How does it feel to stop drinking? How does it feel to stay sober for three months, six months, or a year? When you decide to stop drinking, how do you transition smoothly from those first sober weeks, to years alcohol-free?
“Quitting drinking when you are at that point where I was. When it is so scary and so insurmountable, and you just want to avoid it. When you decide you are going to do it anyway, regardless of how afraid you are, you will win back a piece of you that you forgot you had. It is the single greatest thing I have ever done for myself and my proudest accomplishment.“
I cannot tell you what you will feel or what will work for you, but what follows is a library of hundreds of posts from many different people who started with questions that sounded something like this…
“I ask myself do I have alcohol use disorder? Am I an alcoholic, a binge drinker, or an addict? Whatever it is called doesn’t really matter. I definitely have a broken off-switch when it comes to alcohol.”
If you’re thinking of taking a break from drinking, or if you’re ready to go alcohol-free and stay sober but aren’t quite sure how to do that yet, we hope that what follows will not only inspire you to take a chance and rethink the drink, but will serve as a pocket guide for your journey.
“Glamorize it, market it, push it, get us hooked, then stigmatize and shame us. How do we break this chain?”
There are many books, podcasts, coaches, courses, self-help systems, and therapies to help you stop drinking. We are not that. We are simply a community of peers. We are people sharing their experience, ideas, and insight as we move together through days, weeks, and years of personal growth that began when we began to Rethink the Drink.
“Don’t give up. You might be afraid and feel weak, but do it anyway. Don’t avoid it. Be brave and take that step. It is worth it and you are worth it.”
I once read that it takes six years for most people to get started at making sober stick. If You’re Trying to Stop Drinking – Don’t Give Up! It did indeed take six years between the day that I read Allen Carr’s book The Easy Way to Stop Drinking and the day I finally stopped drinking. But now, at over 8 years sober, I say daily to people in our online community: no matter how long it takes for you to get to your last day one, the effort you put in will be more than worth it because the end result is living free. The end result is owning your life.
“How do we move from a life where nearly everything social revolves around alcohol, to a life of sobriety, while those around us continue to drink? How do we say no when those on each side of us are saying yes to alcohol? How do we stay afloat when we are awash in an ocean of booze? This culture is ingrained in us, so how do we escape in the face of so many distractions? After all, we look like fish out of water when we don’t go along with the crowd.”
Don’t be afraid. You – the you that you know – is in there, and that person is still going to be there after you walk away from the bottle. You’ll just be walking quite a bit taller.
Open our pocket guide to
everything you ever wanted to know about living sober
from Day 1 sober through 7 years alcohol-free
The blue links in this table of contents will take you directly to the different parts of the sober milestones section of post, where more blue links will help you find all of the Boozemusings blog posts in our pocket guide to your sober journey.
- Getting ready for your first week alcohol-free
- 31 Questions for 31 Days
- First Days Alcohol-Free
- 1 Month Sober
- 2 months Sober
- 3 Months Sober
- 100 Days Sober
- 4 Months Sober
- 5 Months Sober
- 6 Months Sober
- 7 Months Sober
- 8 Months Sober
- 9 Months Sober
- 11 months Sober
- 1 Year Sober
- 2 Years Sober
- 1,000 Days Sober
- 3 Years Sober
- 4 Years Sober
- 5 Years Sober
- 6 Years Sober
- 7 Years Alcohol-Free
More resouces for you Pocket Guide to Everything you ever wanted to know about Living Sober
From our Boozemusings Blog
- Books to Help you Stop Drinking and Fuel Your Sober Momentum
- 6 Documentaries to Help You Rethink Alcohol Use and Abuse
- A Book Club About Much More Than Quit Lit
- Top Sobriety Blog Posts to Help You Stop Drinking and Stay Alcohol-Free
- HALT – 4 Triggers That Slip People Up When They Stop Drinking
- Sober Treats – Rewiring your Reward Pathways When You Go Alcohol-Free
- How do you Stop Drinking? Our Community Shares What Worked for Us
- Tools to Help you Quit Drinking
The blue links in this table of contents will take you directly to archives in our private Boom Rethink the Drink Community with answers to questions you may have. .
- What advice would you give our New Members about those first 30 or 40 days? What do you remember about the early sticking points ?
- A How to Stop Drinking at the Problems of the World
- Tools to get you Started if You’re Struggling
- Self Love and Badass Bully Beating
- A Resource post on Sugar – Body Image- Weight Loss and Sobriety
- P.A.W.S. Resource Post
- Hitting the Wall
- The Toddler Temper Tantrum Archive
- Traveling and Holidays Alcohol-Free
- How Drinking and Sobriety Impact our Relationships
- Understanding Triggers
- 8 Ted Talks and 2 Podcasts … An Archive
Getting started alcohol-free is all about opening your eyes to everything alcohol really is in your life –
“One day at a time, I am opening my own eyes to everything that alcohol really is to me. Eyes wide open is the only way to stay sober in a world that celebrates drinking and normalizes being drunk. I hate what alcohol does to me, but luckily I love living alcohol-free!”
