How To Get Back On Track Quickly

How To Get Back On Track Quickly

Let’s face it: stopping drinking can be really hard. When we’re trying to quit something that we’ve been doing for a long time, the chances are we will screw up at some point.

Perhaps you’re reading this because over the weekend, that’s what happened to you. Maybe you drank despite promising yourself you wouldn’t. Now you’re trying to muster up the energy to give it another go.

It can be a very demoralising time, but the good news is that you can also use mistakes to your advantage. So don’t let one bad night turn into ten.

Here’s how to recover from slips and get back on track quickly:

 

pink1-minReframe failure.

If we only ever did things that we knew we’d succeed at, then we wouldn’t get very far in life. Success is not doing something perfectly and without failure. Success is picking yourself back up after you fall and trying again. See this for what it really is: a lesson learned, a step on the path to success. Thomas Edison – inventor of the lightbulb – ‘failed’ thousands of times before he hit the jackpot. If you think of the people you admire most, the chances are that they’ve experienced a major setback or failing at some point. The fact that they overcame it is part of why you respect them.

 

pink2-minStop beating yourself up.

We are really good at criticising ourselves at the best of times. When things go wrong, we go into overdrive. If you keep telling yourself that you’re stupid / worthless / weak etc you’ll start to believe it. So, stop it right now. Start talking to yourself like you would a best friend. Put things into perspective – this is just one part of your life. And remember, all sober time counts. You simply cannot undo all the good work you’ve done or go back to square one. 

 

pink3A-minLook and learn.

A lot of this stuff is trial and error – mistakes are chances to observe what is working and what isn’t. Don’t fall into the trap of blaming yourself and promising that next time you’ll ‘try harder’. The truth is we rarely slip and drink because we don’t have the willpower; it’s more a case of not having the right tools. Look at what triggered you to drink. Perhaps you need to find a new way of coping with stress or dealing with that tricky period between 5-7pm. Maybe you need a bit more day-to-day support? Work out where things started to go wrong – if you could go back in time, what would you do differently? Come up with at least one idea to experiment with next time.

 

Now I’d love to hear from you…

Trying – and failing – is something we’ve all been through. What are your tips for coping with mistakes and moving on from them? Let me know in the comments. Lots of people come here for inspiration and your words may be exactly what someone else needs to hear.

Speak soon,

Kate

 

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18 Comments

  1. Hmmm, what a timely post! I am struggling with drinking too much on occasion. Most of the time, I can have a glass or 2 of wine and stop. I feel great the next morning and it doesn’t interfere with my life. Every once in awhile I don’t drink responsibly–and boy do I regret it. For all of the reasons cited: feeling hung over, feeling like I wasted a morning, wasted an opportunity to be present for my friends and family. . .the list goes on. Perhaps my goal of moderation isn’t ambitious enough? I would love some input from folks who are trying to maintain a 1-2 drink “moderation” limit. Is it a fantasy?

    Reply
    • That’s an interesting question. Moderation does work for some people – but many find it doesn’t work in the long term. Nearly everyone tries it at some point! I’ve written about moderation in the past and you might find this blog post helpful: https://thesoberschool.com/should-i-cut-down-or-quit/

      Reply
    • Thanks for the post and the replies. This happened to me this weekend, too. I am in the midst of cutting way back, but I know that quitting outright is the needed step. I’ve gone from daily drinking down to only 3 days/week. I intended to be sober yesterday, Sunday, as the next step toward quitting outright, but just couldn’t manage it. I’m looking at your Step 3 in this post and seeing a few things that need to change for next time. I need to fill up my day with more activities, and shake up my Sunday routine. Not easy.

      Reply
    • Good luck and well done for wanting to cut down! From personal experience I don’t think moderation works if you are a regular drinker. Alcohol is a drug and having it in moderation on a regular basis is habit forming. Your body builds up resistance to one or two glasses and soon you will want three or four to experience the same intoxicating effect. Having one or two glasses may be fine if you are truly an occasional drinker. If you are someone who drinks more often than not, as I was, you may find moderation extremely difficult, if not impossible(as I did). Remember this is an addictive substance, just like nicotine. It’s the advice surrounding alcohol that is wrong. No one advises smokers to smoke only in moderation, they try and help them to quit. In my view the approach to alcohol should be the same. As you put so well- it makes you feel ill, regretful and causes you to miss out on precious time with your family. Another downside is it could kill you eventually. Free yourself. You will not miss alcohol if you think about it the right way and remember what it REALLY does to your body and to your life.

