In some of the previous posts, Ive talked about how while the benefits youll notice when you stop drinking are great, the process of quitting is actually a pain in the ass. Emotionally and physically, abstaining from alcoholic beverages can be a drag. Continue reading “Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Parties | Stop Drinking Solutions”
I stopped by the StopDrinking Subreddit this morning and I noticed more than a few posts about relapsing. So far there have been 2 weekends this year, and for a lot of people the weekend is just a relapse waiting to happen. For most of my adult life, the weekend is when I got drunk. I allowed myself to indulge because I didn’t have a lot to do on the weekends.
Even in situations where I DID have a lot to do during the weekend, it was hard to resist weekend drinking binges. Everyone else is out partying, all your friends are at the bar, house parties a-plenty, and even beers during Sunday afternoon football all made booze the drink of choice for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
While the support of your friends and family is not a golden ticket to sobriety, it can be the difference between recovery and a quick stint of white-knuckle sobriety. Here are some tips for getting support, and some situations to avoid:
Tell someone you can trust & rely on: Even if you’re only quitting for a month, its probably a good idea to tell someone you trust. This will help you be accountable, because now that the cat is out of the bag, they are going to ask you about it later. You don’t want to disappoint that person do you?
Bonus points if you tell someone you regularly spend time with. If you’re about to head to a pub with a group of friends, having even ONE person who has your back is going to be extremely helpful. Then again, if that person gets wasted its going to be hard to stay on the straight and narrow.
Go to a meeting: even if you’re not ready to join AA or try the SMART program, consider attending an open meeting. Open meeting are for anyone who has a desire to quit drinking, and are a good place to talk about your problems. Even if you don’t say anything, listening can be extremely helpful.
Hearing about how others have struggled and succeeded is extremely therapeutic. Knowing that you’re not the only one who suffers eases the pain, and can take the weight off of your shoulders. You may also learn a thing or two about how to control your cravings and deal with the pressures of life WITHOUT alcohol.
Situations to avoid: Personally I like to avoid any situation where drinking alcohol is the main event. If you’re having a beer pong tournament, I’m going to pass. Heading to a wine tasting? Yeah, I’m not sure why you think Id enjoy that. Your Facebook event mentions getting Good and Shittered? Maybe you’re not such a good influence on me.
I think you get the idea. Stopping is hard enough, so when you’re trying to avoid the urge to drink its not smart to put yourself in the line of fire. Even if your willpower is rock solid, the endless questions about why you aren’t drinking can be infuriating. (You’ll begin to realize that a lot of drinkers are uncomfortable having sober people around because it makes them self conscious about their own choices).
To stay on theme, find some friends who drink less, and spend a weekend with them. Stay within your comfort zone (your first go at salsa dancing might not be a good place to start) and you might find that you have a great evening and not even think about alcohol once.
Being left to your own devices. Playing the hermit card and hiding away from the temptations of booze will definitely help you get through the weekend, but hiding from your problems isn’t the same as recovery. Eventually you’ll need to emerge back into normal life, or you might get cabin fever. It might work the first couple of weekends, but being left alone with nothing to do might make drinking that much more appealing.
If you’re anything like me, alcohol was a great way to make anything boring into something fun. Bad movies, bad dates, bad food, bad mood, add alcohol and its instantly better (until its not). Being bored and without any outlet is going to make alcohol a very tempting outlet for your frustration.
I suggest planning the evening so you’re not alone, or at least you’ve got something to distract you. You cant sleep the entire weekend away, but physical activities that can really help you forget about alcohol AND make you so tuckered out that you’ll be in bed before your boozey friends are done predrinking. These include working out at the gym, going for a really long walk (bring your camera for extra fun), pick-up sports (at your local gym or rec/community centre), and physical labour (build/fix that thing that you keep talking about).
Striking the balance between avoiding alcohol, and teaching yourself to have fun without alcohol is going to give you the best results. Having fun while surrounded by temptation and secluding yourself for temptation to the point of extreme boredom are two surefire ways to flirt with relapse.
Take it one step at a time, get some support from someone you trust and focus on the betterment of tomorrow instead of the crappiness of today. Good luck & stay strong friends!
