10 things you need in your sober toolkit when you’re quitting drinking
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to take a break from drinking you need to set yourself up for success.
That means you need a really good sober toolkit.
In this episode, I’ll share 10 things you absolutely need in your sober toolkit
1. Your iPhone. And that includes your earbuds and your charger.
Your phone is literally in your back pocket or in your bag all times. You have it at work, at home, in a restaurant, at a dinner party, at family gatherings and holidays. Your phone will carry so many options, reminders, and sober supports for you to access. The good news is this tool in your toolkit is something you have on hand anyway – so load it up with the other tools below and you’ll be set!
2. Audio books, podcasts and messages of sober support.
Right now you’ve got a head start on this tool because you’re listening to this podcast. In it I share conversations, resources, information and tips on how to quit drinking and live happily without alcohol. This is exactly the type of support you need to access in early sobriety. In your first few weeks I recommend that you spend one to two hours a day listening to or reading something that reminds you that not drinking is a good idea. I know this sounds like a lot, but you are going through the process of literally deprogramming and retraining your mind and your habits that have been built up over the years.
3. Food and beverages that will help you get through a craving, help you during the witching hour, and make you feel satisfied and a bit indulged.
It’s time to stock up on awesome non-alcoholic drinks and treats. Now is the time to get curious and creative and experiment with some cool beverages you’ve been ignoring for years as you head down the wine aisle. You also need to stock up on easy dinners, snacks with protein, and some sweets. Now is not the time to go on a diet – at least for your first 30 days. You’ll crave sugar – and you’re not consuming tons of calories from alcohol – so go ahead and buy the Peanut M&Ms.
4. A list of your favorite “sober treats”.
Bubble baths, fresh flowers, baked goods, a new book, a list of binge-worthy shows, coloring books, a massage, a pedicure, take out sushi, new sheets, essential oils, a milkshake, a bike ride, a picnic, a babysitter – what are the things that you can do to treat yourself that doesn’t involve alcohol. If you start feeling like “this is all too hard”, “I don’t have anything good for myself”, “everyone else is having fun and my life sucks” – you need sober treats.
5. A way to track your progress
This is about much more than counting the days since you last drank. Yes – you’ve been sober for 8 days or 30 days – but there are apps that calculate the bottles of wine not consumed, the cases of beers you have not ingested, the calories you’ve saved and the money you have not spent poisoning yourself. In 30 days I saved over $550 – and did not consume 40 bottles of wine. Plus counting days helps you celebrate milestones and be aware of anniversaries that might be tricky.
6. Community and support
It’s so helpful to connect with other cool women who are on the alcohol free path. I have suggestions of how to find them and a guide to joining my 2 favorite private sober Facebook groups for women.
7. A safe space in your home to retreat
If you can it’s helpful to find a place where you can retreat from the chaos of your house. Some people have a chair, where they like to sit with cheese and crackers and read a book. Some people have a corner they meditate in. Some people have a place in their garden or love their bedroom. When you stop drinking a lot of things feel too loud, too jarring or too much for a while. It helps to go somewhere where you can be quiet for a while.
8. The ability to move, to be outside, get some fresh air and take a walk.
Anytime you want to drink, feel frustrated, resentful or angry, it helps to get moving. Fresh air and getting your blood pumping can do amazing things to reset your mind and make cravings less intense. I love to walk. Other people love running, yoga, gardening, going for a bike ride or dancing. Find something that works for you and add it to your toolkit.
9. Create a new evening routine.
A lot of us are used to drinking in the evening, either after work, when we cook dinner or when we watch TV at night. Changing up your evening routine and creating new habits is a great sober tool. Try something new – experiment with a walk, online yoga, a nightly bath, sitting in a different room, listening to a sober audio book while rocking your baby to sleep or whatever.
10. Sober coaching
I know this sounds self-serving but I want to be clear that this doesn’t have to be one-on-one coaching and it doesn’t have to be with me. But it does really help to know that you’re not the first woman who has decided that drinking isn’t working in your life – and there are coaches, sponsors, programs and resources out there that can give you short cuts, tips and advice to make this “living life without alcohol thing” so much easier!
Connect with Casey McGuire Davidson
How to find the Best Sober Facebook Groups for busy women:
Laura McKowen, We Are The Luckiest
Sarah Hepola, Blackout
Belle Robertson, Tired Of Thinking About Drinking
Annie Grace, This Naked Mind
Amanda Eyre Ward & Jardine Libaire, The Sober Lush: A Hedonist’s Guide to Living a Decadent, Adventurous, Soulful Life – Alcohol Free
The Bubble Hour Podcast
Connect with Casey
Take a screenshot of your favorite episode, post it on your Instagram and tag me @caseymdavidson and tell me your biggest takeaway!
Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.
ABOUT THE HELLO SOMEDAY PODCAST
The Hello Someday Podcast helps busy and successful women build a life they love without alcohol. Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach and creator of The Sober Girl’s Guide to Quitting Drinking, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement.
Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this podcast is for you.
In each episode Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more.
Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol free life.
Be sure to grab the Free Sober Girl’s Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.
Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode.
I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. Click here to subscribe in iTunes!
Now if you’re feeling extra loving, I would be really grateful if you left me a review over on iTunes, too. Those reviews help other people find my podcast and they’re also fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. Thank you!
READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
10 Tools You Need In Your Sober Toolkit
drinking, quit, 10 tools, sober toolkit, sober treats, sober coaching, iPhone, audiobooks, podcasts, encouraging messages, sober support groups, physical sober treat list, progress tracker, safe space, routine
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson
Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.
In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.
Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a bus, how to sit with your emotions, when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.
I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.
In this episode, I’m going to share with you 10 things you absolutely need in your sober toolkit. Things that are in your sober toolkit should be in your back pocket. They should be things that you are able to pull out, both on a daily basis in early sobriety, and later on when you’re stressed or angry, hungry or tired, or when you’re going to a dinner party and think that you’re going to be tempted to drink. In this world where we are surrounded constantly by messages, that drinking is a good idea, that drinking is what helps you cope with everything around you, drinking is the reward that you deserve just for getting through the day. Your sober toolkit will remind you that there is so much else out there. Things that won’t leave you with a hangover, but will relax, you reward you, entertain you, make you happy and healthy. And that will remind you that you’re not alone on this path of living life without being numbed out.
The truth is that there are a lot of cool women doing this, this is a good decision for you. And life is better on the other side. But it is easier if you have some things in your back pocket. So in this episode, I’m going to give you my top 10 things that you should have on hand, know about and be able to access to help you get sober momentum and move forward building up a life that you love without alcohol. These are the things that should be in your back pocket. So what should be in your sober toolkit? You want things in there that you can go to, quickly, when you want to drink or when you need to calm down or when you need to check out from what’s going on around you. They’re the tools that you know will distract you, pacify you, calm you down, and take you away when you really, really want to drink. It’s really important for you to know that you will want to drink. Of course you’ll want to drink. It’s been your go to coping mechanism for years and years. It’s a reflective habit for a lot of us. It’s been your constant companion. You’re used to drinking, it’s familiar. And you’re working on changing those habits, and finding out and experimenting on what also will work for you to calm you down, relax you, get you through the night, entertain you when you’re bored, and to choose things that will actually do that and make you feel better, not worse the next. But things will happen as you’re walking along this new path, bad things will happen and good things will happen. And you’ll want to go back to your old friend, you’ll want to say Screw it. This isn’t worth it. This is all too hard. I can drink tonight and just start again tomorrow. I’m not feeling any better right now. So I might as well drink or I never really had a problem. I overreacted. I’m an adult, I deserve to drink. I’ve got this under control. This not drinking thing was a really stupid idea anyway. When you think those things, know that this is normal, know that this is part of the process. And that every woman walking this path has bought these things as well. When you hear these things, know that this is your addictive voice. It’s the voice that wants to take you back to daily drinking. The fact is that drinking is addictive. It’s a really hard habit to break and every time you want to drink and you don’t, you are building a sober muscle, you are getting stronger, you are putting more and more consistent days, continuous days between you and starting over on day one. That’s why your toolkit is so important.
So here’s what’s in mine. My number one thing in my sober toolkit is my iPhone. And that includes my earbuds and my charger. My phone is literally in my back pocket, where my bag at any time I have it at work, I have it at home, I have it in a restaurant or at a dinner party. I have it at family gatherings and holidays, and your phone will carry in it so many options, reminders, and sober support for you to access. The good news is this tool in your toolkit is something you have on hand anyway, and it can be the most awesome sober support tool you need.
A lot of the other things I’m going to touch on in this episode that should be in your sober toolkit can be accessed and stored on your phone.
So, if your phone and headphones are number one, the second thing you need in your sober toolkit is audiobooks and podcasts and messages of sober support. Now you’ve got a head start because right now you’re listening to this podcast where I share conversations, resources, information and tips on how to quit drinking and live happily without alcohol.