If you ARE TRYING TO QUIT DRINKING
Standing strong on your day 1 is all about mindset.
Opening the six links listed below can help you get ready to get started. Remembering these things helps me keep my eyes wide open to everything that I hate about what alcohol does to me.
Here is a great way to mark each of those Milestones from day 1 to day 31
The 31 questions with our answers are inside our private Boom Community space which you can join here . Below are quotes and posts from our public Boozemusings Blog that came from our Community “Rethinking the Drink” with these questions
“I think the “alcoholic” label is what actually prevents many people from even addressing their relationship with alcohol, which is so sad. Labels are dehumanizing … and addiction is a human condition. With a human story, heart, and family attached.“
“When I was drinking, I became absent from my own life. Figuratively, even when I was physically present, I wasn’t there. When I was drinking I was always struggling to function through a hangover, thinking about when I could start drinking again, drinking, or passed out. Life was going on all around me, but I certainly wasn’t part of it.“
“I was trying and failing for years. I’ve cried while drinking cause I just couldn’t stop myself. I’ve screamed at myself in the mirror. Asking myself. What the fuck is wrong with you. Why do I keep doing it? But this time has been different. I just stopped. I don’t question the decision. It’s non-negotiable
The only trick that I know to quit drinking is to never, ever, quit quitting. I quit over and over and over again. Every time I quit, I gained a little more space between my rational self and the compulsion to drink. I gained a little more time between the compulsion to drink and the act of drinking. Inch by painstaking inch, I learned how to separate the urge to act from the action itself.
I learned how to put cravings off for 5, 10, 15 minutes at a time until they passed. I learned how to outlast days when I thought of nothing but how much I wanted a drink. I finally gained enough space that I was able to stop for nearly three months before I backslid. It took me another sixteen months to get myself back on the wagon after that, but I did it, and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna fall back off.“
“I was afraid to quit drinking. Just absolutely terrified. Even when I was sick to death of it. Even when I was so, so ready to quit. Even when I knew I could quit drinking because I had done it before. The fear of living sober stopped me in my tracks.
Alcohol was my safety blanket. It was the comfort object I clung to the way a small child carries their favorite stuffy around. Even though I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that alcohol was ruining my life, the thought of letting it go filled me with dread. I couldn’t imagine life without alcohol. I couldn’t imagine how to fill my time without alcohol. It was absolutely the most important thing in my life, and no matter how much I wanted that not to be true, it was true all the same.
Did I drink because I was insecure, or was I insecure because I drank?”
“I’ve often said that my current state of being Alcohol Free feels different from my previous attempts. One of the main reasons for that is because I’ve let go of the idea of being perfect. “Progress not perfection,” is one of AA’s many little gems. Like “one day at a time,” it requires a change in mindset. Instead of trying to change everything that I didn’t like about my life all at once, I spent a full month just focusing on being sober, one day at a time. That’s it. Not drinking was my A-Number-One priority, and everything else was pushed to the back burner. “
“When I stopped thinking, “I can never drink again,” and started thinking, “I will not drink today,” staying Alcohol-Free became much easier. It’s not a magic pill and I do still have tough days, but focusing on today and today only takes a huge amount of pressure off. Instead of feeling the weight of “forever” on my shoulders, I only feel the weight of today. Believe me, today by itself is a lot lighter than even “today and tomorrow.” There have actually been times when I’ve told myself, “Sure, you can drink tomorrow! You can drink as much as you want tomorrow!” Then tomorrow becomes today and all I have to focus on is, “I will not drink today.”“
“When I was at my most desperate, surveying the wreckage of my life due to alcohol addiction (usually while drinking, mind you), I started to see sobriety as the solution to all my problems. “If I can just stop drinking,” became a mantra that played on an almost continuous loop in my head. I had a mental picture of my sober life, and in that sober life, all of my problems had been solved.
Here’s the thing: going alcohol free is absolutely the best decision I have ever made, and it has made a huge difference in my life. At the same time, becoming alcohol free has only SOLVED one problem: the binge drinking problem.“
each of those early alcohol-free days are Sober Milestones
“It’s okay to shed tears along the way…even once you’ve jumped in the driver’s seat of the speeding car. I cried a lot during those first 24 hours.”
Begin with this short post
Then continue reading below
“Don’t defeat yourself. Maybe someday you can meet friends at the club and drink club soda, but if now is not that time, don’t push it. Don’t put a six-pack in the fridge to prove how strong your will-power is, ‘cus it ain’t – at least not yet. Give yourself space to succeed.“
“Log in and post here frequently, every day is good. Maybe you don’t have anything particularly post-worthy, but the folks here are more than willing to cheer your little victories and commiserate in your little defeats. If you have nothing to say, write a few encouraging comments for the rest of us. Write a “welcome to BOOM” comment for the newbies. Remember how much you appreciated the first folks that reached out to you?“
“Day 1 sober, and even day 2, can feel pretty easy but when I was on day 3, the only way I was getting through it was by establishing a daily routine. Triggers to drink are going to happen daily, sometimes many times a day, and likely at certain times. If you look carefully, you’ll find the pattern.
