You’ve decided to cut back your drinking. You can approach it in one of two ways.

One way involves starting, stopping, and beating yourself up.

The other involves practice and curiosity.

Most of us find ourselves in the first category. We make a big promise and start counting days. One slip means a Back to Zero sandwich with a side serving of self-flagellation. We tell ourselves we are weak. We ask ourselves, “WHY???,” and then we don’t listen to the answer. We take it as evidence that something is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG with us.

But what if nothing was wrong with us? What if our brain was doing exactly what it was previously conditioned to do, and we just aren’t done rewiring things yet? What if giving in to that urge was actually more valuable in the long-term than if it had never happened at all? What if all it meant was that you need more practice?

We think that if we criticize, judge, and beat ourselves up we will be motivated to change. But that doesn’t actually work. We don’t act strong when we think we’re weak. We act strong when we recognize our own strength.

Should you find yourself drinking when you don’t plan to, don’t make it mean something horrible about you. You aren’t broken. This is a practice, and there is valuable information to be gleaned here that will serve you down the road. Turn your judgment into curiosity.

Here are some questions to get you started:

What and how much did I drink that wasn’t planned?

What was the circumstance that triggered it?

What was the thought that caused the desire or urge?

Did I try to resist, or did I just react?

Did I try to allow the urge?

What worked and what didn’t?

What did I learn?

What will I do next time?

Are you having trouble getting traction with your drinking? Sign up for a free strategy call, and I’ll teach you how I help my clients drink less by wanting it less (no shame, no labels).