As Sobersistas Closed Group on Facebook has grown, I see a lot of Sobersistas posting comments saying that it’s Day One Again for them. Having tried for a number of days to stay sober they have ended up drinking and breaking their pact with themselves.
As I began to write this article I realised it would be useful to create a Day One and Beyond Toolkit. If you don’t want to read the article click here to get access to it immediately after you have confirmed you’re human.
Having reflected back on my own journey I realise now that I had never considered stopping until I knew for a fact that I could get through the 30 days successfully. I knew it was time to stop long before I made the actual decision but I avoided and procrastinated until I knew in my heart of hearts that I could get through it successfully. I couldn’t face the thought of failure and having my own repeated Day Ones. In truth, that stubborness and fear of failure stopped me from giving up much earlier than I did. It was Day 21 when I realised that I would never drink again and I’ve been truly happy ever since.
For some of my lovely Sobersistas though, it’s a much more difficult process. There are a variety of reasons why what should have been Day 14 turned into Day One overnight. Life gets in the way, stress trips you up, ingrained habits feel impossible to break and that big ‘f**k it!’ factor all contribute to the feeling that a drink will fix how you are feeling in that moment.
And then you wake up in the morning and realise what a mistake it was.
Fortunately, we have created a loving and non-judgemental atmosphere in the group so any Day One posts are always met with love and support from the rest of the community. This often results in Sobersistas re-committing to their goal and succeeding.
As more and more Sobersistas join the group it’s become clear that for many of them, making the decision to stop is pretty easy, but maintaining that commitment to themselves in the long term, not so much.
How many Day Ones have you had in your quest to take control of your drinking? How many times have you fallen off the wagon and felt ashamed and guilty for not having the strength, determination or guts to keep going? How many times has Day One come around and you’ve said to yourself “Right! This is my last Day One! Definitely!”, only to find that the weekend rolls around and the temptation is just too much to bear?
Here are 6 ideas to help you get beyond your Groundhog Day Ones.
1. Scrap Your Sobriety Clock
Repeatedly counting from Day One is soul destroying. If you’ve tried and tried and keep going back to the beginning you’re throwing away all the great days that you had sober. So what if you drank for one night in 14 sober ones? You didn’t die, the world didn’t stop and you’ve learned that you can stay sober for 14 days.
That’s an achievement and you should be proud of that. Celebrate your 14 Days and shake off the one. What if you do another 14 days after your Day One? That’s 28 days of sobriety with one day of drinking. I would say that’s something to celebrate, wouldn’t you?
Who cares if everyone else is shouting from the rooftops that they have a gazillion days under their belt? That’s their journey – not yours. Yes, they can inspire you and give you practical tips on how to maintain your commitment – but they don’t know your life, your stresses, your issues. Only you do.
You’re an adult now and you can choose any perspective you wish about your drinking. Yes, if you’re here and you’re reading this then you want to give up and one day you will. Even if you have to have loads of Day Ones to get there.
2. Let Go of Guilt and Shame
The number of times I’ve read posts that a Sobersistas Day One is accompanied by the two misery trolls Guilt and Shame, it breaks my heart.
For me, the only purpose of those two negative emotions is to create enough energy inside you to kick-start real and lasting change.
Guilt is defined in the dictionary as ‘a feeling of having committed a wrong or failed in an obligation’.
If you feel guilty that you failed an obligation to yourself, then you need to get to the bottom of why it’s so easy for you to do that. What pattern in your life continually makes you feel guilty for failing in your own promises to yourself? Why do you repeatedly break your own promises? How can you feel that you committed a wrong against yourself? Aren’t you doing the best you can? Haven’t you tried your best? So what if you failed, you will succeed tomorrow.
Feeling guilty is not about drinking. There are varied and complex reasons behind why we think we’ve let ourselves down – we don’t think we deserve the best for ourselves or we have unrealistic expectations of what we can actually achieve. Your reasons might be different but the reality is that if you feel guilty you should celebrate it because you know you’ve been presented with a catalyst for change that’s just waiting to be put into action.
Shame is defined as ‘a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour’.
We are great at beating ourselves up when we don’t need to. It’s often our default position. Even if we are braving it out, showing that we are confident on the outside, we often have those 3 a.m. moments that make us feel utterly rubbish about ourselves.
