Maintenance – Sticking With It
As change gets established, it’s easy to lose that sense of achievement and take for granted the positive strides that you’ve made. They key is to keep going and maintain that change. There comes a time when it’s easy to slip back, so take the time to make sure the changes are firmly grounded in your life.
Keep on Planning
It’s really easy to start drinking more as the novelty and excitement of the changes wears off. Make sure you keep planning and using the four R’s.
You may want to set aside a time each week where you arrange these, especially if you have a family or a busy life. Value yourself and take the time to plan the Four R’s.
Write a Journal
Some people find it helpful to keep a diary of all the different activities they can now make time for. They can reflect back on their life and appreciate all the things they enjoy that they didn’t before.
It can be worth keeping a drinks diary for at least one week each month, just to ensure things aren’t slipping. However, if you catch yourself thinking “It’s drinks diary week, so I need to be good” it’s probably a sign that things are slipping. If changes you’ve made begin to slide, revisit all the reasons you had and have for making the changes while recognising how far you’ve come.
This can be compared to climbing a mountain – when it feels really hard, turning around and seeing how far you’ve come helps you get to the top.
You may find that, as you reduce your drinking other issues come to the fore, which were probably being masked by the alcohol. These can include stress, anxiety and depression, or other emotional pain. If this seems to be a problem (or you are getting intrusive thoughts), it may be worth speaking to your GP about getting some help with this. Alternatively, you may wish to get a self-help book specific to these issues.
Make sure that your support network continues to support you. Think about the people in your life: Who they are, how they support you, and how you can support them.