You’ve decided to get sober – an awesome decision to support your physical and mental well-being that will radiate outwards to benefit so many areas of your life. When you share your decision with a select few who are close to you early on in your sobriety, they show you support and encourage your decision. That’s awesome! Once you’ve gotten a solid streak of sobriety under your belt and start to hit your stride, you decide to tell others. The momentum keeps going until, abruptly, you get some feedback you didn’t expect and it really hurts. That’s when you realize, there are some people who won’t be supportive of your sobriety.
If you’ve already experienced this or haven’t yet, let me be clear: other people not being supportive of your decision to get sober has absolutely NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with them. Don’t let their opinions make you second guess yourself as to whether or not it’s something you should be doing if you feel good about doing it.
Do you feel like you’re stuck in a cycle when it comes to your drinking? Do you find yourself asking why you can’t seem to stay sober past a certain amount of days? Are you beating yourself up for yet again landing back at day one, wondering if it’ll ever stop and why you keep doing this to yourself?
If you nodded your head while reading any of those questions, then it’s time to get mindful about your drinking cycle. It’s important to focus on what you can learn from when you slip up, rather than focus on the fact that you’re not sober yet. Paying attention to what is instead of what isn’t will help you troubleshoot your sobriety.
Having been an online sobriety coach for over two years now (and sober for three and a half), I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about sobriety. Here are the top five I’ve come across, and what the reality is. (I originally posted this on Medium)
1) Everything will be full of sunshine and rainbows after the first few weeks of sobriety.
While the first few weeks of sobriety can be challenging, you’re unfortunately not in the clear once you get through them. It is 100% true that the days, weeks, and months to follow can be more manageable once you make it past the first few weeks (and, let’s face it, they aren’t possible unless you make it past the first few weeks), but that doesn’t mean things are going to be smooth sailing from there on out. It’s that sort of thinking that lands a lot of people in trouble. They build up a type of confidence that makes them cocky — they think they’re invincible and that their drinking problem is a thing of the past. While it’s awesome to be confident with your sobriety, I constantly remind my coaching clients that they need to be comfortable in their sobriety in order for it to really stick.
Want to play a game that helps boost your good intentions and make the right decision, with the added bonus of feeling more comfortable going forward in your life? It’s a little game I like to call “Don’t Screw Over Your Future Self” and it’s pretty easy to play.
Stop yourself whenever you’re making a decision, big or small, right before you’re about to act on your decision.
Ask yourself: “Will my future self regret it if I do this?”
If the answer to the question in step 2 is no, proceed to act on your decision. If the answer is yes, ask yourself: “What else can I do in this situation that my future self won’t regret?”
Once you have a non-regrettable decision to act on (or the least-regrettable decision in those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situations), act on that decision.
That’s how you play! But, let’s dive a little deeper into the the problem this game helps with, how and why it works, and some gameplay guidance.
Don’t screw over your future self; make decisions your future self won’t regret. Ignore the instant payoff a decision will give you and think about how you will feel in the future if you make that decision in the present moment.
The holidays (Christmas/Hanukkah through New Year’s Day) can be rough for SO many reasons. Perhaps you’re spending time with family you can’t stand, or you’re alone while everyone else is with their families. Maybe you’re facing financial hardships and can’t get everyone the gifts you’d like to give them, or maybe you don’t even have time to try to pick out presents in the first place because you’ve got too much going on in your life right now. You also might be attending parties with friends or family where alcohol will be flowing freely – but you’re trying to stop drinking and haven’t told anyone yet.
Whether drinking is your response to stress, anxiety, boredom, or celebration (or simply doing it because everyone else is and you feel awkward not to join in), you’re reading this because you want to stay sober during the holidays. I’ve had to deal with this struggle myself and help my resilient clients here at Coached by Taylor through this difficult time of the year as well.
How do you stay sober during the holidays? It won’t be effortless but no matter where you’re at in your sobriety, whether it’s day one or one hundred, here are 15 tips to help you get through the holiday season sober. These tips span a variety of different situations you might find yourself in. I encourage you to utilize as many as you can!
I have a drinking problem. Although I’ve been sober since September 4th, 2013, I still say that I have a drinking problem because it’s something I struggle with everyday. I wouldn’t call myself an alcoholic: I didn’t drink everyday, didn’t try to hide it, I didn’t drink at work or get fired due to my drinking, and I didn’t have a physical dependency on it. But for all I know, I might just still be in denial of how serious my situation was. My drinking problem was that once I started, I never stopped when it was appropriate. I drank until I blacked out and wouldn’t stop there. I’d make terrible decisions without knowing it until I came out of my blacked out stupor. However, the worst part of my drinking was the aftermath.
I originally wrote this on Medium when it had been 500 days since I quit drinking. At the time, I found that number to be incredibly intimidating, daunting, and deceiving.
September 4th, 2013 was the first day of my current streak of sobriety. I say current streak because there were many failed attempts over that summer to get to where I am now. I never thought I’d make it to 500 days without alcohol — five HUNDRED days?!
71 weeks and 3 days