Do you have a laundry list of negative drinking consequences you use to keep you motivated to change?

Does your resolve keep failing you anyway?

Before you conclude that something is wrong with you or that you have an irredeemable character flaw, put your Big Why – the reason you want to change – to the test. 

Is your reason to change your drinking more compelling than the reason to keep things as they are?

Reflexively most people will say that their reasons to change are rock solid. But if your reasons are just a Greatest Hits compilation of the negative consequences you’ll avoid by not drinking, they may not stand up to the big reason to not change – that alcohol provides quick and easy, albeit temporary, relief from uncomfortable emotions. 

For example, if the reason you want to change is to eliminate hangovers and regret, but drinking gives you nightly relief from the pain of a disconnected marriage, your compelling reason probably isn’t going to hold up.

Does this resonate? If so, it’s time to boost your Big Why. 

Start by identifying all the ways alcohol made situations easier for you. Did it help you feel like you fit in? Did it help you relieve stress at the end of the day? 

Then make a list of all the reasons you want to change. Make sure you aren’t using shame to motivate yourself (I make a fool of myself when I drink). Shame is a short-term motivator at best and usually leaves you feeling helpless and seeking relief (from alcohol perhaps!). 

If a side-by-side comparison shows that your reasons to change come up short, dig a little deeper. Take your most compelling reason and then ask yourself why that is important to you. Repeat this until you uncover a reason that truly moves you and sees you through the restlessness of change. 

I don’t want to wake up hungover anymore. 


Because I’m grumpy when I’m hungover.

Why is that a problem? 

Because I feel annoyed by my kids more easily.

Why is that a problem?

Because I want to be a patient mom and enjoy their company?


Because it helps me feel connected.

Not feeling hungover is great, but feeling connected to my kids is everything. I’ll take that over the discomfort of an unanswered craving anytime.