There’s a quote that says something like, ‘don’t do harder, do different’, and I know from long experience that it’s really difficult for me to go cold turkey from drinking, not because I’m incapable, but because I give in too easily to outer influences these days. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true.
I decided to use create a mind map, and figure out what would really help me when TheBeerBitch (TBB for short) starts yelling in my head.
I wrote down 6 things, mixing goals and feelings. Then I narrowed it down to what was most important to me. I came up with sobriety, comforted, and financially secure. For sobriety, the offshoots are lots of tea and sparkling water, listening to sober podcasts, reading sober books/blogs, and making sure to blog my progress as a sort of accountability throughout the month.
Now while these are great to keep in mind, they don’t really help in the moment, ya know? In “An Outsider’s Guide to Humans“, Camille Pang describes and includes a picture of her ‘decision tree’*, which she uses to plan for a specific outcome by planning ahead for what will happen if, say in my case, 3 pm hits and TBB starts yelling in my head that it’s time for a beer. Option A is drink a sparkling water, and if that doesn’t work, then A1 is put on a sober podcast. If option A works, then we move on to making dinner. If temptation starts again, then option B is…
Each option has ‘if this, then that’ branches, and branches off of those branches until, no matter what happens (that I can foresee), I have a something to do to keep me from grabbing that beer. And the goal is always that one outcome, not to drink for July. BTW, the roots of the tree are things that are necessary no matter what (the water, a journal nearby, M&M’s, lavender lotion for calming when TBB is really screaming, etc).
I’m sure this idea has been around for ages, but I don’t remember coming across it before, and I just spent 2 hours trying to remember the name of book, finally heading to the library where the title was found by the librarian, because librarians are actually mythical creatures who know ALL, and then driving to another branch to pick up a copy. Because I knew that decision tree is going to be very important in July.
*Aside, the illustrations are the author’s own, and her handwriting is a bit difficult to decipher. There’s still one phrase in a particular picture that I can not make heads nor tails of, no matter what. It would have been really helpful if they’d copied the illustrations and made them legible. IJS.
My tree will definitely have energy healing (which means family and friends are going to be receiving “hey, just sent some light to you -or your pet-!” texts. lol)
Have any of you used something similar to the decision tree? If so, what for, and did it help?
With love and hope,
©Pip Miller – June 2022