I told a work colleague I was doing dry July – except it’s dry Jugust because I started late – and I was in a really, really bad mood. I’ve been sober 28 days.
Last year I did Ocsober. I needed a health-reboot and my pit-bull determination was ready for a challenge. It was a tremendous sense of achievement. I decided it was something I wanted to do once a year; a month off the turps.
Only the second time around has felt more like a obstacle than an achievement. I’d already done this, what did I need to prove?
By the end of the first week I was despairing. By the end of the second week, fueled by a head cold and period pain, I raged against the world. I decided to turn my angst into motivation and reached out to others to find out about their experiences. I’ll post these stories over the coming weeks. One was sober for a fortnight and another who is eight months dry.
What we have each recognised is that our drinking patterns have side effects; forgetting how to party without the piss, headaches, or money that could be used elsewhere. That’s why it’s so terrific to cut back a bit and to share our stories about a shared experience.
5 things that are helping me:
Pretend beer – the stuff you get at the supermarket at the end of the soft drink aisle. It feels like you’re having a drink but you’re not. A mocktail will do the same, some soda, a flavouring or too, on the rocks thanks. Having a drink is part of the ritual of unwinding at the end of the day and it’s a little psychological, non-alcoholic trick.
Reflecting on what sort of person you want be – I put pretend beer as the number one tip so it’s okay to be existential now. We often hold an ideal of ourselves which is not always reality. The challenge is to make up the gap between reality and the goal ie who do you think you, who do you want to be, what’s the difference between those two points? I want to be comfortable with sobriety….occasionally.
Put it out there – I knew if I told people I was sober it would help me stay motivated. Unexpectedly, a colleague told me she had given it a go and she’d used the mocktail strategy too.
Relaxation options – identify a couple of strategies that can help you to relax. We have a spa so a half hour after work is a great wind down. A herbal tea before bed is another ritual I’ve started.
Every day is a bonus – maybe I’ll drink tonight, I probably won’t, but I read this thing about forming habits. You have to try, really hard sure, but if things don’t work out how you hoped, be kind to yourself. If you’ve having a sober-stint, every day counts, whether it’s 14, 28 or 240. There’s nothing like committing to a booze-free month to get the AA edict about one day at a time.
So it seems I still have the same thing to prove the second time around.
And I’m going to enjoy a big, old drink next week too.
Thinking about taking a break from the grog? Ocsober is coming up, why not look into it? For more information – Ocsober.
Here’s my story from last year – 28 Days.