About an hour after I posted my blog last Wednesday I received a phone call from a man named Joel.
Joel called to tell me a really interesting tale about his own life.
He was raised by two alcoholic parents and by his early teens he was consuming a couple of beers each day. By his early 20s his daytime hours were spent working menial jobs and his evenings were spent consuming as much alcohol as his small paychecks would allow.
Joel described himself as a “high functioning alcoholic.” He explained that because he had started drinking early in his life, he had developed extreme tolerance for alcohol and was able to hold down a steady job without arousing suspicions of any of his coworkers.
He was even able to hide his excessive drinking from Belinda, his fiancée, who he married when he was 29. The marriage lasted less than a year because, “after she moved in with me I was no longer able to hide my drinking from her.”
Finally acknowledging his problem to himself, Joel joined AA – several times. Each time he would experience a few weeks of sobriety, convince himself that he had beaten this affliction, quit going to meetings and, begin drinking soon thereafter.
Five years ago, at age 42, with a freshly minted drunk driving conviction, Joel realized that unless he found a permanent solution to his daily drinking, he was destined for an ever – increasingly difficult life.
He decided to employ a simple strategy to help address his challenge. Each time he found himself craving a drink he would look at his watch and wait 30 minutes. If, at the end of 30 minutes, he still wanted that drink – which invariably he did – he indulged his desire.
During the first week of this new activity he discovered something interesting. During those 30 minutes he spent very little time thinking about the drink. So at the beginning of week two he decided to up the ante and extend his waiting time to one hour. Same result – very little time spent anticipating and waiting for the hour to be up so that he could have his drink.
At the beginning of the third week he increased his waiting time to two hours, and then three hours and four hours and each time he increased his waiting period, he found it easier and easier to avoid having that drink.
Joel had discovered the power behind the Habit of the Seven Second Delay. He very quickly learned that if his first waking act each morning was to mentally set his timer for 24 hours, then he could easily go the entire day without a drink, and the next day and the next.
Joel has been sober for five years now. He no longer needs to set the timer as drinking is no longer part of his conscious awareness. He is convinced that the pathway to acquiring any new behavior is to put off doing the old one for ever lengthening periods of time.
The Habit of the Seven Second Delay provided Joel with the opportunity to shed himself of a debilitating addiction and to carve out a life that he loves.
He asked me to write about his story and to let you know that every moment we spend not giving in to temptation brings us a moment closer to our own personal salvation.
Thanks Joel. You have taught us all a valuable lesson well worth learning.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
P.S. My company, Strategic Pathways, recently introduced our newest Personal Coaching experience called Boot Camp for Your Brain. Please click here and take a peek at our Ebrochure
My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
– Robert French – an accomplished author – recently posted a flattering review of my book, Life Sinks or Soars, the Choice is Yours. Please click here and take a moment to read it.
– Here is another review of my book by Actionable Books.
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