SOBER SHORT 11 – Track Your Progress
I’m kicking off our Sober Short series by taking you through our Tribe Sober Toolkit – this toolkit is just one of the things that we share with you during our regular Zoom workshops. Just go to tribesober.com, hit Our Services and you’ll find all the info about our workshops. You can do a group workshop or a private workshop to suit your schedule and time zone.
These workshops have been a gamechanger for many people so if you want to kickstart your sober life then sign up today. Just go to tribesober.com/services and click on Workshops.
During the first 10 Sober Shorts, we looked at the first 10 Tools in our toolbox. Before we move on to tool number 11 let’s do a quick recap…
In this Episode
Tool number 1 was “Get Connected”
- “Connection is the Opposite of Addiction” and if you’re serious about getting sober then you need to connect with others on the same path.
- If you’re not yet a member of our tribe please check us out on tribesober.com – just hit “join our tribe” to read about the benefits of membership.
Tool number 2 was “Get Moving”
- We all know is that exercise is “good for us” and many people exercise daily but they also drink daily – sometimes excessively. Ditch the drink and keep exercising and you will be amazed at how much fitter you will get!
Tool number 3 was “Building Emotional Strength”
- All about “learning to sit with our feelings” – instead of trying to chase them away with alcohol – alcohol is the “easy button” and enables us to bypass difficult emotions.
- We have to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable as Tribe Sober coach Lynette says, or as Glennon Doyle says, “First the Pain, then the Rising.”
Tool number 4 was all about Mindset
- It was about changing your thinking – about drinking.
- We talked about overturning those false beliefs that we have picked up over the years — for example, we believe that we deserve a drink at the end of the day!
- We talked about overturning those beliefs – one by one.
- “Do the work” and you will never see alcohol in the same way and…
- You will never suffer from FOMO which is the key to sticking to your sobriety.
Tool number 5 was about “Visualisation”
- We talked about some powerful ways to use visualisation.
- One of them was to “play the movie forward” – if you get the urge to drink, then just think it through – what will happen after that first glass? Do you really want to wake up at 3 am full of anxiety and regret?
- Do you really want to keep going back to Day 1 – and do the hardest bit – again and again?
Tool number 6 was “Information is Power”
- It’s hard to believe it these days but not that long ago we had NO IDEA that smoking was bad for us.
- Even if you do decide to carry on drinking then make sure that it’s an informed choice. The information is out there and just a quick Google search will connect you with scientific research proving that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer and more than 60 diseases.
- That’s a good place to start, and there are many QuitLit books out there and of course podcasts. Almost 100 episodes of the Tribe Sober podcast are available now, all packed with advice inspiration and information.
- If you’d like a QuitLit Reading list just email firstname.lastname@example.org – you can also go to tribesober.com and hit the Inspiration tab where you’ll find a wealth of information that will inspire you to get started – and motivate you to keep going.
Tool number 7 was “Be Accountable”
- When we embark on this journey, we need a community of people who actually care – people who have been where we are now and can advise and encourage us – people who are thriving in their alcohol-free lives and can inspire us that it really is worth doing this thing.
- WE NEED TO BE ACCOUNTABLE – we need to know that we can share our ups and downs with other people who really get us.
- So, if you are looking for a sober community to inspire you and keep you on track just go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe.
- If you’d like to sample the kind of support we offer then email email@example.com and request our Sobriety Battleplan pdf which is packed with great advice, charts and trackers.
Tool Number 8 was “Journaling”
- At our workshops, we advise people to buy a beautiful notebook that will become their sobriety journal throughout this life-changing journey.
- Sobriety is a journey of self-discovery and recording your thoughts, emotions, struggles, and accomplishments is so beneficial.
- Early sobriety is a very emotional time and for most of us it really helps to process emotions if we can write them down.
- We can note our triggers as well as strategies for coping with them.
- Journaling will give us perspective – reading back on the early weeks of sobriety will remind us just how hard it was – and make us realise it’s getting better and easier every day.
