I have a lot of people that approach me about going sober and I’ve also noticed a lot of people in my circles of friends who want to give it a try for 30-60-90 days. It seems to be a reoccurring theme so I decided to write more pieces with advice for going sober to talk about what the sobriety process is like and what to expect based on my own memories and survival mechanisms.
I’m working with several people in their own sobriety journey who have posed questions to me along the way that I’ll be referencing, along with my own knowledge, research and life experience in living sober. Throughout the learning process, one thing I’ve realized is that sobriety begins with awareness.
I’ve put together some simplistic ways to support the transition. These are some simple practices of awareness to bring into your life to help facilitate change and begin the sober journey.
1) Facing the issue is the first step.
We can’t effectively work through a bad habit if we aren’t willing to acknowledge it. As cliché as it sounds, the first step to overcoming a problem, is admitting there is one. Awareness of the issue is step one.
2) Notice the beast inside of you.
We all have the inner voice that convinces us that our habits are normal and that, in fact, we should “have a drink because it’s 5’oclock somewhere.” If we can start to understand how often this beast interferes into our thoughts, we can begin to overpower it. Becoming aware of the beast inside is the beginning of understanding a driving force behind the issue. I’ll go into this in much more detail soon.
3) Build overall awareness.
Once we have identified the issue as well as it’s best friend, the beast, we can start to draw more awareness to how often it comes up. We don’t need to be judgmental towards ourselves, but just notice the frequency. “Oh, there it is again.” Simply notice where your mind goes as it supports the bad habit.
4) See the precursors and the underlying issues below the surface.
As we begin to bring awareness into our thoughts, we can begin to also recognize patterns that may lead us to our vices. Are there certain triggers that set you off? Is there something causing you pain or stress be it from present circumstance or even past situations? The objective is not to solve the triggers just yet, but again to just bring awareness to potential precursors.
5) Break it down into days or hours.
When first starting out, a month seems like an eternity. I’ve found that with breaking any habit, it’s nice to have a long-term goal in mind, but it’s much more manageable to think of it in days or even hours. When we are just focused on the day ahead or the next 12 hours, it helps to bring more manageable perspective and breaking it down into smaller chunks makes it more palatable.
6) Think about how it limits performance, success and happiness.
This was a huge one for me. I knew that my drinking and drugging was severely affecting my potential for greatness. Not only was I impacted physically and mentally, but my emotions and anxiety tied to them was at an all time high. I would beat myself up everyday thinking “if only I wasn’t such a lush,” or “maybe if cocaine wasn’t running my life, I would do x, y, and z.” Sound familiar? Where is your habit cutting you short? Bring observation to this without being too hard on yourself.
7) Practice intentionality.
Sobriety requires intentionality. The act of living in sobriety is something we consciously and repeatedly have to remind ourselves of. Our choices and decisions need to become something we think through instead of defaulting to what we’ve always done. We move from acting without thought to having an internal dialogue with ourselves at each step to ensure that what we are doing, feeling and thinking is supporting our efforts to clean our act up. Applying intentionality with our newfound awareness is what can catapult us into successful and sustained sobriety.
I’m writing an eBook on sober living life hacks that will be coming out soon. I’d love to hear from you if you have questions you would like answered, confidentially of course. I’ll also be rolling out a program for Sobriety Mentorship in the coming months. Details will follow soon.
In the meantime, if you or anyone you know is manning the unchartered waters of sobriety, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many more sobriety nuggets of encouragement, advice and wisdom to come. As always, Miracles Are Brewing…
Photo Credit: Riverbank of Truth