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Hey guys, Chris Scott here.
I want to make a quick video about what I consider to be the three secrets to quitting drinking and beating alcoholism.
Honestly, I don’t like the word ‘alcoholism.’
I don’t refer to myself as an alcoholic (or anyone for that matter). It’s just a word that we have, and I don’t have a good replacement.
I’m in my fifth year alcohol free. I’ve seen hundreds of people emerge from brutal alcohol addiction using the three tips that I’m about to share with you.
I call them ‘secrets’ because they’re not promoted often. They’re not shared with people by clinicians dealing with alcohol addiction or by treatment centers. Maybe there’s one or two out there.
Generally, these are basic recommendations that should not be controversial. But for some reason, they are. I think it’s because they threaten the primacy of the spiritual method that dominates the status quo in addiction treatment.
I can tell you that I would not be making this video if I had not discovered these three strategies—which, as you’ll see, are all kind of interrelated.
Secret #1: Restore Your Biochemistry
The first secret is to restore your biochemistry proactively.
That sounds complicated, but all I mean by that is go to the gym, fix your diet, stop eating sugar [sugar promotes alcohol cravings] and take supplements that can help to prepare your body in your brain.
Take amino acid precursors for neurotransmitters. You need vitamins and minerals as cofactors for enzymes during various bodily processes. You may need calming herbs if you’re freaking out. There are many things that can help.
I didn’t realize that the cravings I felt when I got out of detox were not a permanent state of existence. Usually post-acute withdrawal lasts around a year for people who are fairly healthy.
It won’t last that long if you use supplements.
Symptoms of post acute withdrawal range from cravings, to insomnia, to anxiety, to depression, to anhedonia—which is pleasure deafness [the inability to feel pleasure caused by dopamine deficiency].
You can make those symptoms disappear in a matter of weeks. You don’t have to wait around for a year feeling like crap if you find supplements that work for you.
The zeitgeist of our broader culture now is obsessed with nutrition; obsessed with subjects like gut health, nutritional hacks for various conditions, and mental health issues.
People are discovering that amino acids can cure their anxiety or their depression. They’re finding things like l-tryptophan or 5-HTP help them with sleep. They’re finding that DLPA or l-tyrosine help them with energy levels, along with adaptogens like ginseng and ashwagandha.
[Supplementation] can be very helpful. Yet for some reason, people who are struggling with addiction don’t tend to hear about it.
It’s a matter of time before the revolution going on—in nutrition, Functional Medicine and holistic health—starts reaching the people who need it most: victims of the current addiction epidemic.
Opioids kill tens of thousands of people every year; alcohol kills close to a hundred thousand people, and yet somehow it gets a pass.
In my view, [alcohol is] a worthless toxin—a poison, an exhausted resource—that I’ve been there and done that with.
I don’t judge anyone who drinks. My close family and friends drink. But my view of drinking tends to be, “This is the toxic poison juice that my dear friend or family member needs in order to get on my level!”
Because I feel pretty darn good all the time and I don’t need it.
Secret #2: Proactively Build New Neural Pathways
This brings me to my second point: To proactively build new neural pathways to dissolve the alcohol or drinking neural pathway.
There are certain triggers or cues that activate [the alcohol craving] neural pathway, which is laced with dopamine, and which tells you to drink.
Perhaps for you it was boredom. Perhaps it was a social cue or trigger, like seeing people who you’re close with drinking. Perhaps it was trauma, or perhaps it was your negative thought patterns that beat you up.
Whenever those thought patterns occur, that pathway gets activated and you’re no longer trying to figure out how to deal healthily and proactively with those negative thoughts.
You’re already thinking about how much that bottle of liquor costs and where you can get the money to buy it right now because that’s what you’re going to do.
I’m very familiar with that process. It’s a horrible, vicious cycle.
The only way to make that pathway and the associated cravings disappear is to construct new pathways in the form of new activities.
For me it was hitting the gym.
In early recovery, I almost relapsed dozens of times. But every time that vicious cycle would start and I would start thinking “Okay, I need a bottle of vodka!” I would interrupt it by going and just starting to work out.
Maybe I would just strap my shoes on and run. I didn’t even know yet where I was going to go. I started calling this my “impulse jog.”
Over time, my brain under stress began to automatically light up the exercise pathway instead of the drinking pathway.
Maybe I would see a billboard with people on the beach drinking Coronas or whatever. Then I would actually get a craving to go to the gym!
As weird as that sounds, it can be done. Really, it’s just a matter of repetition.
You want to build new neural pathways by accumulating new experiences with a new mindset; a new set of beliefs about what you’re doing.
Part of constructing those new neural pathways is also reframing alcohol as something toxic that’s an exhausted resource for you. If you don’t reframe alcohol as a negative, then why would you search for new healthier things in the first place?
Exercise was my biggest distraction in early recovery that helped me build new neural pathways, but it was just the tip of the iceberg.
I wrote lists a lot after I quit drinking, just trying to expand my sense of possibility. What are the things I want to do?
It turns out that I had lots of things I hadn’t even thought about because I had wasted so many years drinking.
I wanted to go to certain museums; I wanted to visit certain cities. I haven’t accomplished all of the things I wrote down yet.
I’m in my fifth year alcohol-free and I haven’t had time to learn how to surf—that’s been on my to-do list!
Maybe you want to get back into painting or architecture or become a connoisseur of cooking. The possibilities are endless.
