When people join our online community BOOM Rethink the Drink, they are asked how they found us and why they are here. After reading hundreds of answers, the answer to that question that has stayed with me was the one that sounded most like me 6 years ago – 6 years ago before I stopped drinking. When I was searching online for the solution to a problem that I just could not solve. This is how I felt too ;
I typed into Google search – Seriously ? – How the Fck do I Stop Drinking!
And that is the question really. Not just the question though but the mood that most of us are in when we start reaching for help. ( related post The Fuckit Bucket )
When you stop drinking, the first three or four weeks alcohol-free, the first month sober, can be a treacherous time. It would be great if there was a magic pill that worked for everyone, one that you could take to erase the feeling that you need to drink, or want to drink, even though you know that you can’t .
Sobriety is healing:
H Heroic act of self care that
E Eliminates the toxin that is
A Alcohol from your
I in choosing to thrive and
N Never again
G Giving yourself less!
by the author of Time is Finite Don’t Dumb Down Without a Fight
For anyone who is just starting out on this sober journey, be patient. Read, educate yourself, be kind to yourself and know that you are far from alone and no matter how bad (or not) you think your problem is, I guarantee you there is someone here that knows exactly how you are feeling. It takes a lot of energy to hide bottles, plan for extra alcohol before/during/after social events, find time to dispose of empty bottles, blackouts, bad LFT’s. It’s exhausting and all consuming. Then somehow you have to fit life into all that whether it’s work/family/etc.
If you haven’t experienced it for a while, it will possibly be hard to comprehend, but there is so much freedom in not drinking. Reach for it and hold on with all the strength you can muster and ask for help!
If you have tried and tried again to stop drinking and are finding cutting out the alcohol impossible, Librium, Campral, Antabuse, Naltrexone, Baclofen are all pharmaceutical helpers that you can talk to your physician about. In the end, whether you chose to stop drinking on your own or ask for help from your physician, the ideas below may help you get going and keep moving away from that How the fck do I Stop Drinking place. Thoughts from our BOOM community members on those pharmaceutical methods are at this link inside our private online community Pharmaceutical assistance to Stopping Drinking. You have to join to open it but it’s free to join and free to stay as long as you wish. We are community-run. Funded by donations. People reaching out to people. Because we have been where you are and are grateful to be free!
Begin with the right frame of mind :
Fall in love with sobriety, it may not be a steady upward curve but generally the longer you go alcohol free in the early days the more you feel well body and mind, RUN WITH THAT. Never forget how awful alcohol makes you feel by contrast, and stay true to your best self, who you can also fall in love with anew. Pay attention to the moments of relief you feel by gaining your freedom, like getting through something tough without alcohol, and having no regrets. You are more likely to make good clear decisions and get more done. Enjoy yourself with new experiences, life is for the plucking now! Let the good stuff snowball and leave the past behind. Believe in yourself!!
by the author of There is no drug Sweeter than my Sobriety
There are no ‘Magic Bullets’; Only you. All the advice and help is only as good as you want it to be – Every one of us is unique -The Answer is YOU – Listen, Read, Accept the advice – it is coming from those who have been there – are there. The most important person is you, without you – nothing happens. Use resources use everything.
If you really try and, take on board the experiences of those here who share – you will succeed. by the author of Dancing with the Devil I Know
The Three D’s I Learned in Alcohol Rehab:
Delay -Distract – Decide
It’s part of ‘surfing the wave’ (which apparently only lasts 10-15 minutes – the craving). The first step is a willingness to try the 3 D’s. Try deferring one minute. During that time choose something distracting to do. I watch something on Netflix. When the distraction wears off, try a little more delaying, or make a conscious choice. Just by delaying you’ve started the process of weaning yourself off alcohol. It’s a small success but take the win.
If you are triggered by something significant, grab an ice pack (if you can) or cold water, and put it on your face, as it has a scientific effect on your thought processes. You’re only thinking of your physical discomfort. It’s a delay tactic in essence.
Write a list of triggers from 1 – 10 and be ready to handle each of those as they come up. Know that these things will happen and you will want to drink. But it is up to you! Be prepared. by the author of My Long Journey to Sobriety and the Three D’s I Learned in Alcohol Rehab
We asked our online community, BOOM Rethink the Drink, what they would offer to our new members who are trying to stop drinking alcohol and this is what they said.
