If you failed to make it through October in your quest to give up drinking or smoking, do not beat yourself up about it. This does not make you a failure and in fact you are in very good company.
Everybody loves a themed month, don’t they? In fact these days there’s a theme for almost every day or week throughout the year from International Day for the Eradication of Poverty to the more banal National Potato Day. But the problem with the enforced months of abstinence like Stoptober and Sober October is that they are setting you up to fail.
Even the government, who backs Stoptober, know that the chances are you will fail. They love to talk about how 20% of people who quit during the month never go back to it, but that also means that 80% of people do go back. Or in other words, 80% of people fail.
Do not be too hard on yourself if you are one of those 80%.
So why don’t these months of abstinence work? Largely because it was not your choice to quit at that point in time. You found yourself under social pressure to do it, to change a habit under somebody else’s terms – when you should start and when you should finish – and therein lies the crux of the matter. If you are serious about giving up the drink or the cigarettes for that matter, you should be thinking about it in the long term. There should not be a finish date and you should be doing it for your reasons. The reasons that are going to work for you.
It is definitely achievable and thousands of people around the world do it every month, but they are the ones who are doing it for themselves rather than attempting to change simply because of a themed month.
Even if you do make it through the period of enforced abstinence and then return to your old habits, you have not really learnt anything about your relationship with alcohol. The key to breaking an addiction is understanding your triggers and negative patterns of behaviour and learning how to change them.
Maybe now is the time for lasting change?
If you are feeling frustrated by your inability to abstain for a month, which is a good sign. It means that you have realised that you want to give up – a major step in the right direction – but you just need to find a way that is going to work for you to create lasting changes.
So congratulate yourself. You have come to the right end goal, even if you arrived here via a failed attempt at Sober October.
By enrolling on a recognised rehabilitation programme you are far more likely to achieve success in your goal of giving up alcohol for good. Talk to one of our experts today and they will be able to advise you on the best rehabilitation programme for you.