Tips for giving up alcohol – #Take it slowly
Are you behind with your planning? Are you feeling overwhelmed already? January 1st is traditionally the time to reflect on what’s gone before, what you would like to change, to remove or to add to your life. However, if like me you had all those ideas and intentions and suddenly it’s January the 5th or 10th and you’ve not done anything you said you would or you find yourself feeling a huge sense of overwhelm then don’t worry, you’re probably not alone.
When giving up drinking, taking it slowly is the best advice I can offer. Today I invite you to do something calming, relaxing, beautiful yet powerful and I’m going to do it with you because I too am feeling extremely overwhelmed and all over the place at the moment and as I write this, the new year is only a few days old!
Sit back, make a cup of tea, light a candle, breathe and read on.
When it all goes out the window
Well, first of all, New Year’s Day didn’t really happen for us. We saw in the new year as planned, at home with some lovely AF beers, watched the Spanish on telly eating their grapes and were in bed by 12.30, looking forward to the long walks we would have, the nice meals we would cook and eat and generally enjoy our first ever hangover free New Year’s Day. However, a party started next door at around 2am. The music was so loud, we might as well have been in there with them. Sleep was impossible so up we got again and spent the night walking the dogs in the moonlight, watching films and drinking tea. When the party finally ended at 8am, we were already resigned to not having any sleep at all (we didn’t) so spent the day pottering about with not much energy and I didn’t do any planning at all.
When you plan too much
• Last night, after a few days in limbo, I went to bed early and wrote my list of intentions for the year which I will share.
• Stop smoking (I know!)
• Begin didgeridoo practice
• Carry on yoga practice
• Play guitar regularly
• Train the puppy
• Batch shop and batch cook
• Declutter the whole house (I live in an industrial warehouse and it’s humongous! So the more space, the more shit!)
• Spend 20 minutes in the morning planning the day and stick to it[/tg_promo_box]
(There were a few more on there but you get the idea) These are things I would love to master, focus on or do regularly over the coming year.
So I woke up this morning, full of hope and guess what? The day started badly, I was grumpy, it was cold and I didn’t feel as optimistic as I did last night. I looked at my list and immediately felt overwhelmed at the amount of stuff I’d written down and I thought, ‘it’s not gonna happen – none of it’ and I didn’t do any of the things I said I would do – except yoga.
Because I wrote my list and thought I had nailed it, but it takes more than just writing down the list or posting on Facebook. You need to plan properly, go deep and write out the why’s, the how’s the whats and all the little bits in between in order to be successful and if you’re not quite ready, then don’t force it – it won’t work.
How do you make your intention to stop drinking stick?
Out of all the tips for giving up alcohol, my best one is to take it slowly. The key is to take your time, take is slow, think, plan and prepare. That’s why in the sober Bliss program we spend the first couple of weeks doing just that – no pressure, no judgement, just proper care and attention to ourselves. Just because all your mates or family members are doing Dry January, it doesn’t mean you have to start with them if you haven’t set a clear intention as to why and then worked out the how and whathaveyou’s.
It is far more important to have a clear vision than to meet a deadline.
It is far less daunting and more achievable to focus on one or two really important goals than to present yourself as a superman with a long list of goals you’re gonna smash or skills you’re gonna learn by the end of 2019. If quitting drinking is what you want to achieve, then make that your priority.
But, don’t rush into it. If your schedule means you can’t realistically sit down and plan properly until next week or the 1st of February, then putting it back a bit is absolutely the right call.
Don’t take on too much or expect too much of yourself
Often, we assume that by quitting drinking, we will suddenly be able to fix all the other areas of our lives we want to tackle. When I quit drinking, I used to have this vision of myself where I would be sitting at my laptop with my cuppa, working on my business or talking with a client, all calm and relaxed after having done my morning run, enjoyed a green smoothie, batch cooked all the meals for the week, put in one hour guitar practice, trained the puppy, written 3000 words and showed up on the mat for an hour of yoga.
A friend of mine posted on social media the other day her resolutions which included, drinking less, eating more healthy, giving up caffeine and sugar, and daily exercise.
So far she has managed a 5K walk.
I asked her what she really, really wanted and she said, “to drink less” Well, I said, “make that the only thing you concentrate on for the next month – the rest will naturally follow as the benefits of drinking less or not at all kick in.” In fact I always tell people not to go on a diet or to contemplate cutting out sugar in the early days as indulging in a little chocolate to help cravings is a must and you will naturally find yourself drawn to being outdoors and doing other nice stuff with all the extra free time you have.
Which brings me back to my vision. I do sit with my clients or work on my laptop calm and relaxed holding my cup of tea but lately the only other thing I manage to do that day is my yoga practice – and that’s fine. We don’t suddenly change over night just because we decide to stop drinking.
When is the best time to quit drinking?
That is entirely up to you and while I think that January is a perfect time to do it, you don’t have to start on January 1st if you’re not ready.
I know that there are loads of special offers, bonuses, added extras and get this for free if you sign up now offers out there at the moment, which are great and can give us the little push we need but it can also feel daunting, like we have to rush into it and start right now or we’ll miss out on all those amazing morning power ups, extra sessions, live coaching, free workbooks, soopadoopa nutritional training, daily mantras, or exercise challenges.
But if all that sounds exhausting or just too much then don’t feel obliged to do it. Maybe you’re thinking, “But I just want to get a handle on my drinking – I don’t want all that other stuff just yet” Then that’s fine too.
So, this is what we’re going to do together
Pick a date for your planning session and stick to it. It might be tomorrow or next week but make sure you make an appointment with yourself. My appointment is going to be Monday 7th January.
Choose your number one intention – if it is to stop drinking, then write that down. (Stopping smoking for me)
Set a date for when you want to begin. This is important, be realistic but also be determined, otherwise it will get left on the ‘I’ll do it later’ pile. So do it with intention and sooner rather than later.
Be honest write down why you want to do it and really dig deep and make it mean something, otherwise you might find yourself on Day one again before you’ve even got off the blocks.
Write down what you need to do like remove all the alcohol from the house, clear your calendar of unnecessary commitments, what you might need to buy whatever pops into your head.
What challenges you might face, any big events or stressful periods at work?
What can you do to get through cravings?
What sober treats you will buy yourself
Choose a nice pot or jar to put all the money you’re gonna save in
Get a journal
Plan your evenings or what you will do at wine o’clock
If you need help, then recognize that and research where you can get that help. I often spend The Sober Hour with clients just helping them plan.
If you still have no idea what to do, how to do it then sober bliss takes you through the whole process right from the start so you don’t need to do any of it alone – even the planning.
Taking this time out for yourself is vital, you are worthy of the time, the effort, the reflection, the musings. Use this time properly, make it special and make a promise to put yourself first in moving forward with your intentions. It all starts with you.
If you need any help with your planning then why not book a Sober Hour session with me and to stay focused and on track over the coming weeks, sign up to the newsletter for weekly doses of sober inspiration, help and advice.
How is your planning going? Let me know in the comments below.