In early sobriety, I recommend that you spend one to two hours a day listening to something that reminds you that not drinking is a good idea. I know this sounds like a lot, but you are going through the process of literally deprogramming and retraining your mind and your habits that have been built up over 20 years. You are triggered or reminded, or encouraged to drink probably 20 times a day, from posts on social media to your friends encouraging you to invitations to happy hour at work, to the stores, you normally stop in the aisles you usually shop and what you’re used to doing when you walk in the door. So all of that will make you think that drinking is a good idea. You need to spend some time in the early days tapping into women and stories that remind you that you’re not alone doing this and that you are choosing not to drink for a very good reason. And the good news is there is so much out there. In my Sober Girls Guide To Quitting Drinking, which you can find at my website https://hellosomedaycoaching.com/.
I have a list of really wonderful books, audio books, podcasts, online resources that I personally use and recommend for women who are trying to quit drinking.
But just off the top of my head, you could read or listen to Laura McKowan, We Are The Luckiest. You could read or listen to Catherine Gray’s The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober There. Sarah Hepola’s Blackout, which is a fantastic memoir. You could look at Belle Robertson’s Tired Of Thinking About Drinking. There is A Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley. There is This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. Quit Like A Woman by Holly Whitaker.
I also just did a podcast with Amanda Eyre Ward and Jardine Libaire, who just released their new book The Sober Lush. You could listen to The Bubble Hour Podcast with host Jean McCarthy.
There is a wealth of information out there written by women, memoirs and fiction and how to guides, that will help you substantially on this journey. When I was first quitting drinking, I listened to sober audios a couple of different times during my day. I listened to some when I was driving to my workout at 5:30 in the morning and driving home. I listened to it on my drive to work after dropping my daughter off at daycare. If I was having a hard day at work, I loved walking in a park and getting a latte. And just for half an hour of tapping into podcasts and audiobooks and clearing my head. And then at night after dinner when I would typically drink I would be rocking my daughter to bed she was about two years old at the time, and listening to something on my earbuds.
Again, you will not always need to do this. But in the beginning it’s so helpful and honestly, you need to distract yourself from the thoughts that you really want to open that bottle of wine. So there you go. Go to my Sober Girls Guide To Quitting Drinking. Get a list of great Quizlet, audio fiction, Podcast, resources, that will remind you that not drinking is a great idea and entertain you along the way. It is the number two thing you need in your sober toolkit.
Alright, for number three, you’re going to have to go to the grocery store. The third thing that you need in your sober toolkit is food and beverages that will help you get through a craving. that will help you through the witching hour, that will help you feel satisfied and like you’re having a treat for yourself that aren’t alcohol. Now, I talked about stocking up on non alcoholic beverages and options, as well as some good snacks and foods that will help you get through the witching hour in Episode 3 of this podcast. That one is 7 Strategies To Get You Through Your First Week Without Alcohol and you can find it on my website at https://hellosomedaycoaching.com/3.
So, what you need to do is to go to the grocery store. Remember, always go in the morning. When you’ve had something to eat and your willpower is strong to stock up on all your sober beverages and treats. You don’t want to be going to the grocery store after work, or after a long day with the kids, when you’re tired. And when you’re on day 1 or day 3 or Day 0. It’s incredibly hard at that time to not go down the aisle with all the alcohol and pick something up. So you’re going in the morning, you’ve got a list, you’re going to hit the alternative beverage aisle hard, right? There are a ton of different drinks that are not alcohol that tastes really, really good that you have probably been avoiding for years. So now is the time to experiment, to get creative. And to pick up some stuff that you’re going to try out and see how it tastes with dinner, and how it tastes maybe in a wine glass and how it tastes after dinner. Around a barbecue or at a dinner party. So there are a lot of options there. I personally always pick up a 12 pack of Lacroix. I like all of their flavors but especially coconut, lime, Key Lime, grapefruit. There are some great sparkling drinks. So you could get sparkling blood orange stuff or sparkling grapefruit that come in really nice bottles. Some people just really like San Pellegrino. Some people like cranberry and soda with lime. The point is to experiment. You want things on hand that are going to feel special. There is a ton out there that you haven’t tried. I used to really go for ginger beer in early sobriety that would give me the bubbles, that would taste really tart, sometimes sweet depending on what it is. Now I love for special occasions. Gru VI Prosecco. It’s from a website. Get groobie Gru VI and it is 100% Prosecco, zero percent alcohol, and it’s really tasty. But there’s a lot out there. So experiment stock up, I want you to be able to open your fridge and see just tons of options of yummy non alcoholic drinks and 0 alcohol in there. The other thing you need to do is to stock up on treats, and stock up on some