Someone asked me how I stopped my addictions of smoking and alcohol (and more) and because they were asking for my help, this is what I told them:
"I used to be a drinker and a smoker... everyday... smoking from the age of 13 and heavy drinking from the age of 15 (dad used to give me 'the end of his beer' when I was younger than 7!). But its been a long time - 8 years I believe - since I have drank to excess and that long since I have had a cigarette! Actually I gave up all of my bad habits at once, that really helped I found. Now I can actually have one or two drinks while I am out and not feel the need to get 'wasted' and I finally feel 'normal'! Why I am telling you this is that I want you to know that it is possible, that if you really truly want to you can rid yourself of the habits of drinking and smoking, I can tell you my secret to giving up if you want?
It was definitely not my first time giving up, I had tried many times before I had gotten so cross at myself it wasn't funny, I had denied myself things, called myself names and punished myself for 'being naughty' and having another drink or smoke. One day I noted what I was saying to myself and realized my horrid words to myself - this was the reason I drank! To shut my inner voice up! Oh to realize that I could 'parent myself' in a positive way and that I could say nice things to myself to motivate me and to keep me strong rather than being horrible to me and taking everything away. Once I also realized that I was using alcohol and cigarettes as a gift to myself was another epiphany, and I started to give myself other positive things in return. I would eat an apple instead, I would have a glass of water, I would paint my nails, clean my house, cook a yummy dinner ---- all just for me! It was a beautiful day when I realized that it was ok to say nice things and give nice things for myself and that I realized that I was giving up these negative habits to benefit me because I CHOSE to!
I gave myself the power I needed to fight against the real negative in my life. Finally I was working against the negative feelings inside myself instead of exacerbating the problems even more. Once I found that my willpower was in my choices then I chose to think about what exactly was in it for me. If I couldn't see a positive benefit then I just plain wouldn't do it!
Now I like to tell people that I gave up cold turkey because I kind of did - that was my resolve, a life change. But I did have hiccups along the way. I did 'misbehave' occasionally but I stopped punishing myself - I stopped the negative talk that said 'Oh well you have done it now, you have had three drinks, you have really fucked it up like you always do, you might as well do it good and proper' *followed by downing a bottle of vodka* - don't think I didn't think about doing this, my old way, I thought long and hard on it and then thought, how does it make me feel now, and how will I feel tomorrow - my answer was bad, so that was not the right option. I thought well, I could say 'Ooops, made a mistake, will stop myself now and try my best again, its ok to make a mistake, as long as you learn from it'. Then I would stop the drinking or smoking and remember my new plan and stick to that from then on, without looking back and without punishing myself. I then made sure that I gave me a pat on the back and said 'Well done you!' and that always felt good. That was my validation that I had made the correct choice for me.
So remember, it is your choice what you do in life, so take responsibility for your actions and live a positive life because you want to, because it lets you see a brighter and happier future.
I know I am a better mum now, a better partner, a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend and all of that is great but you know what the greatest thing is? I am a better me, for me :)
Thanks for letting me tell my tale, this is something I wish that I got to tell my father, but I am sure he is up there right now looking down on us with a wry smile on his face.
Thank you for you honesty and thank you for taking the time to read mine,
PS - feel free to share my story with anyone else that you think it might help."
Thought that maybe if I wrote it here, it may benefit more than just one person and it is good to spread the good news too!