10 tips for long lasting sobriety
This month is my 4 year sober birthday. The past four years have been quite a learning experience, so I figured that I could share some of the tips and tricks I found that have helped me in my sober journey. I do have to note that not all people in recovery have the
same comfort levels. For example, some in recovery do not feel comfortable at a bar or in an environment where others are partaking in drinking. I am fortunate to be comfortable in most surroundings, so my examples may not work for everyone.
1. Have the Conversations
Your friends may have a hard time understanding your reason to quit imbibing. They may not know what to say around you or if they need to remain sober around you. They may stop inviting you to activities that they think might make you uncomfortable. The best way to prevent all of this is to tell them your boundaries and explain what they can expect from you moving forward. For me, I had to let my friends know that I was still comfortable going to the bar or out for happy hour with them, but just to know that I probably won't stick around for a long time. (I like to dip out when people start to get drunk.) I also explained that I do not judge them for their choices to drink. My decision to quit drinking was for me and me only.
2. Find Hobbies
I never realized my lack of hobbies until my biggest hobby became something I wasn't doing any longer. Apparently I thought that drinking was an actual activity, and that was part of my problem. I also didn't think that many activities would be as much fun or fun at all without my bff booze. I actually started this website to fill my time. I found some books to read, got really into DIY for my house and started to write again which was something I loved to do when I was younger. When I went out, I made sure that the places I was heading to had a purpose whether that was a concert, a pool table, darts or pinball, but never just a bar. As long as there was something for me to do, I was fine.
3. Broaden Your Mind
I got my Bachelor's Degree in 2012 in Marketing and Management, but I knew that the worlds had changed a ton since then so I found free courses on HubSpot, Facebook and YouTube to brush up on my marketing skills. I was dying to get out of the job that I had, so to prepare myself for an opportunity, I wanted to be relevant. In my mission to find these courses though, I found so many courses that you can take for free, and now with everything being virtual due to COVID-19, you can attend conferences for a nominal cost that would normally have cost hundreds if not thousands. Use some of that money you are saving from spending it on happy hour drinks.
4. Spend time on self-care
Getting sober required a constant outlet for myself which was my therapist, but some find that solace in AA or other groups. Whatever your method, do not forget to take as good of care of your mental state as your physical state. Speaking of which, you probably treated your body like shit while you were poisoning yourself on a daily, so make all those doctor appointments that you avoided or slept through in your blurry hangover. It is always recommended to have a physical so that you can get the advice of a professional on what vitamins, exercise routines, diet changes and such you should make to get your body back to tip top shape. Outside of these obvious tasks, finding ways to quiet the chaos in your head is another task that you will want to take on. I found meditation and yoga/stretching to be best for me which leads me to my next tip.
5. Have a physical outlet.
Get moving! Maybe you love to be outside, so get out there and take your fur babies for extra walk, jump on your bicycle and hit your local trails (make sure you get it tuned up first!)
Remember not all physical outlets have to be at the gym. Head to the lake and swim, paddle board or kayak. Join a kickboxing class or yoga/running group if you need help with your accountability. Find something that you love to do, and it will not feel like work. It might actually be fun. You have to find something to replace those beer stein bicep curls!
6. Get organized
I don't know about you but when I was a drinker, my entire life was a mess. My house was never really clean. It might have been picked up, but deep cleaning was not something I had time for. Make a list and break down all the areas of your life that you want to clean up: your car, closet, refrigerator, bathrooms, etc. You will feel so much better once not only are you clean, but your surroundings.
7. Pick up a side hustle
For you overachievers, maybe this is the time to find a way to make some extra cash and start contributing to your future. I assume that if you were a boozy babe like myself that you did not want to put any of your paycheck into an IRA of 401K, so you have some catching up to do. Maybe you can sell scarves you knit on Etsy, sell your old clothes on Poshmark or sign up for Upwork and get some gigs working freelance. Either way this will give you something to do with your time if you find yourself getting antsy.
8. Become an authority of your city
I realized that all I ever did was spend my time inside the bars. I could tell you the name of every bar in each area of the city. I knew about all the festivals and block parties with drinking as a main focus, but I really didn't know much else about my home. I started to research different museums, art galleries, and other tourist traps (that's what I had called them before.) Go see more than the inside of a bar. Check out the
9. Experiment with food
Getting sober changed my palate. I could not stomach as spicy of foods and certain foods that tasted quite bland to me before were super flavorful, sometimes in the wrong way. I also was focusing on my health, so wanting to eliminate as much meat as possible. I started to look into different recipes that I could cook. This includes fancy mocktails. My bestie even bought me a sober mocktail recipe book. (I'm so lucky to have such supportive friends!) I spent much more time at the grocery store looking at different spices, oils, and ethnic foods. I spend much less time in the drive thru lane at Burger King. Although I will admit that when they got the Impossible burger, I went back too many times to admit. Experiment, but watch your waistline. Zero proof people can sometimes over compensate for the drinks with sweets.
I think when you start to become more comfortable with being sober, you want to make a positive difference. I know that I did. I spent some time looking into different non-profits that aligned with my passions and found quite a few. There were many benefits to this. I got to feel good about the things I was doing, I met people who had the same interests and passions as me and it was another thing to do with all the new spare time I had since it was no longer filled with drinking.