In the early days, I had to be inside my home by 3 pm if I wasn’t working. If was working, I had to make sure I had a plan to get home which usually included not being hungry while driving there.”
“Fix it. Change it. Direct it.
When we take hold of the reigns we generate a sense of power – a sense of control – and that in and of itself is a catalyst for change.
Be the change you want in your life.“
“Living without alcohol in our lives is very hard for many of us, but it is doable. We just have to be sure to fill that time with life.
A lot of time goes into planning to drink, thinking about drinking, waiting until you can drink, drinking to oblivion, and then recovering from that. Now that you’ve chosen to get and be AF for an entire day, week, month (maybe more), time actually is on your side.
You have a ton of time now so use it! Fill it with new things, old things, the things you love, and the things that actually do take care of you“
“I remember coming home from work my first week sober, sitting down at the kitchen table, looking at my kids, and thinking “help… I need my wine”, not because there was anything challenging going on, but simply because entering that invulnerability zone the minute I walked in the door at the end of the day, was my routine.
Wine had become my buffer against a world that actually meant me no harm.“
“Stress has always been the worst trigger, and it is now the only time I notice the fluttering “I could drink” thought in my subconscious. For this, I learned a simple, but for me, effective trick. When I am feeling overwhelmed, and “on the verge,” I stop and ask myself, “What is one thing I could do RIGHT NOW to make myself feel a tiny bit better?”
When I am sick and tired of work spreadsheets, but have to make a deadline: could I play some relaxing music while I work? When I am fed up with my teenage daughter’s attitude: could I go for a quick walk around the block to get a break? When I see the piles of laundry and dirty dishes stacking up: could I go downstairs to do 10 minutes of yoga before starting? When the juggling of three kids and co-parents and family expectations makes me want to scream: could I ask my partner for a hug?
These quick-relief actions give me a sense of control over my environment and give me an alternative to: could I open a beer? I encourage you to brainstorm 5-10 things that you could do at any time in any place that might help you clear your head and bring you some relief.“
“My need for music took me by surprise when I stopped drinking. Without my world revolving around alcohol I was a fish out of water as to how to live life. Living sober? How?
Drinking had been an activity that filled my days even when I wasn’t drinking. I was so used to the stress of recovering from drinking the night before, the push and pull that started in the early afternoon of planning to drink even though I’d promised that morning to never drink again, and then the activity of actually drinking which was all-consuming once it started, that when all that activity was taken away I was at a loss as to how to move through my day.
Having the music playing throughout my day as I went from activity to activity was like walking meditation. It took me out of my head while I was doing all of that fussy stuff we all have to do during the day, stuff that I used to look forward to drinking during or after. It was a long time before I fully got over the lure of drinking as a reward for surviving the mundane and monotonous bits of life but music exalted the mundane for me so that I didn’t feel the NEED for a reward.“
“Draw a Tic Tac Toe board. Put one reason why you want to Quit in each box. Relax, take a break, drink some water. … Now draw another Tic Tac Toe board.
Put YOU in the center square. Now surround yourself with 8 ways to Protect You. What groups do you belong to that you can rely on for support? This page can be one square… but what else? Who else? Any podcasts? Any other online groups? Your church? Your BFF? Your significant other? Your parents? Your kids? It’s okay if they aren’t all filled out yet….
Now, that is the team that will support you… some may be knowingly, like your BFF, and others unknowingly, like younger kids.You can do this. There will be triggers, so be ready. In the late afternoon, early evening, your body will crave sugar (it’s what alcohol did)… so have some small treats ready, i.e. ice cream, chocolate chips.
Drink plenty of water. Look at your Tic Tac Toe boards and remember why you quit.
You are worth it.“
“You do not have to climb Mt. Everest this afternoon. You do not have to clear 7ft on the high jump, or discover a practical method of cold fusion. In fact, you don’t have to do anything at all. You just have to NOT do something – not lift a glass with booze to your lips. And the only time you have to NOT do that is right now. The only drink you have to not drink is the next one. So chill out. Don’t let that Little Voice, or anyone else, make a mountain out of our molehill. Just don’t drink right now.“
“L-Glutamine This is an amino acid that helps with cravings. If you get the capsule you can break it open and put the powder straight under your tongue for faster absorption. I have read that it is the only amino that doesn’t taste bad, so don’t go doing this with all of them….. But I found that it did help to have it on hand. Maybe it just gives me something to do and hold on to and distract myself, but either way, I do think it helped. L Glut is not expensive and I still keep a little packet in my car and in my purse just in case. I recently gave some to a friend who is trying to do a 30-day sober thing and she thought they helped too. A good thing to have in your sober toolbox is anything that works and the key is to be willing to try just about anything so give it a try!!“
more reading on L-Glutamine and how people have used it to help with alcohol cravings
“I told three friends and my husband I quit. The embarrassment and shame I felt speaking it out loud was brutal. I was a private, secret, bottle-a-day or more drinker.
