I get asked quite a lot how I went from drinking a bottle of wine (or more) every day to stopping drinking alcohol forever.
It wasn’t easy at the start, I found the hardest part was getting beyond the first day. After twenty plus years of drinking wine every day it was a hard
habit addiction to break, but as the days and weeks rolled by it got so much easier.
So I thought I would put together an easy to digest 10 step formula to stopping drinking, a bit of a guide if you are trying to change your relationship with alcohol and to help you on the path to sobriety.
10 Step Formula to Quitting Alcohol
You need to change your mindset about alcohol so your thinking changes from ‘can’t have’ to ‘don’t want’. The way I did this was by reading sober books, This Naked Mind by Annie Grace was a game-changer for me and I would highly recommend reading this ASAP, by the end of the book there is a good chance you simply won’t want to drink any longer.
The first 30 days are the toughest, sign up to the free 30 day Alcohol Experiment at www.thealcoholexperiment.com – it works with you day by day and virtually holds your hand. You are given video tutorials, a journal and a wealth of tools and help to really make you feel engaged on the sober journey. Make sure you check in every single day over the first 30.
It is also worth getting a sobriety counter app, so you can count the days, although some people are not so keen on these.
Join a few Facebook sober groups, here you will find other people on the sober journey who will give you support, inspiration and encouragement. The Be Sober Facebook group is private and fantastic place to find a caring community of sober warriors.
Join the Be Sober private Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1960061840706240
Arm yourself with plenty of alcohol free alternative drinks. There are so many available, I have a post here on the Be Sober website listing my favourites. Part of the fun of a sober life is trying new alcohol free drinks and discovering all the new tastes and flavours.
Pour away your alcoholic drinks, you don’t want them in the house.
Avoid temptation, if you have any boozy nights out arranged in the first 30 days I would suggest avoiding them if you think you might be tempted to drink. After a month or two you will find you will be strong enough to attend just about any event (although drunken ones are generally boring), but in the early days I chose to steer clear of alcohol based functions.
Be passionate. Try and approach the sober journey as if you have signed up to run a marathon (you can imagine the goal is initially to get to 100 days sober for example and each day is another training run). If you are torturing yourself wishing you could drink each day you are going to struggle, if you are excited by the fantastic new life you are creating for yourself it is so much easier, so get enthusiastic about it and be proud of what you are doing.
Don’t worry if you slip. It can happen so don’t beat yourself up, just dust yourself down and get back on the sober journey being that bit wiser and stronger from the experience.
Stay engaged. As the weeks and months roll past you will see so many wonderful and positive changes to your body, your mind and your life that you will very likely find that you would never consider going back to drinking alcohol. However, don’t ever think you have got it beaten, always be aware you could slip up and stay on your guard. I find the best way is to regularly engage with sober groups on Facebook and keep on reading sober books, while you don’t want to be thinking about alcohol all the time, it is also important not to forget and to stay engaged.
I also find looking back at old photos of how awful my skin looked and how bloated my face was from drinking is a great way of reminding me how much better it is to be sober.
Find new things to do with your time, when you stop drinking you will find you have more time on your hands. Use this opportunity to take up a new hobby, I like to go for a run, walk the dog, read or go to the gym. But whatever works for you, the point is that you should keep yourself busy and involved in activities that keep you away from alcohol. An added bonus is that this often involves you getting fitter and healthier – unless your passion is baking cakes!
Don’t be afraid of taking the first step, it can seem very daunting at first but there is so much support around. Other members of the sober Facebook Groups will help you every step of the way and before long you will be the one helping other people who are approaching day 1 of sobriety with a sense of fear.
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