How to Stay Sober this January and beyond
Staying sober is on trend. It’s a hip new lifestyle. What’s more, if done right, quitting drink can be so much more than just another new year’s resolution. It can be the start of a new, positive life.
Here are a few tips to help support you through it:
Take advantage of Dry January
Dry January is where thousands of Brits give up alcohol for January. In fact, the University of Sussex discovered that six months later 72% of the ‘Dry January-ers’ had greatly reduced the amount they drank and 4% had stopped drinking all together.
That means you can take advantage of this national health kick. In January 2017 there were a record number of sign-ups to the campaign – 65,000 people! And that’s set to rise this January.
This means there will be a lot less social pressure for you to drink alcohol, it’ll be more socially acceptable and your friends and family may join you!
Sadly, when someone stops drinking, some friends and family don’t like it. They get defensive and feel pressured to think about their own drinking habits. Dry January is that hole in the fence to get you to that amazing sober life.
Not only is January the perfect time to give up drink, it’s also the prime time to start an exercise regime. You’re more likely to feel motivated during this month because it’s more than likely that lots of other people will be too.
If you’re not into the gym bunny stuff, then yoga could be the ideal way to ease into your new fitness routine. Not only will this help keep you physically fit, it’ll also do wonders for your state of mind.
Give each month a theme
Part of the reason people don’t stick to their new year’s resolutions is because they get bored or start to lack motivation. So jazz it up a bit and keep yourself on your toes. Make it fun and give each month a theme.
January: Dry January
February: Staying sober to raise money for your chosen charity
March: Ticking off a list of tasty non-alcoholic cocktails to try throughout the month…then coming up with one of your own!
April: New hobby month! Pick a new hobby and put your energy into it.
May: Education – start a course or take a workshop
June: Art gallery month – try to visit as many galleries as you can
And so the list goes on. The beauty of themed months is you’ll be distracted and broadening your horizons. Customise your list to fit your goals and personality.
Journaling is therapy
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a digital kind of journal keeper or a classic pen ‘n’ paper diarist, journaling is incredible. I highly recommend the app Day One (available on iPhone and Android).
Not only is it fun to read back on what you’ve been up to every day, it’s therapeutic. Feeling like you need a glass of wine? Write it down in your journal, including what made you feel this way and how you think you can help yourself.
Marvel at the advantages of volunteering
Sure, alcohol can give you a buzz for a couple of hours, but how about getting a natural buzz that lasts for days, even months at a time? Not only does volunteering help people, it’ll give you an enormous sense of wellbeing and self-fulfillment, as well as fill up all that extra time you’re going to have as an alcohol-free individual!
No one is perfect – own your lapses
If you succumbed to a drink or a night out then do not, under any circumstances, beat yourself up. No one is perfect! We all make mistakes, but it’s how we deal with them and what we do after we’ve made them that make us decent people.
Life doesn’t go totally to plan 24/7. So if you slipped up, learn from it, have a little down time for a few days, then get right back to it! A successful sober life comes from learning from your mishaps and owning them.
What do you get from all of this?
Apart from the physical and mental health benefits of sobriety, there are other advantages you’ll get from kicking the drink:
- You’ll remember everything: You’re sure to remember the great times you’re going to have on your future nights out, not to mention the new people you’ll meet.
- A healthier bank balance: You’ll be surprised how much you save.
- More energy: Your head will feel clear.
- You’ll bail on friends and family a lot less: Alcohol can stop you from following through with your commitments.
- More respect: The chances are people will see you in a more positive light.
- Pride and dignity: I know I mentioned that some friends and family may find it hard to accept you’ve stopped drinking, but with those who support you, you’ll find they’re so proud of you! Also, your self-confidence is likely to soar.
- Stronger relationships: So, you rarely cancel on your commitments, people see you in a positive light, your self-confidence is at an all-time high… guess what? Your relationships are going to get stronger!
- Knowing how to relax: This newfound sense of self confidence, paired with a clear mind means that over time you’re going to be a dab-hand at knowing how to relax without alcohol.
- No hangovers: Easily one of the greatest advantages! Imagine waking up with no anxiety, no headache, no vomiting, no self-loathing!
- Saying goodbye to shame: Never again will you do or say anything embarrassing – especially stuff that could jeopardize your relationships or career.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Bunmi Aboaba a Sobriety Companion and Coach, and founder of The Sober Advantage. Bunmi helps people battling a variety of addictions to get control of their lives and beat their addiction – for good. Bunmi uses a variety of techniques to help her clients, all of which she has used herself to help her gain her sobriety and remain sober for 10 years. See: www.thesoberadvantage.com and https://www.linkedin.com/in/bunmiaboaba/