There is so much sobriety advice out there. Here at Tribe Sober we have a weekly podcast, daily mailers, and a four-hour workshop packed with advice on how to ditch the drink and go on to thrive in your alcohol-free life.
But if I had to distill all that advice down to one thing – what would it be?
Don’t go it alone…
This advice comes from the heart as I spent 10 years trying (and failing) to give up drinking alone.
A recent study showed that the average time between someone accepting that they had a “problem” with alcohol, and reaching out for help was actually 11 years!
That would indicate that there are millions of people trying to do this difficult thing alone – which is a shame when there are many communities who are willing and able to help.
Seven Reasons why we need community – to quit drinking – and then to go on to thrive in our alcohol-free lives:
- Connection – the road to recovery can be a lonely one. We tend to think there is something wrong with us because we can’t just be happy with “one glass” of wine like some of our friends can. We try and we fail – over and over again. The joy of connecting with others on this journey is that we realise that we are not alone. Alcohol is an addictive drug and 20% of social drinkers will become dependent over the years. There is such power and relief in sharing our stories with others in the community. Always remember that “connection is the opposite of addiction”.
- Inspiration – the power of example is strong. We see people hitting their sobriety milestones and going on to experience the benefits of sobriety. We get inspired – if other people like us can do this – then so can we! We even see people having slip-ups now and again – and we see the power of the group getting them back on track the very next day. That takes away our fear of failure as we realise that even if we don’t reach 100% perfection, we just keep trying until we do.
- Ongoing Support System – as we go through this experience together we create a deep bond with the others in our community. We learn to open up, share our feelings and ask for help. This may not be something we are used to doing in our everyday lives so we may be experiencing “the power of vulnerability” for the very first time. We need a safe space with no judgment. We need support from people who have walked this path before us and that’s exactly what we get when we join a sobriety group. You may not find the right group straight away but keep trying until you “find your people” – because it’s a gamechanger.
- Perspective – the path to recovery is never linear. There are ups and there are downs. There are stumbling blocks and difficult situations to manage. To be able to reach out to others who have gone through this is essential to stay on track. An example is the dopamine deficit which many of us experience in early sobriety. If we’ve relied on alcohol to make us feel good for years, it can take up to a year for our brains to recalibrate and start producing our natural feel-good hormones. So we end up getting the blues – and wondering if we will ever find joy in our alcohol-free lives. We can reach out for assurance which will keep us powering through the difficult days.
- Accountability and Motivation – if we try to quit drinking alone then it’s so easy to slip up – and so much harder to get back on track as we feel that nobody really cares. However, your community will hold you accountable. They will celebrate your milestones and triumphs with you and give you constructive advice about getting back on track if you fail. In our group, we share our progress on our sobriety trackers on Screenshot Saturday and take genuine pleasure in each other’s progress. If someone is really struggling we encourage them to go for Sober Stretches and see how many alcohol-free days they can manage.
- Learning How to Thrive – recovery is about so much more than “not drinking”. It’s about creating a new life – a life you don’t want to escape from by numbing out with alcohol. If we see community members thriving in their alcohol-free lives then we start to think that we will be able to do that as well. We get ideas from them about exercise routines, eating plans, books, and movies. We start to make plans, set goals, and discover more purpose in our lives. We get in touch with our creativity and start to flourish in new and unexpected ways.
- New Friends – we often have to ditch our drinking buddies along with the drink in early sobriety so we have to make new connections. Connections with people who won’t urge us to have just “one glass” or make us feel weird and boring because we don’t drink. Sobriety groups will introduce you to people just like that. We can go on to make deep and important friendships as we travel a difficult path with others and open up about just how miserable alcohol has been making us. As we relax into these friendships we begin to realise that yes, it is possible to have fun without booze – who knew?
So there are seven reasons why you shouldn’t try to do this alone.
Don’t be like the average person who spends a decade trying (and failing) to “cut down”.
Accept that if you are reading this you will probably never be able to drink moderately – otherwise, you would just do it, rather than read articles like this one.
Finding a support group used to mean going to AA but these days there are many alternatives.
Tribe Sober is one of those alternatives – join our international community and discover the warmth, friendship and support you need to succeed.
More information about our membership program is here.