If you’ve ever gone through a phase where you feel like you’ve lost your motivation to do anything about your drinking then you’re not alone.
Nearly all of us go through this at some point. One minute you’re full of enthusiasm and drive, the next you’re convincing yourself that ‘one won’t hurt’ and this time it’ll all be different…
I think these lulls in motivation are totally normal. After all, sobriety is a pretty big lifestyle change – one that takes some adjusting to. It’s rare for anyone to slip straight into alcohol-free living in one perfect, easy peasy move.
If you’ve had a hundred Day 1s and you’re feeling stuck, here are three things you can do to get your motivation back:
Be honest with yourself.
When you wake up at 4am – hungover, guilty and miserable – it’s obvious that something needs to change. Yet most of us have an amazing ability to ‘forget’ all the promises we make in the middle of the night! Next time, get up and write down how you’re feeling. Putting your thoughts on paper helps you get clear on things – and it’s hard to deny the truth when it’s written in black and white.
You could even start a diary. What you’re trying to do is build up a true picture of your drinking: how it really makes you feel, why you want to change, the patterns you go through etc. If you can’t be honest with yourself, you’ll stay stuck.
Make a plan of action.
If you remove alcohol without doing anything else, you will feel deprived. Successful sobriety is not really about trying harder – it’s about finding better coping mechanisms and working on the underlying issues that drive you to drink in the first place. You can’t really do that unless you open yourself up to new ideas and new ways of doing things.
For example, your plan of action could include looking for a coach, joining a support group, participating in an online forum, taking a personal development workshop or confiding in a friend. You could also stock up on self-help books, memoirs, motivational podcasts and other materials that will help you understand addiction better. Your plan of action doesn’t have to be complicated – it just needs to be a few simple steps that get you doing stuff and moving forward.
Change your mindset.
This is so important. If you believe sobriety is going to be miserable, or that you’re going to feel deprived and left out, then guess what? It probably will be all those things. I used to think that getting sober would mean my life was basically over – so it was hardly surprising I struggled to summon up the motivation to change! I was only able to stop drinking after I started to believe that a) I could do it and b) it would be worth it.
Give yourself a break from feeling bad about all of this. Accept that it’s ok to not have everything figured out yet, or to be finding things tough. Take some time out – read a book or watch an inspirational TED talk.Sometimes all you need to hear is one piece of insight that raises your level of thinking. Then, come back to this with fresh eyes and be ready to try again. Remember, mindset is everything. Like Viktor Frankl said, “everything in life can be taken away from you except your freedom to choose how you respond to the situation.” You can choose to give up, or you can choose to stay positive and keep going.
3 Fantastic points. I just experienced 10 days without drinking and my days and nights were bliss. I felt so alive and in touch with life. 9 days back on and felt like crap. I bought a beautiful diary and as Kate says I am looking and writing more important my behaviour with and without drinking. I am back on day 2 and I have given myself a target of 20 days, this for now works best for me. My thoughts behind this is each time I increase my goal by another 10 days so very exciting times ahead. Could anyone direct me to inspirational books audio feel silly but not sure where to look
I recommend The 30 Day Sobriety Solution by Jack Canfield and Dave Andrews
The other thing I do which is even more scary is take a photo of myself in the morning after drinking and diary the dates. On the up side also take photos when I am not drinking to see the comparison.
That’s a great idea. One that I will take on x
Thank you Kate. In 2 days time I will be 6 months alcohol free. I agree mindset is everything. Staying sober is an on going process which requires external incentive,such as Sober School, at times to strengthen inner resolve.
Congratulations on your (almost) 6 months!
I did suggestion one some years ago and keep the letter to re read if complacency comes calling ; Aoife’s idea of a photo too is even better
It’s day 36 for me, and while I don’t want a drink, I am craving support. I almost went to an AA meeting, but chickened out when I saw a group of all men waiting outside before the meeting started. I need to connect with sober people.
Hi, Thanks for this. It came a perfect time. Can you recommend some books or Ted talks like you suggest for point 3? I need some motivation to change my mindset thanks.
I’d start with the TED talks and see what appeals/resonates with you most. Here’s a good list of some to try: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-motivational-ted-talks-to-help-you-chip-away-at-your-mental-blocks/
Thanks so much Kate and also Jayne
Aoife. I am reading Jason vale, kick the drink, recommended by Kate. I am 14 months sober and find it so inspirational. Good luck xx
Thanks Jayne I will purchase that. 14 months is inspirational. I hope you day I too can celebrate that with you.