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The problem with "Just Quit"

A close friend of mine lives with an eating disorder. In recent years she has taken her story public via her work as a journalist as well as through social media. Recently, she shared a short post about the problematic use of the term ‘just eat’ for those suffering from mental health around eating. She related it to the similar idea of saying ‘just quit’ to people with addictions.

After seeing her post, I started thinking about my process of quitting alcohol. To an outside observer, it may look like I was able to “just quit” alcohol. There were plenty of things that indicated this: I quit on my own; the first time I quit I was able to maintain my sobriety for 6 months; when I drank again it wasn’t in a sudden relapse or dramatic or during a moment of weakness; when I quit for the second time it was easier than the first; because I got became comfortable saying “I just don’t want to drink anymore” and “it just wasn’t serving me”.

What the outside observer won’t see is the months and years leading up to the point where I was finally able to decide to quit. They won’t see all of the times I secretly googled “am I an alcoholic?” or “do I drink too much?” and all I found were confusing checklists for self-diagnosis. Recognizing that I didn’t quite fit that narrative, but I didn’t exactly not fit it either. They won’t see the months of waking up in the earliest hours of the morning with horrible anxiety. It was during those mornings where I knew I needed to make a change but didn’t know how. They won’t see the many blogs I had to read before I finally understood you don’t need to hit rock bottom to quit. They won’t see the mental work it took to figure out how to quit and when to quit. They won’t see how I figured out what I was comfortable telling people about my drinking, or lack thereof.

If you feel like you should be able to ‘just quit’ but are struggling, I want you to know that it’s okay. Quitting alcohol is a process that looks different for everyone. Do the work, reach out to others, read books, listen to podcasts, whatever it takes. If you do the work, eventually you will see that not only can you quit, but that you want to quit. For personalized 1:1 coaching support, check out my services page and book a breakthrough call today.

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