Protecting your sobriety after lockdown is a topic we’ve been discussing a lot lately in the Transform Membership support space because sooner or later we will be ‘allowed out’ again. And, while exciting, it is throwing up some worries and anxiety. The best way to go about protecting your sobriety after lockdown is to start planning and preparing now – it’s going to happen and you need to feel confident when it does. In this blog I am going to share some specifics on ways to help you to plan and prepare so you can stay sober and feel good when you come out of lockdown.
First of all, I have so much respect and love for you if you have been able to stop drinking during lockdown. It has been tough for us on so many levels and I am thankful that I was already alcohol-free when this pandemic started.
In some ways it has been easier to be sober during lockdown. There have been no social gatherings to contend with, we’ve been able to use this time to really focus on ourselves, find comfort in new routines, and get used to living without alcohol without the added pressures of people, places and events.
Now, when restrictions ease, even if you’ve been able to enjoy some kind of social life already, I have a feeling that all of this pent up tension is going to lead to a massive release and perhaps even a little bit of craziness. After all, we are social beings, we crave interaction, conversation, physical touch and, my goodness how wonderful will it be to talk to our loved ones without wearing a mask and actually hug someone!
For a non drinker, and especially if you got sober in the comfort of your own home and bubble, this release is going to throw up some new challenges and old drinking triggers.
It is going to be a time of ‘firsts’ and even thought you will be looking forward to going to the cinema, the theatre, having lunch with friends, travelling and going to a party or a concert, I know that there is some anxiety surrounding being out in the world again.
Here are my top tips on protecting your sobriety after lockdown
Plan and prepare
The time when restrictions will be eased is getting closer, so you need to plan and prepare for it now. Don’t wait until the day when you can go to a restaurant or meet friends for lunch to wonder what you will do. Chances are people will be in a party mood, they’ll want to celebrate and let loose so you may find the pressure to ‘have just one’ goes up a whole other level.
Be ready. Decide on your response, plan your drinks, have an escape route. Think back to what you might have done in other periods of relative freedom and go back to that. Sober socializing is so much fun, you just need to go with a plan in place so you can really enjoy the benefits of your sober life, have a good time, and not feel that you are missing out.
Reconnect to your why
Let’s be clear. You are on this journey for a reason so keep going back to that whenever you feel the seeds of doubt creeping in. Alcohol does not make a party or solve problems or create an amazing atmosphere. You know what alcohol does to you and you don’t want that in your life anymore.
Don’t let a sunny day or a few pushy friends take that away from you. Connect to your feelings, your emotions and your deep reason for why you are doing what you are doing. Life will go on, there will be events and occasions and parties and work. Protecting your sobriety, your true authentic self is your priority – no matter what.
Put yourself first
You and your sobriety are the most important thing right now. It was true in lockdown and it will be true after lockdown. Don’t let all your hard work, growth and self discovery go out of the window – you are doing amazingly well and you can keep going.
Stay in your own lane. Stick to your routines, keep doing what you are doing and be true to yourself. Remember your self-care, stay in touch with your sober community, and look after your sleep.
Play it forward
Looking ahead to an event or situation, deciding in advance how you want it to go and practicing it in your mind, is the best way to feel confident and prepared for any situation. This is one of my favourite visualization techniques for protecting your sobriety and successfully achieving your goal whether that be getting through wine o’clock, going to an event sober or even just going to the dentist!
You can also use this technique to imagine how it would go if you did drink, what would happen, how would the evening pan out and more importantly how would you feel? It is just as important to know and feel what you don’t want as it is what you do want.
Get clear on your boundaries
Know your triggers and make sure you have boundaries in place to deal with people, situations or events. One of our lovely members has set herself a ‘joy boundary’ meaning she won’t let anyone or anything come between her and her joy, no matter the situation. You are important, your joy and happiness is important.
Because of the likely collective craziness to come, you might find that things are more extreme than how you remember them – more invites, more people drinking around you, more pressure to just have one and have fun, and certainly more situations where drinking will be done. It is super important to keep, and even strengthen those boundaries and learn how to say no.
Get support and connection
Probably the most important and helpful thing to do when it comes to protecting your sobriety after lockdown is to have regular support and connection to help guide, empower and support you through these changes.
Find your people who know, love and support you. Find a space with people who will help you with the inner work, who will listen, who understand, and who get you. When restrictions ease, you will be able to access in-person support again or meet your friend for coffee and a chat so do it.
If you are not comfortable sharing or asking for advice in your local area then the Transform Support Membership space might just be the thing you are looking for. Connect with women from all over the world who going through the exact same thing as you are. This is a safe space where you can just relax and be yourself and enjoy all the love and connection to help you stay on your path. With 7 weekly support sessions to choose from and a Whatsapp group for daily check-ins, you will never be alone and there will always be someone there to support you.
It is totally understandable and okay to want to go out again. I know that we’ve been experiencing a unique kind of cabin fever and the need to escape and break free from the confines of our home is very real.
We want to see people, to hug them to go places and do the things we did before. And you can, you absolutely can do all of this while protecting your sobriety at the same time. Remember your why, stay true to yourself and if you need any help to guide you through this next stage of your journey to alcohol-freedom, then come and join us in the Transform Support Membership.
I’d love to know how you are feeling about the upcoming easing of restrictions and if you need any support. Drop me an email or leave a comment below.