good snack foods with protein for the witching hour before you drive home or before you’re cooking dinner, which for a lot of us is a trigger time to open the wine and start drinking, as well as sometimes for after dinner when we used to sit on the couch and drink. Now, the biggest time when you’re going to be hungry, which is 100% a trigger to drink, is right before you go into driving home for dinner, or going to a barbecue or going out to a restaurant or going to a dinner party. Now I know it is counterintuitive to eat before you go to a place where you’re going to eat, but you do not want to walk into those situation hungry. It will make it so much harder for you to have willpower and make better choices and actually get an alternative beverage in you. So that you’re sitting around. You’re talking you’re drinking your Lacroix you’re drinking your Gru VI non alcoholic Prosecco. You’re feeling good. The hardest part is when you walk in you see alcohol you’re starving. So you want to avoid that I used to when I was driving home or right before I would leave the office. I would always have peanut butter and rice cakes at work. It was crunchy. It gave me some protein. I wasn’t starving when I walked in the door. I also would sometimes drive and get a smoothie. One with peanut butter and chocolate protein powder. That, in a banana It was so yummy. It wasn’t bad for me, it filled me up. You can also have hummus and vegetables which are really good. Or honestly peanut m&ms, Reese’s Pieces. Get the chocolate. This is the time to indulge in the chocolate that you’ve been avoiding forever because we’re saving all your calories for that bottle of wine. Wine has a lot of sugar in it and whether or not you realize it and you are going to need that sugar to replace it during your first couple of weeks. It will not last forever, but pick up some treats. So when you are desperately wanting to drink wine, you have a Lacroix, you have some Hershey’s milk chocolate, and you’re through the witching hour. Now, I always especially stocked up and brought all bevs wherever I went. When I was going to a situation where I knew alcohol would be served and I pretty much presumed there were no bevs there. So, I remember going up with my very best friend to her dad’s house, which was on an island for a weekend away when I was maybe one or two months sober. And I literally brought on the ferry a room long cooler of ginger beer and Lacroix and club soda and cranberry and everything I could think of that I could possibly want to drink up there. Now when I’ve gone up there before, her parents were big on wine, so there would be wine at dinner every night. And I did not want to be in a situation where they were all having wine. And I was sitting there, really jealous with my glass of water. So she kind of made fun of me. She was like, you’ve got to roll on cooler. I mean, we have grocery stores up there. We have drinks in the house, but I just needed to make sure that I have my own stuff. And to this day, I bring non-alcoholic beer or I bring my Lacroix or I bring ginger beer in a bag. When I go to parties and picnics. In the same way, I used to bring my own wine and beer, right? BYOB, never show up empty handed. Plan ahead, take care of yourself, go to the grocery store, you absolutely have good food and good drink in your sober toolkit.
So number four. Things you need to have in your back pocket in your sober toolkit is a physical list of sober treats. So I also talked about retreats in Episode 3, getting through your first week without alcohol. But… sober retreats are things, that to this day, at over four years sober, I use all the time. And I still look back at the list I made in early sobriety.
When I first quit drinking, I could not think of anything that I liked more than wine, which sounds really sad, but it was true. I liked a lot of things in addition to wine, or I liked a lot of things but not more than wine. I mean, I loved drinking. That was what I did. So I really had to think hard about things that I loved that weren’t wine. And I came up with some stuff that I’ve kind of forgotten about. I remember in early sobriety, I took a walk to Whole Foods by my office and I roamed the aisles, taking pictures of possible sober retreats, and here were the things that I saw that I’d forgotten about, that I thought, I can get myself a gift of this to feel treated. To feel indulged, to feel like I’m not being deprived while I’m not drinking. So instead of a bottle of wine, I can get myself fresh flowers. I can get myself a beautiful journal to write in. I can get myself magazines to read alone at a coffee shop. I saw a little massage balls that you put under your feet. I saw an essential oil diffuser for my bedroom. Another sober treat for me was getting a babysitter. To give myself some breathing room from the kids. I was a member of a gym that I never went to because I was hung over a lot of the time and they had a kids club. So, I would put the kids in the kids club and I would go to the pool at the gym and take long, slow laps, or sometimes just sit in a hot tub, or just sit in a steam room. This was a sober treat that weirdly did not cost me a lot of money because I was already a member, but was something that I just never allowed myself to do, when I was drinking or when I was hungover. I picked up a flyer for a Saturday farmers market in my town that I’ve never been to. And a sober treat for me was wandering the farmers market and picking up yummy fruits and flowers. And just taking pictures of what was out there. I got my bicycle tuned up as a sober treat to go for a long, quiet ride. I have had my bicycle for years. And I never went out on it. You know, I was too busy going to wine bars and rushing around the house not being able to take time to go on a ride because I was so busy. And my life was so