I slowly told my sons. And, oh wow, did I whine my way through those first days. I found a sober counter app. And, then, I found the Boom community and a whole bunch of people just like me!
I thought I was alone on this boat! I thought no one drank like me…how can I do all the right things all day long and then drink all night? Is that an alcoholic? Don’t alcoholics just drink all day? Don’t they end up in ditches with DUI’s? Alcoholics don’t seem to be so secretive about their drinking like me.
My brain spun with thoughts and more thoughts, stinkin’ thinkin’, and moment-to-moment thoughts about how I can’t drink.”
“Did you know that gardeners use alcohol to stunt the growth of plants so they don’t grow too tall? Alcohol stunted everything good in me! To think of going back to what stole my soul, my creativity…makes me cringe! Today I choose to grow! To flourish! I hope you will too.
Don’t let that little voice trick you into thinking the weekend is the right time to drink! Drink as a reward? You never deserve a reward or treat that causes headaches, illnesses, and sadness! You deserve happiness and fulfilling your dreams!”
One Month Sober is usually the first Sober Milestone that Many of us Celebrate Out Loud!
“What is different this time? Well, I’ve been thinking about that as I believe mindset is where it is all at. Firstly I struggled to get past day one for several months. I desperately wanted to stop drinking. Every morning when I woke up I promised myself ‘today is the day’ and then had a glass of wine in my hand by 6 pm latest. If it was a weekend then probably lunchtime! But I kept stopping and one day it stuck.“
“I’m in the early days of sobriety, 30 days sober today, so please understand my warlike mentality. I feel compelled to find my own inner version of Athena who is goddess of war, strategy, and also peace. I need to know what is at my six. What is positioned in a way that takes aim at my sobriety, whether it’s designed for a slow chipping away or is targeting for a direct hit. I fought my way here and I do not want to lose any ground……..“
“There is a bottle of Bourbon in my freezer which I should have poured out when I started my Alcohol-Free journey. I pulled it out of the freezer the other day, pulled off the cap, held it to my nose, and took a deep breath (psychologists would refer to this as “dangerous behavior”). Yep, smells like Bourbon, all right. Other than that … nothing. No desire to have a drink, no desire to numb myself, no desire to start down that path again. I put the bottle back in the freezer and said, “I’m not afraid of you anymore.”
read more here
“I don’t feel like I have to perform so much at home, to convince myself that everything is getting done, despite my habit. When I was drinking, I felt bad about how much stuff I let go because I was drinking or hungover, so I would either be berating myself about that, or pushing myself really hard to try and stay on top of things. Like a poor little mouse on a treadmill, running but not getting anywhere.“
read more here
And at 10 weeks sober!
The Sober Milestone that is right before 100 Days is 3 months sober and each is an important milestone in it’s own way
Our 3 Months Sober archive
“The more I travel on the outskirts of Oblivion, the more comfortable I am to venture further away. The road to Serenity is now gravel and much more heavily traveled. Also, I have discovered other roads that lead to even more beautiful towns, the newest one I discovered is Peace, and next to that one is Love. They are kinda like twin cities and share a lot of common themes.“
“I realized how terrified I was to live without alcohol. I had built my life around it in a way. I knew I was really going to have to be strong to stop, which felt overwhelming.
But I started to calm down, and then I remembered that I had joined BOOM. It calmed me more to know I could go online and read people’s stories when I got back to work, which I did. And just like that, everything shifted.“
“When I look back over my life, my times where my self esteem was best and I took the best care of myself – in every way – was when alcohol had a very small role in my life. The times when I was drinking regularly look dark as I look back and those are the periods where I lacked confidence, was lazy, ate too much, the list goes on.“
“Now, without alcohol as a crutch, I have old rickety training wheels on that I worry people will laugh at. I still worry that I’ll fall on my face somehow, or that I won’t be as funny or charming as I was before. However, I am learning that it is totally possible to have a good time and connect to others without alcohol.
I am still Human without alcohol. I am still fun without alcohol. I still speak the same language as those around me. Phew! But I’m not totally there yet. The only way to improve these skills is to practice more.”
“With 3 months of sobriety, 3 months free of alcohol, my anxiety has diminished tremendously. Now, I am ready to venture out again. To explore my feelings and to grow. Like the octopus, I am careful in my exploration, testing each feeling first rather than just jumping. Still, I am ready for something new. I don’t want to hide away or be camouflaged anymore. I want to be bold and bright and beautifully present in my life.“
“Today, I feel FREE. It hasn’t always been easy, but every time it’s hard, I think of poison. And I am MAD. I am mad that alcohol is such a liar. I’m mad that a poison that kills us is allowed to lie and lie and lie. I am sad to my bones that it keeps beckoning people to the dark side.
Grab ahold. STOP. I drank for 35 years. I have stopped. It’s possible.”
achieving 100 days alcohol-free is a sober milestone that feels like scaling Mount Everest!
