Impulsive Drinking Habits

Mar 04, 2023


Today I wanted to talk about a habit that is so often linked with the experience of alcohol use disorder (AUD), and that is the habit of impulsivity.

Many people on The Sinclair Method (TSM) say their ideal relationship with alcohol will be when they can "take it or leave it" when it comes to drinking. 

Oftentimes, they want to have an "indifference" to it – meaning they might enjoy drinks socially or occasionally, but not feel pulled to drink more often than that.

This goal is absolutely attainable with naltrexone and TSM – and a big part of what's happening when we regain this control over alcohol is that we are breaking the habit of impulsivity:

  • We've stopped valuing the short-term rewards of an impulsive drink, and
  • We've started valuing daily actions that help us have a better future

(Side note: I hosted a workshop on this topic last week, and we cover it in our habit change courses because this is such a crucial part to TSM.)

What is a habit of impulsivity?

  • Constant pre-occupation with short-term & immediate rewards – the “now” appeal or instant gratification
  • Indifference to future consequences of today’s actions
  • Immediate rewards are always more compelling; and delayed consequences seem less severe
    • IE: relief from alcohol NOW is more compelling than consequences of hangover TOMORROW
  • The habit of impulsivity is learned, and it can be unlearned
    • Ultimately need to learn to value long term rewards (aka, delayed gratification) through the practice of greater self-control

What is delayed gratification?

  • Being able to sacrifice something in the present for a better future
  • Trading something tangible now (drinking to relieve stress) for something intangible in the future (waking up early to work out)
  • Makes today less impulsively pleasurable in order to make tomorrow more productive and secure
  • With AUD – we can fall out of habit with thinking about and valuing long-term rewards / practicing delayed gratification
  • But! Valuing long-term rewards and practicing delayed gratification can be cultivated 💪

In summary

Ultimately this is a practice of learning to think about and value long-term more than you value the short-term benefits of impulsive drinking.

☝️ What is ONE thing you can do differently today – that your future self will thank you for?

And of course, if you want to dive deeper into this topic and benefit from guidance and support, check out The Alcohol Freedom Program.




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