Do you sometimes feel like you have control of every area of your life except your drinking habits? Or maybe you feel like alcohol is getting in the way of reaching your full potential? You’re not alone.
But the answer isn’t as simple as just ‘cutting down or quitting’ alcohol. Because trying to do that through sheer willpower alone completely ignores what’s causing these unhealthy drinking patterns in the first place. Research has shown that there are a number of key driving factors behind compulsive behaviour, and it’s only by adopting a holistic approach that you can truly regain control of your relationship with alcohol.
By understanding these factors, you can gain insight into why you behave the way you do, and start making changes for a healthier future.
The driving factors behind compulsive behaviour
By environment, we mean literally everything around you—where you live, where you work; the physical, mental and emotional spaces you occupy. Are these spaces positive, supportive and encouraging? Or are they negative, draining and demanding?
In coaching terms, trauma has a much broader meaning. Whether it’s ‘big T’ or ‘little t’ trauma, all of us have trauma, because after all, just being a child is traumatic. It’s about perceived moments you didn’t understand—these experiences form part of the ego, and every day we make decisions and run patterns in our lives based on the ego and those early events. Most of our compulsive behaviour is rooted in trauma, and becoming aware of elements from the past that are still shaping your daily behaviour today is one of the most profoundly life-changing things you can do. In fact, it’s half the battle, because once you’re able to map the behaviour directly to the trauma, you can do something about it.
Dealing with and processing emotions is key to being able to eliminate compulsive behaviour. Many of us haven’t done enough work to understand these old emotions, which is why you need a safe space to process and understand your feelings—yes, and to cry! Then you can begin to build emotional resilience, and meditation is hands-down one of the best ways to do that.
Habits & routines
You need strong foundations to build a healthy future. That means looking after the basics like sleep, exercise, nutrition, breathwork, reflection and meditation. Get these habits securely in place, and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
Stress is like the bullet train that drives compulsive behaviour into the NOW. We live in a very hectic, stressful world. Many of us are in high-stress jobs and have high-stress lives. Unless you learn how to deal with stress, you’re always going to reach for that numb button.
If your closest relationships are unsettled or broken, and you’re constantly around these people, then you’ll feel the desire to escape and dull the unhappiness. Cue alcohol, cake, Netflix, gambling; you name it.
These are your wider relationships—your social circle, people you feel connected to, your clan. If they’re all booze-hounds and don’t understand why you would even want anything different, then you’re going to struggle. It’s imperative to feel a strong sense of connection with people living how you want to live.
Meaning & purpose
As humans, we need to feel like we’re aligned to our values and have a sense of purpose in life. For instance, working in a meaningless job where you feel like you don’t add value and you’re not appreciated, will drive you to find ways to drown out those feelings.
Think of each of these factors as having a rating of 0–10. Zero is the rock bottom worst, while 10 is the very best you could achieve in that area. Everyone’s ratings will look different, and no one is at 0 or 10 in all areas. You don’t need them all to be 10, either. But the more 1/10 or 2/10 scores you have, the harder you’re going to find it to control your drinking.
How can you apply it?
You can work through these issues on your own, but that can be hard to do—it’s much easier with support, community, and other people’s feedback. Alternatively, you can invest in a one-to-one coach or therapist for dedicated personalised support.
About the author
Ruari, a trailblazer in the health & wellbeing space, was recently awarded both Great British Entrepreneur of the year and Great British Entrepreneur – Health & Wellbeing of the year for Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as leading OYNB to be named Spectator’s Economic innovator of The Year in the UK.
At OYNB, our eight-week program, Complete Control, offers a comprehensive approach to transformation. Through one-to-one and group coaching, daily content, hypnotherapy, accountability, and remote health monitoring, we help individuals understand and overcome their compulsive behaviors. By addressing the root causes and leveraging coaching and technology, we empower people to regain control and witness remarkable results.
Find more about Ruari Fairbairns and OYNB here:
LinkedIn: Ruari Fairbairns
Apple Podcast: One Year No Beer Podcast