Celebrate with us and read our 100 day sober archive here
“All drinking did for me was bury who I really was. It stole my peace. Being accountable to myself, accountable for my well-being, doesn’t include alcohol anymore. I don’t want to ever give up that peace I fought so desperately to find!!”
“Every moment is a moment worth living now. A moment to fight for, to be at peace with and to be grateful for. When in the grip of alcohol it sucks away from us our very life force, our natural vibrancy and energy, our joy and our peace. Now I can find the strength within to face difficulties and challenges in a much better way. So thankful and willing to continue“
“I feel a strong sense of calm optimism about my future, my career and my relationships in a way that I never have before. (and I got a lot of crazy shit going on in my life, so this is saying something). And truly, I do feel like the real me gets to shine through way more often. And that is a gift.”
“100 days sober Part 2! I’m “Walking Away From Wine O’clock” This time with more conviction
Because we’re all worth so much more
Than the misery of addiction!“
Viva la vie!!
It is sometimes easy, mostly frightening, and definitely taken moment by moment with openness toward what would be shown to me. Its been done in silence and alone. … with the help of a few friends in this online community
“Not picking up a drink when I was triggered was sooo so hard and seemingly impossible a year ago. I am eternally grateful to those who helped me pick myself up after slips and slides again and again.
The best way that I know to say Thank You to the community that has helped me get to this point is to reach back with what has worked for m. Let’s start with TRIGGERS!“
“In honor of my 100th day alcohol-free, I do not want to risk complacency, so I’m going to go back and look at my headspace on my last day one.
100 days ago when asked this question – If you can think of one thing that scares you, or scared you most about sobriety what would it be ?“
Our 4 Months Sober Archive is below
“When you decide that it’s time to go alcohol-free it is easy to hope that there will be a quick fix to the problem. Just stop drinking and stay sober right? Stopping drinking for me has not been about simply stopping one activity or changing one habit. These first 4 months alcohol-free mark the beginning of a new journey for me. One which today, I choose to stay the course, even though I’ve had to learn to ride out a few storms. I accept that some days will be easier than others, I accept that life will happen, I accept that there are things out of my control, and I also accept that some things are in my total control.
I choose to continue to learn, I choose to take it one thing at a time, I choose health and happiness, I choose life: I CHOOSE ME, I CHOOSE CHANGE.”
“This is not my first attempt at sobriety but it’s the first time I have been happy with my choice to live alcohol-free. When I tried sobriety before, it was because I knew my drinking was causing trouble, but I always thought I was missing out on something when I gave up alcohol. After a solid Dry January 2021, I’ve now started my month 4 sober, and while I’m struggling less with cravings, I’m thinking more about what it means to be tuned in to life, rather than checked out. Present. Connected. Rethinking my drinking has finally allowed me to change my station. If I don’t stay connected, my AF station could fade into my old drinking frequency.“
“I have learned in the past 4 months that there really is absolutely nothing solved by drinking. There is no relationship or event improved by including alcohol. Really.
It takes a bit of time to realize that. Each time you ignore the little voice in your head that encourages you to drink it will get quieter. Starve that little voice and it will die.
At this point I don’t crave alcohol anymore. But I will never drink again because I know that I crossed a line and am addicted.
I want everyone to feel as proud, focused, calm and centered as I do today.“
“The numbing out every night got so so tiring. I was as tired as you might be feeling right now. I felt so uninspired, like I was slowly disappearing like a character in Back to the Future. I quietly started to look on-line. Am I an alcoholic? being typed into my browser. But no way was I going to live without wine.
Change my relationship with booze yes, become a mindful drinker sure, but that was as far as I willing to let my thoughts go. And besides, I know what an addict looks like and she doesn’t look me.
Now I look back I can see that I was protecting my habit like I would one of my children. Nurturing my addiction.
Now I look before me I see that I am protecting my sobriety like I would one of my children.
Nurturing my soul.“
Our 5 months sober archive
“Time is of the essence.
I am 75 and have struggled with booze for a good number of years. I did not get traction until I found ‘The Alcohol Experiment’ on the web and committed to the 30 day course for one to two hours each day. Watching videos and doing written exercises began the work.
Then began the ‘Day Ones’ for three years. The struggles, the screaming, the smashing of glasses, melt-downs, sweat, headaches, diarrhea, the torture of addiction.
All through this shit I began to learn about alcohol, my brain, and address my childhood hurts. The process can be agonizing. A year or so ago I found Boom or it found me? The struggle continued but now I belonged to a community of caring people who shared their stories of struggle and I no longer felt alone. My knowledge increased along with tools to help me succeed in being independent from alcohol.
Finally I got more traction that was holding, and days AF turned into weeks, and now weeks into six months Alcohol Free! Six Months is a lifetime, but I can pour a glass of wine for my wife yet not indulge.
