Do… or do not. There is no try


Do… or do not. There is no try. ~ Yoda

A philosophical blogging challenge wouldn’t be complete without Master Yoda.

Especially when he is right. While I do also think that “you’ve already failed if you fail to try” I believe that Master Yoda was talking about having the right attitude. His apprentice, Luke, was young in the ways of The Force and didn’t believe in himself very much. He didn’t have the right attitude.

The many, many times I failed at quitting drinking, giving it up for a while, or even cutting back on the number of drinks, it was because I didn’t have the right attitude. I thought, like most people, that managing alcohol consumption was all, and only, about will power. I thought something must’ve really been truly wrong with me that I couldn’t drink (and enjoy alcohol) the way my friends did. But it was never about will power. It was about good will.

While I’m not judging anyone or condemning their relationships with alcohol I am much wiser when it comes to myself now. I know that I used alcohol as a tool for escape. I used it to run away from dealing with my issues and of course, it never made anything any better.

The times I’d failed to quit I didn’t have the right attitude, about many things. I didn’t see my self, my life and everything I wanted to achieve as worth enough to change my behaviour for. I didn’t see what alcohol really meant for someone like me. I didn’t see that I had issues with self worth that were deep-rooted. I didn’t believe that I could change them. I didn’t think I needed help.

The big difference this time, and in less than a month I will celebrate my second soberversary, is that I have the right attitude. While I will never underestimate alcohol again, I know I never drink again. I know I am worth it. I know I can do this. For me, there is no try.


On February 6th 2014, four days after I stopped drinking alcohol, I started this blog. My two-year soberversary is fast approaching and my January posts, inspired by fictional philosophers who’ve inspired me with their bad-ass thoughts, is a way of celebrating my journey. I hope, in turn, to inspire you on yours.

Goodwill Hunting

“It’s about willpower Baby. You have to set yourself a limit. Decide beforehand how many drinks you’re going to have or what time you’re going to leave and be strong enough to stick to that limit.”

How many times have I heard or said this? I used to talk to my friends about my ‘drinking problem’. I would say that I didn’t know what was wrong with me and could not understand why I would allow myself to overdo it time and time again. I searched for a reason to explain why I was so weak-willed when all my drinking buddies seemed to be able to stop whenever they wanted to. They knew their limits. Why didn’t I?

But none of us understood what was really going on with me. We mistakenly saw my abuse of alcohol as only about willpower.

But it’s not about willpower.

For anyone with a problem with alcohol it comes down to a matter of goodwill.

Goodwill toward oneself.

It’s about recognizing that we owe it to ourselves, to our dreams, to our lives, to figure out why alcohol is a problem for us. It’s about recognizing that we should have our own highest good at heart. Why shouldn’t we be better, kinder, more loving, nurturing, compassionate and understanding towards ourselves?

Long lasting changes are only possible when the driving force is rooted in self-kindness, self-compassion and self-love, as opposed to self-criticism, self-denigration and self-loathing. The first set of characteristics are rooted in love and the second set are rooted in fear – fear of not being good enough, fear of not being loved, fear of failure. Yes, we know these fears intimately, don’t we?

Most people think that being able to give up drinking is dependent on willpower, but it’s not about willpower. It’s about having a solid foundation rooted within the positive intentions of self-love, of goodwill towards oneself. Willpower is rooted in struggling, which can tend to be fear based. The foundation of change has to come from a place of self-love, of trusting that we deserve to be healthy and happy and that we can be.