“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
The book Drinking a Love Story by Caroline Knapp, addresses the feeling of “lost love” or emptiness that many people feel when they stop drinking. It felt to me like a hole in my soul- a hole in my soul that was actually pretty big because I’d been E X P A N D I N G it for years with large quantities of wine. Sobriety felt empty and raw to me for a while. Empty and raw because I was no longer filling myself with booze.
That raw, empty, lost feeling is often the thing that sends people quickly back to drinking even after they have stopped determinedly. And sadly, people 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. 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.
People will warn you away from replacement addictions …. don’t get addicted to … chocolate, ice cream, sex, exercise, blogging, cyber chatting, net flix, reading, carbohydrates, AA meetings……. etc etc… BUT perspective and priorities are key to getting through your first year of sobriety. I think that in your first six months / three months/ year of sobriety …. your FIRST priority needs to be Don’t Drink and in order to do that you need to fill that hole with what works for you.
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…
Books and blogs-
I was lucky enough to be able to fill it with art in Paris-
I filled it with an online community
I filled it 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.
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 addicted to one of those other things ?… I ALWAYS get back to center quickly because I’m alcohol-free, and alcohol was the problem … not me!
Stay Sober. The hole will fill with YOU
LIST OF THINGS TO FILL THE EMPTY SPACE WHEN YOU’RE NEWLY ALCOHOL FREE
from the BOOM Rethink the Drink Community
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.
Plan your day.
Watch a film or series on TV.
Go to the movies/ pictures.
Listen to music
Get a massage/write a song
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 posts from Inside the BOOM Community :
“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
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How do you go Sober?
B Be accountable Talk to Us We Understand
A Avoid alcohol like the plague Ideas Here
L Let yourself enjoy regular sober treats Ideas Here
A Allow yourself to cry when needed Ideas Here
N Nourish your body with good food Ideas Here
C Create happy & fun memories Ideas Here
E Enjoy the precious moments in your day Ideas Here
W Work hard to get what you want Ideas Here
O Organise things for less stress Ideas Here
R Realise you can’t control it all Ideas Here
K Keep going & prepare for success Ideas Here
S Sleep enough for body & mind rest Sleep Solutions