Day 12 of The Alcohol Experiment: WILLPOWER!
Willpower is a finite and exhaustible resource.
I cannot stress enough what a revelation that was to me when I first read it in This Naked Mind. Willpower is a FINITE and EXHAUSTIBLE RESOURCE. Running out of willpower does not mean you are weak. OMG! I am not a weenie! I am not a weakling! I just have a zillion decisions, big and small, to make on a daily basis and by the time I get to the end of the day my willpower well runneth dry.
What a relief, what a weight lifted, to know that there is scientific evidence proving that willpower does not offer free refills.
Is this a major lightbulb for anybody else?
So if I let a glass of wine be an option, as firmly resolved as I may be at the beginning of the day, by the time the witching hour strikes and I am worn down from #sahmlife, that glass that was so easy to say no to earlier in the day becomes truly, completely irresistible. I literally cannot resist it, ‘cause Mama ain’t got nothin’ left y’all.
Before Dry January, before This Naked Mind, any time I tried to lay off the booze I did it with sheer willpower and white knuckles. It was exhausting and irritating, doing it that way. If I made it to the end of a day without wine, I would feel an ounce of pride and about twelve thousand pounds of misery. It. Weighed. Me. Down.
My willpower still gives out way more often than I’d like. I have had a lot of trouble with sugar cravings since cutting out booze, especially in times of extra stress. During my dad and stepmom’s recent visit, I would routinely retreat into my pantry and stuff my face with any salty or chocolatey treats I could find – and then I was sidelined for four days with vomiting and extreme fatigue. I think this was part legit stomach bug, part stress and angst, and also my body’s reaction to a multi-day junk food onslaught (but at least I didn’t drink!). Dealing with my parents took so much out of me that I had NO control over my food cravings and made myself sick.
So, yeah, willpower gives out. And I personally need to work on how to cope in a healthier way when that happens.
But it’s not our fault. And that can be so empowering if you let yourself believe it.
Also in this lesson: don’t drink because you’re bored. Let yourself be bored. In boredom lies creativity and maybe even genius. How great is that?!
[The Alcohol Experiment is a free, interactive 30-day program designed by Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind. For more information: www.alcoholexperiment.com.]