Party = Alcohol? Fun = Drinking?
In our Aussie culture, drinking alcohol is synonymous with fun and celebrations but knowing when to stop and being able to stop is paramount. Not all of my clients want to stop drinking completely; some just want to be able to regain control over their drinking and be able to stop after one or two drinks as well as enjoy alcohol free days.
They no longer want to cause a scene or become critical and mean when they've had 'too many'. A lot of them want to be able to drive past a bottle shop without feeling like they need to go in. All of my clients embrace alcohol free days if they choose to remain consuming alcohol.
A large portion of my clients come to see me before their problem gets 'out of control' and turns into a full blown physical addiction to alcohol (in which case, absolute sobriety and abstinence from alcohol becomes a must).
Some clients come to see to me because they recognise they have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. It's either already cost them too much in the form of relationships, career, money, health and life choices or they can see they are heading down a slippery slop that is not going to lead them anywhere good and will indeed cost them dearly long term.
Partying without alcohol OR being able to stop after one or two drinks does not have to be the boring life that people assume it will be. It is imperative in my work that I address that belief and other similar beliefs, like drinking is fun, "I need alcohol to have a good time", alcohol gives me confidence, or "Alcohol helps me relax". Lets call BS on these beliefs. Really is it fun being hungover? Is it fun vomiting or having a pounding headache Of course not. Is it fun waking up not knowing what you did last night? Is it fun knowing what you did last night and regretting it? No, it is not. Is it fun getting into a fight or argument because something was taken out of context because your perception was skewed or you were overly sensitive and took something personally. Regret, shame, humiliation are not fun emotions and feeling sick or being in physical pain because you got hurt is not fun, cool, tough or intelligent. There are other ways to gain confidence. There are healthier ways to deal with pain so that you don't have to be escaping or avoiding how you are feeling. There are other ways to have fun.
People are not enjoying your company because you drink, they are enjoying you because of you and if they do only like you because you drink - you may want to think about that. Sometimes, family and friends love you in spite of your drinking.
Waking up fresh and alert and enjoying the day after a night out is possible. Picking up new habits so that you're not always at the bar can bring about a whole new group of friends and interest into your life. How many hours would you get back if you weren't sleeping off a hungover or not feeling so crap the next day. Change is possible and it's easier than you think.