Thanks for reading this post. Check out the first post, and the About Page for more info on what this is all about. My advice and anecdotes are to be taken as entertainment and for inspirational purposes (definition: I am NOT a doctor or addictions professional). If you think you have a serious drinking problem please visit a doctor. If you’re worried about telling a family doctor, you can always try a walk-in clinic or try this resource for help with substance abuse in Canada.
You should also check out the great Stop Drinking Subreddit (I’m not affiliated with it, I just find it to be a great resource).
How’s your resolution to quit drinking going so far? Regardless of what your goals are, I hope you’re working towards meeting and/or exceeding them.
For those of you who have sworn off alcohol, here’s to another weekend free of temptation! If that doesn’t work, here’s to resisting temptation and avoiding the pain of a hangover, and the guilt of another weekend washed away by booze.
For me, one of the ways I was able to distract myself from drinking was to replace my normal after-work beer with an after-work jog. These didn’t last very long, maybe two weeks tops, but I feel like it was an important step I needed to take. It was a great distraction, and the runners high I got after a jog made me feel better than any beer ever could. Continue reading “Stop Drinking with Parallel Goals | Stop Drinking Solutions”
(Note: this post was originally written at the end of January)
Congratulations! If youre one of the people who wanted to stop drinking as a New Year Resolution, youre meer hours away from being off the sauce for an entire month. Even better news, there are only 28 days in February!
Im sure it was hard, painful, annoying, and trying. However if you did it, youre probably pretty proud of yourself. and you DESERVE TO BE!!!
Quitting booze is as much about method, as it is about mindset. There are times when your methods fail, and you get through on mindset and vice versa.
Stay strong and I wish you luck and strength in many more months. If you are deciding to have a few drinks tomorrow, then I have a few words of wisdom for you:
Not drinking for 1 month proves you can abstain, it doesnt prove you can quit. If you thought you needed to quit, and decided 1 month would be the deciding factor, dont rush so quickly back to binge drinking. You clearly had a solid reason for going sober for a month, and youre only reinforcing your original concerns if youre first priority in February is getting fucked up.
Just some food for thought. Even if you do drink tomorrow, you can always put the bottle down on Feb. 2 after that horrendous hangover kicks your ass and youre once again reevaluating your life.
Complacency is a funny thing. In the early days of sobriety you want to feel normal again. You want your life to be like it was when you were drinking, but without all the booze. You want to stop thinking about how badly you want a drink.
Tragically, complacency can be the first step towards relapse. Thinking youre cured of your illness, thinking youve conquered your demons, thinking youre out of the woods. Whatever cliché you want to slap on it, it can be tempting to feel good about what youve accomplished.
Well you should feel good about your accomplishment. If youve been off the sauce since January 1st, then youre only a few days away from 3 weeks! Good for you, pat yourself on the back, kick back and enjoy a nice cold see what I did there?
I dont normally like to talk like alcohol is an actual demon thats taken liquid form to drag you from the glory of the garden of Eden, but in some cases the shoe really fits. AA calls alcohol cunning and they arent wrong. Well, its really your brain thats cunning, but well get to that.
Around this time you might be reconsidering if you really need to quit. Youre just a few days away from being dry for 21 days, 3 weeks, 3/4 of a month! Thats pretty good. If you were a REAL alcoholic youd be a shivering lump of skin on the bathroom floor, right?
Like Ive said before, Im no expert. Im just someone whos been there before and I have to say NO. If youre anything like me, and if youve read this far I think you might be, the idea that you arent an alcoholic is just denial.
If you didnt have a problem, would you really be willing to jump ship on your commitment to make your life better? If you REALLY didnt have a problem would your brain be thinking up ways where youd be able to drink again? If you REALLY TRULY didnt have a problem, would your upcoming holiday/gathering/get-together be ruined if you didnt have anything to drink? Me thinks not!
So dont get too smug there Mister or Misses 3 weeks! Be aware you are at war, even when youre not fighting a battle. That sounds like something some long dead person would have said right? Ok, heres an actual quote from Sun Tzu that fits somewhat:
If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles.