hard and honestly, I was recovering from drinking the night before. My first sober treat, decided in advance that I wanted to get myself sushi and watch any bad romantic comedy on TV, any movie I wanted. So here’s the thing, on your toolkit, your list is a list of all the romantic comedies that you love, or want to watch. It’s a list of all the TV shows that you might want to binge on. Because I’ll tell you what, when you’re craving a drink, and you’re had a bad day at work, and you’re annoyed at your boss, you are not going to be able to think of all the shows you want to watch. You want to have a list that you can pull out and be like, Oh, that’s right. I can take a bubble bath, I can turn on my essential oil diffuser, I can give the kids cereal and I am going to watch this awesome movie that has been on my list forever that I’ve never taken time to watch. And instead of drinking a bottle of wine and sleeping terribly, and triggering your anxiety and having another day 1, you’ve suddenly had a really nurturing fun night for yourself without a hangover. So, write down on your list – pedicures, a massage, take out dinner, fresh flowers, the books you want to read. Literally, list out the books that are on your list to read. List out Saturday Farmers Market. List out bike ride. List out calling your girlfriends – I want you to put the names of the girlfriends that you want to call. Put on smoothies, put on ice cream, put on peanut M&mM, put on massages – anything that is a treat that you would not normally do for yourself because you were drinking. To make you feel better. To make your life easier. To give yourself a breather. Put down the name of your babysitters. I, as a sober treat, I signed up for one of those cooking meal delivery services because I hate to think about what to cook and to get right down ingredients, and to pull up a recipe, or I hate eating the same thing every night. I’m even sick of it. So getting a meal delivery kit was awesome. It took something off my list. It’ll let my husband and my kids help cook dinner. It wasn’t on me because I planned it and therefore I should be the one to cook it. And guess what? It’s a lot cheaper than six bottles of wine in a week. So all of these things are helpful, but in your sober toolkit goes the list.
If you’re listening to this episode and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, The Sobriety Starter Kit. The Sobriety Starter Kit is an online self study, sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step-by-step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one-on-one coaching. And The Sobriety Starter Kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it, when it fits into your schedule. You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time. This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step-by-step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life. You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better, you’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course.
The next thing you need in your sober toolkit is a way to track your progress. I know that some people don’t like counting days, but this is about more than the day, since you last had a drink. It’s more than I’ve been sober for 4 days and 16 hours. The reason that I like tracking your progress is that not drinking is about so much more than I have x days since I drank. That’s one of the reasons why I really recommend that you get a day counter that tracks not only the days since you stopped drinking, but also the number of drinks not consumed, the number of bottles not consumed, the money that you have saved, not drinking. And in my app, they also track the calories saved in not drinking. This for me was so motivational, because I was able to see in 30 days that I had not consumed 40 bottles of wine. It may actually have been more than that I had not ingested. I’ve tried 3. I had not ingested 40 plus bottles with Mine in 30 days, I had saved $550 not drinking, I had saved all those calories, not poisoning myself with a headache and a hangover and dehydration and gray outs. I not only had 30 days, which is impressive, but when you look back, you’re like, Okay, I have 7 days, I have 14 days. But look at how many positive things are coming out just from opening that bottle of wine, right? The money, the calories, the poison not put into your body that your liver and your kidneys and everything else needs to process to get out. So the app that I use is called I’m done drinking and I really like it because you can plug in not only how much you drink every day, but what it costs. So you actually have a pretty good gauge at the money you spent on alcohol and how much you consumed not just the number of days, I find that hugely motivational. Another way that I track days, is I used to have those many post it notes. And I had a stack on my desk at the office. And someone suggested this to me when I was probably like, day 5 sober. And so on day 5, I wrote down the number 5, and I put it just under my computer monitor. And then the next day I came in, I took off that little post it note, and I wrote down the number 6, and then the number 7. And when I went home for the weekend, I came back on Monday, and I got to write down the number 10. And then the next week before I went home from the weekend, I calculated Okay, when I come in on Monday, my post it note is gonna say x. Now, this sounds dumb, but it’s in front of you, right? If you sit at your computer, it’s in front of you every day. And once you get sober momentum, you do not want to give up that number. You are proud of that number, you know, this stuff is hard. It is hard to achieve. That number is blood, sweat and tears and progress to the person and the feeling you want to achieve. So I think it’s a great way to remind yourself of what you’re doing