DO YOU WANT TO QUIT DRINKING?
TRY FORCE FIELD ANALYSIS.
Many years ago, at work, I used to employ a Management Technique called Force Field Analysis in Project Management. Now I improvise the Force Field Analysis Model to great effect and success, in my personal life too for self improvement, to break bad habits – to change my life for the better. So can you. Let me give you an example.
It was a tough and stressful working day. It was hot and humid, I was tired, sweating profusely, my throat parched with thirst, and as I walked home late in the evening, I found myself opposite my favorite bar. I looked yearningly, tempted, overcome by a strong craving, desperate to have a glass of chilled beer. Nothing like a glass of cold beer to drive my blues away – the “panacea” to my “stressed-out” state!
But I didn’t go into the bar. Instead, I rushed to the nearest Chaatwala and had some pani-puri. The moment I put the first pani-puri in my mouth, the intense overpowering medley of sweet and sour, pungently hot, fiery and spicy flavor of the chutneys, jal jeera and “pani” overwhelmed me and made my craving thirst for beer disappear pretty fast and enabled me to stick my resolve of giving up drinking.
I had suitably improvised the concept of “Force Field Analysis” to break my drinking habit and then keep it that way. Long back, I had quit smoking too, and to stay that way, make sure I didn’t start again, I used force field analysis with great success.
Force field analysis provides a framework for looking at the factors or forces that influence a situation or activity. Restraining Forces are those which inhibit or discourage the occurrence of a particular activity and Driving Forces are those which promote, facilitate and encourage the occurrence of the same activity.
Let’s take the case of drinking. Sit down, close your eyes, and introspect. Can you identify the stimuli, the triggers, the situations, the driving forces, which create in you the desire and give rise to the urge to drink? These driving forces can be anything, internal and external tangible or intangible – people, situations, events, parties, tendencies, moods, foods, social or organizational trends, practices, norms.
Do a simple exercise. For the next week, or even a month, be yourself, live as you do, but mindfully record all the occasions on which you had alcohol and carefully list the driving forces that motivated you to drink. Was it a social event, party, friends, as an appertif before some gourmet food, smoking, dancing, “creativity”, for reducing inhibitions or enhancing excitement as a prelude to sex, tiredness, happiness, celebration, depression, boredom, the company or memories of some people, sad memories, self pity, jealousy, inner craving, addiction…? Do it thoughtfully and make an exhaustive list of the driving forces.
Now make a list of restraining forces that discourage or inhibit you from drinking. Concern for health, Wife’s nagging? Physical Exercise? Values, religious and cultural taboos, regulations like prohibition and no drinking zones, work and hobbies, social encouragement of temperance. Some types of foods too are effective restraining forces [for me, pani-puri, bhel, jal jeera, lassi are quite effective. Also I lose the urge to drink after a good meal]. Through mindful living and personal experience, record the restraining forces meticulously.
Now all you have to do is to strengthen the restraining forces, mitigate and weaken the driving forces and most importantly, where possible, change direction of some driving forces and convert them into restraining forces by using techniques from concepts like NLP, 4T etc or, best of all, your own improvised techniques [like the in lieu substitution method I have evolved for myself].
Learn how to tactfully and effectively avoid drinking. Suppose your friends try to force you, taunt you saying you are a sissy, spoil sport etc simply say, "I really must go," and leave the place. Remember what Epictetus said: If you want to do something make a habit of it; if you want not to do something refrain from doing it. I’ve also read somewhere: If want to be happily married, remain in the company of happily married people. Always be with likeminded people whom you want to emulate. If you want to stop drinking try to be in the company of non-drinkers.
Avoid situations which elicit craving. Substitute drinking for physical exercise, recreation and creative hobbies. Change your lifestyle, your friends, and your activities.
Identify your stimuli, triggers, situations, people and anchors, internal and external, tangible and intangible – the driving forces that facilitate drinking and mitigate them by improvising force field analysis as suits you best. And do let me know if it worked for you!