I propose 5 ways to get you moving into a new life. A sober life. A life of change and wonder. A life of giving and receiving. But first, well done. First, you decided to stop drinking, then you stopped drinking, and then you reached out for help. Now all you must do is the work.
The work is forever, and the work is all about your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. Tribe Sober has a checklist to make your life easier when you need to do the work:
- Do you chat daily on Slack – share and listen to wisdom from others?
- Attend the Zoom Cafe – every Saturday 4.30pm SA time?
- Are you reading the Quitlit and listening to the weekly podcasts?
- Have you done the WHY exercise and are you using your tracker?
- Have you used your DrinkNil discount voucher?
- Have you attended a workshop?
- Have you tried our online yoga class and had a nutritional consult?
- Have you taken advantage of your complimentary coaching, hypnotherapy, and root cause therapy sessions?
Connection is the Opposite of Addiction
And that’s why it is SO difficult to quit drinking alone. Connection means – sharing our experiences, strengths and hopes. While you may manage to get sober by sheer willpower it’s almost impossible to stay sober without connecting with others on the same path. We have all been there, we all “get it” and speak the same language – no judgment – only support.
I am here now to ask you 5 questions to help you get moving into your sober life and to stay there. The questions seem easy but when you start thinking about your answers, you realise that there are many levels and depths to your answers.
Let’s jump right in now.
What could you stop doing?
This could relate to certain physical habits that you have. It could relate to false beliefs too. Maybe you hold grudges against someone, and you keep thinking badly of them? Or maybe you keep putting yourself down and not believing in your own full potential? Some people have habits that can be stopped (drinking at 5 pm is one of them!) such as nail-biting, eating too much and shouting at their partners.
What could you do less of?
This could relate to your daily habits such as diet, sleep patterns, and work dedication. Are you over-working? Are you over-eating? Are you not sleeping enough but obsessing about drinking? Maybe you can be less angry and less self-battering? Maybe you can do less social media checking and more board game playing?
What could you do more of?
There is so much that you could do more of when you stop drinking! Think about it: think about all the wasted hours you have recently spent drinking and talking about trivialities to those who drank with you. Drinking and thinking that this was a stress-reliever. Ha. Little did you know that you were exacerbating your stress. And ruining your sleep and diet at the same time. So, the challenge is exciting – to do more of? Self-care! Healthy eating and exercising. Seeing sober friends. Journaling – the opportunities are endless when you finally realize that you have hours extra at your disposal. Now is the time to carpe diem and do something challenging, no matter what your age.
What could you continue doing?
Keep on being sober! Keep on connecting with your new Tribe Sober friends and others who understand your journey. Currently, it is not SO shocking to be sober. It is becoming less of a stigma, more acceptable and more of a healthy lifestyle trend. So, be true to you when you answer this question. Link this to your values and how great you are as a person. Continue exercising, taking your vitamins and being kind to others. What else can you add to this wonderful elixir?
What could you start doing?
The world is your oyster! Sobriety brings with it challenges, spaces, opportunities, pain, and triumph. It gets rid of shame and guilt, unnecessary weight gain and mood swings. It cleanses the mind and body of toxins. What could you start doing for yourself? For others? For your family and for friends, but most of all, for strangers. Now is the right time to change your life, change direction. Take up a charity that is close to your heart and volunteer: environmental issues, social issues, politics, whatever it is that fires your heart up.
A good way to tackle these questions is to journal about them. Pick up a pen and brainstorm each one. Then, make some sense from your scrawling by turning each one into a mind map. Finally, you may be able to see the spaces in between the thoughts. Set yourself some concrete, achievable goals for each question. If you feel stuck, put down your pen and do something else. Then come back and take a fresh look at your goals.
Time to Rewire the Brain
One of the main goals in sobriety that we can all set is to rewire our brains. Human beings cultivate false beliefs throughout their lifetimes, a direct result of nature plus nurture – we have certain characters and personalities which make us who we are, and then we are brought up by parents who have their own characters and personalities. Children tend to absorb the beliefs of their parents until they reach an age where they start to question their parents and think that their friends are their gods. This is normal.
I know that my false beliefs sometimes hang in my words and my reactions to others. I know that my shadow side sometimes judges and criticizes and feels like a victim too. Create awareness about your false beliefs and then see how they are connected to your values. If you see yourself as a victim, chances are you lack self-esteem and self-confidence. This can come across as anger, resentment and judgment! If you have never clarified your boundaries, you may feel squished, smothered, angry and resentful. Sort it out, make the boundaries clear to all who live with you.
Easier said than done? Talk to someone neutral such as a coach or a therapist.
Let’s recap Reinhold Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
reinhold niebuhr (1892-1971)
To conclude my blog, do this activity tonight:
“Imagine you’re in a helicopter flying over the map of your life. What do you notice about your life from way up there? Looking down with this new perspective, how would you answer the question now?”