How often in the drinking days do we tell ourselves 'I'm NEVER drinking again' only to find ourselves, after the hangover has abated, be it the next day, a couple of days or a week down the line convincing ourselves that we weren't that bad, asking questions about why everyone else it drinking so why shouldn't I, and the chestnut, I am sure I can moderate this time, after all not drinking AT ALL is so extreme!
There is a paradox here. We need to set the intention to stop drinking for good, or for a period of time long enough for it to feel like it's worth doing, to create a firm boundary and give us a bit of oomph. Like sober blue sky thinking, we imaging how great life will be without feeling like this, how our skin will improve, all the energy we will have but then the nuts and bolts of sober living take a shift from a macro perspective to a micro one - managing our lives and stressors and changing this addictive habit one trigger, one craving at a time. The thought of ‘forever’ can be scary so don’t think too long term if it freaks you out.
Take it day-by-day, step-by-step. ODAAT, or ‘one day at a time, ‘is one of our favourite sober mantras because it’s practical, manageable, and actually true. A great deal of fear and resistance in the early days comes up when we are ‘future tripping’, negatively fantasising about how we will get through a holiday in six months’ time or a wedding or next Christmas. When you feel yourself start to future trip, bring it back to today and put one foot in front of the other.
Working with habit change, getting a support group around you, checking in each day recruiting nearest and dearest trusted people and getting role models in the sober sphere such as sober celebs or people whose qualities you admire is powerful in helping to support the daily process, as is connecting with your WHY. Setting milestones of 100 days and then the next 100 days, sober treats and rewards all help to get you through the early part of the stick habit change. It does feel like hard work because it is hard work and takes effort , but it needn't be dreadful, and with support and a toolkit of treats, quit lit, podcasts and ways to release stress it can actually be pretty exciting. And as Irene Cara said in Fame ' Awesome AF living costs and here's where you start paying - in sweat.' We may have adapted that.. but the message is an old one, anything worth having usually takes effort. And it gets easier and easier. It WILL NOT always feel a struggle - it will feel normal at some point.
Although we are passionate advocates of living alcohol-free, in our experience the confidence and clarity that comes with sobriety appears further down the line. There is a lot of faith involved in the beginning. You will feel better straight away because of the lack of hangovers, sure, but Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day. It’s normal to feel emotional and tired as you get used to this new habit. It does require effort and tenacity but it can be fun too. And it is worth it, we promise you.