      Reply
  2. Kate, I have quit for 100 days and I went back to drinking wine on Day 101. I am not sure what caused that but i believe that I always intended ONLY 100 days. But I have started again and just have decided “I want another go” where I really confirm the benefits of not drinking throughout the time. I am not beating myself up. I am celebrating my courage to try again.

    Reply
    • I admire your courage. It’s a difficult decision. I am 53 days and also aiming for 100. I have no long term plan as to my ultimate goal. I don’t say ‘never again’ as that just makes me want to drink. Equally, someone said to me “You’ll never stay sober if you don’t know for sure that moderate drinking is not an option”. And I think it’s true. It’s something we all need to work out for ourselves. Good luck!

      Reply
  3. I too vowed not to drink this weekend it always has a gong show attached with it and my vows were broken and gong shows ensued! I am trying not to beat myself up but it’s pretty hard. I don’t have any tips everything I’m doing isn’t working so thank you for sending these tips out today. It’s very timely!!

    Reply
    • Chris, don’t think that every thing you’re trying isn’t working. Think instead that there have been many things you have tried that has not worked for YOU.
      I like to go out to lunch rather than dinner (for all the obvious reasons) But once my husband took me to the Olive Garden for lunch. Did you know there are wine bottles everywhere from the moment you walk in that place. Then they asked if we’d like a free sample of wine. Of course I want a free sample of wine…and you know the end of this story.
      So….no more Olive Garden for me. Who knew

      Reply
  4. Key ingredients for me are abstain from alcohol at all times, which includes not even purchasing a biscuit referring to an alcoholic flavour such as a champagne flavoured tim tam and time..Allow time for the mental and emotional battle to fade..It will!! Persevere through the moments when all you are thinking about is how uncomfortable you are presently feeling knowing you won’t be having an alcoholic beverage today..These moments will get less and less as the months go by..I was a consistent daily wine drinker for years and haven’t touched a drink now for 9 months..I’m comfortable with being a non drinker now..I’m not going to lie and say that is was easy to get where I am but I’m here now and totally OK with being a non drinker..

    Reply
    • Congratulations on your 9 months Jenni! Really pleased to hear how much things have changed for you.

      Reply
  5. I have tried in the past to do the moderation and I did great for a week or two. Then fell back into the same excessive behavior. This time I am taking 100 days at a time. It seems easier rather than forever

    Reply
    • Is it harder to go back to your 100 days the second time round (or easier?, she says hopefully). I am worried I might not be able to get back on track.

      Reply
  6. Kate,
    This site has helped me immensely, both spiritually and realistically in my journey of sobriety after 40 some years of drinking.The beginning affair with alcohol, social drinking, heavy drinking and finally full blown alcoholism. I am so happy at 120 days of being sober. Thanks for the help. Jeff

    Reply
    • No problem. Congratulations on your 120 days! Fantastic stuff 🙂

      Reply
  7. I have been trying to get completely sober since February 2016. I get 5 weeks then a horrible drinking binge. This happened last weekend. I had to crawl out of my hole and face it. But I am not stopping, that is not an option. Luckily I did not drive but I disappointed my family and acted like an idiot. I got back by meditating, going to therapy and discussing it, trying to show regret to my family and NOT DRINKING a day at a time. Hoping to get it all together and fly to freedom this time. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Great attitude. Sometimes you just have to pick yourself back up and move on. Good luck Rita!

      Reply
  8. This came at the perfect time. I struggle what seems like daily these days. Not beating myself up is the hardest after I drink because I know the pain I cause myself and my family. I am learning to take one day at a time, one moment at a time. Thank you for the wonderful blogs of inspiration and motivation.

    Reply
  9. Drinking is simply not an option for me. I was sober for 14 yrs. A lot of bad junk happened to me and I have been struggling with getting sober now for a year. I beat myself up every time even that I drink. I can only look at my staying sober one day at a time. It really scares me to think any further down the road than that and I can assure you that it is a progressive disease.

    Reply

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