I’m no expert on this sobriety thing.
Plenty of you reading this may have far more days alcohol free than me and I salute you. I cannot wait to look back at my life & have a long stretch that I remember. A life that I have been fully present and conscious in.
I can sometimes be embarrassed of these early days – yet talking to my lovely friend Sasha last week reminded me that this perspective I have is a blessing, and that documenting these early days could be helpful for me & maybe to some of you too …
Perhaps you’ve not decided to try it yet, you are still drinking and waiting for a sign, or a rock bottom to force you into life alcohol free, maybe let this be your sign.
Let the decision to try an alcohol free life become an empowering adventure rather than a fear based imprisonment.
I reread 100 days of diary entries to gather together this post so bear with me, it’s a long one. If you want the why behind my reflections, then you can read my story: why I decided to stop drinking here.
The biggest lesson I have recieved from my first 100 days of not drinking is that removing the booze is not a quick fix. I thought giving up alcohol would magic away all of my problems – it hasn’t (no shit) – but the perspective I have now is filled with potential rather than gloom & I wouldn’t swap that for the world.
Lessons Learnt from 100 Days Alcohol Free …
1.I don’t need to be drunk to lose things or to get lost.
I always put that down to drinking but turns out that side of my personality is just that, my personality – I left my passport in the back of a taxi last week, stone cold sober.
2. Community is everything.
Whilst a few years ago I went to a meeting, that has not been my path this time. However the alcohol free movement (including Club Soda & One Year No Beer) & friends both online & in real life have been so key to lean on for support and me feeling like this has been the right decision to me
3. Sometimes I will get sick of talking about not drinking – and that’s ok.
Some days it feels all consuming, and then some days I want to be as far away from talking and writing about sobriety as physically possible. Removing alcohol from my life has given me so much more space to be the person I wanted to be, and always was deep down, my life now is full of all the dreams & activities I always wished I had time for – so I don’t need to talk about booze all the time. It is only a tiny part of me.
4.Not having an off switch is hard work
Booze was my favourite off switch. Two glasses of wine and I’d feel relaxed and slightly numb. It quieted my mind. Removing the substance that helped me relax and chill out has been tough, but finding other ways to relax and new healthier coping mechanisms (some here, 5 ways to deal with a bad mood) has helped a lot.
5. I’m not perfect, with or without alcohol
Shocker right? I mean this one hurt. Unfortunately, removing the booze hasn’t magically healed my life and turned me into my perfect self. I think I can often get wrapped up in becoming the ‘finished’ version straight away. It’s a journey for a reason, trust the process and keep doing the work.
What has worked for me so far, and the advice I have to give:
1.Know your reasons.
Want to lose weight, be a better parent to your kids, finally get your shit together? Keep your reasons close to you but try – as best you can – to reframe this as an opportunity to find out more about yourself and to live a better life. Life in High Definition, the guys at One Year No Beer are great at this.
2.Find your people.
People are so important, and people that get it even more so, just one person you can call on when you’re feeling shit or when you’re feeling great can make a massive difference. I wrote about some groups and resources to help you here, and there’s also a massive instagram community if that’s your jam (it’s mine), who will lift you up when you need lifting up & provide massive amounts of inspiration and support.
3.Find inspiration and fast.
Look around you, who’s living their life the way you want too? Who’s doing cool stuff you like the look of? Seek them out, read their stuff and get inspired with everything you want to do. I read every book on giving up drinking when I first started thinking about stopping (Annie Grace’s This Naked Mind I highly recommend, as well as Sarah Hepola’s Blackout) but I also got massively inspired by yoga teachers and adventurers. There’s so much I want to do, and it is so much easier to do without a hangover.
4.Get a (new) routine.
Morning routines can be super helpful to get you off to a good start and set you up for the day, post here if you want to dive a bit deeper into that … It also helps to identify when you used to drink and put new routines in place to change your mindset. For me now, unless I’m out and about I always have a bath when I go to bed with a cup of herbal tea (no more wine and netflix) and I often go to a late night yoga class in place of Thursday night drinks.
5.Some people won’t get it, and that’s ok.
They are not your people right now. Don’t fight it or them. Be comfortable in making the right decisions for you right now.
Sorry if I lose you here to the woo woo but honestly, I think these have got me through some of the tough days. Save them on your phone, or write them down wherever you are. Take the ones that resonate with you, and discard the rest. Come back to these throughout the day. These are some of the ones I’ve picked up in my first 100 days:
- Life is easy for me (thanks Gail Love Schock for this)
- I accept myself as I am
- I am willing to see this situation differently. I can choose peace instead of this (from A Course in Miracles)
- I love and appreciate myself
- I am enough
- I am present. I am grounded. There is nowhere else I need to be
- I deserve the best and accept it now
7.Give yourself a break.
You are not going to be perfect at this, your whole life will not change overnight but you are putting in place the things you need and your future self will thank you for it. Day by day. And my life has changed quite a lot in 100 of those days …
8. Learn to say “No Thank You”.
That doesn’t work for me any more. Another piece of magic from Gail that I have held on to. You don’t need a reason, you don’t need to consistently explain yourself. It is ok to say no thank you and walk away from a situation. So often we can get wrapped up in what other people think of us, and pressured to do things we don’t want to (go on, just one drink – sound familiar?) People will learn and adapt. Add no thank you to your vocabulary and be safe in the knowledge that you are allowed to change.
So that’s my lot, here’s to the next 100 days and to the rest of my life.
All my love, as always, L xx
You can find this post linked to some of these amazing link ups