“I am going to do something about my drinking — just as soon as this is out the way.”
I must have said that at least a hundred times 🙂
You know what it’s like: you have a lot on at work. Your partner’s feeling neglected. The fridge is empty and you have a to-do list longer than your arm. You want to stop drinking, but you’re so busy, it feels easier to put things off.
At this time of year – with Thanksgiving, Christmas and party season just around the corner – it’s easy to decide you’ll just forget about sobriety for now… but I hope this blog post motivates you to keep going.
It’s not too late to make 2017 the year you kick alcohol out of your life!
This is a tough one to start with, but it needs to be said. We all have excuses about not being able to quit drinking, and being ‘too busy’ is the perfect kind of excuse, because it is kind of true – we ARE busy!
However, when we say we ‘don’t have time’ to address our drinking, we overlook the fact that alcohol itself is a massive time thief. And sometimes, busyness is just a cover for something else.
Looking back, I think I often chose to be busy, in order to not have to deal with important things, or get out of my comfort zone.
Get clear on how alcohol is dominating your time
You already know that you’re less productive when you’re hungover, making it even harder to get through your never-ending to do list. But alcohol gobbles up time in other places too.
How much of your day is taken up worrying about your drinking, or battling with yourself about whether you’ll drink? How much of your day is structured around alcohol and giving yourself opportunities to drink? How many hours are you losing because you have to factor in time to drink and time to recover?
Get super clear about this.
Treat yourself like a project
Whenever you want to change something about yourself, you have to make a bit of time for it. After all, you’ve got a journey to go through: you’ve got to educate yourself about alcohol, learn how to handle cravings and find some new coping mechanisms.
If you’re not drinking, you can afford to put aside 15-20 minutes a day for sober homework: reading, learning and planning how you’ll deal with different situations. Schedule this time in your diary, in the same way you would do a doctor’s appointment or a deadline at work.
There’s something uniquely powerful about dedicating time and space to your sobriety. It honours the journey you’re on, and makes it a priority in your life.
Say NO to stuff
Remember, some people go away to rehab so they can stop drinking without the distractions of everyday life. You’re doing this whilst getting on with normal, day to day living, so take it easy!
You can ask for help and you can let people do some things for you. Say no to stuff. Just because you’re saying no now, doesn’t mean it’s going to be like this forever.
You should definitely say no to the kind of thing that you can only survive by drinking. (Nothing in life should require a mind-altering, toxic drug – if you have to drink in order to survive dinner with friends, it’s time to stop and think.)
Remember, there is no magic window of opportunity
You don’t have to quit drinking on a Monday, or in January. You don’t have to wait until that work party, holiday, or birthday etc is out the way. You can just take action right now. After all, there will never be a totally ‘perfect’ time to stop drinking, because there will always be something on the horizon.
If alcohol is making you miserable, then right now is a good time to make a change.
I was about to get a bottle of wine on the way home as I’ve had a busy day….your email came at the right time, I now don’t want it
Well done. You will feel SO good waking up without a hangover tomorrow! If you’d like any more support from me to take a proper break from alcohol, do take a look at my six week coaching programme. You can do this 🙂
I️ would love to try your program! Is it open now?
Hi Rebecca, the next class will start in January (it’s a pretty intense programme, so I only run it four times a year). If you’re interested, you can join the waitlist here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
I’ve just completed the course Rebecca. It was exceptionally informative and supportive and provides you with a sound base for sobriety if that is what you want. I can really recommend it.
I have just completed the 6 week programme, it was much more comprehensive than I thought possible and really helped me become unstuck from alcohol and my reasons for ‘needing’ it. I would recommend it to anyone who spends time worrying about alcohol, to even the slightest degree. AND I really enjoyed the course.
Hi Kate. I am on day 13 mainly because I wanted to see if I could do it. I am in the car returning home from a 5 day long weekend vacation at a resort where we would normally indulge in wine. I did yoga, hiking, running, shopping and relaxing. Ate a lot of good food too! I feel good for not having drank but I am so tired! Have you put any blogs out regarding being really tired in early sobriety? At least I know its not from having partied all weekend. Thanks for your blogs. I love reading them and staying motivated! Sarah
Congratulations on your 13 days! Tiredness in early sobriety is really normal. Alcohol is an extremely powerful drug (there’s a reason why they call this ‘recovery’!)
Take it easy, get plenty of rest, water and healthy food 🙂
Sarah, congrats on 13 AF days and your wonderful vacation strategy. I was also very tired the first several weeks of non-drinking, and then it hit me again about 2 months after my last drink. It’s not uncommon. I took advantage of the tiredness by treating myself to extra hours of sleep at night or a daytime nap. My body just needed to heal.
105 days here. In the first few weeks of my alcohol-free life, I was busy, but I made sure that the stuff I was feeding my brain and my soul was on message. I listened to podcasts and audio books while getting stuff done. You don’t need to eat a feast to feel full; instead, little snacks of the truth keep you on point and feeling focused. You might try The Bubble Hour, The Truth About Alcohol (both podcasts), How to Control Alcohol (audio book by Alan Carr) or my FAVE, This Naked Mind (audio book by Annie Grace) to keep the good vibes flowing in. For me, listening to these voices was like reverse-brainwashing; the myths and lies I’d mistaken for truth all my life just started to fall away. A half hour here or there makes a big difference. Once that message takes hold, you will be chomping at the bit to quit alcohol and find clarity and joy.
