Stay sober and inspired by not doing these four things when you stop drinking.
“But remember, nothing comes without a price. Our paths are not mapped; they’re made.” — Priya Ardis
The road to sobriety can be a long and bumpy one or not depending on the decisions you make along the way.
You are driving the car, so you get to decide which path you take — the road filled with perilous terrain and obstacles or the one that is paved and you can travel with no issues at all?
Many people feel as if they need to punish themselves at times and decide to take the long road when it comes to their sobriety, but there is a much easier path you can take if you just make sure to follow a few rules of the road to prevent you from taking the wrong turn and end up in the bad part of the neighborhood.
Here are four simple rules that you need to follow to ensure you stay on track and don’t find yourself somewhere you don’t want to be.
1. Don’t put too much trust in yourself too early
When you first jump on this sobriety train, you are going to want to think that you have the ability to handle anything that comes at you, but that could be a dangerous decision.
The reality is that your first foray into alcohol consciousness can be a shocker to you if you’re not careful.
We all would like to think that we are strong enough to resist ingesting something we have decided is no longer good for us, but if we were all able to easily resist things we shouldn’t have, most people would be in amazing physical and financial shape, and that is very much not the case.
To prevent being in a position in which we will need the willpower to try to get us through a tough time, it is better to not put ourselves in said positions in the first place.
What this means is that when your friends call you to see if you might be interested in meeting them out at a happy hour at a bar, you let them know that you can’t make it.
You can tell them whatever reason you desire as to why not, but you just have to make sure that you don’t allow them to talk you into showing up for just a “little bit” as this has been the beginning of many relapse stories.
2. Don’t beat yourself up for past mistakes or decisions
Know better do better…that’s all you can ever do in life.
If you’re anything like me, before recognizing how much alcohol was not serving what was needed for your success in life, there’s a good chance that you made a fair number of decisions that were not smart in the grand scheme of things.
You may have said some things or done some things that you wish you could take back, and it’s okay to feel a bit sorry about these things once you are far enough removed from them to identify your part in the situation not turning out well.
However, the one thing you shouldn’t do is constantly beat yourself up over it in some attempt at contrition.
What’s done is done.
There’s no way to go back in a Marty McFly time machine and change it (that’s a Back to the Future reference for all of you Gen Z’ers), so there’s no use consistently feeling bad about it because feeling bad doesn’t make it better.
Instead, just figure out what you learned from the situation and put in new strategies and techniques to make sure you don’t make the same mistake in the future.
3. Don’t try to hold onto friendships that no longer are congruent with your new self
This is one that took me some time to realize, but as time progressed, I just had to be honest with myself.
I had a number of friends that I made amazing memories with during my drinking days. They were extremely fun, and I would not take those days back for anything.
However, as I got more and more removed from my drinking days and started to focus on being the absolute best version of myself, there were some friendships that just naturally went to the wayside with time.
I tried a few attempts to keep them alive and act as if everything was similar to the way it was before, but the more I tried, the more difficult it became.
Finally, I had to realize that I had just changed so much from looking at the world differently and becoming a different person that I could not continue to act as if I still enjoyed the things I did in the past.
When I finally made the decision that I wasn’t going to continue to try to hold onto the old me, I felt a weight come off my shoulders, and I was able to move forward to continue to grow into the person that I was becoming.
4. Don’t try to be perfect with your other habits
While this may sound a bit contrary, it’s okay to make a mistake in other areas of your life if it keeps you from not drinking.
When I say “other areas,” I’m talking about things such as eating healthy or doing everything perfectly as it relates to working out, waking up early, etc.
The reality is that when you stop drinking, your mind and body are going to be looking for some type of dopamine hit to replace that spike. To do so, you’ll have to replace alcohol with something else that could mimic it in some way.
Sugar and diet sodas are absolutely TERRIBLE for you in the long run, but they are great substitutes until you can get the desire to drink to be a bit more under control.
It took me over two years to ween myself off of sweets after I stopped drinking, but I needed that to make sure that I wouldn’t feel deprived when I initially made this decision and needed something to take its place.
Don’t be so hard on yourself and try to be perfect in all things, as not drinking is a big step, and once you can get that under control, you’ll have the ability to tackle any other issue that you feel could be a problem.
And while there’s no guarantee that you won’t still run into a few rough patches and potential roadblocks on your path, at least you’ll know you listen to Waze and avoided a few traffic jams that may have prevented you from getting there at all.