It’s beer-o’clock and you’re considering a drink.
Before you decide and act, take 1-2 minutes to go through the self-inquiry on this page. Doing so will enable you to make the best possible decision.
You can use this for the first drink of the day or the fifth and every one in between.
Watch the video for a quick explanation if it's your first time using it.
WHAT ARE YOU FEELING?
At every moment you’re having an emotional experience. Much of the time we aren’t explicitly aware of how we really feel, and when we are oblivious to our feelings, they control our behavior.
Emotions can be perceived in your body and described in terms of 3 parameters: Arousal, Valence, and Sensations.
These next questions will bring the sensory experience of emotions into your conscious awareness. When you can examine the effect your emotions have on your body and describe them in simple everyday language, they lose their power to control you.
Relax, this isn’t about sex. This refers to your general physiological arousal.
On the line of words below, pick the word that best describes your overall energetic state.
Drained Dull Flat Relaxed Calm Alert Engaged Excited Fired-up
This is the general ambience of your feeling state - pleasant/unpleasant, positive/negative. Go beyond these labels and actually feel this ambience in your body.
Do you feel:
Open, expansive, safe, inviting, bold, flowing
Closed, constricted, protective, isolated, controlled or controlling
Feel your body. Not with your hands, from the inside.
First feel the pressure on the bottom of your feet.
Now scan your body moving upward from your feet, checking for subtle sensations in your:
Shoulders and neck
Jaw, Face, Head
When you've finished the scan, bring your attention back to the strongest or most interesting sensation.
Where is it?
How would you describe the sensation?
- Is it constant or fluctuating?
- Does it feel slow or fast?
- Is it hard or soft?
- Sharp or dull?
- Does it have a color?
If possible, label the emotion you’re feeling: happy, sad, bored, angry, irritated, frustrated, guilt, shame, regret, disappointment, contempt, fear, stress, anxious… If nothing comes easily to mind, skip this.
What’s the source of this emotion? What is the situation or person that seems to have triggered it? What are the thoughts you’re having about that circumstance?
You may be wondering how to interpret your answers to these questions. There’s nothing to interpret. Your answers don’t mean anything. You’re simply experiencing some sensations. Normally your brain subconsciously interprets these sensations as a signal that you should do something to make them change or disappear.
The objective of these questions is to get you to pay attention to your body. By bringing these sensations into your conscious awareness, you have the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding whether it really is necessary to make them go away by having a drink. You can easily choose to ignore that signal saying 'do something, make me feel differently'.
It’s time to decide whether to have the drink.
Considering only the immediate future (the next hour or so), how badly do you want this drink?
What’s the sentence in your brain that’s arguing in favor of having it?
Recognize that your urge to have this drink is created by the desire to change the feeling state of Arousal, Valance, Sensations, and Emotion that you’ve just identified in the previous exercise. That sentence is an after-the-fact rationalization. Don’t read too much into it.
If you've already had some drinks - did they solve the original 'problem' of stress, anxiety, closing out the workday? In other words have you already reached your MED - Minimum Effective Dose?
Is having this drink right now in line with commitments you’ve made to yourself? Does it support your values? Would the person you’d like to be in 6 months have this drink?
(If you’re doing Drink Planning and this drink is within your plan - Party On! Enjoy it!)
Come back to your current feeling state.
Remember hard exercise you’ve done, injuries you’ve suffered, other intense emotion you’ve experienced. How does your current experience compare in intensity and difficulty?
This set of feelings you’re experiencing right now - do you think you could endure them for 2 minutes? 15 minutes? 2 hours?
Expand your perspective to encompass the next 24 hours, considering the quality of your sleep, the value of waking up feeling fresh, and also taking into account your values and commitments - how important is this drink right now?
Further expand your perspective to consider the next 6 months. How important in the grand scheme of things is to change your current feeling state by having a drink? How would skipping this drink, and one tomorrow, and next week create a positive compounding effect in your life. How does having this drink keep you mired in your status quo?
Are you going to have this drink right now? If yes, enjoy it!
If it’s a No For Now, how long until you revisit this decision?
- I’ll wait 15 minutes
- I’ll come back to it in an hour
- This is it, I’m done for the day.
This is not part of the drink decider but I've added it here in order to provide one-stop-shopping for the primary tools my clients use.
The main principle of drink planning is to DECIDE TODAY how much you're going to drink tomorrow. The short video below provides some explanation. Scroll further down the page to see the questions that make up the daily protocol.
How much will you drink tomorrow? Be specific.
What's the earliest you'll start? When will you stop? Be specific.
What obstacles may arise that will threaten your ability to stick to the plan? How will you overcome them?
What excuses will come up? What will your Inner Drink Salesman say to you? (His favorite line is 'ah come on, you DESERVE a reward.') How will you respond to these excuses?
What's your WHY for setting these constraints? What is the bigger better compounding result that you're creating in your life when you stick to this plan?