As I reach the top of the escalator I know it’s going to be waiting for me. I start to fidget and I feel uneasy. Then the conversations start. My mind fills up with the usual array of sorry excuses.
Just have one…
Nobody will know…
You can quit again tomorrow…
Everybody does it…
You are entitled to have some joy in life…
One won’t kill you…
Before I know it I am standing at the top of the escalator and it’s there. I can’t even avoid it because if I am going to buy my ticket I have to stand next to it.
So I stand in line and try to fight against my own mind as it tries everything in its power to push me over to the right. Go on…just open your mouth and ask for some…two scoops…two scoops…with that lovely warm caramel squashed into the middle…cream on top? Don’t mind if I do…sprinkles? Sure thing…White teddy bears…why not?
Sir…excuse me sir?
This is what it’s like for me every time I go to the cinema. It’s ridiculous really. A challenge for sure. But it’s also a wonderful opportunity for me to learn.
The dictionary definition of a craving is a great or eager desire – yearning. Since deciding to quit eating sugar I have a great desire to eat ice cream. I have a yearning. Not every day, but every time I go to the cinema because my mind is click whirring back to the hundreds of times I have been there before. I never missed that ice cream and my mind won’t let me forget it. Habit at it’s finest.
Will I relapse?
Will Ben & Jerry’s get the better of me?
I am not sure, and I hate not being sure. What I do know is if you have a craving about something then you have got a real fight on your hands, and I never liked fighting, because you don’t always win.
I now want to take you back to the point in my life when I quit drinking alcohol. I was never one to record a special date, or keep track of the number of days I was sober, so I won’t be able to tell you exactly how long ago it was, but I believe it to be around four years.
Within days of me stopping I walked into my local pub with my friends, as I had done hundreds if not thousands of times before, and I didn’t have a single agitation in my entire body.
No fidgeting, no worrying anticipation, no dry mouth, no headaches and best of all not one single conversation in my mind. Nothing. No sorry excuses. No pushing me towards the bottle. Just complete and utter silence.
So how is this possible?
How can I drink alcohol for 20-years and then promptly give up without a single craving in the world. Not even a momentary thought that lasts a second? Nothing. Nadda. Zilch.
And yet when I go to the cinema and stand in line to buy my ticket, my mind is telling me to pull my house keys out of my pocket and use them to murder everyone in the room so I can eat Peanut Butter Cup ice cream without anybody seeing me?
I happen to believe that sugar kills more people on this planet than alcohol. So theoretically if this is one of the reasons that I also quit alcohol (early death is one of the reasons) then I should be able to quit sugar with even more ease than alcohol.
You will never win the battle that goes on in your head. You are not designed to win. In fact, you have lost the war before you even step foot on the escalator.
I like the taste of sugar and that one fact will always be there to blight my attempts to quit until the day that I die. All that is left for me to do is to continue attaching more pain to the association of sugar – and less pleasure – and hope that by the time I have finished doing this my habits have changed so much that I no longer feel the compulsion to have one scoop or ten.
Who wants to live life like this?
The one reason people fail to quit alcohol. The biggest one of the lot is these so called cravings, and yet here I am telling you that I didn’t have a single craving, never have and never will.
Have you worked out what the secret is yet?
If you don’t want to crave. If you don’t want a great or eager desire. If you don’t want to yearn. Then stop thinking about it and most of all stop expecting it. Instead of reading tale after tale from people who have told you how difficult the cravings are, listen to people like me who say there have never been any cravings.
There have never been any cravings because the reason I was able to quit so easily was because I learned to understand that alcohol provided me with zero benefits. Now this isn’t easy. You have to counter brainwash 20 years of societal bullshit that has been rammed down your throat from every inch of this world.
But it is possible.
I did it and so can you.
When you realise that alcohol offers you zero benefits then what are you actually giving up?
There is nothing to give up once you see the lie. It’s so blatantly obvious that it does take a long time to see it. You can’t help but keep asking yourself if it’s really this easy? It’s tough to accept that you have been drinking poison for all those years for no other reason than it’s what everybody does.
Don’t be a sucker for cravings. Don’t be a drama queen. If you are suffering from cravings, or are living in fear that they are going to emerge then you seriously need to question the process you went through when you quit.
There is only on way to eliminate cravings and it isn’t to substitute them for something else, it isn’t to purchase pharmaceuticals to help you, it isn’t to see a shrink and it certainly isn’t using willpower to try and win the war.
There wasn’t anything to give up.
There is nothing to crave.
Alcohol offers you zero benefits.
Work on this. Meditate, tap, affirm, do anything that you need to do to convince your mind that alcohol offers only the illusion of benefits and suddenly it won’t matter what setting you are in, the cravings will no longer exist.
They will vanish and you will be free to enjoy your sobriety in the way that I do. Like we all should.
Happy and free of worry.
Photo courtesy of theimpulsivebuy cc@ flickr.com