As I share with folks that I have recently stopped drinking, many have expressed a desire to either reduce their consumption or quit altogether, however they feel the social pressure to continue or just can’t imagine how to quit. Given this response from people, I feel it is imperative that I share a few things that have helped me and hopefully will help you!
1. Find a buddy. It’s much easier if you have a friend so you can provide mutual support and compare notes and tips. Fortunately, one of my dear friends gave up drinking on New Year’s Eve (I stopped in Mid-April) and she has been so supportive. Even though she was not an alcoholic, (just compulsive, like me) she shared a 12 Step Companion App for iPhone that tracks the days since you last imbibed. I admit, it’s gratifying (and kind of fun) to peek at how many years, months, days, and hours it’s been since I’ve had a drink! If you can’t find a buddy, AA can provide you with instant support.
2. Educate yourself. I highly recommend reading anything by Melody Beattie. Her books on codependency really apply to the human race, not just those with addictions. I love her daily meditation books. Short, sweet, and helpful with razor-sharp insights. Of course, there’s an app as well, “The Language of Letting Go” Daily Meditations. I was shocked to see so much of myself in her writing. Google to your heart’s content to find information on this topic.
3.Be observant. If you’ve been quite the party animal or even a social drinker, this is a big change. With big change, even very positive change, comes resistance from those around us. Try to view friends and loved one’s responses as information. Of course some people will be defensive because you are now holding up a mirror as to what they are doing. Breathe and remember that. Notice who is supportive and who is just not capable. Until you feel secure in your new sobriety shoes, I would suggest spending your time with those that are your cheerleaders or at the very least display neutrality.
4. Have a plan. Before you head out to a social event, you may want to think about your new beverage of choice. I went to a friend’s wedding and asked the bartender to use his discretion and make me the most creative, non-alcoholic (non- sugar bomb) drink he could muster. He loved the challenge and made me a great pomegranate drink with floating blueberries on top. It was honestly one of the best drinks I’d ever sipped. Find your favorite go-to, healthful replacement.
5 Treat yourself! This is a big accomplishment for many and it deserves some external rewards. As your waistline whittles down, treat yourself to some new clothes. As your energy increases, sign up for that yoga class that you’ve been putting off. As you get more restful z’s get up with the sun and take the time to meditate. Do you see the positive domino effect? I had not realized how many areas of my life were being not destroyed, but dampened by my drinking. As I continue to discover more perks from my lifestyle change it reinforces my choice and increases my desire to hike the sobriety trail. Cheers to that as I raise my glass of Club Soda with lime!