Is it ever the right time to stop drinking? Before I quit I used to ponder this question a lot. Although I no longer drink I still consider myself a drinker, in the same way that I consider myself a smoker who no longer chooses to smoke, so thinking about this isn’t hard. If I was still drinking I could think of several reasons why now would not be a good time. Our wedding anniversary is this week, my niece’s 18th b day party is in a couple of weeks, Easter holidays approaching fast, etc, etc, etc. Always a bad time and I would put it off and inevitably never come back to it.
So if it is never a good time then how do you decide to change and know if you are ready for change? For me, because it would never be the right time I just bit the bullet and stopped even though it was 4 weeks before my birthday!
What you could do is fill out a readiness for change questionnaire (University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale, URICA). This is a list of 14 questions that you can mark as disagree, undecided or agree with disagree scoring 0, undecided scoring 1 and agree scoring 2.
The questions are:
- As far as I’m concerned, I have a problem that needs changing
- I think I might be ready for some self-improvement
- I am doing something about a problem that has been bothering me
- It worries me that I might slip back on a problem that I have already changed, so I am looking for help
- I am finally doing some work on a problem that I have
- I’ve been thinking that I might want to change something about myself
- At times my problem is difficult, but I am working on it
- I’d like to understand myself and my behaviour better
- I have a problem and I really think I should work on it
- I have not been following through with something I’ve already changed and I want to prevent a relapse of the problem
- I thought I had once resolved this problem, but sometimes I find myself struggling with it
- I’d like to hear some ideas on how to solve my problem
- Anyone can talk about changing, but I am actually doing something about it
- Even though I am not always successful at changing, at least I am trying
If you score over 14 you are open-minded to the concept of change around your drinking. Much like the contract to change, you can do a score intermittently to see how it changes and while you are not ready to change keep drinking or moderating and then come back and repeat it. Also like the contract to change it can be used for anything, not just booze, and I shall be using it next to tackle the sugar issue that I seemed to have replaced booze with!!