Free, free at last, I feel like Martin Luther King, for I have seen the glory, the mountains over which I can fly…. I struggle on with tiredness and depression but my mind is clear and free. ”
6 months sober is the next big Sober Milestone for most of us
Our 6 Months Sober Archive
“On my six-month sober anniversary, what can I say to help if you are trying to stop drinking? I can tell you alcohol lied to me. It told me it was helping me. I believed it for way too long. Then I started to listen to my truth-telling inner voice which said… “
“Being a drinker became part of my identity at age 15. It quickly became who I was. Since it was a part of my identity it was very hard to imagine not drinking. Since quitting alcohol six months ago I have questioned so much. It has turned my world upside down. It has made the obvious and unshakable, precarious and changeable. Slowly, days have gone by, weeks and months, and I am starting to see little glimpses of a new life. Like my mind rehearsal the other day where I heard myself saying “I don’t drink.” Even the pictures in my mind have changed. They’ve become more clear and focused.
When I pictured my future non-drinking life seven months ago, it was hazy and it seemed like I was picturing someone else’s life. I wasn’t attached to it. It scared me even. But I was drawn to it the same because it sparked a hope inside me. I prepped and I planned, I read and I listened. I reached out for support. Most importantly I took a leap of faith. I held that shaky, blurry picture in my mind and I leapt towards it. I had to have trust that everything else would fall into place if I kept my focus on that picture.
I look at things in a new light, like a child. Time moves more slowly but that means I get to savor more of it.“
“Alcohol seems to promise to make everything all better in good times and surely in bad times. It does drown away bad things and light a party on fire temporarily. But it is also inflammatory on the other side…a vicious cycle keeping success and contentment at bay. In fact, alcohol deters success even in good times because of the time it steals away.”
L”ast night when I was talking to a friend she told me she’d not rung me for a while because she didn’t think I’d be up for late-night calls fuelled by wine and slurry words. I said I’ve made my decision, I’ve walked away from my wine o’clock routine, but I don’t mind if you drink! I’m ok with it. And I am. Talking to my friend while she’s drinking doesn’t trigger me like it used to.“
The thing is though, although I’m strong in my choice to not drink as I’m nearing 6 months sober, I’m struggling to find a balance in my life. I’m not in a zen zone, not at all. My moods are up and down, happy then sad, angry then resigned, tired then energetic, creative then majorly procrastinating. The last few months have been quite hard, and I just feel emotionally burnt.“
“At 6 months sober I’ve become disciplined in my daily life… prioritizing what is *really* important to me. Showing up as close to my morals and beliefs as possible and it all started with one thing; not drinking. Drinking goes against everything I believe in – it’s horrible for my emotional, mental, and physical well being. It takes me out of the present moment, disconnects me from myself and from everyone and everything around me; it makes me lazy, unmotivated, and careless. It numbs me.
I want to live with passion, optimism, with a clear head. I want to be goal oriented, fun, enthusiastic, open hearted. I want to live with dedication to myself, my loved ones, and the environment. I want to be fully present and feel ALIVE. This is what I’m disciplining myself for!”
“This is simple but it is not always easy . There is a bit of magic behind that “No”. The magic formula I used to make it 6 months without alcohol, here it is:
I will do whatever it takes to make sure I do not drink today.
I will go to bed early. I will sit in the shower until the water turns cold. I will eat an entire bag of candy, a pint of ice cream, and so many french fries I feel like I’m going to puke. I will lose myself for hours in video games. I will chain smoke cigarettes, even though I quit smoking cigarettes in 2017. I will obsessively clean my house. I will read post after post on BOOM. I will read article after article on Boozemusings. I will scroll social media for far longer than is healthy. I will go for a walk as long as I know that my feet won’t take me to the liquor store. I will give my debit card to my aunt and tell her to lock it up until I’m not worried I will buy alcohol. I will smoosh my face into my cat’s fur until she starts grumbling. I will hug my son until he starts complaining. I will do yoga videos. I will do sit ups, push ups, and squats. I will fall down the YouTube rabbit hole. I will cry. I will scream. I will do anything and everything I can to distract myself, because I will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make sure I do not drink today.“
“Remaining alcohol-free is easier – it is easier to say no, it is easier to stop the negative thoughts, and it is easier to get through social and work functions without worrying about being tempted to the point of giving in. After six months sober, I have also been able to let go of intense cravings while driving home from a stressful day at work.”
“Yogis control their thoughts words and actions… ideally. We practice. But thoughts are extremely powerful and they lead to the words and actions. I think that is why sobriety has worked so well for me. I changed my mind, not just deleting the act of drinking but truly taking charge with the right thoughts.
I had a great list of things to look forward to thanks to Boozemusings, the Boom Community, and this terrific post, Guide to your First Month of Sobriety: Why and How to Quit. It all came true and more.“
“Tomorrow I will be 6 months sober. It will be 6 months since I stepped away from the misery, from the sleepless nights, the worry, and the guilt that alcohol gave me. It will be 6 months of reading, learning, struggling, saying NO to going back, writing, clinging, and of joy. 6 months of joy and pride in finally doing something I’ve known was needed…for years. It literally seems like a dream – I’m doing it! I’m doing it!“
8 months sober is an important Milestone for many. Here is our 8 months sober archive
“Sitting with my emotions and thoughts has not been easy. In fact, it has been downright excruciating at times. Feeling them has also held the utmost jubilation and healing moments. I am ten months sober in just a few days. I had to dump all my alcohol, get rid of all my paraphernalia, and change my spoken word to past tense.”
