One of the biggest things that helped me get through the early stages of my sobriety were different sobriety blogs and podcasts, so I wanted to make sure that I created lots of content around the subject because a) I know how helpful it can be during what can feel like the longest and loneliest first months of sobriety and b) I friggin’ love talking about sobriety!!!
I want to make a note before we jump in that when I first got sober, I honestly wasn’t excited about it…at all.
It was hard. It was painful. I was not all that happy all the time. I wanted to drink…badly. I was angry and not sure why I “couldn’t drink” (which I technically could drink, I was just choosing not to.)
The reason why I even choose sobriety to begin with was a deep intuitive knowing that I had no choice but to stop. You can read all about my sober journey here.
Again, I didn’t like this deep inner voice telling me this, and it was the hardest few months of my life (it does get better, I promise.)
But I knew deep inside that it was time to stop my relationship with alcohol, and thank god for this inner voice that kept me going during this time.
However, the first few months were HARD, and even though I titled this article what kept me sober for the first 30 days, the truth is I used these tools for much longer than that, and I encourage you to find the tools you need and use them as long as you need to.
I think over time the joys and pride of not having to escape your life by drinking alcohol will come into your life and you won’t need as many coping mechanisms as you may have once needed.
I think that you’ll also see that they tools I used in my first 30 days and beyond are actually all very healthy coping mechanisms and even if you were to use them forever, that’s far better than ingesting a highly-addictive carcinogen into your body. So yea. Be gentle with yourself.
I also want to note that this is what worked for me. I did not attend rehab and I did not attend AA. That is my personal experience. That, however, does not mean that my path is the right path for everyone. Everyone’s sober journey is different, and you must figure out what is best for you.
I simply share my experience to show you options.
So, without further ado…let’s get into it!
Here are the 6 things that kept me on the sober train for my first 30 days…and beyond!
#1: Telling myself it was only 30 days
You know the old saying from Alcoholics Anonymous? I’m sure you’ve heard it even if you are completely removed from the sobriety/recovery community….”One day at a time”?
This mantra has been used for YEARS, going on centuries I’m sure, for a reason.
Here’s the thing: When you have gone years and years accustomed to a certain way of living (aka drinking being a normal part of your everyday life,) it can be very overwhelming, scary and intimidating to think that you may never have that in your life again.
Even more, chances are if you are considering sobriety, or have chosen sobriety already, you felt that your relationship with alcohol was unhealthy, which probably means you have used alcohol as a coping mechanism in some way, shape or form at some point.
Taking away the thing that you use to destress, or help you feel more confident in social situations, or use as an antidepressant, or whatever your reasoning is…
Thinking of going without that major coping mechanism FOR LIFE is scary as all hell!
So my advice?
Don’t think of it as a “for life” thing!
For me, when I first knew that I needed to explore sobriety, I told myself that I would only do it for 30 days. I would “try it.”
Even though there really was a deep knowing that this would be a forever thing, my mind was just simply too scared of that thought at the time, and if I would have thought of it that way, I probably would have lashed out and not committed.
So, 30 days felt doable.
And then from there, it was “just for today.”
I’m not drinking for another week. Or this weekend. Or for today.
Take it in bit-sized chunks.
Even now, almost a year and a half sober, it freaks me out sometimes to think that I will never drink again (or that is the plan.)
So I don’t get caught up in it.
Today, I am not drinking. I am using my tools and I am enjoying the peace sobriety brings me.
That is it.
So step one, keep it simple, and take it “one day at a time.”
#2: Allowing myself to spend ridiculous amounts of money on coffee and tea
For the longest time, I had this association between having a drink in my hand, and feeling special or fancy.
I’m not sure where it stems from, really.
Maybe just because I always loved a good fancy wine photo? See below:
A lot of my branding was focused around wine. I loveeeeeddddddd wine. And I constantly let people know it! Something made me feel just so dang fancy and important when I had a glass of sparkling rose in my hand. So when I didn’t have that anymore, I felt my self worth crumble (I know this sounds hella dramatic, but it’s true. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of looking cute anymore if I didn’t have a drink in my hand. This just proves the deep, deep conditioning of alcohol in our culture!)
So when I quit drinking, I was craving that way of feeling “special.” I know that this is totally not an evolved way of thinking, but my self esteem was low, clearly, and at the time, I needed something outside of myself to feel good, still.
And so I allowed myself that weening of needing alcohol to feel good to finding true self worth by allowing myself to be spoiled with a nice cup of coffee of cup of tea everyday, or even two to three times a day.
I did not buy coffee or tea out much at all when I was drinking, but that was because I was always ordering the glass of bubbly.
I needed a replacement there for a while, and so I allowed myself to spend a semi-ridiculous amount of money on coffee and tea out at nice coffee shops and cafes.
It made me feel special and like I was treating myself.
Eventually, I realized that I still love coffee and tea, but it’s just as good at home, for much cheaper, and I started just making it all myself.
My point here is that you are weening yourself off of a huge coping mechanism for yourself. So please be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to be a but spoiled at the beginning.
It’s normal to feel very emotionally raw and like you are being deeply deprived, so be kind to yourself in any way that feels best to you.
#3 Baths, baths, restorative yoga and more…baths
A large part of the reason why I drank was to take the edge off.
I didn’t know how to properly manage my stress (I talk about that more in this blog post and how I have improved in managing my stress,) and so alcohol could very quickly give me that “weight-off-my-shoulders” feeling.
I have always enjoyed a bath, but when I got sober, I was in the bath every chance I got.
I got sober when we were still traveling, and I looked forward to bath time so much that I only booked AirBnb’s that had baths in them (extra, I know, but as I said, when you are newly sober, you really do have to be extra kind to yourself.)
