Happiness, hangxiety-free mornings, and a deeper sense of self love than I could have ever imagined.
That is what was waiting for me on the other side of quitting alcohol.
I’m proud to share that, as a recovering alcoholic, I am 72 days sober. Zero judgement to those who do drink. Everyone is different! I can honestly confess that my life became completely unmanageable when I drank. You may not be an alcoholic like me, but if you’re interested in participating in Sober October, taking a break from drinking, or quitting altogether, here are 7 tips that will make your experience more smooth, enjoyable and even enlightening.
Get outdoors. Hit the beach or go on a hike with friends. Nature calms the nerves and inspires the soul on a sober level. Don’t forget to wear comfy shoes, a hat, and sunscreen. Bring plenty of water or a sports drink.
Drink kombucha, fancy sodas, mocktails and other non-alcoholic beverages. Having something fancy and fun to sip is crucial if you’re participating in Sober October. It makes you feel like you’re still participating in the activity of drinking without actually ingesting alcohol.
Take care of yourself! Make sure you eat full meals regularly, stay hydrated, and get as much rest and quality sleep as you can. Unfortunately my alcoholic urges flare up when I am at my weakest. Taking care of your body’s base level needs will keep this weirdness at bay.
Do some journaling. As an alcoholic, my only hope of kicking the habit for good depended on me discovering why I am like this. Take a deep breath and dive deep. Analyze why you feel the urge to drink in the first place. Through some quiet introspection, light meditation and just writing all my feelings out, I realized I have social anxiety stemming from a deep fear of not being accepted or liked by other humans. Even if you are just taking a break, it’s helpful to look at your relationship with alcohol and substances with a clear and curious mind.
Notice how your friends respond to you not drinking. Are they supportive? Do they continue to stay in contact with you? Or do they sneer and proclaim that you ‘used to be cool’? When you change your relationship with alcohol, your relationship with your friends may change as well. This is the perfect opportunity to see who is really down for you and who is a fake-ass friend. Cherish the friends who support you in making healthier choices. Immediately cut off those who don’t.
Start a new hobby! Drinking and recovering from hangovers took up so much of my spare time. As an alcoholic, it was a harmful hobby that was slowly destroying my life and my relationships. I’m sure there’s something you’ve been dying to try for months or years now but were waiting for the perfect time to start. That time is now! Whether it’s a dance class, making something with your hands, helping others or learning any new skills, embarking on a new hobby will be more fulfilling and rewarding than drinking.
Rely on your real friends for support in your decision to go sober. The first 30 or so days were the hardest ones for me. I definitely couldn’t have made it without my loved ones being there by my side, telling me I could do anything. As humans, we are social creatures. No person is an island. Tell your trusted friends about your decision to go sober. Let them know their support means the world to you and that you would love it if you could text or give them a call whenever you feel stressed or tempted to drink.
As I mentioned, the first 30 days are the hardest ones. If you decide to continue abstaining from alcohol after Sober October ends, I can tell you that it only gets easier. If you decide to start drinking again next month, perhaps your relationship with alcohol will be more clearly understood after following these seven steps. And if you slip up and have a drink, try not to be too hard on yourself. Don’t waste energy beating yourself up for making a mistake. Instead, focus on the possibility of an amazing future, and focus on taking actions that only serve your greatest good.