But you need to know what some new alternatives are that you’re going to give a try.
These activities will lace your brain with dopamine over time and eventually, light it up in the same way that the idea of drinking lights up your brain now, if you currently have alcohol cravings.
If there’s something that I could tell myself back when I was trapped by alcohol it would be this: Don’t worry, your cravings are going to go away, but you have to rewire your brain through repetition and with a new mindset and while supporting your biochemistry.
You can create the same sense of excitement with which you’ve imbued that nightly glass of wine or scotch or 6-pack of beer.
Alcohol simply monopolizes neurochemicals that are already in our brains, along with emotions that really are best reserved for real experiences.
It’s just an artificial high. Alcohol is a waste of time and it makes you feel great for no reason.
But it always makes you feel great for a very limited period of time, at the expense of those precious neurochemicals; it depletes them rather than making more available.
Secret #3: Identify Your Missing Links
The last secret that I’d like to discuss here is to determine what your Missing Links are—especially if you’ve tried to quit drinking in the past!
If you’ve tried and failed to quit drinking or beat alcohol addiction, there’s probably something that you haven’t tended to.
Now a lot of people beat themselves up and they say, I haven’t been honest with myself or I’m a bad person or this is a character defect or this is a permanent disease or relapse as part of the process.
I don’t really believe any of that.
What I see most often with my private coaching clients [as an alcohol recovery coach] is that people fail to address one or more things that need to be addressed, if not resolved, in order for them to break up with alcohol and move on with life.
Some of my clients with PTSD, for example, had to join a PTSD support group in order to stop using alcohol to deal with their PTSD.
Maybe they had the longest break they’d ever had using supplements and exercise and changing their diet and allowing themselves, being kind to themselves, allowing themselves to get more sleep, allowing themselves to go get back into yoga and get a massage. They started seeing the light. But then they would have some horrible flashback and that would bring them back to the bottle. They needed to deal with the PTSD or the trauma.
I’ve had other clients who have a kind of spiritual yearning.
I think that was the case for me. I was stuck in a dead-end job. I’d always wanted to run my own business, which I do today. It took years of figuring out how to do that.
But the second I made the decision to stop stagnating and take a risk—because for the first time in my life, I thought “I’m worth that risk!”—it’s like something that had propelled me toward alcohol was suddenly not there anymore.
My sense of spiritual stagnation disappeared. Before I quit drinking, I was not forging the identity that I needed to forge for myself.
It was not a financial issue, it was not a career issue. It was a spiritual yearning. It was that I had been afraid to prove to myself that I could do something that I’d always wanted to do.
While that wasn’t the root cause of my addiction to alcohol—alcohol addiction is a physical primarily a biochemical disorder—I think that one of my Missing Links [which I haven’t talked much about until now] was that spiritual yearning; that desire to see what I could become and construct that identity.
I think I had to deal with that by leaving my cushy finance job and striking out of my own and being really poor for a while to figure out what I was made of.
It was like a weight was lifted off my chest.
Now for other people, it’s sometimes much simpler. You know I’ve dealt with people who have a serious, maybe lifelong nutrient deficiency or perhaps a GABA deficiency; that’s a neurotransmitter that allows you to be calm.
Once they start supplementing with something like L-glutamine or even supplemental GABA, or they start integrating things like Swedish massage or yoga, or maybe just a daily walk into their lives, they fix that root cause which is physical and then they stop craving alcohol.
Cover These Three Bases!
The bottom line is that if you are trying to quit drinking or beat alcoholism for good you’re going to have a much better shot if you have these three bases covered.
The biochemical pillar, the physical restoration pillar, is the most ignored topic in addiction recovery.
It’s not a matter of just saying “I’m going to have a salad at this restaurant because it’s healthy!” It’s a matter of actually being proactive about which supplements can help you feel better and which diet changes are best for you, and which exercise is best for you, and so on.
It’s about really digging into it and trying to optimize your body, because your body and your brain are inseparable.
If you can optimize your brain then you can get rid of cravings, anxiety, depression and insomnia while also constructing new neural pathways; accumulating new experiences with a new mindset.
Try to reframe alcohol as something that’s an exhausted resource for you. The psychological pillar has been obscured by the puritanical, spiritual model. People learn powerlessness instead of empowerment. Empowering yourself is hugely important, and it was really helpful for me.
Then last but not least, finding your individual missing links will be very helpful for you.
If you’ve failed repeatedly to quit drinking, there’s usually one big thing that you’ve failed to address or to identify or to resolve.
You don’t have to resolve it completely but just start making attempts to deal with it, just like my clients with PTSD. As soon as they started doing something about it, changing their tactics a little bit, or tweaking their strategies, they were able to start making more progress.
I wanted to keep this video short and I hope it’s been helpful for you.
If you would like more information, or if any of this resonates with you, then check out my website. I have a book, “Drinking Sucks” and also it’s a paperback on Amazon now.
If you need support, then don’t hesitate to check out my online course, which is called Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0.
If you’d like to talk with me personally, I do one-on-one sessions with people in the form of alcohol recovery coaching.
I’m not a doctor. I’m not a psychiatrist. I’m not a rehab center. But I’ve found that it’s very helpful for some people to discuss their experiences and to learn from someone who has many years under his belt of dealing with this stuff and not just feeling okay in recovery, but feeling recovered, balanced and happy.
So, that’s about it for today I hope you enjoyed this and if you did give me a thumbs up, subscribe on YouTube and stay posted for more!
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