How to approach day 1 of not drinking alcohol
How to stop drinking

How to get past Day 1 of not drinking alcohol

When I made the decision to stop drinking alcohol it took me quite a few attempts to get past Day 1.

Here I was, age 44 having drunk red wine pretty much every night for the last twenty (or more) years, this was going to be hard.

I relied on wine to unwind at the end of the day, in my mind it was the elixir of happiness, so I wrote down all the things I loved about wine:

It made me relax

It eased my anxiety and worries

It made things more fun (I am hilarious and super-witty with wine inside me, right?)

I enjoyed the taste

After several weeks sober I looked back at that list and added some comments below each one:

It made me relax

I thought it made me relax, it just made me forget things that were on my mind until the next day. I actually found I could become quite aggressive and unreasonable after I had a drink. Alcohol does not make me (or you) relax. It made me an arsehole.

It eased my anxiety and worries

Same as above, all alcohol does is give you back what it takes away and pay it forward. The anxiety and worries are still there (but in full high definition) the next morning. Quitting alcohol caused the dark clouds of anxiety and worry to simply blow away and never come back.

It made things more fun

Having a long period of not drinking to look back on I now understand that if something is fun, it is fun, regardless of alcohol. If you attend a rubbish, boring event, it is still rubbish and boring whether you have alcohol or not. Likewise, a fun night out with great friends is fun (even more so) without alcohol.

I enjoyed the taste

Rubbish, I got used to the taste and got hooked on the addictive substance contained within it.

When I read This Naked Mind by Annie Grace (a game-changer for me), it deconstructed all my (wrong) beliefs about alcohol and by the time I finished the book my mindset had changed, I didn’t want to drink any longer.

So that’s the key, change your mindset from ‘can’t have a drink’ to ‘don’t want a drink’. Once this happened in my mind I knew I was ready for the dreaded Day 1, I was actually excited about it and keen to get stuck into my new sober life.

So after many failed attempts, I did it, I stopped, I didn’t drink that first night and I never, ever drank again (and never will).

The first week or so can be challenging, this is a huge life-change, but with all the support groups, sober-books and wonderful alcohol-free drinks, you can turn it from being a hardship into something to be excited about and embrace it.

I now consider myself ‘passionately sober’ it isn’t a chore, I am not deprived, I love my new life, I love that I am happy again – I can’t remember being this happy and at peace since I was a child. I just wish I kicked the booze sooner.

So if you are struggling to get past Day 1, my advice would be:

  1. Read a good sober book (This Naked Mind is the best in my opinion).
  2. Join some sober groups on Facebook, you can join the free, private Be Sober group here:
  3. Join the 30 day Alcohol Experiment at
  4. Arm yourself with plenty of alcohol-free drinks and have fun trying them and finding new tastes and flavours.
  5. Have fun, get excited and enjoy the journey!


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  1. NotTelling says:

    the title of this article is misleading: it is not a “how to” get past day 1 of a daily, heavy drinking habit at all. It says nothing at all about the acute withdrawal phase (the most difficult and dangerous phase), and the REAL day 1 -7 or 14. So what is the point of this article that is merely about a change of mindset in the longer term?

  2. freeatlast says:

    Acute withdrawal impacts a small percentage of people when they stop drinking, this article is aimed at people who are struggling to get past the first day of not drinking and struggling to put the bottle down for the first day so they can start their sober-journey. If anyone is suffering from acute withdrawal then the best solution is to seek medical help. Simon.

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