and how far you’re, you’ve come. I also like some sort of physical activity, like, taking off the post it note, crumpling it up, replacing it with a new one writing down the number. When I got further along, I got bigger post-it notes and I’d write down a reminder to myself every day, so I’d write down 62. And underneath that I’d write down be in love with your life, every minute of it. And then the next day I’d write down 63. I have clients who do this as well. When I’m working with clients, one on one, I encourage them to email me or text me every single day. I do encourage them to count days because they’re is a cyclical nature to sobriety, right? We experienced the same highs, the same lows. You may start feeling really tired around day 9, you’ll be super irritated on day 5. When you’re getting close to day 30 it’s really important to be careful, because milestones are tricky. And when you achieve a big goal like that, you for some reason, are tempted to say, Oh, I’m good. I… maybe I didn’t drink that much. After all, maybe this isn’t a big deal. So when my clients are counting their days, as they’re approaching a big milestone, I could say, okay, you’re on day 28. What is your plan to celebrate day 30? How are you going to recognize this huge achievement and this work you’ve done? Maybe day 30 is a great time to reflect and just send me a note of how you feel now versus how you felt on day 1. And definitely be careful, right? You achieved a 30 day 31 can be tricky. Day 31 can be a day when we’ll see pipes up. And it’s like, you know what? Drinking is a really good idea today. You did all that hard work. You did it, go have a drink. So counting your milestones helps you recognize both milestones to celebrate, as well as areas that might be tricky for you, where you might need some extra TLC. They’re helpful that way. My clients like I said, they text me pictures of their post-it notes every day, I have a client I adore who sends me a little post it notes that rhyme, you know, day 29 and I’m feeling fine or whatever, whatever makes you smile. I have another client who puts these beautiful marbles in mason jars. And she said when she was drinking, she was doing that for a whole year on every day she wasn’t drinking. And at the end of the year, the marbles in the jar were so measly. They were so sad. There were so few of them. And now she just hit day 100 and her jar is full. She had to get a second jar. And I love that for her. She has it in our office. They’re beautiful. She sometimes sends me pictures of them. It is a lovely way to look at something beautiful and be like I filled up every single one of those marbles. Was a brick in the wall that I’m building between me and alcohol. I have another client who sends me pictures of herself every week, because when she was drinking really hated the way she looked right. We all knew this. Your skin looks terrible. Your eyes are watery, your face is puffy. You might have those broken red capillaries on your cheeks, and your nose. So every week she sends me a selfie and she can tell and I can tell, how much healthier she’s looking and how much her eyes are clear and wider. Whatever way motivates you but it is important as you count days. Get away from your last day 1. You are doing so much hard and incredible and good work for yourself. It’s not just about, Oh, I didn’t drink for 7 days. Then I drank them. I didn’t drink for 7 days that I drank. No, you are continuing without interruption. You have these compounding benefits, not only of your skin, your health, your optimism, your mood. Your cravings are going down, they’re happening less often. And not drinking is becoming your new normal. And you don’t have to think about drinking or not drinking as much. When you get a number of days, when you track your progress. When you have a streak of continuous sobriety that you’re proud of, which will be built up as you’re tracking your progress and seeing those days click over, you get to be proud of it as you have continuous sobriety as you see each day click over every night. You get a gold star and a green checkmark. You’re no longer thinking, should I drink tonight or should I not? Should I drink this weekend or should I not? That kind of just goes out of your mind? You’re sitting there and you’re like, I’m on day 42 I can’t wait till Monday comes in. I’m on day 45. I’m 5 days away from 50. I am going to get myself a huge sober treat on day 50. I deserve a parade. You’re no longer in that God, it’s Thursday. Should I drink on Saturday? Maybe I shouldn’t. Yes, I shared that my week was hard. So get away to track your progress. Make it something that you enjoy. Make it something that you’re proud of. And enjoy building up those marbles in your jar. Enjoy those post-it notes, enjoy your milestones. Enjoy feeling proud of yourself. Get a day counter, you can put it in a folder, on your phone that just says progress that just says hello and hide it there. No one needs to see it. But when you click in, you’re going to see 30 days having ingested 40 plus bottles of wine money saved $550 you’re gonna feel amazing.
Number Six of things you need in your sober toolkit is some form of community and support. It is so essential that you connect with other cool women on this alcohol free path. I did an episode with my sober bestie, Ingrid Miller, and it’s all about finding friends and sobriety. You can go back to these podcasts, you can listen to it, I believe it’s episode 6. In the show notes of this episode, I’m also going to put a link so you can grab my guide to my two favorite sober groups SheRecovers, together with the BFB which stands for the Booze Free Brigade. They’re wonderful places on the internet. How to find them, that they’re secret. That they’re private, that you will find friends who are on this path, just like you and how to join them.
