Michael Smith has graciously written up how he decided to quit alcohol by measuring his subjective happiness levels. He runs Teratech, an emergency service to diagnose and repair broken web applications, and he blogs at AbundantMichael.com.
"How I Gave Up Drinking Alcohol By Measuring My Daily Happiness Level"
I was working on my money issues and I was at a festival that I went to every year that I usually drank at. At that time, I usually drank most days and got drunk about once a week. I was practicing connecting and then had one glass of wine and noticed that I could no longer connect until after the "hangover" time for the wine was over a few hours later. (By "hangover" time I mean the dip in energy that occurs after the buzz of the alcohol had worn off)
Then a few weeks later I was really happy about something, I felt 10/10 happy and I decided to have a drink to celebrate. After a few minutes I checked in on my happiness level and I was only 9/10 happy. But I had always thought alcohol made you happier?! I realized that it is actually a mild depressive and it is just the inhibiting of consciousness and worries that makes it seem happier. Plus that it can be a cue for being silly or talkative.
So I decided to see if I could give it up for a year. It was hard because I had lots of sub-habits and cues about drinking. eg "its Friday evening, I am tired after work, I deserve a drink", "I am at a party and want a drink", "I am on vacation, it is lunchtime, I want a drink", "I am feeling upset, I want a drink", "I am feeling happy, I want a drink", "Someone is offering me a drink, I want a drink" etc. There were about 20 of them that I discovered over the first 6 months and I processed each using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) until my desire for a drink was 0/10. (In EFT you measure how intense an issue is on a 0-10 scale then repeatedly tap on the issue until the level is 0). After a year of not drinking at all I felt so much healthier and happier I decided to continue my experiment indefinitely. Now I don't get the urge to drink even if I am around the old cues or with others drinking. And I find I can do silly things, play or talk with strangers without a drink in my hand.