“My 9 month old sobriety journey is transforming. Like the newborn, it needs to be nurtured, but I cannot let it become the center of my universe. It needs to know that it is important to me, but it cannot become the only reason for existence. It needs to recognize that while I’m the primary caretaker, people around us will help protect it too… I see new signs of support, like when my husband stocked up the pantry with new alcohol free drinks, and refills my candy jar with my favorite dark chocolates.“
And slowly I realised that basically alcohol is a drug. and if I allow this drug into my body I vanish and another person emerges. It’s not rocket science. It’s a drug. This drug is no good for me, my body doesn’t need it, it never did. I had just been conditioned to think that this particular drug was acceptable.
The only drug we have in our society that people question you if you DON’T take.
“In 11 months since quitting drinking the changes in my life have been nothing but positive !
At least for me- my decisions and my feelings don’t get better with alcohol. It’s taken me too long to realize that alcohol made me tired, got me sick, made me cry, made bad memories emotional, and stole days upon days of productivity away from my life. It never let me let go of those feelings, I wallowed in them and how bad my life was. And when it got worse, I drank more! That’s how brainwashed we get.”
Our one year sober archive
“All it takes is one drink for my nightmare to start again. After only one drink it starts. The anxiety and tightness in the chest feels almost like a heart attack.
The demon screams
“you need another drink! Only more alcohol can ease your pain”.
This of course is a lie. One of many lies that alcohol tells me.
This blog post is to remind myself of what it is like to drink the poison known as alcohol. I am starting to forget the horrid things about drinking and FALSELY remember fun and relaxing times. At the end of my drinking there were NO fun or relaxing times. Only regret, self loathing, horrid hangovers.“
“For me, sobriety is the most empowering experience of my adult life. I have not been brainwashed or hypnotized and I don’t think that alcohol is demon’s poison. I just know that my long and illustrious drinking career is over and I am thrilled with the result. Rather than waking up blurry, hungover and grumpy I’m up at six ready to rock. It turns out that every occasion that I once thought required a drink is actually more fun, less stressful, easier, and more genuine with a clear sober head. “
“It was my self that was lost and this process has been one of trying to find my way back. The longer I’m sober, the stronger my connection to my real self and the world becomes. Now that I have it, I never want to lose it. “
“I found, for me, that the changes, the really big ones, happen slowly. Its a patience game. There aren’t these cataclysmic shifts, but slow gentle ones. But looking back to a year ago, the changes in me feel real and powerful. ”
“Yes, the first few months were tough. I skipped business travel for two months. I had to learn how to do everything, all over again, from scratch. I had fear of how I could even do things anymore (concerts? movies? work mingles?). Even going to bed at night, alcohol was such a habit. Personal growth was hard. I cried. A lot. I was frustrated. A lot. My problems didn’t go away.“
“I am not like everyone else, and neither are you. I became even more human this past year, recognized I need kindness like everyone else, and so will you if you decide to stop drinking and start feeling. It’s a small list, my one-year sober list, and strangely abstract. It’s the truth, it’s what I’ve learned to do, and I’m going to share it with you now. “
“I let life happen around me, but this time, without a glass in my hand. I found there is joy and laughter that doesn’t need the spark of alcohol to ignite it. I confided in my family and closest friends that I kicked the can, and the love they poured over me strengthened my resolution.“
“The first couple of months alcohol-free were a seemingly never-ending endurance contest of detox. The brain fog, nausea, cravings that clung, fatigue, lack of sleep, sweating, anxiety, depression, self-pity, fear, insecurity, self-loathing, self-recrimination, guilt. Okay. That’s enough! However, those that start the AF journey, have some of these. I wrote all the withdrawal symptoms down and kept them by my bed, chair, in the car, purse, and bathroom drawer. I no longer cling to this list. It’s gone. Obsessive? You betcha! Had to be.
Then I found Boom.“
The problem with my “me time” coming in a bottle is that it eventually took much more than it gave. … I have heard it said that sobriety offers everything that alcohol promised and now I know it’s true !
“Those first few days and weeks sober were awful. I didn’t like feeling uncomfortable at all. I didn’t like feeling my emotions at all. I didn’t like the uncomfortable mental battle it took daily to not drink. Society would tell me, well if you don’t like how you feel fix it. And there I was standing at the gate wondering which ride I should choose next…the familiar merry-go-round again or the speed car of sobriety. I chose the speed car and I’ve never looked back. I couldn’t. I knew I couldn’t. But one year later, at the end of this first year sober, the uncomfortable is turning out to be rainbow magical sobriety. I wouldn’t know this if I was unwilling to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in the beginning.”