- To learn more about the magic of journaling, listen to Tribe Sober podcast Episode 98 to hear my interview with writer in recovery Melinda Ferguson – released on 26th March 2022.
Tool No 9 was “Get a Project”
- It’s very common for people to feel a bit flat once they have achieved their first few months of sobriety.
- Many people in Tribe Sober (including me) experienced that “flatness’/depression/void” or whatever you want to call it – when they asked me what they should do about it I just told them to sit it out as it would eventually pass.
- However that advice changed after my podcast interview with Dr Loretta Breuning (author of the Happy Brain) – so do have a listen, it’s Episode 55 and was released on 14 August 2021.
- Loretta explained that my brain was quite happy during the first few months as it had registered that it was working on a project (i.e. sobriety) and I was making progress – however after a few months my subconscious was thinking – ok so now we are sober, now what?
- Well here’s the thing – as human beings we need projects – think of the cavemen, they would wake up hungry and have to go and find some food, eating the food would give them a dopamine hit but then they would get hungry again and have to go hunting.
- So, as you settle into your first few months of sobriety, GET A PROJECT to keep you on track and to keep those happy brain chemicals triggered.
Tool No 10 was “Be Prepared”
- As with most things in life preparation is crucial.
- Play the movie forward – what ARE you going to drink – if it’s a restaurant then check out their drinks menu online and decide what you will order.
- If you are going to a dinner party, text your host in advance and take some AF bubbly with you.
- Decide what you are going to say when/if people start to interrogate you – you can keep it simple: “I’m on meds”, “I’m driving” or my favourite, “I’m on a health kick – no booze, no sugar, no carbs for 66 days!”
- If drinking at home was your problem, then give away your booze – or move it to somewhere you can’t see it (the garage is a good place) and make sure your fridge is stocked with delicious AF choices – if you are in SA just go to drinknil.co.za and they will deliver to your door.
Tool No 11 IS Track Your Progress
When a new member joins our tribe, we send them a “starter kit” which includes an Annual Tracker. This annual tracker is simply a calendar divided into 360 squares. We suggest that people colour in a square as alcohol- free in the morning to set their intention for the day. If they slip up, then they should mark it on the calendar. This system has several advantages:-
- It helps to give perspective, to keep an eye on the big picture – sure there may be slip-ups on the way, but what matters is a feeling of progress – are those “Sober Stretches” getting longer?
- A bit like dieting, there is a tendency to feel hopeless after a slip up, a feeling of “oh I will never be able to do this, so I might as well give up altogether”. The tracker shows you that one slip-up does not ruin everything and you are more likely to hop back on the bus.
- Accountability – on screenshot Saturday we ask members to share their trackers on our chat group and everyone piles in to congratulate – or to encourage…
- If you would like one of our Annual Trackers then just email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you one right away!
- It’s so important to celebrate Milestones on this journey – Milestones not only give you something to aim for but when you reach them you will get a dopamine hit as you feel a sense of purpose and share your triumph with others. That dopamine hit will give you the energy and enthusiasm to continue with your journey.
- The Forever word is just too daunting when starting out on this journey so we suggest 30, 60, 100 days as Milestones… followed by 6 months and then moving on to Annual.
- The great thing about Tribe Sober is that many people stick around after getting sober – they want to help and inspire others – we even have a chatroom for people with more than 6 months of sobriety – we call it “big school” and people are keen to graduate.
- It’s also important to track your Sober Firsts – there will be many during your first year of sobriety. The first Sober Wedding, Sober Holiday, Sober Birthday, etc. See them as Challenges and keep your expectations low – don’t even expect to enjoy them – your work is to get through them. You can be sure that next time it will be easier and eventually you will enjoy it just as much (if not more) than usual.
- Make sure you plan a reward for yourself when you get through a Sober First!
So that was Tool number 11 – Track Your Progress. I’ll be back with our main podcast on Saturday and another Sober Short next Wednesday.
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