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What is the Best Way to Quit Drinking?
I was terrified to give up alcohol. I could feel myself on the precipice of something so bad that I might not be able to come back from it. October 25th, 2020, was the last day I drank and in my usual style of binge drinking, I went way overboard. I had tried so many times to quit drinking, but finally, everything aligned that next day and staying sober stuck. Since my last drink, I have made it through cravings, social events, taking care of my father after surgery, health issues of my own, traveling, my dog’s health issues, family problems, holidays, and a little thing called the pandemic… and I did it all totally ALCOHOL_FREE!!
Are you trying to quit drinking? If you’re struggling, please keep trying.
Everything finally clicked for me on October 26, 2020, my last day one. I have had many day ones over the past 2-3 years and those previous attempts were not in vain. I learned something each time I quit drinking that helped me when I needed it most. For me, every unit of alcohol not drunk represents a life of healing, gratitude, strong relationships, and new possibilities. It represents me saying “Yes! I am worth it” even if my voice was barely a whisper at times. Since quitting drinking I have worked on healing past traumas, setting healthy boundaries with family and friends, and letting go of shame. These are things I will probably have to work on for the rest of my life but the important thing is that the work has been started.
So what is the best way to quit drinking? I think one thing that is key in sobriety is finding what works for YOU and letting it evolve over time to meet your needs. Many people who are members of Alcoholics Anonymous will say “take what works for you and leave the rest”. I think that is true in any sober support community and that is what I have done in our BOOM Rethink the Drink online community. Boom is a great place to learn about a lot of different methods people use to get sober and take the parts that make sense to you.
Here is an example. Have you ever heard of the Wine Witch? The Vodka Vampire? The Feast Beast?
A lot of people like to name their wine beast and it really helps them to have this visualization. I tried this myself, but it never quite fit for me. The wine beast is of course a part of you. The side of your brain that is addicted and will do anything to get a drink. But I have spent a lot of time disliking parts of myself or trying to lock parts of myself away. So for me, visualizing a wine beast as my nemesis, this thing that is part of me, felt like a continuation of this mindset. However, I really do like visualization. So instead of a wine beast, I like to picture the part of me that craves wine as a child who doesn’t know how to cope with her emotions and just wants to make the pain stop. I feel like holding that little child’s hand and saying it’s ok, you are not alone and we will get through this together. This visualization has helped me so much. That is not to say the other route is wrong…that’s just it, there is no right or wrong – it is all about finding what works for you.
Perhaps the most important aspect of maintaining my sobriety has been allowing myself to feel for the first time in ages. Before October 26, 2020, the mere thought of dealing with my feelings made me want to drink. I remember when I first got sober how my emotions would hit me so hard, like an unexpected wave in the ocean. You know, one of those waves that knocks you under and then sort of beats you up along the ocean floor for a bit before spitting you out on the beach gasping for air. Emotionally I think I was stunted to about age 5 and when I first quit drinking this 5-year-old somehow had to navigate years of repressed emotions. It left me raw, uncomfortable, and feeling very vulnerable. Each day was like an overwhelming assault on my emotions and it made living in my own skin difficult. I was a beautiful and brave mess. Through that pain, I made progress in leaps and bounds, although I could not see it at the time. If you are feeling this way now, please stick with it…it does get better.
Each time I navigate an issue I learn something new. The waves of feelings aren’t quite so strong now and sometimes rather than getting beat up by them I ride them out, going with the flow with tentative curiosity rather than struggling against it. Other times the waters are quite calm and in these moments I have found the anxiety relief and true relaxation that alcohol promised, but never delivered on.
Sure I still have times when things are absolutely overwhelming, but instead of spiraling into a depression and isolating, I post in BOOM, journal, call a friend, or take a nap. By using these tools I allow myself the space to process my emotions and affirm to myself that I am not alone.
In the early days, I used Boom as a tool to practice allowing myself to feel. I thought “The worst-case scenario is that I can’t stay sober, and I leave Boom and because it is anonymous no one will ever be able to find me….and anyways I will never meet any of these people in real life, right?” So I posted and joined Zoom calls and slowly I practiced expressing my emotions to an amazing, patient, and supportive group of people. I used to call these interactions “practicing being human”. This process helped me so much and I have been able to slowly transfer the skills I learned in Boom to real life.
So if you need help expressing yourself, or “practicing being human” this is a great place to do just that.
I realize I will forever be a work in progress, but my life has improved so much this last year. Although it hasn’t been easy, it has definitely been worth it. If you are struggling today try not to worry about being sober your whole life. Just get through today. When it is difficult to see the path ahead, put your faith in the process and the future will take care of itself.
I am rooting for you!
If you are struggling or had a slip please keep trying. You can do this and you absolutely are worth it 💚💚💚
More by this author :
Alcohol, Anxiety and the Octopus
Resources to help you quit drinking :
How Posting in the BOOM Community can help you Rethink the Drink
Why is it So Hard? 4 Hurdles to Overcome When You Stop Drinking
HALT – 4 Triggers That Slip People Up When They Stop Drinking
The Magic of the Sober Toolbox to Power Your Will
We love our community and think that there is no place like BOOM. But there are many communities that offer support online and in person. Please check out the websites linked below if you are looking for your niche and haven’t found it yet.
What is the best way to quit drinking? The way that works for you!
The following have been used by members of our BOOM community, or are used in conjunction with our community and are recommended as helpful.
Where can you find support to quit drinking in addition to our Boom Rethink the Drink Community ?
Online Communities to help you quit drinking :
Living Sober – created by Lotta Dann / Mrs D
Soberistas – created by Lucy Rocca
Club Soda – created by Laura Willoughby
The Luckiest Club created by Laura McKowen
The Tempest – created by Holly Whitaker
Alcohol-Free Challenges to help you quit drinking :
100 Day Sober Challenge from Tired of Thinking About Drinking
The Alcohol Experiment by Annie Grace at This Naked Mind
4 alternatives to AA with online community’s and in-person meetings
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us.
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