Missing one of these could be the difference between success and failure.
Every moment of resistance to temptation is a victory. — Frederick William Faber
Your success in your first 30 days of sobriety can be the difference between you changing your life for good or always looking back wishing what you coulda, woulda, shoulda done.
If you are anything like me and used to drink at least every other day, the thought of not drinking at all for 30 days may sound like a large task.
However, it doesn’t have to be so difficult if you do a few things in the right manner to make the transition to sobriety as easy as possible.
And while I won’t promise there still won’t be a moment or two in which you are going to think about or want to have your favorite alcoholic beverage, if you follow these five simple techniques, you have a much better chance of not yielding to that temptation.
Find a hobby to kill your free time
One of the biggest surprises that you will notice when you stop drinking is how much free time you now have.
I was floored by this and had no idea how much time I wasted because of alcohol.
I was lucky that fitness and writing had always been two hobbies that I enjoyed but never felt I had enough time to do as much as I desired.
Therefore, when I realized that I could devote more time to invest in these, I dove into them 100%.
The result has been a renewed excitement and dedication to my writing and fitness like never before. Since I know this only came from giving up alcohol, I now have even extra motivation to never go back for fear of losing it.
Finding a hobby that you can run toward will decrease the desire to look backwards and keep you focused on where your alcohol conscious journey can take you.
Tell your friend group what you are doing
Some people may disagree with this, but I think it’s a very important step.
You don’t need to tell everyone that you interact with what you’re attempting, but I do think you do need to tell those whom you would deem your closest friends.
The reason for this is that you’ll need their support to keep your commitment and keeping them in the know will decrease the chances that they will inadvertently negatively affect you.
If you make the decision to not tell your closest friends, there is a great chance that they will consistently ask you to come out and drink with them because that’s just what they’re used to doing.
In the first 30 days of your sobriety, it will be important to not tempt yourself with habits that you’re used to because your body is almost going to viscerally want to say yes if these requests come.
By telling your closest friends, you are decreasing the chances that they will make these requests. Instead, by knowing, they will be able to encourage you not to drink to help you live up to your commitment.
Stay away from friends/acquaintances who might encourage you to drink
On the flip side, you should stay away from individuals that you think will encourage you to drink.
Individuals could fall into this category because either you don’t consider them “close” friends so you didn’t tell them or they are just a**holes that don’t want to see you live up to your commitments.
Whatever the reason, the best thing you can do to protect your sobriety is stay away.
As alluded to above, reducing outside influences is one of the best ways to increase your chances of success and by eliminating people whom you think will be negative influences, you are making your journey so much easier.
Stay away from bars or any place that reminds you of drinking
While friends asking you to come party or meet them for a happy hour are spoken influences that can be hard to turn down, visiting places where you are used to mostly drinking while socializing could be a very strong nonverbal influence that can make it challenging to resist.
Our body has a natural physiological connection and response to stimuli that affects our endorphin sensors in a positive way.
Think Pavlov’s dog.
Your body can become so accustomed to the artificial endorphin spike that comes from alcohol that when you visit certain places where you used to drink, it will actually anticipate it.
This anticipation could then lead to the release of the chemical antithesis of endorphins (dinorphins) that will make you feel like you physically have to drink even though you may not want to.
It can be very challenging to overcome this, especially in your first 30 days, so your best bet is to stay away from these places and not force yourself to have to do so.
Ask your significant other (or friend) to do it with you
The last tip may be the most important and can be the difference between success and failure in the long run.
Stopping a habit that you may have been doing for most of your adult life can be challenging.
The biggest thing that will often frustrate people is that they won’t feel like they have a lot of things that they can do with others because drinking is such a large part of our society as a culture.
One of the two most dominant reasons that most people start drinking is related to social acceptance, and without it, some people will feel like their social life is suffering.
While diving into hobbies is good to kill some of your free time, you do need someone else to interact with from time to time just to keep yourself from going crazy.
Having a friend or significant other who is traveling down the road to sobriety with you will make the experience so much easier, as you’ll need someone to do something with other than going to bars and drinking.
Your significant other is usually ideal based on the intense amount of time you will spend with this person, but if you have a good friend who is willing to do it with you, they can work just as well.
The bottom line is that being sober doesn’t suck, but being sober and lonely kind of does, so find someone who is willing to spend time with you as you go through your sobriety journey.
And while I’m not saying the first 30 days are going to be all rainbows and sunshine with these five strategies, they will greatly increase your chances of making it to the other side of a month and give your next 30 days a go.