember, life is not just about quitting drinking; it’s about creating a life that you love and that loves you back. So go ahead, pursue those passions, indulge in laughter, and make memories that don’t come with a hangover.

Celebrating Successes and Staying Committed to Long-Term Sobriety

  1. Acknowledging milestones and achievements. Congratulations! Each milestone and achievement on your sober journey deserves a celebration. No, you don’t have to throw a parade or invite a marching band (unless you really want to). Take a moment to acknowledge your progress, whether it’s a week, a month, or a year of sobriety. Treat yourself to something special—a massage, a fancy dinner, or that book you’ve been eyeing. Celebrate your big and small victories because you’ve worked hard for them. You deserve to bask in the glory of your sobriety and revel in the fact that you’re one step closer to living your best, alcohol-free life.
  2. Finding support and accountability. Remember, you’re not in this alone. Finding support and accountability is crucial for staying committed to long-term sobriety. Surround yourself with people who understand and support your journey. This could mean attending support groups, seeking professional help, or confiding in trusted friends and family members. Share your goals and progress. Overcoming self-sabotage when trying to quit drinking is not an easy task, but with the right strategies and mindset, it is entirely possible.


In conclusion, quitting drinking and overcoming self-sabotage is a journey that requires dedication, self-awareness, and a supportive network. By understanding self-sabotage, identifying triggers, and cultivating a strong mindset, you can pave the way to lasting sobriety. Building a support system, creating a comprehensive plan, and practicing self-care are essential components of this journey. Remember that setbacks are opportunities for growth, and you can prevent future relapses with the right strategies.

Celebrate your successes, stay committed to your goals, and seek support when needed. Sobriety is not just about quitting drinking; it’s about creating a fulfilling and joyful life that doesn’t depend on alcohol. You have the strength and resilience to overcome self-sabotage and embrace a healthier, alcohol-free future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I know if I’m self-sabotaging my efforts to quit drinking?

Self-sabotage can manifest in various ways, such as rationalizing having «just one» drink, ignoring your triggers, or giving in to cravings. If you find yourself repeatedly falling back into old drinking habits despite your intention to quit, it’s a sign that self-sabotage may be at play.

What can I do when I feel the urge to drink and self-sabotage my progress?

When you feel the urge to drink and self-sabotage your progress, it’s essential to have a plan in place. This plan may include distraction techniques, contacting a supportive friend, or practicing relaxation exercises. The key is to have strategies ready to combat self-sabotage when it arises.

Is it necessary to seek professional help when dealing with self-sabotage?

While self-help strategies can be valuable, seeking professional help is highly recommended when dealing with self-sabotage and addiction. Addiction counsellors, therapists, or support groups can provide guidance, expertise, and a safe space to address underlying issues and develop effective coping mechanisms. They can help you navigate through setbacks and provide the support necessary for long-term recovery.

How long does it take to overcome self-sabotage and achieve lasting sobriety?

Overcoming self-sabotage and achieving lasting sobriety is a unique and individual journey. It varies for each person based on multiple factors, including the severity of addiction, personal circumstances, and commitment to recovery. Embrace the process, be patient with yourself, and focus on progress rather than perfection. With dedication, support, and perseverance, it is possible to overcome self-sabotage and achieve long-term sobriety.


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