Like the postcard above I had always made stopping drinking a joke. That was my defense mechanism to what I knew was a pretty serious problem, even if none of my friends or family saw me as any worse than any of them. But now I wanted to take it seriously and so I made a contract with myself.
This contract is modelled on the making changes worksheet taken from the centre for smoking cessation and training here in the UK. It could be used for any change that you are considering making.
It detailed the change I wanted to make to my drinking, and could just as easily be used for moderating for a specified length of time if you are not ready to stop completely.
It considered; how changing/not changing made me feel. how changing/not changing might affect how others viewed me and the consequences to myself and other people
It listed the advantages and disadvantages of both making the change and not making the change and the conclusions that I had come to.
It then listed a ratings scale of how motivated I was about the change and how confident I felt about the change. Finally at the bottom it had a section for other considerations. So for me previously when I used it to give up smoking I included the risk of drinking alcohol while quitting smoking as for me the two went hand in hand.
Critically I completed it when I was really hungover and my desire to change was at it’s highest. I then posted it up on the front of my fridge so when ever I was tempted to consider having a drink it was there as a reminder of the deal I’d made with myself.
You can use this with yourself progressively as you moderate or stretch your duration of non-drinking to longer and longer time frames. You can keep former contracts as a record of progress and to see how your motivation and confidence changes over time and what influences them as you learn more skills to manage your drinking.
If you would like a print friendly pdf version it is included in a guest feature article that was published on Soberistas yesterday here 🙂