Dry January, Week 5: Learning How to Have Your Own Back

In week 4 of Dry January, I showed how taking a break from alcohol increases the confidence you have in your ability to stop overdrinking. Today’s post is about a benefit that’s related but quite distinct: trusting yourself and having your own back.


If you’ve been taking part in Dry January by not drinking alcohol this month, you’ve likely surprised yourself.


You may have learned:

·        It’s possible to decondition triggers you have for alcohol, such as situations/places/people.

·        Repeatedly allowing yourself to want alcohol without drinking lessens how strongly you want alcohol.

·        Not drinking for a couple of weeks feels makes part of you not want to because it feels so good physically.

·        Not drinking for several days helps you believe it’s possible to stop overdrinking longterm.


It also builds self-respect.


When you make a commitment to yourself and keep it, you build trust in and improve your relationship with yourself.


Before taking a break from alcohol, if you were like me, you told yourself many times you wouldn’t drink, but did anyway. That feels bad. Like a broken promise.


Just like if your best friend makes a promise and over and over again doesn’t keep her word, or worse, you find out she’s been lying regularly, there is no way around it—it damages the relationship.


When someone lies, it’s manipulation. The liar thinks the listener will think badly of them if they know the truth. In reality, the loss of trust is worse than whatever was lied about.

And when you lie to yourself in an attempt to avoid feeling bad about yourself, it can never work—because deep down, you always know the truth.

Without trust, you lose respect. Disappointment sets in.


The only way to feel good about yourself, improve your relationship with yourself, and redeem yourself in your own eyes is to start telling yourself the truth. Start keeping your word. Start keeping commitments you make to yourself.


Start having your own back.

Then, however uncomfortable things get, you know you’ve got your own back and can handle it.


 When you believe in yourself and trust you’ll do what you tell yourself you’ll do, you know that when everyone else fails you, you can count on YOU.


And when you can count on yourself, you don’t need to fear anything or anyone.


Sure, you will make mistakes. Tell yourself the truth about them.


When Dry January is over, and it almost is, if you tell yourself you will only have 1 drink and you have 2, be honest and look at what happened. Don’t make excuses or avoid thinking about what happened.


Instead, learn from what happened and create a plan for next time so you stick to your plan. Then move forward without beating yourself up.


When you make a commitment to not drink on a particular night and you get invited out with little notice, keep your word to yourself and don’t drink that night.


Yes, it will be uncomfortable not having a drink when you want one. You may be tempted to break your promise and lie to yourself. Don’t. You’re creating a better relationship with yourself. Chose to build trust. You are capable of experiencing uncomfortable emotions temporarily.


For more tips on how to stop or cut back drinking, visit www.julieernst.com and take my free course: Stop Overdrinking in 3 Steps.

Julie Ernst