A good warm bath with epsom salts can give that same “weight-off-your-shoulders” feeling that alcohol can seem to give as well.
In fact, a warm bath with epsom salts can do wonders for your body, where we know alcohol does not.
I think we all need a way to “wind down” in the evenings, and my old way of doing that was by “wine-ing down.”
Baths, and also restorative or yin yoga (evening classes) gave me that same experience of transitioning into the calm of the evening.
My recommendation? Go to an evening, candlelight restorative yoga class. Dress in the comfiest, warmest clothes and then come home and draw a bath. Get a cup of tea and enjoy!
#4 Walks and hiking
I’ve always loved walking. My mom took walks too, and it was a habit I adapted to really free my mind at an early age.
However, when I got sober, this anti-stress tool I already had was simply amplified.
Solo-walking is basically my form of church.
It’s amazing what taking a long walk with no real destination or plan can do for your mind and soul, especially with some good music.
I want to note something:
I’m an entrepreneur, and in the entrepreneur space, there is a lot of push for constantly listening to motivational/personal development/business podcasts.
However, you will very rarely see me binging on motivational podcasts anymore. They don’t bring me joy. However, music does.
Since entering sobriety, I am all about just doing things for pleasure, and that is it. I now see the importance of finding joy in the little things. I used to not understand what made me happy, and that is why I drank. So now that I am starting to understand what brings me joy, I unapologetically indulge. After all, life is for enjoying!
From an entrepreneurial perspective, I think finding joy in your everyday is just as important for your business growth as learning, growing, consuming inspiring content.
I chose my entrepreneurial lifestyle to feel free, and for me that means not feeling pressure to learn during my me time.
So my walks are just for me, and pure bliss. I blast music. I walk, and walk, and walk some more.
There’s just magic about it. I can’t explain it. I encourage you to pop in your headphones, start walking and see what happens!
Let’s talking about the hiking real quick, too…
Hiking was something I was NOT into before sobriety.
I think I always *wanted* to be into hiking, but it’s a rigorous activity that my hungover self couldn’t seem to get the motivation to go do on a Saturday morning.
Now? There is nothing more that I love than waking up early and hiking, or spending a Saturday hiking.
There is a certain sense of accomplishment that you just can’t find anyway else than dragging yourself up a hard-@$$ hike and FINALLY making the summit.
It’s the most rewarding feeling, and it’s truly addicting!
The other thing about sobriety is that you really start to find out who you actually are.
What I mean by this is that drinking is a distraction.
I wasn’t really sure who I was, what I liked to do and what I was passionate about. And so I drank to pass the time, and make myself feel like I was “doing something”–aka, I was bored AF.
When I got sober and took my distraction away, I was SO BORED that I was forced to figure out what I enjoyed doing! (don’t let this scare you! This is a great thing! You are figuring out what truly makes you happy! There is nothing more rewarding. I talk about my personal self-discovery more here.)
When I got sober and started hiking, I learned that I really, really enjoyed it.
I enjoyed it so much that I even started facing fears, like hiking ALONE!
In the past, I would have just told myself I can’t do that.
This past summer, I spent some time hiking alone and it was truly rewarding to step out of my comfort zone and do something that I thought I would never be brave enough to do (don’t worry, I am safe! I bring lots of pepper spray with me!)
A big part of sobriety is really uncovering who you truly are. I found that a big catalyst of my drinking was simply not knowing what made me happy, and so when I didn’t have my distraction of my unhappiness (alcohol,) I was left to figure out what did make me happy. Hiking has been a huge rewarding discovery during my sobriety.
#5 Sobriety blogs
Probably the #1 thing that got me through in early sobriety (like first few days and weeks!) were sobriety blogs.
Holly has a really cool story because she started out just sharing her journey of sobriety via her blog, Hip Sobriety.
I also loved Sober Up Buttercup, and even though she hasn’t posted in a long time, her content is so real, raw and just relatable.
And then, here is this blog 🙂
A large part of my inspiration for starting my own blog is how helpful the content I just shared was for me, and how honestly I felt like there could be a LOT more than I was finding out there. So here I am, hoping to support you in the same way. Expect lots more sobriety content as we go along!
And last, but not least…
#6 Rest, and allowing myself to just be
This is something that I have been doing HARDCORE since I first got sober, but I am just now realizing how extremely important it is in the journey of recovery.
Since day 1, I have given myself full permission to get as much rest as I need.
Now, this doesn’t always mean that I don’t feel guilty, or ask myself if I should be doing something “more.”
But I have been in a far slower season of my life for the past year and a half than I think I have ever been in my life.
And I love it.
I just recently had an epiphany about this new-found “resting” I am doing so much of these days.
See, even though I am really enjoying all the rest in my life right now, I do often wonder if it’s maybe “too much” rest or if I should be “working harder.”
But just last week I realized this:
Even thought my body has been physically “resting” more–I do more slow yoga, I get more massages, I spend more time on the couch…
My mind and soul have not rested very much at all.
I’ve never identified as being an alcoholic…that is another blog post for another time.
But last week, I had the ah-ha moment of realizing that I have spent the past year and a half overcoming a serious crutch and addiction.
That is not something to take lightly, and that is something to be gentle with myself about.
Maybe I’ve needed a lot more rest than usual for what seems like longer than normal.
But, I uprooted my way of life and stepped into a totally different version, a far healthy version, of me.
And that’s not easy.
So if you are reading this and are considering sobriety, are newly sober…or even if you’ve been sober for years…
Give yourself credit.
Be good to yourself.
You are facing all of your demons. Head on.
You will feel tired. You will feel defeated.
But you aren’t.
Because you are working toward a whole new you, a whole new level of strength, and it’s not for the weak.
So be kind to yourself. And give yourself what you need.
And maybe even try to enjoy the journey along the way 😉
I love you!