Set Your First 8-Week Goal
Let’'s say that your baseline reading is 8X. Where do you want to get to 8 weeks from now? Perhaps you want to reach 4X by then. So, a straightforward way of doing this is to go to 7X in the first week, hold steady for a week, go down to 6X the next week, and so on.
But there are any number of ways to get to the same place. Some people like to make a sudden dramatic shift and chart how well they keep to it. Others may have irregular ups and downs, trying hard to trend in the right direction, like a jagged stock market chart. An agreed-upon necessity has to be turning as many possible 3X days (the really dangerous ones) into less dangerous days.
Your first cycle will be 9 weeks, because you’re including the Baseline week. Any other cycles will be 8 weeks long.
Help Along the Way
Self-help has to be more than determination. It’s like being a student – you don’t just tell yourself you really, really want to pass the test; you put in place all kinds of strategies to be successful. You might buddy up with a study partner, promise yourself a treat after you’re done with a test, unhook the phone at crucial study times, and use all other kinds of memory aids and study aids to get their task done. You can be just as resourceful in your own self-change process. Why not?
First, as the philosopher says, know thyself. Do I drink fast and furious at the beginning of the evening? Is my danger time when I do shots late at night? Or do I do most of my drinking/drug use at home? Are there particular nights of the week, bars, social occasions, friends, neighborhoods, that particularly trigger my problem? If I know where my trouble spots are, I can make specific plans around them. But before I can control my pattern, I need to know my pattern. Do your homework and focus on key areas.
And, what works for some people is a nightmare for others. Some people can count their drinks while going out, and when they reach their limit they can be pretty good at stopping. Others know that once they are in the drinking/drug environment, the show is already over, and they will go most of the night. These different patterns will call for very different strategies.
Here then, are some strategies you might use to reach your goal in the 3X program. The only thing you can be certain of is that they will not all work for you. You have to pick and choose, and create your own as well. A lot of these are scaled towards alcohol, because that’s the most popular drug around. But a number of these strategies can be applied towards any drug or bad habit:
- Devise ahead of time graceful ways of declining social situations that you know might be trouble for you.
- Drink lots of seltzer or juice just before going to the bar, so you're already somewhat full.
- Eat a full meal while drinking.
- Alternate non-alcoholic with alcoholic drinks.
- Be mindful that you sip your drinks rather than downing them.
- Put a certain number of tokens in one pocket and transfer one token to the other pocket each time you take a drink, until your first pocket is empty. And then you stop.
- If you’re at home, never stock up, even if it’s economical.
- If you’re at home and struggling, take a walk or jog outside, call a friend, take a bath, watch a movie, or anything else that might get you through the difficult moment.
- Save money you would have spent on your bad habit and indulge in something else you really like to do.