Who are the people that you spend the most time with, and listen to the most? It’s an important question to ask yourself, because they’re likely to be having a far bigger influence on your life than you might have realised. Your friends and loved ones have the power to inspire or deflate; they can be a great help or a real hindrance. They affect your self esteem, your judgements, your way of measuring life and your beliefs.
Imagine what it would be like to spend a day with a group of people who:
– Are nervous about change and seem to project their own fears onto you and your plans
– Have a very limited and narrow minded view of what problem drinking is
– Meet your desire to change with doubt and skepticism
– Make you feel uncomfortable about your plans to change.
How are you going to feel at the end of that day? At best, you might feel a bit disappointed and deflated by their lack of support or understanding. At worst, you could decide to scrap your plans to change altogether.
Now imagine what it would be like to spend a whole day with a group of people who:
– Listen to your concerns about your drinking and your desire to change
– Ask useful questions that help you see problems from a different perspective
– Encourage and inspire you
– Give you ideas for things you could try and people who could be useful
How are you going to feel by the end of that day? Pretty good, right? Chances are you’ll feel positive, empowered and more confident. You’ll probably have a plan for what you’re going to try next and you’ll feel happy knowing someone has your back.
So you can see how powerful and important it is to surround yourself with the right kind of people. People who are loving and supportive who might even be role models. But what can you do if those people aren’t in your life right now?
Here are 5 tips for building a sober support network (when everyone in your life drinks)
- Spend time with your positive friends. Make an effort to spend as much time as possible with friends who believe in you and the change you want to make. These friends don’t need to be completely teetotal, but they shouldn’t be one of your hardcore drinking buddies. Maybe it’s someone you know through work, an old friendship you’ve neglected or a relative you get on with.
- Connect with other people who are also trying to stop drinking. There is nothing like the power of camaraderie and thanks to the power of the internet, you can find like minded people all over the world. Soberistas and the Booze Free Brigade have good forums where you can reach out to other people. Club Soda and Dry Scene are great places to look for alcohol free fun and social events.
- Make sure you’re getting a regular dose of inspiration. Seek out people who’ve moved from your position to happy sobreity. Listen to podcasts and sign up to newsletters so that you get encouragement and advice popping into your inbox on a regular basis reminding you that you CAN do it. Start by signing up to my newsletter if you haven’t already!
- Feed yourself with success stories. Focus on what you have in common rather than your differences and pay attention to what other people have done. What worked for them? What mistakes did they make? Keep a list of sober celebrities that you admire. You’d be amazed how many celebs are teetotal through choice.
- Shake things up. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine. If you always go out for drinks on a Friday night after work then why not try something different this week? Go to the cinema, hit the gym, or get your nails done. Trying something new gives you the opportunity to invite new people – and new healthy habits – into your life.
Next week: how to deal with negative people you can’t get away from…