It is a good life, this life without alcohol. It is nothing like I imagined it would be. It’s better. It’s fuller. It’s brighter. It certainly isn’t perfect, but I love it anyway. I saw a quote on /r/stopdrinking the other night that hit the nail smack on the head:
“Recovery didn’t open the gates of heaven and let me in. Recovery didn’t open the gates of heaven and let me in. Recovery opened the gates of hell and let me out.”
It’s nice out here. Won’t you join me?
“I won’t lie, it was a hard first 30 days, and the next year was a lot of work and self discovery. But I will say at almost 18 months sober, I almost cannot believe that was me. I almost cannot believe that I was living that way. I almost cannot believe the lengths I would go to in order to satisfy the need for my wine. It seemed a big and scary idea to stop drinking. I wasn’t sure what would happen in my life. But I was pretty convinced it was going to be all bad things if I kept drinking. I took it one day at a time and tried not to think of forever. Forever is overwhelming. It still is! “
Did You Know That It Can Take Two Years for Your Brain to Fully Rewire away from Addiction?
Here is our Two Year Sober Archive in Celebration of that Sober Milestone
“You may be reading this and wondering how to put together a couple of days sober. 1000 days with no alcohol is difficult to envision. It was for me in the beginning.
I counted every sober day. I thought about every minute, every day. I remember working so hard to get to 100 days. 100 days was a big deal. Six months was a big deal. One year was a huge deal.
And, then the days stopped being such a huge deal. Not drinking just became my way of life. Counting sober days and thinking about alcohol constantly just stopped. I am able to focus on other things and my brain is not all consumed about my next bottle of wine.”
Sobriety is a practice.
This is often the focus in Year Three Sober
Our Three Year sober archive
“My sober practice right now, in beginning my third year alcohol-free, has to be flexible, agile, moving, but intentional and centered around harmony, truth, and authenticity. And that’s the thing for me about thinking about sobriety as a ‘sober practice’. The sobriety itself is NOT the end goal. The sober practice provides the foundations for a rich and authentic life. I know – people in AA have been saying this in a different way for almost 100 years – but for me, thinking about it this way is revolutionary! Sobriety is NOT the end goal, It’s the foundation. And for me, it is the foundation of a Sober Practice – practicing how I want to be in the world and of the world without substances clouding my way.“
Find more inspiration from the 3rd year sober here
4 Years Sober Archive
“Before my relapse in early 2016, I had 5 years of sobriety under my belt, but I wasn’t happy being sober. I had always told myself I could drink again one day and that when I did drink- that I would be able to control it. I managed to stay sober for 5 years, but I didn’t have any help or support to do so, so after my relapse, I began to consider what I needed to do differently to succeed.“
“So now that I accept that I still have in me the seeds of my own destruction, it is time to find more creative ways of becoming harmonious me, starting with learning to articulate my needs and providing myself with my wants. In doing this, I will draw from the lessons that I learnt in early sobriety: I was afraid to stop drinking because I feared who I would become. I discovered that I am a much better person than I ever suspected.“
5 Years Sober Archive
“I’m here to say you can make an absolute choice with no loopholes. It can work and it’s good when it does.
For me, if it wasn’t simple I couldn’t do it. If there are any fallback positions, any get-out clauses or loophole, I don’t get past the first hungry/angry/tired/ecstatic moment – the old pathways are too well established. But a simple, always-on ‘no’ answer to any urge or question about drinking I can manage – so far anyway.“
“Whenever I felt like drinking I went onto the site for hours and hours – to read and comment and to get as much support as I could. By reading over and over again and having to accept just how much alcohol affected not just me but so many other people I saw the reality. -That this legal drug is causing problems for too many.
Slowly, very slowly, I moved onwards and I counted every day as another day I’d got my life back. And here I am at 5 years. Believe me, I’m as shocked as you. If ever there was an ‘if I can do it you can’ it would be me.“
Six Years Sober Archive
“Many people fear when they stop drinking that life will be boring but my life alcohol free was very, very far from boring.
I thought I’d wasted my life.
I thought my life was nearly over.
I was 50 and what had I done etc etc
Once I started DOING something about my situation with habitual binge drinking my life opened up.
I’ve done so many things since I stopped drinking and best of all I enjoyed them so much more without the booze.“
“So, in a nutshell, my message to you is you are human. Apologise when you need to but do not carry your past on your back. Be loud, be proud: in doing so you will not only be helping yourself, but you will be doing an immense service to others.
I chose emotionally freedom and heaven on earth.
What do you choose?“
7 years Alcohol-Free!
“Make no joke about it I sulked and pined for the companion I had lost…. my grief a physical pain at times.
– Though deep down I knew we hadn’t been friends for a very long time.
For now, for today – the rules were so very simple – I could not drink alcohol – and the reality of living that rule was so very hard.
– AND THEN THE MAGIC STARTED TO HAPPEN AS THE DAYS AND MONTHS WENT BY
– Seeing the World through new eyes I realised I was becoming happier and healthier in body – and most importantly in mind.
It was – and still is for me – TRULY AMAZING to live this way “
If you’re “sober curious” …If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break… 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