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Decisions, Decisions

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

Let's be honest, deciding to give up alcohol isn’t always easy.

Aside from battling society's acceptance and celebration of alcohol, the human brain generally doesn’t like the idea of change.

When we think about making a change, we generally don’t really consider all the sides of the argument (honestly), instead, we gravitate towards doing what we think we ‘should’ do and gladly avoid the things we don’t want or feel like doing (which is completely normal).

For the most part, we can carry on like this for a while without any real issues. However, there may come a point where what you’re doing and what you want to do are at odds with each other.

You may experience this as a state of confusion, overwhelm, feeling stuck, uncomfortable or unfulfilled.

I think in this community, we can also consider this as sober curiosity, where you know drinking isn’t fully reflecting who you are or where you want to be, but you’re not 100% sure if giving up alcohol is right for you, or even if you want to.

So, to help decipher what’s right for us and get one step closer to deciding, we can think through the advantages and disadvantages of making the change or maintaining the status quo.

Here’s an exercise you can do quickly to weigh up the pros and cons of a decision. Obviously, you can do this for anything in life, not just giving up booze.

I’ve given a little example of what things might go in each box.

Giving up alcohol




  • More money

  • More time

  • Better skin

  • Improved mental health

  • Might not be invited to social events

  • Boredom

  • Feeling alone/isolated/different

No Change

  • Have a ‘go to’ coping strategy for difficult feelings

  • Don’t have to explain myself

  • Keep my current connections

  • Might not achieve my goals

  • Expensive

  • Things might remain the same

My favourite part of this exercise is highlighting the advantages of NOT changing.

In the world of coaching, they teach you that ‘every behaviour has a positive intention’; meaning that behind the ‘negative’ behaviours, there will be a good reason you’re doing it, and it’s usually something to do with meeting a need or avoiding something difficult.

For example, drinking can meet the need of belonging and connection which is a basic inherent need of all humans. Giving up alcohol can bring up a real fear of losing that connection.

Understanding this concept personally helped me be more compassionate towards the behaviours I didn’t like because I understood that they’re just there to meet some intrinsic need.

(And just for the record, building sober connections and sense of belonging is waaayy more fulfilling!)

Anyway…the key with this exercise is to be brutally honest with yourself. Dig deep, find out the real personal reasons why you do what you do and the genuine fears you have about changing it.

In my experience, change came about when the advantages of change and the disadvantages of not changing had the most weight.

Maz's main profession is mental health nursing however she seems to collect qualifications and is also qualified in Counselling & Psychotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Hypnotherapy, and Personal Training & Nutrition. She's worked in mental health for almost 18 years with people of all ages, backgrounds, and challenges - she is extremely passionate about helping others.

Maz gave up alcohol in October 2021 and feels more like her authentic self than ever before. She's loved connecting with the OTI community and has achieved so much since her sober journey began. To join our community click here for exclusive access to all things alcohol-free.

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