It’s the start of a bright, shiny new month – the perfect time to turn over a new leaf and get back on track with your sober goals.
I know that quitting ‘forever’ is really intimidating. (If there was one thing sure to make me think ‘I can’t do this’ it was the idea of never drinking again.) I think focusing on shorter, more achievable goals is a much better idea. Before you know it, a month becomes 6 weeks, then 100 days and boom – suddenly you’ve changed a habit and acquired a happy, hangover-free lifestyle.
If you want to feel a whole lot better by the start of September, here are 5 tips to help you have an amazing, alcohol-free August!
1 – Upgrade your habits
If you remove alcohol from your daily routine and don’t replace it with anything, you will feel the gap. Stopping drinking isn’t just about quitting booze – it’s also about finding new, healthy coping mechanisms. Spend some time thinking about what your triggers are; the times, places and emotions that make you most want to drink. Then focus on what it is that’s really driving that habit. What are you looking for in booze? Is it relaxation, escapism or a signal that the working day is over? Start to think about what you can do to get the same outcome, without alcohol. Be positive here: when you put your mind to it, the possibilities are endless.
2 – Set yourself a physical challenge
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: one challenge is quite enough, thanks! But hear me out. A physical target has lots of benefits; it will help you with focus, confidence and give you something to do with your free time. Regular exercise releases happy chemicals into your brain and this is a lovely time of year to get outside. You don’t need to run a marathon or climb Everest – trying to do 10,000 steps a day or a couch to 5k running programme is quite enough.
3 – Plan ahead
In early sobriety, winging it or ‘seeing how it goes’ rarely works. I know planning doesn’t sound very sexy, but when we’re boy scouts about this and come prepared, it sets us up for success. For you, planning ahead might mean deciding in advance what you’re going to do on Friday evening (if that’s a tricky night for you) and making a plan for how you’ll handle any cravings. It might mean working out what your soft drink options are in the pub, deciding what you’ll say to friends or whether you should go out in the first place. Planning also gives you the opportunity to add in lots of treats and fun stuff too. You’re doing something really amazing right now so look after yourself.
4 – Educate yourself
Alcohol is the only drug on the planet that you have to justify not taking. So it’s really easy to forget that we shouldn’t need to consume a mind-altering drug on a daily basis. If you’re relying on booze just to cope with day-to-day life, it’s a sign that something may be wrong. In the long term, you need to think about the bigger picture – what can you do to create a life that’s so good, you don’t need to drink through it? A good place to start is by opening your mind to new ideas. Use your new-found spare time to explore things like mindfulness, self help books, motivational podcasts and articles on addiction. If you could spare 20 minutes a day for reading (or listening) who knows what you might have discovered by the end of the month.
5 – Start before you’re ready
There is never a perfect time to stop drinking. There will always be something: a wedding, a holiday, a stressful project at work, your inlaws visiting, etc etc. So try and resist the temptation to ‘wait until next week’! When you keep putting something off, it starts to feel more and more impossible. But when you start taking action it gives you an amazing sense of achievement and a confidence boost. You’ll be able to look back and think ‘well, if I can get through that, I can do just about anything’.
August 1 is my birthday. I’ve been trying to figure out how to quietly quit drinking for some time. Today is the day.
Happy birthday Holly! What a great day to be doing this – I reckon it’s the perfect way to start another year. Good luck 🙂
What a timely article, I too decided today was the day for a fresh and sober beginning. Happy August!
Here’s to a hangover-free August!
For the early days it is fun to save up the money you would spend on booze on a jar. Wait and see how much you have at the end if the month! X
I’m reading this while enjoying a booze free holiday. I think I am going to try yoga when I get back as a new challenge. Thanks for the tips x
Today is just 2 days shy of 5 weeks sober. I can honestly say planning and my consistent yoga practice has definetly helped.
It’s hard to admit that I used to go to yoga drunk sometimes or so hungover I couldn’t concentrate. It is the one thing I truly love drunk or not. Since I’ve been sober it has helped me stay accountable and I can go with a clear head and know that I’m around like minded people and I’m truly taking care of myself. It’s honestly been my savior!
I know I can’t be the only person who has ever gone to workout drunk. Not proud of it, I feel good knowing it’s not going to happen again.:)
Been trying on and off and been back to square one recently. Didn’t drink last night and decided after reading this that its going to be the start of a booze free August. Getting past day three will be the first challenge and then a whole week. I’m hoping to use the evenings (when I normally sit and drink in front of the TV) to start reading the books I’ve bought myself weeks ago and to finally make time to paint. I find that once the glass is in my hand I don’t seem to think of doing anything else with my time, I just waste my evenings, sitting and drinking. When I have stopped before I’ve been happy drinking a wine glass of water with lemon to get me past the craving/thirst feelings early evening.
I’ve been looking for a perfect website for not drinking for some time now and I’ve finally found it. I am doing an alcohol-free August. My birthday is August 25th so it would be a great birthday present to myself to say I haven’t had a drink in 25 days. I have recently taken an alcohol break for 28 days and I felt amazing. My ultimate goal is to quit completely but I can’t think of that right now. One day at a time is not so scary. I typically get home after work and drink AT LEAST 8 beers every night. It’s frustrating and very unrewarding the next day. On my breaks I go home and make a fake drink first thing. Cranberry and water with a lime. It really works just having something to carry around. I also make a list of things to do to keep busy which is the key for me. This blog is extremely helpful.
Thanks Amy – good luck! This will be a great birthday present 🙂
I’m currently on day 57 of sobriety and it finally feels normal to be alcohol free. This has been one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life but one of the most rewarding. I have no cravings and it doesn’t even cross my mind anymore. I was a prisoner in my own personal hell and I’ve released myself and am the happiest and most free feeling. This is something I can not explain… Good luck to everyone on their sobriety journey!
Congratulations on your 57 days! Amazing stuff 🙂
Paige you hit it on the head… “I was a prisoner in my own personal hell….” I have made the decision to release myself of this hell as well after another weekend of bottomless and endless beers where 1/2 the night is very blurry and I spent the day after piecing it together and discovering that I am not very proud of my antics… again. Enough is enough. Feeling very empowered and happy to have found this site as a source of support and everyone’s story is very inspiring.
Today is August 3 and I am just reading this so will begin today. I recently had 26 days sober and it was amazing. I think coming up with some fun, yet simple alternative drinks to wine will help me.
Great Article Thankyou! Started a booze free August but ended up drinking last night and felt rubbish all day negative thoughts coming in and out of my head! I guess will just have to try harder and distract myself or meditate when I get those feelings that I want to drink normally stress can trigger the drinking or can be just after a lovely productive day! Just don’t want to feel like this anymore and August will be alcohol free!