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’?

I've posted the link below and the audio will be available for 24 hrs. You can click and listen in increments. Nothing to sign up for. Easy to access (free/anonymous).

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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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

  • This way works best for me too. The thought of forever feels like such a long time and kills my momentum even further. One step, hour, day, week month at a time and extra tools xx thanks Belle

  • I think small chunks works best for me – especially at the beginning. To think further ahead would be too overwhelming.- literally a day at a time but having a bigger target in mind to aim for like 100 days.

  • How I wish spontaneous sobriety were possible. I want to shout from the rooftops, “I do not want to drink ever again, never ever, ever again!!!” and be done with it and get on with my life.

  • I’ve been doing 30 days. My brain likes the smaller increments. You are amazing for me because I listened to one of your podcasts the other day and you talked about even breaking it down into minutes such as ‘I’m not drinking right now’ ‘I’m not drinking the next 5 minutes’ etc This will compound on itself to hours and days. When I’m struggling, this is a good way for me to get past that craving. Forever and even 100 days are scary to my brain.

  • I’m telling people dry Jan, I want to do 100 though, after doing dry Jan last year felt so good carried on to nearly end of Feb. Date night stopped it. I do remember being scared of drinking again though…. I wasn’t ready…. This time I feel differently. I’m doing 100 days no matter how hard I find it and no matter what events come up I’m not drinking. I spent days 14th to 17th of Jan with lots of my extended family at my cousins funeral, who incidentally, is not with us now because of his lifelong alcohol addiction. He was 53… I was the only person not drinking…… I am continuing to not drink no matter what! 100 days!

  • Day 21
    I’m definitely telling myself that 100 days is a good enough challenge so let’s just get there. But secretly there’s a tiny voice in my head saying that it might be a bit longer than that. But I don’t want to say “forever” – that’s just setting myself up for disappointment.
    Thanks for all the work you do, Belle. It’s such a help. I can give up cheese, if I had to. I can give up alcohol.

  • ‘Until after Xmas’ kicked me off in early Dec 21. Then signed up for 1 yr coaching followed by 100 day challenge. 1 year is my current ‘big’ goal. Life without alcohol my ultimate goal. Maybe when I’m 80 I’ll review?

  • Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou listening to you atm and yes I’m a rebel and so the idea of FOREVER is frightening. I have tried so many times to stop and keep failing so I’m trying again with much more armour in my belt …you’re one of my weapons and I’m determined more than ever At age 62 this month I’m fed up with over drinking too many times
    Again Thankyou in a months time 😃

  • After having done only 21 days AF on 2 separate occasions over the course of a year, I am in favor of a “for now” perspective. I am at day 28 of a 100 day challenge. I think forever sounds daunting so I am setting realistic expectations that I am more likely to achieve. I appreciate your insight and words of wisdom. Thanks 🙂

  • Hi Belle,

    Im 56 and i still cant get it right, longest ive gone for is 12 wks. Flasbacks of my past haunt me, make me pick up the drink . I will get this and hopefully the time is now. Great audio, got me thinking . Im 24hrs at the moment. Each day i dont pick up im a different person.

  • I new right away, in my heart/mind: I don’t want this. Ever again. This is. The way drinking made me feel. I stopped. 52 days ago. For now I say: 100 days. But I feel. Never again. But do I know for sure ‘never again’. No. So. 100 days. And after that I will extend. People ask when I am gonna drink again. ‘Is it is just a ‘30 day thing’? And I say. I hope I will never drink again. But for now. 100 days. Why they ask? I say. I feel better, about me. Every day. And I want that. Even on shitty days. I feel better about me. About life. And I know. Just 52 days. But I am proud of that. And I listen. To people who know this path better. To Belle. So for now I say. For a 100 days.

    Thank you Belle for this podcast. It helps.

  • I first gave up a few years back. Even though I knew exactly how many days in my head I always ticked off that day in my diary. I felt proud, friends all said they couldn’t do it Then one scorching hot day I was sat outside where I live and a Sunday is closed everywhere I had absolutely zilch to drink in the house. No soft drinks no bottled water, you dare drink out of tap it leaves calcium in kettles etc. The only thing here was cold rose wine that was in the fridge that my husband was drinking sat outside with me. I loved rose wine. I gave in and drank it on day 136. Next morning I had hangover from hell but that was it I was hooked again. From doing 136 days I knew it actually got easier for me the longer it went. So i had just undone all my hard work. First few days of no drink for me I have the hangover that’s lasts most of the day but if I drank it didn’t seem so bad I was angry at myself and funny enough my “drink friends “ all seemed relieved I was back

    Fast forward 2 years I’ve done it again I’ve given up. I’m on day 157. My goal was I must beat 136 days then I can’t wait to tick off 150 days in my diary, now I’m looking forward to 6 months that’s my next target. I’ve gone without drinking at Christmas, New Year, my birthday, plenty of meals with friends who all drink and hopefully when I can travel my first ever holiday and plane trip which will be hard but I’m determined I have one particular photo on my phone where it is my special birthday and my son has taken it. This was 3 years ago. I look like shit. It’s in the daytime but I was away in London for weekend so must have drank the night before and guaranteed to have been drinking in the day and no doubt whole London weekend. My skin looks dried I look older. I hate that photo but I keep to remind myself what the poison does to me

    My lesson to myself is my basement is full of cold drinks that I can drink. Not a drop of alcohol for me. Having stopped drinking to go back drinking to give up again what helps is knowing I’m waking up after a good sleep, I’m super organised everything is done I want done. I’m never going back to bad sleep, hangovers, worrying if I made an arse of myself when out with friends, pretending I knew exactly how a film ended when in reality I cannot even remember going to bed waking up in sheer panic I can’t remember if I’ve got my handbag, remembering I was on the phone texting but cannot really remember what I said . No all those days are well behind me and when I see people now I’m out with and they’re getting louder and louder and slightly slurred, and repeating themselves I think your annoying as hell and that was once me

  • I knew in March 2019 that my drinking needed to change and reduced it massively but stopped completely on June 3rd 2019. I didn’t know how long I would do it for and just took a day at a time and listened to Belle. Day 700 today and still not got a goal or saying forever but don’t want to lose my streak!

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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. 😊

  • 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!!!!

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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”

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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…

  • 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.


  • “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!

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

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • 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

      • 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

  • 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?

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.