12 Things that Helped me Stop Drinking and Stay Sober

By Boozemusings Co... 02/28/20
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I graduated to two years sober last month and decided to reflect on what worked for me. I know that there are many ways to beat alcohol and everyone has to find their own way. I just want to share what worked for me personally.

To give up alcohol for good I had to come to the clear understanding that alcohol is an addictive substance. If one drinks enough of it and long enough one will get addicted. Perhaps to different degrees but one will get addicted.  

I fought this concept for 10 long years.

I told myself I was stronger than alcohol!

I told myself that I was smarter than alcohol!

I told myself that I had self-control!

I was lying to myself.  At that point in my addiction, I was not stronger or smarter than alcohol. And I had zero self-control. If I had one drink I had way too many after that “one”.

When I finally really understood and accepted that I was addicted to a destructive substance I felt like weights had been lifted off of my chest. I knew I could do something about my unhappiness. I wasn’t defective or broken! I was addicted to alcohol, a poisonous substance! It was the alcohol that was causing the poor health, the self-loathing, the depression, the weight gain, poor sleep, poor decisions, outbursts of anger. It was alcohols’ effect on me that created a person I really did not like at all. The solution was to stop drinking and stay sober.

I wrote this summary in 2018, after watching this video on how to Get Through Dry January With Ease and gave up drinking forever in the following month.

1. Don’t be negative about your decision to give up alcohol for 30 days. Be POSITIVE about not drinking for 30 days. List all of the positive things about not drinking. (Weight loss, no hangovers, better sleep).

2. Be firm about your decision to not drink for 30 days! No matter what! Don’t give yourself an out by saying well I will give it a try.  Don’t use the word TRY… instead use…..I am  NOT going to drink alcohol for 30 days.

3. Don’t use willpower. Instead, use reasoning. Make a list of all the reasons you drink. (To sleep, to relax, Alleviate boredom). Examine these reasons in depth.

Write it out!
Does alcohol really help me sleep?

Well maybe initially but then I wake up with an anxiety attack at 3 am. And I can’t sleep for the rest of the night. So the answer to that question is no…. alcohol does NOT help me sleep.

Related Post Sleep Solutions

Does alcohol relax me?

Well for about 20 minutes and then the awful cycle of I want more! I need more! More! More! More! That is NOT relaxing at all! On top of that, I know that I drink so much sometimes to “relax” and that I get sick and very hungover the next day. No matter how I look at it…. a hangover is not relaxing. Hangovers make me feel ashamed of myself to yet again drinking too much. They make me worry about my health. This is not relaxing at all. Worst of all hangovers make me hate myself. Self-loathing is NOT relaxing. It is incredibly anxiety-inducing. So no, no, no alcohol does not relax me.  

Related Posts : Alcoholic

Does alcohol alleviate boredom?

That one is BS. I know that drinking does NOT alleviate boredom. It actually turns me into an incredibly boring person. I sit and drink and turn into a bump on the sofa. I don’t do anything interesting. I don’t have any interesting thoughts. I don’t say anything interesting. I am very boring actually when I drink.

Related posts : Nobody Drinks Like I Do For Fun

Does alcohol help me connect with other people? Is alcohol the fuel that feeds my friendships and relationships?

This is the BIGGEST misconception that we have about alcohol. Think about it for a minute.

It really is amazing how we are expected to drink at every event that celebrates relationships….Family dinner parties, Dinner with friends, Dates, Sex, Weddings, Anniversaries, Funerals

Every single event that celebrates our connection to other human beings is supposed to include alcohol. But alcohol does not bind us together it eventually isolates us from each other. For me, it eventually took center stage and pushed relationships aside. It took precedence over my family. It was the fuel that fired senseless arguments .

But the most important relationship in my life that alcohol destroyed was my relationship with myself. It washed away my self-confidence. It isolated me from my creativity and passion by numbing my senses. And it held me down and isolated me with shame. Shame that I could not stop drinking.

Related Posts Is Alcohol Dissolving Your Relationships

If you are feeling like your drinking is taking over your life. If you feel like it is causing you more pain than pleasure. If you’re in that sort of high functioning grey area where everyone else thinks you’re fine but you know that you are not – come hang out –  Talk to Us. 

It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using

If I stopped drinking the alcohol I could repair my life.

These are the 12 things I did to stop drinking and stay sober1. When I wake up in the morning I take a few moments to really enjoy the feeling of waking up sober.

That first thing in the morning “gratitude to be free” does not get old for me. I thank my higher powers daily for giving me the strength to carry on sober. I also thank myself for the hard work I am doing to beat the addiction.

