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!
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So agree about keeping your space uncluttered, clearing out old closet items, going through the mail, etc. Also procrastination is better to be nipped in the bud because avoiding doing something can get triggery for me. I also second the social media thing. Since I’ve stopped drinking I’ve felt the need to really keep my emotional space clean as well. Facebook can be really triggery from negative comments to sad animal stories to annoying humble braggers. I only get on now to do my happy birthday wishes and then get off before I start scrolling. Funny how these every day things can actually be quite toxic!
Thanks Meri – Keeping your ’emotional space clean’ is a great way to describe it. I think Facebook etc has a much bigger impact than we realise, especially as most us are checking it several times (or more) each day!
i have found in trying to stop drinking.. im just always thinking of how to quit. i dont have triggers like social media etc. i get bored and then on top of it i eat. I am like neurotic about keeping my weight down and as i have my drinking out of control now i am gaining and my emotional health is just gone. the emotional de clutter is a must. facing the things that are putting you in the situation to drink as well. i get bored because my entire life changed over night. now trying to not drink i have to fill my time and not let myself be home with nothing to do otherwise i will drink