(the way that I did it)
*Disclaimer: As I’ve stated here before, my road to sobriety was different from most. I didn’t require the assistance of a 12-step program, rehab and only minimal counseling. If you feel as though you can’t stop drinking on your own, please seek help promptly!
When I decided to stop drinking, I just did it. I drank too much on a Sunday afternoon and fell asleep about dinnertime, leaving my husband to take on the feeding of the kids/bathing/bedtime routine. I woke up later that night, embarrassed at what I’d let happen. I went to a board meeting at my kids’ church preschool the following morning hungover and vowed right then and there. Enough. I can’t keep up with this habit anymore. That was the Fall of 2010.
If you’ve ever wondered if maybe you need to stop drinking, <as blunt as this sounds> you probably do. A good way to find out is to quit for a little while–and I don’t mean for a day–I mean for an extended amount of time to see how things change in your life. From there you can consider moderating your drinking or maybe you’ll continue to abstain. The trick is to be honest with yourself about your drinking.
Some of the following tips I followed and some, I wish I’d followed. But all of them have dawned upon me at one time or another over the course of the past 6 years.
Announce it to the world: Blast all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or MySpace (!) that you’re giving up alcohol. Set a deadline for your abstinence or announce that you’re giving it up for good. You’ll be amazed at how well-received your announcement might be. You might also find support in the most unlikely of places.
Formulate a plan: Set up a plan for every opportunity where alcohol will play a role. Dinners out–how will you deal when the waiter plops the wine list in your face? Parties–plan ahead to politely decline invitations to social gatherings where you might feel too tempted to drink. Also formulate a response to the host, explaining why you’re politely declining.
Vacations: Perhaps a trip to California Wine Country isn’t the very best place to visit early in sobriety? Plan your vacations and trips away to support your sobriety–not to interfere with it.
Get rid of the existing alcohol in your home: Do you have a favorite drink…a drink that’s your trigger? (It was pinot grigio for me) If so, dispose of it promptly, with no apologies. If you live with a spouse/partner or roommate who drinks, explain your struggle and work together to remove any temptations from your liquor cabinet.
Seek help: I went to counseling when I stopped drinking. Part of my motivation for seeking counseling was to work through some of my issues that led to my drinking, but my counseling morphed and changed over time and less and less were we talking about my drinking and more and more we discussed my childhood and family relationships. It was immensely helpful in all areas of my life. And counseling can be very affordable. Some insurance plans cover it.
Have you ever considered giving up alcohol?