How to Reduce Pleasure from Alcohol

How to Reduce Pleasure from Alcohol

To break the cycle of wanting to drink, you must reduce the pleasure factor that alcohol provides. Alcohol once had a purpose in your life, you felt good when you drank; but it became more of an obsession, an addiction, and that behavior must be reprogrammed so that thought of alcohol doesn't give you a pleasure response.

So let's do an exercise now: Take some paper and write "drinking alcohol" in the center of one piece and draw a circle of it. Look at it and think "What about alcohol has a positive meaning to me? Why is it giving me pleasure?"

Write the answers on that paper surrounding the circle you just drew. If you have only 2 reasons, put one on the left and one on the right. If you have 4, but one top left, another bottom left, another top right, and another bottom right.

Primarily, focus on your mental state, i.e. meanings reflected when thinking of pleasure received from drinking, or think about drinking.

Focus on your answers, individually, and circle them. Ask yourself: What is it about drinking that's positive for me? Why does drinking give me pleasure?" Surround the written answers with your new answers.

Now, review the paper as a whole. Experience the pleasure for a second or two, and see it as a complete profile for a kind of experience that drives you only to continue to drink.

Review your answers to determine which the strongest driver is –that is pushing you to drink. Review this process placing your hand covering one answer at a time.

View a cluster, asking yourself "If I can remove this cluster, how much would it reduce my pleasure from drinking?"

Repeat this for each cluster until you see which meanings most strongly promote the importance of pleasure, and which are more intrinsic to the pleasure, which is more essential or basic to its real meaning.

An example is that health is a core value for eating while having something to do while watching television is not a core value for eating. Spend time and consider this because this is essential to getting to the root of why you find pleasure in drinking.

The next step is to think carefully about something that can surpass the pleasure of drinking thereby reducing its impact. Perhaps seeing yourself falling down drunk in your own vomit when you drink or imagining your family's devastation that you died in a horrible car crash that you caused while drunk. Or, it's more probable that imagining the end of your life from the terminal liver and heart disease might suit you better. Find those totally devastating, but factual potentials that you can associate with drinking alcohol and use them as aversions.

Imagine yourself drinking and imagining saying to yourself, "This drink is only one way I can find to start to feel happier in my life? NO! I can allow more healthy alternatives to fill my mind."

Go back to your paper and consider which meanings had the highest motivating factor. For instance, feeling relaxed when drinking. Fully experience the pleasurable nature of this state. Now access the creative part of your brain and imagine other ways to experience this 'relaxed' level of pleasure. Here's the creation:

Create a concept that you can live a fulfilling and pleasurable life, without drinking. And you can! The majority of people with fulfilling successful lives never drink!

This next to the last part is a test, and it's very important so don't skip it. Consider how well your thought patterns work, in reducing your urge to drink, and how well they help you create pleasure and meaning through more healthy pursuits.

Whenever you have one of 'those' moments, making you feel that you want a drink – now, just to feel better, remember "This drink is only one way I can find to start to feel happier in my life? NO, I can certainly allow more healthy alternatives to fill my mind." Then fill your mind with those other activities you can choose and do one of them.

Maybe: going to the park and relaxing, or playing with your kids, or a picnic at the lake with someone who you love. Go to a baseball or soccer game, or go to the beach. Or go walking, jogging, or hiking with friends. Or just close your eyes, reviewing some of your successes and having a good moment of being proud of who you have become - will create relaxing pleasure.

Try this; if you have one of those bad moments learn to swish it away. Grab a mental snapshot showing how you look and feel at a specific moment. And let's look at the snapshot. You're not looking too happy; you have unfulfilled need(s) and wish you weren't 'at that moment'. The feelings aren't good; your emotions aren't happy, and you are about to make a bad decision. Let's call this picture – my drinking problem. You see it, you feel it, you feel it; yes you know it. And you label it as "MY DRINKING PROBLEM".

Now for just a moment make that picture half the size, and turn it black and white, good – and now begin to recall a great time. Maybe graduation, or a day at the park with your girlfriend when you were a teen, or at the park with your kids, or rowing in a lake with your spouse, or maybe playing sports with family or friends, or a picnic, or going to the beach – or doing something that didn't involve drinking but you felt relaxed and you felt perhaps - FANTASTIC. Perhaps you won a race, or got an award, promotion; SOMETHING made it so that you felt amazing. Imagine that: a first kiss, the first time you made love, or meeting your soul mate. Imagine something reflecting your great feelings. See that and notice … 

How to Reduce Pleasure from Alcohol