I firmly believe that life is a beautiful gift that should be lived in a way that makes you truly happy. If you are truly happy you can allow yourself to make mistakes, be foolish but get up, shake it off and keep getting better at minimising those mistakes and foolish moments.
Both guilt and shame are often rooted in our own personal story – the story that you tell to excuse both your feelings and your drinking.
There are a million books, therapies, courses, apps and groups to support you and help you get to the bottom of your story and fix your negative thinking. When you do that you won’t need alcohol.
3. Be Patient and Kind With Yourself
As an adult, you have a keen awareness that if you want something like a house, a car or a 5-star holiday you have to work for it. You have to save and do without. You have to sacrifice nights out and extra treats in order to get what you want. You make a bet with yourself that when you get these things you will feel better, more secure, more successful, more confident.
Sometimes that is exactly how it works out and sometimes it isn’t, but with quitting alcohol there seems to be a theory that there is a sobriety version of a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. That starting today means that you MUST succeed, without effort, without patience and tenacity and be alcohol-free for life with only 30 days effort. For many of you, it will take a little longer.
You know that anything good is worth working for, worth waiting for and certainly worth making sacrifices for. The main problem you have at the moment is that there aren’t many other sober people around you to whet your appetite, to inspire you, to aspire to be like.
You will find this in Sobersistas Closed Group. That’s why I created the group. I need to be inspired by women further along the sobriety journey than I am and also to feel good about myself by inspiring and supporting other women.
You also need to stretch your first bout of non-drinking to at least 10 days. Sobersistas report that it takes 7 – 10 days for the worst of the detoxing to take place before you feel better.
But you will need to be patient with yourself and be kind to yourself when you have a bad day. Beating yourself up only creates bruises on your soul.
4. Repeat After Me – ‘You Get NOTHING Good From Alcohol’
We often confuse alcohol with giving ourselves a reward for a good day, a bad day, an excuse to celebrate (Yipee for Snow Days!!!) but the only thing that alcohol does is punish you.
It punishes your body in the short-term with a hangover in return for the temporary high it gave you. It punishes your body by ruining your sleep, increasing your cancer risk, drying out your skin, bloating etc. It punishes your self-esteem for the silly things you said and did while you were drinking. It punishes you by undermining your relationships – the more you do it the more those you love will stop believing that you will ever give up.
Unless you have complete control over your alcohol consumption (and I’m guessing you don’t because you’re here) you know you drink to deal with something difficult about who you are or a situation you’re in. Loneliness, guilt, depression, stress, relationships, work, habit – you know your own trigger – these are the reasons you drink and these are things you can change.
Of course, some of it isn’t easy. If you have deep-seated issues that have affected you they aren’t going away overnight. But I can promise you, whatever it is that is troubling you is never going to be fixed by drinking alcohol. Never. Moreover, if you can find a way to stop you may find that those issues that have dragged you down for years, suddenly become more manageable. Many Sobersistas report improved relationships, increased self-esteem, reduced stress levels and increased energy levels. Wouldn’t you like some of that?
5. Be Honest With Yourself
Being honest with yourself isn’t always easy but you are wasting your time if you think you can get sober without 100% honesty. That’s down to you.
I am a huge advocate of journaling because I believe, with the right prompt, you can find the answer you have been searching for if you keep letting your pen and your subconscious do the work for you. There is true freedom in being able to articulate the truth about your drinking, I promise.
6. Find A Peaceful Habit
Yoga, meditation, breathing techniques and mindfulness are all useful tools to help you find some peace in the chaos of your thoughts. Alcohol causes anxiety so until it’s out of your system and you are clear about the role alcohol will play in your future, these tools will give you a structured way to find a calm moment in every day.
To help you get started I have created a Free Day One and Beyond Toolkit just for you, to get you to Day One and Beyond.
Your Day One Toolkit:
- 37 Days of journal prompts to help you get clear about your relationship with alcohol.
- Contains a resource list of links to various websites that you will find useful.
- Covers the 10 key areas of your life that are affected by your drinking:
- Why you drink
- The effect on your life
- Other people
- The detox period
- Nurturing yourself
- What support you need
- Social Life
- Future You
As always, I send you my love. Come and join us in our Sobersistas Closed Group on Facebook and we will support you all the way.
With love, Jules xx