Getting Through Tough Times

Uncategorized Oct 16, 2022

When I was drinking, I was in the BIGGEST rut of my life. If you are still drinking and thinking about quitting, I get it. I thought about quitting drinking for years before taking the plunge. I thought that if I kept trying, if I could just find that magic formula, I would be able to control my drinking. You know, drink like a normal person. Such a delusion!

If you are the kind of drinker I was, there is no such thing as controlling your drinking. I tried for years and years. Thinking about drinking. Thinking about quitting drinking. Back and forth. For years and years, I was stuck in the worst rut of my life, doing the same thing over and over again.

If you are still drinking, keep reading. If you have quit drinking, please keep reading too. We all go through periods in our sobriety that are painful and difficult. Quitting drinking doesn’t mean life won’t still have difficulties, but you learn to get through the tough times without drinking.

Wherever you are in your life, there are actionable steps you can take to move through your current challenges more quickly and improve the quality of your life.

I have broken it down into three stages. Except for the detox tips, many of the tips are helpful in all stages.

Stage One: The Initiation Stage

In the beginning, everything is intense. EVERYTHING. Drinking kept all my emotions and thoughts suppressed. When I first sobered up, nothing made sense. I couldn’t form a sentence in my head and would jump at the sound of a pin drop. In this beginning stage, many people give up, thinking life isn’t any better without alcohol. But this is a passing phase. Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

  1. Perhaps the most difficult part is making the decision. The agonizing. The doubts. Start with where you are. Right here. Right now.
  2. Quit trying so hard. Instead, surrender. Let go. Ahhh. Feel that?
  3. Do you need detox support? Your doctor can help. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe. Unlike other drug withdrawals, you can have seizures from alcohol withdrawal (depending on how long and how much you drank).
  4. Develop a good relationship with your doctor. Be honest about your addiction. Ask to have your addictive tendencies noted on your file. If possible, find a doctor who understands addiction, but good luck with that one.
  5. Drink lots of water. Adding a squeeze of lemon helps with detoxing, keeps you fresh, and your teeth white.
  6. Ask your doctor for a complete medical exam, including bloodwork. Take vitamins, including Vitamin B. Alcohol burns up B vitamins. Ask your for a Vitamin B injection if you show signs of a deficiency.
  7. Sleep, my friend, sleep. You need sleep. Beautiful, restful, sleep. Never apologize for needing sleep. Have an Epsom Salts bath before bed. You will sleep like a baby, and the salts also help with detoxing.
  8. Get exercise and fresh air daily. Start with a 15 or 30-minute walk. Exercising releases endorphins and increases your mind’s ability to elevate your mood.

Stage Two: The Letting Go Stage

Develop a healthy respect for the power of addiction. It can take you out in a swipe. After you have gone through the detox phase, it is time to replace old habits with new rituals and ways of doing and being and learn new ways of dealing with life without alcohol.

  1. Pay attention to triggers. Become aware of when yours are -- the time of day, and develop new routines and rituals. Triggers will pass and lose their power, provided you don’t give in. To continue living an alcohol-free life, you must learn not to take the next first drink. EVERYTHING HINGES ON THIS.
  2. Have a safety plan when going where alcohol is served. Find a nice non-alcoholic beverage to enjoy and pour it into a fancy glass. You don’t need to mention to people that you don’t drink. Be prepared for what you will say if someone offers you a drink. No, I’m the designated driver. No, I’m allergic and break out in spots -- like Vancouver or LA.
  3. When the urge hits, breathe. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Go to war with it. Breathe, and it will pass, and you will win! Distract yourself. Find some artwork, colouring, music, or something you enjoy doing that you can reach for instead of a drink.
  4. DON’T ISOLATE. Being depressed with the curtains drawn and not leaving the house is a scary place. Open the door. Stick your head out. Force yourself out the door. Please, pick up the phone and call someone. If you can’t get out of bed, please call the doctor.
  5. Find your people. You need them. And they need you. Your old drinking buddies won’t be able to support you through this. Surround yourself with women mentors. There are twelve-step meetings online and in person almost everywhere in the world.

Stage Three: Empowerment Stage

The more you let go, the easier life becomes. When you realize that you have no control over anyone or anything, especially your drinking, it is unbelievably freeing, like the weight of the world lifted off your shoulders. In this stage, you experience significant realizations and shudder at the thought of returning to your previous life. It’s true! While in this stage, you are really getting into it because you are feeling incredible and noticing the positive changes in your life, and you love it! Your life is full and purposeful. You are happy to be alive.

  1. Be kind to yourself. I know how hard we can be on ourselves when we make mistakes. View your mistakes as opportunities to learn. You will never be perfect. Growth is not about perfection. It is about progress, not perfection.
  2. Learn about your emotions and how to forgive. That doesn’t mean harm done to you is ok; it means that you aren’t going to carry it any longer.
  3. Visualize the life of your dreams and a beautiful, safe place. Close your eyes and visit your amazing life often. This is a great way to set the gears of manifestation in motion and relax and regulate your thoughts and emotions.
  4. Get involved in your community or service work in the organizations you attend. It is very rewarding to get out of your head and problems and help someone in need instead.
  5. Learn to recognize self-limiting thinking and create mantras and empowerment statements to counteract them. Put them on sticky notes and plaster them everywhere. Decorate your entire friggin’ apartment with sticky notes if you want.

I could go on and on.

The only person holding you back is YOU. You are the person you have been waiting for. You are the only one who can get you out of a rut or a bad situation. Yes, you may need help, but you are the facilitator of the change you want to create in your life.

Let's connect!

Before you leave, please let me know in the comments below. “Where are you at? What helps you? Let’s keep the conversation going.

If you are thinking about quitting and have been drinking large quantities of alcohol for a significant time, withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. Please talk to your doctor and seek medical care as you go through the detox process. It is important to note that addiction may also mask mental health disorders that someone is drinking to self-medicate, such as depression or anxiety.

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