Filling the Empty Space in Early Sobriety

The book Drinking a Love Story by Caroline Knapp addresses the feeling of lost love, or emptiness, that many people experience when they stop drinking. 

“To a drinker the sensation is real and pure and akin to something spiritual: you seek; in the bottle, you find.”
― Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story

Removing alcohol from my life left me feeling like I had a hole in my soul. Sobriety felt empty and raw to me for a while. I didn’t realize it when I stopped drinking but that hole in my soul was pretty big not because I was empty by nature, but because I’d been E X P A N D I N G that hole for years with large quantities of wine. 

I’ve never seen that process more vividly portrayed than in this video

That raw, empty, lost feeling that is left when people go sober is often what sends people quickly back to drinking even after they have stopped drinking determinedly.

People will warn you away from replacement addictions. Sadly, well-intentioned friends and advisors, who don’t really understand HOW INTENSE this addiction can be and HOW BIG that hole can become, may warn you away from doing exactly what you need to do to start learning to fill that hole in a healthier way.

Don’t eat chocolate or ice cream. Be wary of replacing drinking by becoming obsessive about an activity like exercise, blogging, cyber chatting, net flix, reading, or even attending AA meetings too often… 

Perspective and priorities are key to getting through your first year of sobriety.

Priorities and Perspective

I think that in early sobriety your FIRST priority needs to be simply – Don’t Drink – and in order to thsucceed at that you need to fill that hole with what works for you. If you don’t fill that hole with something you’re going to feel empty and lonely and lost… and feeling empty and lonely and lost can make you want to drink.

Try to fill it with the healthiest most soul-affirming things you can fill it with. Try to fill it with things that engender self-respect, self-care, self-love, and respect for others. And please don’t feel like this big gaping hole will be there forever. It won’t. It will get smaller as you grow.  

Life is full of blessings. Let them in.

I filled my hole with music to soothe my soul and direct my energy, I filled it with taking pictures of the world around me and sharing them, I filled it with learning to express myself with words, I filled it with political action, I filled it with cooking, I filled it with eating, I filled it with making a cyber scrapbook that turned into this website, I filled it with sexuality, I filled it with sensuality, I filled it with fantasy, I filled it with Love.

I filled my hole with…
Books and blogs- 

Books to Help you Stop Drinking and Fuel Your Sober Momentum

Top Sobriety Blog Posts to Help You Stop Drinking and Stay Alcohol-Free

I was lucky enough to be able to fill it with art in Paris-

Relationships and Art and deciding which way you’ll grow

I filled it with an online community –

How Posting in the BOOM Community can help you Rethink the Drink

And bit by bit, and day by day, as long as I didn’t drink, the hole began to fill with me. Even if I sometimes get a little too “fixated” or “Obsessive” or “on the edge” of seeming to be becoming addicted to one of those other things ?… I ALWAYS get back to center quickly because I’m alcohol-free.

It’s simple really. I don’t believe in a flawed sort of addictive personality. Alcohol was the problem … not me!

Stay Sober. The hole will fill with YOU


from the BOOM Rethink the Drink Community

Eat regularly.
Have drinks ready that are AF.
Don’t panic if you get a sweet tooth it’s normal – dieting can happen further down the line.
Don’t panic that you’re scared just keep going.
Go to bed early.
Take long baths in nice-smelling salts or magnesium salts.
Learn to knit.
Buy an adult colouring book and pencils.
Walk a dog. Preferably your own – don’t pinch someone else’s without asking permission.
Go for walks.
Exercise in any way you can think of.
Bake a cake.
Bake biscuits.
Plan your day.
Watch Netflix.
Watch a film or series on TV.
Go to the movies/ pictures.
Listen to music

Get a massage/write a song

Be grateful

Keep a journal. Write your dreams, your gratitudes, poetry, memoir. Just let it out..



Smile and Feel GOOD about Yourself

Talk to a friend, go to a meeting, call your sponsor

I found myself shopping a lot in the early days. And, I am NOT a shopper! But, there was something about driving to a store (that doesn’t sell alcohol) and just wandering through the aisles that brought me peace and took my mind off drinking. Even now, when I get a little itchy, I”ll head to the store. It’s a good way to kill time and there are so many distractions.

Go out walking to set yourself up for the day and take care of your body. Morning and night cleansing and tooth brushing 😎

Heal your gut and brain with supplements and good food. Do yoga. Observe your self-talk and make it positive! Immerse yourself in nature, go find the beautiful places. Be creative. Make your home more beautiful. Rock that sober sex. Expand your repertoire of coffee and tea. Believe in yourself! ❤️

Bake bread. The kneading is meditative and it smells so good when it’s baking.

Plan a gym session in the evening followed by a bath with essential oils, Green juice, popcorn. Netflix series. Yoga. Meditation.

Chocolate! You forgot the chocolate!!

Related reading from Boozemusings:

How Sober Life Became Jubilant for Me

25 Things to do With Your Alcohol-Free Time!

Drinking to Escape? Here’s Another Way

Sober Momentum- Enjoying the Journey Alcohol Free by Learning to Tone Your Vagus Nerve

Vulnerability and Performing Buck Naked – or Surviving Early Sobriety

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

You can read more about us here

Find our Mighty Networks Landing page here

and sign up easily, using an anonymous name from the beginning if you wish, using the invitation linked here

Rethink the Drink

Top Sober Living Blogs
Feedspot Top Living Sober Blogs

6 responses to “Filling the Empty Space in Early Sobriety”

  1. […] In the first couple of weeks you’ll probably feel like resting, taking it easy, sticking close to home, or a safe atmosphere. So find some great movies, buy some books, fill your cupboards with a host of new drinks (for me it was really good, spicy teas, organic, locally-brewed ginger ale, mineral water with this, that or the other, healthy smoothies, and hot chocolate) and indulgences and take it easy. As you gain confidence, and begin to feel more comfortable going out, start going to the cinema, visiting art galleries or the library, theater, concerts (not the drink and drug-fueled kind) or poetry readings, going for walks on the beach, whatever floats your boat. Whatever you enjoy, whatever you were missing out on while you were drinking, do that! Fill your life to the brim with selfishly enjoyable pursuits. related reading Filling the Empty Space in Early Sobriety […]

  2. […] Start by identifying why you are really craving. Alcohol is the answer that your brain is giving but what is the question really? Are you hungry? Are you angry? Are you lonely? Are you tired? HALT. To find the trigger and a solution that fits the real craving. Are you craving food, release, interaction, or rest? read more Filling the Empty Space in Early Sobriety […]

  3. […] The following paragraph about dopamine is not my writing but gives me some insight into what I was doing wrong by using alcohol when there are many other ways to get your mood change without using alcohol. It was those other ways I had to learn and it took a long time to accept them as alternatives. Alcohol was an ‘easy’ option which gave me my dopamine hit quickly. The dopamine hit from alcohol calmed my anxiety or elevated my mood quickly. Other options (the ones in capitals at the bottom of the page) take a bit more effort and time and there’s many more options not just those in the list. Check out more reading here Filling the Empty Space in Early Sobriety […]

Blog at


%d bloggers like this: