Quit forever, or for now?

It seems like the words shouldn’t make a difference, but they do.

Do you quit drinking "forever"? or "for now"?

As a test, we compare quitting drinking to giving up cheese. Do it forever, or for now? And what happens when you frame it as ‘forever’?

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​Sober Podcast 317. ​Quit Forever, or For Now?

​Question: ​After you listen to the audio, tell me how you think about this question. What kind of thinking works best for you? Post a comment below.

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Belle

I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • JulieB says:

    I love the cheese comparison, taking the word alcohol out of the choice really lays out the mad stuff we do to put off stopping. I’m on day 86 and counting. I got it very hard to commit to 100 days, started with dry Nov and because I’ve been getting your daily messages for a few years I decided to get your book. I couldn’t even imagine 100 days especially when they included Christmas, New Year and my birthday. So I said 30 days first as that went by I realised I’d hit 50 days on 20th Dec, so went with that. You spoke about how the 2nd 50 is like a jog home ie much easier, so I thought about the new year and how disappointed I would be if I broke it and that it could take me ages to get to day 1 again, so I went with it. Guess what, Christmas, new year and birthday were all lovely and I hadn’t conked out on the couch and missed half of them!! This made me very proud of myself. I’m signed up for your jan 100 days and this will edge me towards 180. So it’s bite sized chunks for me, I’m not near the forever space and taking nothing for granted. Loving the new sober me. Thanks Belle

  • Brighteyed says:

    Truly, a great audio. I loved your clarity. It answered a few questions that had arisen for me. I aiming for 100 days and I will see where to go from there.

  • Fes1 says:

    Hiya, I think I say not now – forever feels too big and I suppose the ultimate ‘sacrifice’ whereas 100 days, dry January, a year or anything time bound feels much more manageable and gives you time and distance to make an informed choice. That seems to work for me best. 😊

  • Katie says:

    Totally agree with not saying forever!!!I like the idea that I’m too busy,which I am!!!I feel like some people want me to drink again and be in there gang,they don’t like that I’ve broken away,so they’d be quite happy to see me fail.a lot of people just don’t get it!!!ive done 2 lots of 100 days and now my years sober date may 4th is coming…..there’s no way I’m going back to that hell!!!!

  • P says:

    Not “never” but “indefinitely” … (at least 100 days as of Jan 3rd, 2021)

  • Yessa says:

    Wow. This is the first time I’ve actually listened, rather than read, your advice Belle. This has blown my tiny newly-sober mind. I have a lot to learn. I like how your audio is exactly the same as the way you write.

  • Busby says:

    I haven’t been able to say forever, I have said 100 days but when/if I get to 100 I am anxious I will think that’s it. I find my reasoning is for other people, who ask ‘you’re not stopping forever though?’ and my answer is for now, today.
    I really can’t go back to day 1, and it’s this which is keeping me sober
    Thank you so much Belle life is good

  • germanlena says:

    I’m wondering if we can/do actually and actively USE this distorted “I’ll start later”-thinking in the terms of “okay then … I’ll start drinking later and later and later”

  • hdanielsuk says:

    For me, my goal was literally hour to hour for the first few days (the longest days of my life). I gradually moved my goal to days, weeks, months, years. “Later” is my unidentifiable date far far away (2041) – my head can deal with this date as long as I engage in maintenance, self-care and of course, rewards for doing this amazing thing I’m doing.

  • Happysundaymorning says:

    I wish so much I‘d never ever have the urge to drink again. Which means to never again face neither outer pressure (social/drinking expectations) nor inner pressure (dealing with intense emotions). But I know this is not possibe because these situations WILL happen. If there was no alcohol anymore on this world, I‘d be happy to commit for forever. So the only thing I can do is to commit for TODAY and 30 days of #DryJuly – and then I hope to reach for the next milestone which will be 3 months / 100days. And every good and f* day recommit for today. Saying this right now from the perspective of day 19, having failed after 290 days.

    • Em says:

      Hiya happy Sunday morning! I wouldn’t exactly say you’ve “failed”…. after 290 days of sobriety… 🙂

  • Em says:

    I don’t think I’ve said “forever” to myself. But what I did need to come to terms with was whether life was better than when drinking. And this took me months to decide….
    At the beginning I couldn’t commit to 100 days … I hadn’t ever made it to more than a few days …
    But once I got past 2 weeks then I did need to commit to at least 30 days. Now I’m just content with “I don’t want to drink today”
    “Forever” thinking doesn’t help me but I do need to feel something is worth it , especially on hard days. 😊
    But even on hard days , I don’t think alcohol will improve anything…

  • Chris C says:

    OMG, this podcast is sooooo timely. I’m day 28 of my 30 day challenge and I don’t want to start drinking again, but the enormity of forever keeps weighing on my mind. Wolfie is congratulating me on my (almost) 1 month off and says that I should feel proud and celebrate with just 1 or 2 drinks. Now it will be different, right?

    Your words and other peoples comments have just helped me commit to the next 30 days. I’m not saying forever, just not today.

    Thanks

  • K says:

    So much wisdom here. So much truth. Sigh. Yes hard to start again. Wolfie alive and well in this head.