Thanks for posting the names of those books! I have just gone and bought them both! I’ll come back on here and tell you how I’ve got on when I’ve finished them. Fingers crossed! I’d love to have an alcohol free Christmas & New Year and actually enjoy being AF instead of the hangovers, weight gain, guilts, expenditure etc etc.
Good luck! I’ll be thinking of you. I’ve gone camping, on beach getaways, out with the girls, all alcohol-free, and they are so much more fun. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about wanting to be present to the people you love… especially you!
I had not had a drink since last Sunday. A friend came over the next Friday and I had a few beers then moved onto wine BIG mistake – hangover and migraine. The gap before was fresh in my memory and the nice feeling of being alcohol free. This is now more appealing and not had anything since.. AND it’s Monday evening (usually a bad night) and I’ve just come in and put the kettle on! Im also putting a fiver aside every time I don’t buy a bottle of wine for a treat. Kate your emails have really helped. Thank you
Well done, that’s great! Give me a cup of tea over wine any day of the week 🙂
Hi Kate. I work in technology sales and my work life is surrounded with conferences, dinners and meetings where there is always alcohol present. My husband does not drink so I don’t Have hard time with sobriety at home but when i am traveling on business it’s difficult. I agree with everything you write but still find it hard to resist great bottle of wine at a nice dinner or a drink at a reception surrounded by friends. I am signed up for your January course but until then Any advice?
I think you have a great advantage that your husband doesn’t drink, you’ve got a constant role model who shows you how to be out and socialising without drinking. Just move over to his side a bit more!
Great, I see you’re on the waitlist, so I’ll email you some more details about the course when registration opens in the New Year. I would recommend reading Jason Vale’s book, Kick The Drink. It will help you challenge some of the messages you’re telling yourself about alcohol, and it compliments a lot of the work we do on the course 🙂
New to your blog and really internalizing you straightforward, tangible advice (the “discover your sense of self” stuff is a little too abstract for me.)
I’m on day 4 with a 7 week goal! I’m SO excited for this, which I never have been before. I’m dealing with some depression yesterday and today, which is abnormal for me; I drank for anxiety and thankfully don’t normally suffer from depression. I imagine this is normal, but since I should be feeling a bit more amped from not taking a toxic downer every day, why is depression and exhaustion so common?
I’m excited to get through, and since these early days are tough, I’ll keep how this sucks in mind so I don’t have to go through them again!
Hi Ivory, 7 weeks is a great goal to aim for. Tiredness is normal as your body recovers from the battering it’s received dealing with all that alcohol. Plus, sobriety can be emotionally exhausting and that can lead to you feeling wiped out. An alcohol-free lifestyle won’t cause depression – what I think you’re experiencing are your feelings, which you now have to sit with and deal with for the first time in a while! Hang on in there – you’re only days into this and you have plenty of ups and downs to come, and that’s completely normal. It will all be worth it.
Follow-up: I’m on day 15 and feel AMAZING! I have much more energy and feel happier overall. I’m focused on when I’m actually craving a drink (versus habit), and am finding it’s during boredom or right AFTER a hefty emotional trial. I’m learning a lot about myself!
This had been one of my biggest hurdles. I tell myself there is always an event on the horizon;there will always be events so the time is now!
Exactly! Go for it Carol, you won’t regret it 🙂
Hi Kate your messsges are very motivating and I hope to be able to join the January programme. If I stop my drinking I can’t sleep and get really bad night sweats is this normal ? I know I really need to stop but it’s just so hard
Alcohol screws up your sleep cycle like nothing else – when you stop taking alcohol, some people do go through a period of adjustment whilst they adjust back into a regular sleep routine. It’s tough, but that short term discomfort is completely worth it, of course! In the long term, sobriety will seriously improve your sleep quality 🙂
I am loving your take on drinking. Preach it, I can tell you know what your talking about. My problem is not that I’m too busy at 60 yrs old but rather, I’m just bored. I know the only way out is through but getting motivated to reinvent myself has been a struggle. I would rather numb out on alcohol than address that my youth is gone. Older isn’t always wiser…HELP
I think you know the answer here Beth – drinking through life because you’re bored is no way to live, really. Plus, if numbing out was genuinely working for you, then you wouldn’t be reading this blog. You’d be busy feeling great. Why not reframe this and see it as an opportunity to get out there and discover new things? There’s a whole world waiting for you when you stop holding yourself back with alcohol!
I always have a hundred excuses to have a drink I know I drink too much and really wish I didnt,the thought of living a sober life though fills me with dread,I do a lot of socialising and being sat there with a soft drink whilst others get merry seems all too much,I just cant see me ever giving up,it’s so hard xx
Hi Heather – you really need to join my course. I can definitely help you get out of this stuck mindset, where you can’t even imagine ‘giving up’ (seriously – you’re ‘giving up’ nothing). Do consider joining the next one – life’s too short to keep feeling this way! https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Thanks Kate,I’ve put my name down to join the next course in January,many thanks xx
Kate, What an amazing site! Thank you! I stopped on the 14th so I’m on day 3. I’ve been surfing the internet for information and I have a slight headache but other than that I’m doing pretty good. I always ate pretty healthy but I’ve been drinking daily for a long time. In the past two years I’ve really noticed how much weight I’ve gained and how bad my skin looks. I would think about quitting each Monday just like you said. When evening came, I put it off for the next day. I’ve been feeling so stressed. I thought the alcohol was taking the edge off but now that I’m not drinking I feel more relaxed. It’s so great to read your posts and the comments of everyone who’s posted on the internet. Thank you and keep up the good work!