If you’re trying to make sobriety stick this January, and you’ve made it this far, then congratulations! You deserve a huge pat on the back. If your New Year’s resolution hasn’t gone so smoothly – and 2016 is starting to feel … a bit, well, 2015 – then don’t worry, there’s plenty of time to start over. We’re only the second week in so you can’t give up yet. And as Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Whether you’re cutting back, stopping for good or taking a short break, it’s often the little things that make all the difference. Sometimes, I think that sobriety doesn’t have all that much to do with alcohol. It’s the other parts of your life that need to change. Here are 4 things you probably haven’t tried yet:
Feeling overwhelmed is a huge trigger for drinking, whereas clearing stuff out makes you feel empowered and in control. Whether it’s your bulging wardrobe, your pantry or your inbox, having too much ‘stuff’ weighs you down. How we do one thing is how we do everything, and you know what they say… tidy house, tidy mind. Whenever I am struggling to work, the first thing I do is delete 50 emails and clear the dirty mugs off my desk. It never fails to reduce overwhelm. If you’re struggling to throw stuff away, try this declutter game.
This is really helpful when you’re trying to move into new rituals. Being organised means stocking the fridge with non alcoholic drinks, so you have something nice to drink at 5pm. Or it might mean delegating more stuff to your partner or children. The key is to move things off your plate and make more time for you. Look for ways to streamline. Planning might sound boring, but when we’re boy scouts about this and come prepared, it makes life so much easier.
Hunger and dehydration should be avoided at all costs. Not only do they trigger cravings, but they make you grumpy as hell. It is tempting to grab a coffee and a danish pastry on the way to work, but a better start to the day would be a glass of water and a proper breakfast (you can have coffee after the water!). It’s no coincidence that we feel the strongest urges to drink at 5 – 7pm, when we are hungry, tired and thirsty. You don’t have to have the perfect diet in early sobriety – the most important thing is not drinking – but getting breakfast right is worth it.
Watch your social media
Our smart phones go everywhere with us, delivering a steady diet of posts, tweets, crazy cat videos and facebook updates. Depending on who you follow, social media can be motivating and uplifting or it can make you feel lonely and inadequate. So start getting picky about what appears on your news feed. Having to sift through endless posts about ‘wine o’clock’ is not helpful. If you don’t want to unfriend people you can just unfollow them. Their posts will no longer appear in your newsfeed and they won’t even know you’ve done it…
Hope that helps. Remember, nothing worth doing is easy!
The Sober School
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