  • Oaktwig says:

    “It was always later, it was not never. It was simply later”. That sums it up perfectly. Makes things less final, makes the ultimate goal – quitting drinking – seem possible. At the beginning, it’s super hard to imagine your life without alcohol (“I will not drink alcohol, not ever. Not even a sip. How can I live like this?”). Telling yourself “later” instead of “never” is the best way to quiet that angry voice. And it’s not even a lie! Who knows what I’ll be drinking in, let’s say, 50 years? 🙂 All I know is that I’m sober for now. And I want that “now” to go on and on and on!

  • Margo C. says:

    When I stopped smoking I knew I wanted it to be forever. No question. Why does “forever” feel so different with alcohol?

  • Emma says:

    For now is easier than forever, forever scares the shit out of me! For now I’ll be sober x😊

  • Lulu says:

    Hi Belle, thank you so much for the podcast this evening. I’m on Day 81, and this evening I was really longing for a glass of wine, in a way I hadn’t in ages, and I was trying to figure out why. Listening to the podcast, I realised I had forgotten about Wolfie!!! He was loud earlier this evening but I thought it was my voice. All the ‘but why can’t I ? It’s one of life’s pleasures,etc (whine whine).
    I think I had been focusing on ‘forever’, rather than ‘for now.’ Also, yesterday, I spoke to a friend who I go on holiday with every year, 3 of us pals go together to Spain, and I’ve known that the next holiday could be difficult as one of the group has an issue with alcohol, and it would be a challenge for me to maintain my sobriety within the atmosphere engendered by my not drinking. All along, I’ve been thinking that that will be my most major challenge as it will be difficult to not be drinking with them, it’s such a part of our holiday, and this friend would feel threatened, and so when she asked if I was still not drinking yesterday, I replied,’Yes, but I can’t see myself not drinking in Spain.’ I said that to reassure her, ( taking responsibility for her feelings!) but it also echoed my fears, so instead of my mind thinking ‘it’s going to be difficult,’ my mind was saying ‘I won’t be able to do it.’ Hence today. And a ‘what’s the point, if I’m not staying off it forever?’ feeling. So I’ve learned a big lesson. The words you say will create your reality. So for now, I’m going to save my energy for rescuing myself, I’m the only person I’m responsible for. Thank you, Belle, for the timely podcast.
    PS, Also thinking that maybe by Day 81, feeling good is the norm, and I’ve forgotten the day long hangovers, only remembering the short lived pleasure. Have a great weekend!

  • Kath says:

    I feel like if I give myself a limit, I will start drinking again sooner. I need to commit to be sober. Not saying forever, but as long as I can.

    • Belle says:

      and if you are having a hard time getting going, it’s because the goal is too big. it’s easier to start and get traction if the goal is 100 days to begin. hugs from me

      • BMO says:

        I’m having trouble getting going so this podcast was perfect timing I’m thinking of setting small goals because it’s not forever and I know I can extend and I’ll won’t to as soon as I start feeling the benefits my new day 1 disappointed in myself but July 20 2020 is a good number I’m feeling 🙏
        Thanks Belle

  • James L says:

    I’m on day 91. I can make it to 100 from here. But Wolfie says I deserve to drink after day 100. FUWolfie.
    I’ve been thinking about all of the rituals that go with drinking. I think there is more to addiction than just alcohol. Thoughts?

  • Amanda says:

    When I quit smoking I purposefully used “stopped smoking” because I had set myself up for failure previously and didn’t need the self-deprecation that I poured on when I failed to “quit.” That is how I am kind of approaching this. At the beginning of July I went two days without booze, and then gave in to Wolfie. I then restarted after a couple of days-I am on day 13 now so I think this approach is working. Eventually I might get past July and in the 13 days I have had to have chats with Wolfie, and get mean and stern and the temptation goes away. Your quote from the other day “If I quit now, soon I will be right back where I started, which was desperately wanting to be where I am now” seriously brought it back around for me and has given me inspiration. I feel great, I look better, I am more hydrated, it just makes sense to keep going, I don’t want to start back at zero…so for now, I need to stop “for now” and maybe it will eventually be “forever” – one day when I lose count, I’ll know that I have made it but I don’t think it will be a conscious switch, it will just happen 🙂 Thanks for your audio-your voice is soothing at this point in my journey so I really appreciate that!! I’ve only been able to listen to about ten minutes of your podcast so far so might have more insight later if that is okay. <3

  • Dee says:

    Totally a no brainer if you ever get to experience the beauty of living sober. Everything and I mean everything improves. Just went for a four mile run which would not have happened had I been doing my usual drinking. Did I mention I lost 15lbs too!! Life is not just so much easier it’s amazing. Learning things about myself just about every day.

  • Vashon says:

    The FB live video about improved mental health… I’m jumping up and down shouting “yes, yes, yes!!” This feels like a precious new gift that I was not at all expecting.

  • narunner says:

    Thank you Belle. xx

  • SobrietyUnlocked. says:

    Great audio. Best reason to be sober: all of it.
    It’s easier, anxiety reduces (even social anxiety, which was surprising), the problems that don’t go away are easier to manage (and lots of problems do just go away), feeling proud of me, and, it’s easier. Did I mention that it’s just easier to be sober. Yeah. That.

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