I read somewhere once that sobriety is like deodorant….. For it to work it must be applied every day! 

related reading :

Nothing tastes better than sober…

 2. In the very early days, I took supplements and herbs from the health food store that were calming and healing.

Extra vitamin B complex, probiotics, lemon balm, kava, chamomile, valerian, lavender, passionflower. I also used the herb kudzu to quiet cravings. Maybe it was the placebo effect but it worked for me. I also drank gallons of herbal tea. 

related reading :

Learning Self-Care in Early Sobriety

 3. Morning and evening I read a few blogs to see how people were doing.

In the early days I read Belle’s blogSoberistas, and Mrs. D is going without and many more that are no longer active. I didn’t find the Boom Community until I was around the one year mark. Boom is by far my favorite of all of the blogs I have read over the last few years. 

related reading :

How Posting in the BOOM Community can help you Rethink the Drink

The Women Who Empowered me to Drop the Wine o’ Clock Routine

 4.  I read quit lit and books on the Science of Recovery

Like A LOT of them!

The one that was key for me was William Porter’s Alcohol Explained. However, there are so many excellent ones. So many approaches to sobriety.

I learned something from every book I read.

After reading Alcohol Explained I understood that I was going through FAB (fading affect bias). As William Porter writes in his wonderful book, humans tend to forget painful experiences faster than pleasant ones. So I am going to refresh my memory…..Before I stopped drinking…I remember the crushing headaches, throwing up for hours, the self loathing, missing out on important events because I was too hungover, looking like crap, not having the energy to take care of myself or the house.

It was not fun or relaxing at all. It was pure hell.

related reading :

You Have to Do Your Part : One Year Sober

My Funny Mix-Match Recovery Discovery Quilt

 5. If cravings hit I ate lots of foods I had not allowed myself when I was drinking because of the calories.

I allowed myself lots of sober treats. I also popped things like olives and miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups into my mouth like crazy!  I ate Nutella straight out of the jar. I even took a shoot of olive brine to shock my system out of an intense craving. It worked!

That phase is thankfully over. Rarely do I get cravings now and if I do they are very fleeting. 

related reading :

Alcohol Cravings and Hypoglycaemia

Alcohol sugar cravings (managing them) and the whole Gut-Brain health connection thing.

 6. I go for many walks by myself to think and to clear my head. 7.  I learned about meditating.

I now meditate several times a week.  

related reading :

How to Stop Drinking Away the Pain-

Sunday Morning Calm – Spring Rain

Loneliness and Meditation- Just Say “YES” to Sunday Morning Calm

 8. I established firm boundaries.

People were used to me being a people pleaser. I was always feeling guilty about drinking so I tried to be everything to everyone. That had to stop. It is difficult sometimes but I remind myself to put my oxygen mask on first. 

related reading.

Redefining ‘Me Time’

 9. Started hobbies to keep my mind off of drinking. 

related reading :

Filling the Empty Space in Early Sobriety

 10. Signed up for some classes.

Going to classed kept me sober because I had to drive and it gave me something to do in the evenings when I would have been drinking.

 11. Not often but often enough I think back on some to the really bad times while I was drinking.

I remember some of the awful things that I did and share the memories in my community. I don’t want to dwell on them but I do not ever want to forget either. I don’t want to fall into a sober complacency and think I wasn’t that bad. I remind myself often enough that yes, I was that bad. 

” One year ago I found myself literally on my knees I was hungover once again. My self-loathing in full swing I was desperate for it to end. I was so despondent that I begged my higher powers for the strength to become sober and to stop the self-loathing. I should clarify that communicating with my higher powers or praying was highly unusual for me. It was not something that I normally engaged in. However, I was so very desperate and had run out of ideas on how to make the madness stop.

related reading :

You Have to Do Your Part : One Year Sober

Reading and Writing Your Way Happily Sober

 12. I reflect on how my life has improved.

I remind myself of all of the things I can be grateful for. I am so grateful that I was able to stop drinking alcohol before I found alcohol more attractive than life itself.

I was following several blogs that may not have ended well for the writers. When I think of those blogs they really do scare me sober. The two bloggers that affected me the most were two funny, charming, smart bloggers who both seemed to have beaten their addictions. I remember being slightly jealous of their sober time because I was still struggling in the early days. However, they both relapsed after more than a year sober and neither was able to find their sober path again. One attempted suicide and the other posted about their emotional pain many times because they were drinking again and then never posted again.

Sometimes I try to imagine them happily sober and too busy to post. But deep down I suspect that is not the truth. And that makes me so very sad and scares me enough to stay sober because I know my story would not end well if I started to drink alcohol again.  

After all, alcohol is addictive and if you drink enough of it you will get addicted.

And addictions can and often do kill. 

The Boom community has been an important part of my continued sobriety. I am so happy to be a part of it and look forward to reading posts each and every day!

related posts :

An Invitation …

An Invitation to Rethink the Drink with Us

An Invitation

Sober Curious? Here’s an Invitation and a Recipe for You

If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us. 

We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using

You can read more about us Here And join  Here

Download the Mighty Networks app here for free easy access and search BOOM Rethink the Drink– community support 24-7 or sign up and sign in here and you’ll find our Dry January 2020 posts here

Guide to your First Month of Sobriety : Why and How to Quit

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