Image of woman in black and white with tape over her mouth and a finger saying "shhhhh" in front of it.

Four Contrary Strategies That Could Aid You in Your Sobriety Journey

1. Don’t count your sober days.

Image of woman in black and white with tape over her mouth and a finger saying "shhhhh" in front of it.
Photo by Kat Smith:

I think being different, going against the grain of society is the greatest thing in the world. — Elijah Wood

II recently shared a few tips that will make the first 30 days of your sobriety journey much easier if you implement them to prevent the temptation of being new to trying to live this type of lifestyle.

But then the question comes, what do you do after those first 30 days?

No worries. As you continue your alcohol-conscious journey, here are four more techniques that will help you continue to grow in your sobriety and leave the allure of alcohol in the past.

Don’t count your days

Yep. Don’t count them.

I know this can be a bit controversial, but this trick has worked for me for my close to four years of sobriety.

I know this goes against what you see in most of today’s sober culture. Many apps help do this, and you see so many different posts talking about x days sober.

However, not counting days aided me because it kept me focused on more long-term commitments than just days.

When I started, I figured I would try it for a month and then see how it felt.

At the end of that month, I felt so good that I said I would focus on three months to see if I felt any better.

When three months were up, I went to six months and so forth until almost four years later.

I was afraid counting the days would give me a false sense of accomplishment and make me feel good enough about the time frame I hadn’t drunk that I might convince myself to return.

Also, it made me feel like every day, I had to decide not to drink.

Therefore, instead of counting a single unit like days, I focused on months, quarters, half years, and years to not even allow the thought of drinking to enter my mind until I had cleared this bar.

This decision allowed me to focus on continuing to grow in my sobriety during the times in between and not have to worry about something in the back of my head asking me if today would be the day I would give drinking another shot.

It made the process easier until I realized that returning was not even a consideration.

Eat whatever you want

When you first stop drinking, you will need something to replace that artificial dopamine spike you were used to getting from alcohol.

Sugar will probably be your best friend during this time, as it is perhaps the only thing that comes close to having the same addictive chemical effect as alcohol.

For that reason, you do have to be careful that you don’t go overboard as it relates to consuming excessive amounts of sugar, but when you are newly sober, don’t sweat that at all.

You will be in a spot where your sobriety will be a bit fragile, and anything that keeps your mind off alcohol is allowed at this time.

I found an intense love for sugar, pizza, and French fries that I had never had before.

This allowed me to substitute the nights I used to reward myself with alcohol with these foods to overcome not having it there as my crutch.

Therefore, I didn’t feel like I was sacrificing my happiness at all but was instead substituting it with something that wouldn’t be so detrimental to my health short-term in the same manner as alcohol would.

Once you get far enough from alcohol that the temptation to drink subsides (usually around the six-plus month point), you can begin to do the work to moderate your consumption of these harmful foods as well, as they are not healthy for you long-term either.

Keep it a secret

While this goes against my philosophy about not lying about your alcohol-consciousness decision to others, I understand that everyone has their baseline of where they are starting in their sobriety journey and has to do what gives them the best chance to be successful.

For many, letting others know what they are doing and why gives them the emotional support and encouragement they need to keep them honest and committed.

However, for others, telling everyone could be too much pressure and cause them to relapse because of the external eyes and voices that they feel are around them.

Therefore, you must know and do what works best for you. If telling your close friends and family will help you maintain the sobriety track, tell them, but if you think doing so will invite too much outside scrutiny that will harm your chances, then don’t.

The point here is to do what is best for YOU and not feel obligated to subscribe to what has worked for others.

You know yourself better than anyone else, and if keeping it a secret for a while until you feel more comfortable in your alcohol-consciousness growth to share with others will help more than hurt, then you should do so.

Don’t try to be perfect

When I say don’t try to be “perfect,” I don’t mean you should go on benders and throw caution to the wind whenever you want to.

That’s definitely not going to work.

However, I believe just because you slip and have a drink one night in a weak moment doesn’t mean you should give up entirely and go back to drinking.

I’m a big fan of Annie Grace, and she always talks about if you are used to drinking every single day and then go 29 out of 30 days without drinking, then that is something to celebrate and be proud of.

The thought process here is don’t beat yourself up because you have a slip-up. Instead, analyze WHY you had the slip-up, understand the situation or the predicament that helped cause it, and then make sure not to put yourself in that situation again.

Learning from our mistakes keeps us progressing towards success, so don’t worry about being perfect.

You need to make sure that you never allow yourself to give up on believing you can do it because YOU DEFINITELY CAN!