Freeing Your Mind by Embracing the Truth.
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain
Throughout life, there are always going to be some things that will seem outside of our control. Whether it’s controlling how our favorite team plays during the championship game, who the bachelor decides to give a rose to on any given night, or if our lucky numbers will fall in that lotto slot this weekend.
The problem with some of these situations occurs when we try to tell ourselves, through some loop in the universe, that we can control these things. We might try a number of various superstitious tricks in an attempt to put the “gods in our favor” and have things work out.
Our ancestors did it because they didn’t know any better and were looking for some way to prevent bad things from happening and encourage positive things to happen.
We do it today because we live in a world in which everyone wants to feel that they are in control of everything that happens to them, not realizing that some things are truly “up to the gods,” and our lives would be much better if we would learn to accept that.
Steve Maraboli talks about this in his book, Life, the Truth, and Being Free, in which he writes,
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.”
For many, the concept of accepting that drinking is NOT in their cards would be such a life-freeing decision.
There are those for which the concept of only drinking one or two drinks is of no consequence. They can drink half a beer or a glass of wine with little to no desire to drink more.
However, there are others (like me) for which the attempt to have only one or two drinks seems like torture, as that will only be the beginning of the night. This will be just enough to prime the pump, so they’ll be ready to get to the “real” drinking.
In the famous words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
If you are in this camp and then attempt to “cut back” or moderate your drinking, it can seem like an almost futile attempt due to the consistent pull of alcohol to draw you back into the fold of its allure.
So many people have experienced this as they try to implement a number of tricks and rules to help them “control” their drinking. Whether it’s to only drink on the weekends, every other day, or not before 5 pm, people come up with a number of different rules to be successful in this endeavor.
If you find yourself consistently breaking these rules and not being able to stay within the parameters that you’ve outlined for yourself, then there’s a good chance that you just don’t have the ability to moderate your drinking, and accepting this could just be the “trick” for which you’re looking.
EASE YOUR MIND
When you try to moderate your drinking and put different rules in place, you can become extremely frustrated, as you break them repeatedly. Your mind will often be so focused on getting to that designated time of the day or the week, that you will find it almost impossible to stay focused and in the moment of whatever activity in which you’re engaged.
As Abhijit Naskar so eloquently puts in his book, Mad about Humans: World Maker’s Almanac,
“The question is not, do you have conflicts? The real question is, are you aware of your conflicts?”
This conflict to drink or not can create constant mental pressure that could be debilitating. It can wear down your mental psyche and discipline to the point that you will find yourself giving in when you thought you were relatively strong.
The reason for this relates to what scientists call the ironic process theory or what is probably better known as the pink elephant theory or white bear problem.
In his 1863 essay describing this, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russian novelist and philosopher, wrote, “Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.”
This is exactly what moderation does to us when we are constantly trying to figure out a way to regulate it.
The more we try to not think about drinking and leave it until the weekend, tomorrow, or 5 pm, the more it can continue to drive the desire in our brain. For some, this isn’t a problem, as they do have the ability to drink as they please and not allow it to go overboard, so it doesn’t dominate their thoughts.
For others, however, who constantly find themselves putting a rule in place and breaking it and then putting another rule in place and breaking that one, there’s really only one solution that will make their lives so much easier.
JUST LET IT GO COMPLETELY
You have to accept drinking isn’t for you.
Drinking can be for others and that’s good for them, but to truly allow your brain to be free and to stop constantly torturing yourself to control something that isn’t quite controllable for you, you have to be honest that you just don’t have the willpower to do so.
Accepting this will often make your life so much easier, as it is much easier to give up something altogether than to try to regulate it.
As Jack Canfield said in The Success Principles,
“99% is a bitch; 100% is a breeze”
Once you embrace that drinking is not for you and decide to take it out of your consideration set, it will be as if a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, as you no longer have to make this decision every day.
You don’t have to decide if this weekend is going to be a drinking weekend or not. You have already made the decision that it is NOT and are free to focus on other ways to spend your time and things to do.
This decision will yield dividends, as your mind will then be free to explore so many other things that are important.
Without the weight of having to make this decision every day, your mind will slowly begin to turn its focus to other more thought-provoking concepts and the cognitive dissonance created by this daily battle will dissipate over time.
With time, the more you refuse to make this even an option, the less your mind will drift in that direction until you finally reach the point that you are free from its pull completely.
It’s not something that will happen overnight, but by accepting this one truth and not looking back, you free your brain up to focus on so many more things to create a truly amazing future.