Want to Stop Drinking?

It’s really hard to offer off-the-shelf advice to someone who is attempting to go alcohol-free and looking for help in the early days. We all drink for different reasons, triggers vary from person to person, and what works as a distraction for one is not necessarily going to work for another.

BUT! If I had to summarise my advice to anyone starting out on their sober journey, then it would be this;

glasswine. Broken.

a)      Alcohol will, guaranteed, have masked your emotions for all the years you’ve been drinking. Experiencing sadness, anger, excitement, joy and disappointment (to mention but a few) without booze seeping through your body taking the edge off it, demands some major getting used to. Feeling raw emotions is weird when you first put down the bottle so be prepared for this, but remember – if we do anything for long enough, that too will become the norm.

b)      The world loves to drink. It’s a fact that most people drink alcohol, so going AF (alcohol-free) will initially make you feel a bit like the odd one out. To get around this awkwardness you need to OWN YOUR SOBRIETY; be proud of the fact that you know your own mind, you no longer make an idiot of yourself on nights out and you don’t throw up in the toilets. If you are proud of not drinking, your confident stance will shine out.

c)       Fill the gap! When you quit drinking, you may feel as though you’re twiddling your thumbs, wondering what the hell to do with all that spare time and mental energy. Channel it into something exciting, pleasurable, rewarding and interesting. Not only will you no longer feel bored but you’ll start rebuilding that battered self-esteem.

d)      Pinpoint friends who you know you really like – pissed or sober. It can become apparent that someone you’ve been going out boozing with for years is actually not such a great companion when the alcohol isn’t flowing. Real friends who you genuinely like will always make for a brilliant night out – be selective!

e)      Stop doing the things you do that make you want a drink. Sounds simple – and it is! Pasta always made me crave red wine so I stopped eating it for a few months while I got used to not drinking; certain films/TV programmes had me lusting after a cold white wine to sip as I relaxed on the settee, so I watched alternative stuff. Going to the cinema rather than the pub made for a much less trigger-filled evening in the early weeks, so I spent a lot of time doing that. Be pragmatic about how you spend your time.

f)       Be kind to yourself – we can all get sucked into the world of regrets but digging your way back to a healthier state of mind is a much better way to spend your time. You ARE worth an alcohol-free life, you ARE capable of change and your life CAN be just as happy as the next person’s – you just need to believe it.

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11 thoughts on “Want to Stop Drinking?

  1. As someone looking for help in the early days (I am 2 weeks sober), I did find this post really helpful – thank you :) A couple of the points resonated with me in particular. The last one – being kind to myself (or at least trying to!) was how I got into this quitting drinking thing in the first place. It was like seeing myself from the outside for the first time, and just thinking, what ARE you doing to yourself? This is crazy. I figured out that being kind to myself had to start with stopping the booze, what I was doing was so harmful. The other point that just clicked with me was the first – over the last few days my emotions have been all over the place, and though it has been tough to deal with at times, just knowing that this is to be expected, that I am “normal” really does help. And thanks for the whole site – I find it a great support and inspiration in these early days. Hope to stay with you for the long haul. MTM. x

  2. “Stop doing the things you do that make you want a drink.”
    Early today, I heard “Margaritaville” on the radio and thought “does going sober mean I can never listen to Jimmy Buffet again?”

    Yea I have found certain songs that make me want to drink. I am trying to make playlists of music I can dance to sober. So far it is a lot of Madonna. I guess I’ve started dancing to her before I started drinking so I can dance to her sober.

    • HAHA I heard the Pina Colada song by Rupert Holmes on the radio the other day and I was like, “What’s a vacation without a pina colada?”

      I’m totally with you on the alcohol-free playlists. You don’t want to be at a party sober and try to dance to Shots by LMFAO. Not a pleasant experience.

      But there are heaps of great dance music that leaves out the drinking. Plus, Madonna is great. Haha

  3. Jane says:

    This is very helpful Lucy, thank you! I’ve been AF for almost four months now and I love your point about “owning your sobriety”. I don’t know why, but I still struggle a little in social situations, especially when people ask me about why I’m not drinking. Going AF is one of the best decisions I ever made! Instead of feeling awkward about it, I will remember how good it feels to be in control, remember conversations, have the ability to find my phone and wallet the next day and to not wake up with a hangover!

  4. CycleSal says:

    This is spot on. Very important to own the decision. Why be sheepish and apologetic for making such a fabulous life choice? Thanks Lucy.

  5. Brilliant advice! Getting sober isn’t easy but it is, without a doubt, a challenge worth taking. Feeling real feelings and fully experiencing real experiences without mind-altering chemicals seemed dull and often painful at first, but I am starting to feel and see things that I’ve never felt or seen before. Sobriety is fully worth the awkward moments and giving up that comfort glass of wine or beer at the end of the day.

    It is a gift :)

  6. I’m so glad I just read this! I have not had a glass of wine for 2 nights (should be easy, right?) and have been trying to find an excuse to go out up the road so that I can buy a bottle of red to go with tonights pasta!I might have to have soup instead – can’t imagine drinking wine with soup!

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