To break it down from my perspective: You know your enemy, and right now thats alcohol. If you really want to survive 100 battles, you must know yourself as well. You must know that your dumb ass if going to try and trick yourself in to thinking you can have 1.
Now you dont need to read the Art Of War, youre welcome!
So I took a week off the blog, but I swear I didn’t fall off the wagon!
I just got a little busy, and it definitely didn’t help that I injured myself in a fairly embarrassing way. Not painful enough to do any lasting damage, but lingering for much too long. I didn’t stretch enough at the gym and I paid for it. Continue reading “Hunker Down and Stop Drinking | Stop Drinking Solutions”
Some musings on 500 days without alcohol.
I haven’t climbed a mountain, nor have I run a marathon. I didn’t cure cancer, I didn’t score the game winner goal against our bitterest rivals. I did not run for office as a lovable underdog, nor did I reunite with my long lost father/mother/dog/lover/etc. Continue reading “500 days (and counting) without alcohol | Stop Drinking Solutions”
I was watching Dawson’s Creek on Netflix (guilty obsession* at the moment) and came across a bit of recovery wisdom from the character Andie McPhee. For those unfamiliar with the show, Andie is the perky blonde over-achiever whose role in the show is to create situations for After School Special type moments. The goodie two-shoes who is always letting her good intentions get her in to awful positions, while the principle cast canoodles through melodrama and slings a vocabulary far beyond the reach of most REAL over-achievers.
At some point in the show she has a mental breakdown and spends the summer in a mental hospital and comes back to endless drama. Most of this is side-plot, but something jumped out at me while Andie was explaining to her brother Jack about her obsession with her role as assistant director of her schools play.
Andie: I had this, uh, this mantra in the hospital. You wanna hear it?
Andie: Structure and purpose. I mean, I know it was just a stupid little school play, but thats what it was to me: structure and purpose. I think when you have something like that in your life, you know, to hold on to, thats not another person, but its more like a part of yourself, like a goal or a dream, the whole world falls apart around you, youll be okay.
So I wouldnt exactly take this as a cure-all for your mental problems, but consider how adding some structure and purpose to your life can help you steer clear of alcohol.
When you have no purpose, then theres no reason to get your life on track. We all have purpose, but a lot of us have lost sight of it and drink to fill in the void.
Structure can be a bit harder to nail down, but having some type of routine in your life is rarely a bad thing. Some people drink to escape the same-old same-old, so its easy to equate structure with monotony. Thats why the purpose is such an important part of that mantra.
Youd be surprised how helpful waking up in the morning, and really having a reason to wake up can help getting over alcohol.
*Not to be confused with a guilty pleasure. I don’t really take any pleasure in Dawson’s Creek but, like a car crash I cant look away.
(note: this was originally written just as Canada had won the 2014 Olympic Gold Medal in Men’s Ice Hockey)
The last time Canada won a gold in hockey at the Olympics, I drove in to town to celebrate with a friend. It was a Sunday night and I had a job interview in the morning. I didnt mean to get drunk, but I did.
I got really drunk. Both me and my friend who invited me out were asked to leave the establishment at different times. I honestly dont know how I got some intoxicated. I knew it was a bad idea, but I did it anyway.
The bouncers kicked me out, and wouldnt let me back in to find my coat. Thankfully there was another friend who was willing to grab my coat and give me a ride to my friends house to crash. I had brought a change of clothes and went to my job interview the next morning. Needless to say, I didnt get that job.
I didnt wake up early to watch hockey this year. I dont particularly care for hockey, especially since that night. Im glad that we won, ice hockey is Canadas national pastime and I wouldnt want to take that away from anyone.
What I would like to see is more focus on the celebration of sport and athletics, and less on the obsession that if youre not playing, its your national duty to get drunk.
Do you need help, or are you slam-dunking this sobriety thing?
Its a tricky question for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I cant answer the question. I’m not a doctor or a addictions professional of any kind. If you want to send me an email, I can give you a suggestion but that’s all it will be. Continue reading “Do You Need Help To Stop Drinking? | Stop Drinking Solutions”