These are some of the things that helped us stop drinking and stay sober
If you are in your first weeks sober make staying sober the #1 priority and reduce stress as much as you possibly can. If you need to get take out, leave the laundry in the dryer, let the dishes pile up …it can all wait. Fill yourself up with sober material in whatever form you prefer… reading, podcasts, online community interaction, meetings etc. Move your body in a way you enjoy or makes you feel good–walk, stretch, bike, etc. Get support wherever you can! ☺ Above all else, believe you can do it and believe it’s worth it.
by the author of Tips on the First Month Alcohol Free from a former Grey Area Drinker
Keep going till the prickliness goes and you start to feel squishy inside again, then ride that wave and use the feeling as your motivation.
related post Ride the Wave in Early Sobriety
Consider each day as an “adventure” – what will life today be like while I’m alcohol-free?
Pay attention to how you are feeling, what you’re thinking, what you’re observing and see it as part of your experiment for TODAY. Tomorrow will be a new experiment. For today, just see how you’re doing.
Remember – alcohol has neurological and physiological consequences – it takes time for your body to heal from these, so it will be easy and hard, depending on this healing process. Be patient and gentle with your mind and body.
1. Create a safe and calm space where you can retreat and shut down if need be.
2. Schedule exercise into your life. I like group classes.
3. Read! Read! Read!
4. Take it one day at a time. Treat every day as day 1 and don’t get too hung up on the actual number of days.
5. Be careful around the day 17/18 mark.
6. Put a picture of yourself as a kid on your home screen or laptop screensaver.
7. Do yoga.
8. Be kind to yourself
7. Sober treats!! Shopping, have cake in the house, lucky charms for me!
8. Have lots of AF drinks in the house.
9. Plan to give yourself a treat at the same time you normally pour a drink so you have something to look forward to at the same time of day.
10. Structuring your week helps but definitely your evenings (our brains like to know what’s happening next so do exactly the same thing for a few evenings in a row, same timings)
by the author of Just Don’t Drink the Rest Will Follow
I would talk out loud to myself. Sounds crazy, I know, but buying a box of wine and finishing it in two days is crazier. I would be in my kitchen shaking and crying and feeling like a bum telling myself out loud why I was doing it
“you dont need it, you’re gonna feel like shit tomorrow, something has to give or you’re gonna be dead before your 50 , you can do this, just breathe, you’re gonna be ok”
it helped me get through that 5 minutes when I was in my PJs and ready to put makeup and a new outfit on to go to the supermarket because “I HAVE TO have a drink”. Like a pep talk to myself. Read a book about someone else’s victory, and find one that speaks your language. Check this site and post, even if it’s just to physically type ‘day 4 sober’. Get that shit out of your house and I got rid of ALL my glasses. They were a major trigger. Just seeing them, even a regular juice glass, which I was using cuz they hold a ton of poison, made my heart go pitty-pat. Most of all remember you are not the first person in the world to do this and you dont have some disgusting defect. You are very simply making a change.
If your grocery shop also sells booze/wine/beer like they do where I live, shop in the mornings. Do not attempt to swing by after work when you are hungry and tired and the drink now voice is strong.
Thoughts on stopping cravings that come from being Hungry Angry Lonely and Tired Learning Self-Care in Early Sobriety
Here’s a backwards look at what worked/is working for me. Do all of the above, especially making a specific plan, and when necessary, try to get comfortable with discomfort. Breathe your way through the creepy crawly wine o’clocks if they come, and definitely distract yourself, but instead of pushing your feelings too far away, examine them as objectively as you can and keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass. If you find that you’re in more physical or emotional pain than you’re used to, remember that alcohol has been masking it and now you have a great opportunity to figure out new ways to deal with it head-on. But that doesn’t have to happen today, or this week, or this month. Write your feelings. Share them. Stick to getting through today, and stick around the BOOM community.
by the author of My Occasional Binge Drinking Became a Serious Problem
Hang in there and have a plan to get through the day and evening. No shops after 2pm and in bed by 8:30. Everyone’s experience is different. I didn’t experience the “pink cloud” at all in the first 30-40 days. In fact, for the most part, I felt physically and emotionally flat and tired. But it was WAY better than feeling tired, hungover, and crawling-out-of-my skin anxious. It gets better.
Stay sober TODAY and don’t worry about anything else for the time being. Make the journey all about you; what can I do for myself to make me feel better, meetings for connection, and find what works for you!
