“Ignorance is a lot like alcohol: the more you have of it, the less you are able to see its effect on you”
Jay M Bylsma
In my article on alcohol and anxiety I have spoken about the dangers of using drink as a way to deal with anxiety.
Over the years it had become very clear to me that my anxiety, panic and depression were always worse after:
a) a heavy night’s drinking
b) repeatedly having a few drinks each evening
Not only that, but the next day I would find my willpower and resolve to carry on doing the things which helped me feel better were just not there.
When this happened, the quick fix was to drink again to try and numb the anxiety, and so the cycle continued.
I knew I needed to cut down and so, about 2 years ago, I made the conscious decision to do so.
The benefits were quickly apparent, yet despite this I still had times when I would slip back into my old ways again and of course the feelings of anxiety and panic would start to resurface.
Eventually it got to the point where it was hindering my recover and I’d have to swear all over again to lay off the drink.
I couldn’t understand why I would keep returning to the booze when I knew it was doing nothing for my mental health.
I’m no idiot, but what I was doing was pretty stupid. Yet despite me understanding the effects of alcohol on my anxiety I was still being drawn back in.
Then one day earlier this year I stumbled across a book by Allen Carr called Easy Way to Control Alcohol.
I downloaded the audio book and listened to it over the following few days and the impact was instant.
It not only explained why I kept returning to the drink, despite knowing it was doing me no good, but it also removed my desire to want to drink again.
Before you say it, I know, I didn’t think just reading or listening to a book could do such a thing, but it did.
It has had such a powerful effect on the way I now view alcohol which in turn has only helped my anxiety recovery further that I feel it is something very important to share with you.
Why controlling your alcohol intake is so important
Let’s make something very clear.
Alcohol does not help reduce anxiety
It may numb your brain and lessen its effects in the moment, but in the long run, alcohol plays a major role in ensuring your anxiety persists.
Consume it frequently and in large quantities and it can make your anxiety worse.
There is nothing calm or courageous about having to ply yourself with drink just so you can face a night out or get through an evening in alone.
All drinking does is to tell your mind that you need a drug to alter your brain’s workings in order to cope.
Your goal is to recover from anxiety, not to just make it bearable by consuming alcohol.
This only reinforces your belief that your anxiety is something to be feared, fuels it further and makes recovery all the harder to achieve.
Being able to cut out or greatly reduce your alcohol intake can have a profound effect on the way you feel.
Why read Easy Way to Control Alcohol?
Because, as the title suggests, it provides an easy way to control your alcohol intake.
In the long run this will help in a number of areas in reducing your anxiety.
You may not be a heavy drinker, but that doesn’t mean alcohol isn’t playing some part in the way you feel.
Allan Carr’s book is for you if you use alcohol for any of the following:
- To try and relax and reduce anxiety after a stressful day
- To try and feel more ‘normal’ again by numbing your anxious thoughts and feelings
- To obtain ‘dutch courage’ for social events, especially when meeting new people
- To obtain a ‘quick fix’ or ‘little win‘ when you’re having a bad day
- To hit self-destruct when all feels hopeless and lost
Using alcohol for any of the reasons above is an avoidance technique, a way to try and reduce anxiety to the point where it is more manageable.
Avoidance techniques and numbing of the mind through a drug only reinforces the anxiety, telling your subconscious you need it to get by.
Your brain needs to learn to be ok with anxiety and the stresses of life for it to be able to recover. It cannot do so if you are using something to numb it so it doesn’t have to cope.
Alcohol is part of the cause, it is certainly not part of the cure.
How does it work?
I don’t want to go into too much detail about how his method works.
This is because to get the full effect you must read it with no preconceptions and allow yourself an open mind with no prior judgements created by me.
I will however say this, it works because it changes your thinking and the way I can illustrate this best, is with a banana. Bear with me on this one…..
I’m not a fussy eater, in fact I will eat pretty much anything, but I’m not very keen on bananas.
It’s the combination of taste and texture that just doesn’t do it for me. I can eat them, I just very rarely do, because I have no want or desire to.
I can walk past them in the supermarket without a second’s thought and I can sit in a group of people all eating them and never once think ‘oh, I wish I could have a banana right now’.
Reading this book changed my thinking to the point where my thoughts on alcohol are exactly the same as how I feel about bananas.
It just doesn’t bother me if I drink or not.
What this means is that it’s been easy to all but give up drink because there’s no willpower involved in doing so.
When I factor in the fact I know it is bad for anxiety it makes alcohol even less appealing.
To see how this could work for you, first think of a type of food you don’t enjoy.
Now imagine if someone said you couldn’t eat that food for 6 months.
How hard would it be to go without it for that time?
It would be easy and require no hardship or sacrifice at all.
Well this is exactly what reading Easy way to Controlling Alcohol can help you do for booze.
It removes the desire, need or want to drink and that can help you reduce anxiety and give you the time and energy to focus on the important things which help in other areas of your anxiety recovery.
As you know, I do not recommend things lightly, I will only provide you with resources I feel work.
If you know that drink is doing your anxiety no good, then this book really is a very simple way to escape the alcohol trap.
The wording can be a little clunky at times and Allen does like to go on a little, but in most cases for good reason.
This is because it takes time to undo the ‘brainwashing’ (as he calls it) of society which has led so many to believe that alcohol is a good part of life.
Once you’ve read the book you’ll start to see that in almost all instances this couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’m not going to say that I’ll never drink again, but it really wouldn’t bother me if I didn’t.
I’ve actually enjoyed social situations a lot more having all my faculties intact and knowing I’m feeling calm, relaxed and content naturally and not because I’ve needed a drug to feel this way.
This has only helped give me confidence in other areas and it’s a great feeling waking up feeling fresh and alert, ready to face the day.
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