I also have some suggestions on how to participate in them. So go to the show notes of this episode or go to https://hellosomedaycoaching.com/. Under guides, you’ll find my free guide to finding and joining my two favorite sober Facebook groups. But you need community, however you find it. You need to be able to reach out and hear back from people who get it. And the power of that group, the power of saying,
I’m worried about drinking tonight.
My husband is annoying me.
My kids are hard.
I got a flat tire and my boss was a nightmare.
I’m going to a dinner party.
I’m going to a barbecue.
And having 10, 20 women come back and some really fabulous men, who say,
We’ve got you!
I get it. I did it last week. Here’s what worked for me.
I’ve done that before. Text me tonight.
You are a rock star!
What are you going to drink? Eat something before you go.
That’s powerful, and it’s wonderful. And you need that. Other people can find support in a million different ways. I’m not in AA or a 12 step recovery program. But there are a lot of cool women and men in and I know there is wonderful support there, if that is your path. You can also find a sponsor there if that’s what you want to do. They’re groups like women for sobriety. I mentioned the SheRecovers together group as one of my two favorites. They also have depending on your city, local sharing circles that are smaller, where you can find people in your community to make friends with. I know in Seattle, we have like 200 people in the Seattle group of SheRecovers together. So go get my guide. In your sober toolkit, finding community and support is amazing. The place that I founded it first was in the secret sober Facebook group. I can’t tell you how many times they made me laugh. I had someone to air all my grievances to or many people, they supported me and held my hand when I needed it. And I swear to God, I would not be at 4 and a half years without those guys. So grab them, put them in your back pocket in your sober toolkit.
The number seven thing I suggest that you put in your sober toolkit is creating a safe space in your home for you to retreat, a place that feels nurturing. Now, I know I’ve got little kids, this isn’t easy, everyone’s space is different. You might have a lot of people in your home, you might have a really small space. You might have a roommate to drink or a partner that drinks but get creative. When I was 4 months sober. I finally took the time and effort to make my bedroom this place. And this is after living in my house for 4 years before when I was drinking. I had made every other room in the house but my business bedroom was a mess. Before bed, you know, I would sometimes pass out, “fall asleep” on the couch in the living room after drinking a bottle of wine. I would stumble upstairs at one or two in the morning after my husband had already gone to bed. I might not even brush my teeth, no judgment, just saying I might not even take off my makeup. Again. Don’t judge me. Well, you can judge me if you want. I take off my makeup now. And I would pass out in bed. My room was a mess. I didn’t hang out there. Unless I was sleeping in the morning. I had a headache. I had bleary eyes. I sort of cringed when I looked around the room and was running downstairs to get my coffee and get my daughter and my son out of the house. When I was about four months sober. I was like, I need a safe place. I don’t want to hang out downstairs on the couch where I was always drinking. I want to retreat. So I went up to my bedroom and tried to make everything I saw. Everything my eyes rested upon something that made me happy. That actually just meant getting rid of a lot of stuff. Getting rid of a lot of clutter, a lot of stuff I’d never looked at. I painted the walls in my room just really beautiful crisp white. I put up white flowy curtains, I got some turquoise lamps, bedside lamps that made me happy. I got an essential oils diffuser for like 20 bucks on Amazon. And I listened to sleep meditations on my iPhone at night from the insight timer, which is free. And so I would go up to my room, I take a bath, I’d read a book I put on my essential oils diffuser, I would watch a show on my iPad. I have this… I had it before this fabulous foe for ivory make blanket that just makes me happy. So find a place where you can retreat from the chaos of your house. And just nurture yourself. Some people have a chair, where they like to sit with cheese and crackers and read a book. Some people meditate and have a corner they meditate in. You can also find a place in your garden, you can take a blanket out to your garden, you can go for a walk in a place that feels nurturing, you can go to the gym. The point is to find a place to retreat, so that you can get your energy back up calm, you can have some time for yourself. When we’re drinking, we tend to get that quiet space by drinking ourselves into a bubble, where nothing can really touch us where everything is separated from us through this sort of outer layer of alcohol. When you stop drinking, a lot of things are going to sit feel too loud, too jarring, too much. You want to go somewhere where you can just be quiet for a while. So I suggest that… as putting that in your sober toolkit.
