In light of the recent Cornavirus outbreak, I wanted to share with you some tips on how to protect your sobriety and quit drinking when you are stuck at home. I never thought I’d see Covid-19 and sobriety in the same sentence, but this outbreak is affecting all areas of our lives, not least our sobriety.
Given that large gatherings are being cancelled and people are being urged to stay at home, this can be a challenging time especially if part of your recovery relies on outside support in terms of meetings, exercise classes, the gym, evening classes, sober nights out, or even just regular visits to the theatre, cinema or museums to get you out of the house.
Even during this challenging time, it is totally possible to quit drinking when you are stuck at home but, it is important that you stay connected and keep your sobriety at the top of your list of priorities. Even if you can’t get to your usual support groups, there is still such a lot you can do from the comfort of your own home.
Here are 10 ways to quit drinking when you are stuck at home…
Remember your Self Care
Now is a good time to really focus on your self-care, especially if you are feeling worried or anxious. Check in with yourself regularly and stay connected to your needs. If you can, stock up on nutritious comforting foods, lots of fruit and veggies and remember to drink plenty of water.
Try as much as possible to stick to your usual routine which I know is hard when everything is up in the air. But, simple things like sticking to your usual bedtime and waking up time, eat your usual regular meals and do your exercise as you normally would. These are all essential parts of your self-care routine.
The good thing is that because you are perhaps not having to spend time travelling to and from places, you can soak in the bath a little longer, or read an extra chapter of your book, you might even find something else to do that you love, but haven’t had the time lately.
Have an Alcohol Free space
When you are struggling with a craving or are feeling tempted, then often it is enough to remove yourself from the space and go somewhere else. Having a room in your house which you do not associate with drinking alcohol such as your bedroom or even your bathroom is a brilliant idea. Go to this room whenever necessary and remember to set boundaries around this at home. It is important that other people do not come in and disturb you during your much needed break.
Get some fresh air
Even though you might not be able to get to your usual places for fresh air and exercise, you still can go outside and I would encourage you to do so as much as possible. Use your garden, your back yard, your patio or balcony or even sit next to an open window if that’s all you have.
Being out in nature is so powerful and will lift your mood in an instant, just remember to be mindful and really take in what is going on around you to make the most of the experience. Watch this video I made about how simple fresh air can help with sobriety.
Exercise at home
Thanks to modern technology, there is so much you can do in your own home to keep fit and active, from workout DVD’s to online yoga classes. I love Yoga with Adriene because I can drop in and out whenever I want to and there is always a different practice to explore. You might be lucky and find that your usual teacher has moved classes online so do check that out. Even walking or running round your garden or up and down the stairs is a great way to get your body moving and honestly, exercise is the best way to blast away the cobwebs and get a dose of those feel good hormones.
Chill out and relax
This is perhaps something that we do not give ourselves enough time, or permission to do. If you can’t go to work and have some extra time because you are not doing the commute or school run, then try and make some time for yourself every day just to chill out and relax – totally guilt free. Curl up with a book, lie in the bath, put on a facemask or snuggle up with your family and watch some great TV or watch some of the best movies about alcohol and addiction to help with your sober education.
Clean your house
Okay, so perhaps not the most fun thing you can do but I have found that having a good old clean (to music is best)really lifts my spirits and it’s a great way to be mindful and manage cravings. Plus you get the added bonus of having a shiny new house, organized wardrobe and tidy drawers after you’re done!
Learn something new
Being at home is actually the perfect opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn that thing you have always wanted to, especially given the fabulous range of online courses and classes available now.
If you have always wanted to learn knitting, then do it. if your burning desire is to write a book, then take the creative writing course, or lean moonology, tarot, cake making, gardening, science or whatever takes your fancy. Being stuck at home doesn’t mean you have to stare at the walls or watch crappy daytime TV all day!
This is perhaps the most important point to remember. Just because you can’t physically get to see friends, relatives or attend your local support groups, it doesn’t mean you can’t connect – because you can. Even if you are far from tech savvy you can still chat to your Mum via whatsapp or good old fashioned telephone.
Find out if your support group is hosting online meetings, check in with your facebook groups or see if there are virtual coaching sessions available. The point is to be proactive and reach out for the support as and when you need it because it will be there for you.
All of my coaching and therapy is done via Zoom or Skype so you can always connect with me from the comfort of your own home. Go here to find out how to work with me.
Use your tools
Now, it is even more important to use all the sobriety tools you have gathered so far and find new ones to help you. Keep doing what you know works. For me this is writing, yoga, meditation, reading and walking (when I can.)If you don’t have one already, make some time to build your own sober toolkit to include what you do to manage cravings, cope with stress, how to relax and have fun.
Include activities, practices and techniques but you can also have physical items that you turn to such as mantras on your phone or sticky notes, your favourite tea or alcohol free drinks, or even something you can physically hold like a crystal to make you feel better.
If, like me you are not home alone but have your kids and husband in the house with you, it can be difficult to keep your dedicated alone time going. But, it is super important that you keep up with this time for yourself. Set some boundaries and make sure you have a space you can go to which is just for you, even if it is for certain times in the day. It might be your bedroom, the kitchen or even the bathroom!
Even better if the space you create is cosy, nourishing and calming. Try and have your alone time often, even if it is just for ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Having this time out is essential for your mental wellbeing and bringing a sense of calm to your day.
Where possible, try and stick to your usual routine because routines are what keep us grounded and safe. It needn’t be a struggle to quit drinking when you are stuck at home, so get creative and think about home alternatives for all the things you would usually do in the outside world.
Remember to try and not let the stress and worry take over or allow your emotions to run away with you. There are, of course some things that are out of our control so there is no point in stressing when you can’t change something. However, you can take charge of your own actions and make sure that you are doing everything you can to look after yourself and get support when you need it.
It can be tempting to turn to old habits and behaviours in challenging times, but please, don’t go backwards, don’t go back to the thing you have worked so hard to move away from.
Above all, think of this weird time as an opportunity. Having a positive mindset it perhaps the most important thing you can do right now.
For more personal support, have a look at the Sober Bliss Program and my one to one coaching to see how I can help you right now.