Staying alcohol free – each day at a time

You may have reached the end of Go Sober for October without touching a drop of booze. Or you’ve moderated your way through the month and feel full of resolve to erase alcohol completely.

Either way, kudos to you for making such a positive change. Leading a life without alcohol in it, even just for a month, is a big deal especially as large proportions of us spend most our adult lives dallying with it recreationally.

Now we’re here you may be thinking ‘now what?‘ You may have decided this life is a pretty good one but are worried about making the change.

When I quit I was anxious too. I didn’t drink every day and there were lots of fun times but, increasingly, it made me feel rubbish. I spoke with friends who had turned their back on booze and was inspired. I stopped – and didn’t last a week. Then I tried again. I read a few books, joined forums, wrote down why I wanted to stop and kept them close. My resolve grew. I stopped. And this time I didn’t start again.

Keeping up the momentum is helped if you:

Remind yourself why you quit. Hangover free mornings, the extra money, fear you’re using it as an emotional crux or doing it simply to prove you can. All are valid reasons for stopping. They remain valid and will be so in the future. You’ve broken the habit so why not extend your sobriety for another day? And another day after that? And after that?

Brush up on the medical shiz. Alcohol is bad for your health, full stop. A cursory glance at the NHS website will tell you everything you need to know. I think it’s worth reminding ourselves of these facts, especially when we are doubting our reasons for quitting.

Focus on the things you enjoy – and keep doing them. When I quit, I found there was loads more time to play with. Many people who cut booze out their life report this and it’s a weird but thrilling feeling. I got more into photography and enjoyed my running tenfold. For you it might be walking, swimming, revamping the garden or listening to music. Whatever floats your boat… do more of it.

Don’t be hard on yourself if there’s the odd slip-up. Just remember that tomorrow is another day and you can make it an alcohol free one. As Harvard president James Bryant Conant once said: “Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”

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I'm a writer, journalist and communications officer based in the South West of England. I write about wellbeing, the outdoors and life in a rural playground.

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