The first forty days days – I agree. Definitely try to lean in to the discomfort. Look at it and try to understand that this discomfort is the feeling of you making progress. That is what worked for me. I think someone wrote me early on and said – it does get easier – and I held on to that belief. That idea that it has to be uncomfortable before it gets better – but that it really does get better. And it does.
Yoga helped me. I think because it forces that ‘being’ in your body and breathing through it. And yes, go to bed early. Treat yourself like you are the most important person in the world. Be selfish. Eat what you want. Treat yourself! Every single week you are sober – you get to do something special for yourself. And reach out here. We will send you tons of love.
by the author of Have You Stumbled on Your Dry January Pledge? Don’t Give Up !
Wow – what can I add! For me the most important was the permission to retreat into my bubble after work and to put aside as many other obligations as possible! And ice cream. And I felt it easier to commit to 100 days rather than to lifelong sobriety. And reading tons of books and blogs regarding the subject. And of course: come here every day !!!
1. Log on here daily, read and – as you get more confident – post about how you’re doing.
2. Focus on just today, and stock up on lots of fruit cordials, sparkling water and teas.
3. After a few days, you’ll notice the cravings are more about having some liquid, rather than alcohol.
4. Avoid all alcohol aisles – I used to wear imaginary blinkers. Or wear sunglasses. Do NOT go there!
5. Check out all the books and resources here. “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace, or Jason Vales’ “Kick the drink easily.”
6. Have a savings fund/pot for the money you’d normally spend on booze. It can be a holiday, new clothes, or best of all a new hobby. I spend mine on yoga and live gigs.
7. Ask any questions you have. don’t be shy.
8. You’ll discover that AF – alcohol free – people are lively, very creative and people who want to give back. After a while you’ll realise how boring heavy drinkers are (not people who can leave it after one or two)
by the author of I am Curious
Loads of nice AF drinks in my fave glass . A big one for me was leaving my wallet at home so I wasn’t tempted to stop on way home from work . Seemed to help 🙏🏼
by the author of Keep Coming Back
Alcohol was an indulgence plain and simple. So for the early days you want to find something you like to take it’s place. Don’t worry about how healthy it is. You’ll have plenty of time to get healthy AFTER you overcome your addiction to alcohol. So if that means going to the movies every night followed by a tub of your favorite ice cream then do it. Think about what will suffice as a substitute ahead of time. Try to come up with as many options as you can.
by the author of Perseverance – Staying Sober Long Term
Just put your head down and do it. The first month should have been the most uncomfortable month but I was also excited to meet everyone on the site.
I veered constantly from total despair that I couldn’t drink to absolute exhilaration that I was finally doing something about my drinking to fear to happiness Etc etc.
Fake it till you make it.
Keep smiling. Go to bed early.
Most of all distract distract distract.
My biggest advice is as it always is.
DO NOT DRINK HOWEVER YOU FEEL AND NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS
Wait for the next wave of emotion. Emotions are transient.
You may feel sad at the moment but a happy wave is never far away.
by the author of There is no “Quick Fix” – Community is the Cure
Make a list of the benefits and total up your savings. Drink lots of water and eat healthily. 💖💖💖
by the author of It’s Never too Late
I agree with everything everyone said. Distract. Go to bed early. Get a routine going. Doesn’t matter how dull right now, just as long as you’re racking up sober days so you can heal. For me it was reading. Quit lit especially but fiction or memoir, not instruction. I’d already read all the Annie Grace and Allen Carr I could stomach back to front a million times (with notes and highlighting) No need to keep beating it into my brain and honestly, my brain really didn’t work anyway those first few months. Don’t get frustrated with the brain fog. Be patient with yourself and stay focused on simple, physical stuff. Lots of sugary desserts (if that’s your thing) and a PLAN for each night after 3 pm. Okay, today I’m gonna stop for a fancy coffee, go home, make dinner, then read in the bath. And sometimes I’m going to fall apart halfway through dinner, barely finish it up, tell my family I feel sick, go up to bed, cry, journal, read the same page of a book over and over. And that’s okay. But I will not drink NO MATTER WHAT.
by the author of 12 Things that Helped me Stop Drinking and Stay Sober
Know that it gets easier over time just not necessarily in a linear way
by the author of Thinking about Moderate Drinking
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.
We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using
Ask Yourself these questions ( you’ll find our answers inside BOOM at the linked titles)
and we’re there to help with answers to these as well
The Laughing Heart
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
— by Charles Bukowski