All right, number eight in your silver toolkit. Things you can go to have in your back pocket when you want to drink, the ability to move, fresh air, walking, being outside. This is definitely in my sober toolkit. Anytime I wanted to drink, I was frustrated, resentful, angry, needed to get out of the office and needed to get away. I would just say, I need to walk. And it didn’t have to be a hike. It didn’t have to be anywhere hard. I would sometimes just be like, leaving my office, walking to Whole Foods through a Park. Just getting out, getting my blood pumping, getting moving. I would walk to get a latte. I would walk kind of pack near my house, I would walk when I was at a barbecue and I just was feeling overwhelmed. I just go for a walk. So in your back pocket, just know you can walk at any time. For other people. This might be yoga, this might be meditation, this might be dancing. You know Any way to move your body just have something in your toolkit, where it’s kind of like you get out of dodge free pass, right? Something’s bothering you, you don’t have time to go to your safe place and put on essential oils and retreat and relax. You know, I can just be at a party and be like, yep, I’m going to go for a quick walk, walk away. It makes me feel better, it resets me.
Number nine, a new evening routine. That is part of creating your safe space. But the idea is that after you eat dinner, and I definitely recommend eating dinner early or changing up what you typically do. You want to put the area where you used to drink to bed. So you’re no longer drinking in the kitchen. You’re no longer drinking on the couch. So that can be a bath, a walk, tea, a meditation, a book, a face cream. Remember, joy comes in the morning whenever you stop drinking, when you’ve drank way too much, way too often, you’re going to create drinking in the evening, go to bed, or find a new evening routine that feels good. Anything your job in early sobriety and in building your sober toolkit is to experiment. To just be open. Try different things. Try online yoga, try online meditation, try tapping, try reading, try anything – stretching, that might work for you. So create a new evening routine, try out a bunch of different stuff. Find one you like and try to make it a habit. Soon, And I promise you this sounds weird, but it will be true. Instead of saying I desperately want to drink in the evening you’ll say, God, I really need a cup of tea to take a bath and stretch. I know you don’t believe me, but just trust me, try it out.
And number ten. I really think these Sober Coaching helps. And this does not have to be one on one coaching. It does not have to be with me. This can be Sober coaching through my podcast or other podcasts. I have free super coaching audios on my site, you can go to my website and get my free Sober Girls Guide To Quitting Drinking and get tips for your first 30 days. There are books and there are 12 step programs. There are really wise and wonderful people in the sober Facebook groups. Just know that it helps immensely to realize that there are resources and tools and guides that are out there already. So you’re not stumbling around in the dark. The point of this is you can have or get sober coaching from a million different sources. But you are not the first person who has found out that drinking isn’t working for you. There are tips and tricks and strategies out there that will make this easier for you. They will help. You can take what works for you and get rid of the rest. But take some stuff, right? Buy some books, do some research, connect with some people. You don’t have to do this alone. And there are shortcuts that I encourage you to take advantage of. And then, continue to build out your sober toolkit, add anything else that works for you. The point of this is to build the tools that will help you live a life you don’t want to escape from a world that feels tolerable without drinking. A world that feels manageable. A world that feels sweet and fun and good. I mean, it’s real life. It won’t always be good. But you are creating moments and aspects and connections in your life. So you don’t feel that you need to drink to tolerate it. So add to your toolkit and anything else that brings you joy, that makes you happy, that distracts you. That feels good. That’s not alcohol. And here are some of the other ones that I love that really helped me along the way. Essential oils. I mentioned it before, but I love lavender. I also got this random pinch me therapy dough in different sense, that sort of like Play Doh that you massage it sort of like a massage ball. So I have it in ocean, I have it in lavender. And I used to have it on my desk and just kind of squeeze it and need it and it smelled good. When I needed something to take away some of my aggravation. I mentioned the insight timer app. It’s free. I listened to different meditations when I’m going to bed, on sleep, on gratitude, on releasing anxiety, whatever you need. Milkshakes and smoothies are 100% in my sober toolkit, they just are. It’s way better for me to have an occasional milkshake than to go back to drinking a bottle of wine a night. When I was about one year sober, I got the cutest 12 week old kittens, their brothers, their name, Bodie and blue. They were huge in my sober toolkit. I probably should have gotten them the year before, right when I got sober. I’m not saying you need to get pets, but whatever it is that sparks joy in you, whatever it is, that makes you smile. When you wake up in the morning. Why not have that? Why not cuddle this living creature that just makes you laugh and feel good? So for me, my kittens are part of my super toolkit. And just remember there are other things – sleeping 100% valid, sober strategy, crying, raging, talking to a litter mate, complaining, feeling your emotions, realizing what they are. I love vision boards. Have inspiring quotes. I have reminders, a million things that reset my mindset on the path that I’m on. Those are all part of my sober toolkit. I love Pinterest. And I have boards, beautiful farmhouses and Home Improvement Plans, and new hair colors and beautiful places in Europe. I mean, these are all things that remind me of all the things I want to do in my life that are wonderful, and bring me joy that aren’t found in the bottom of a bottle of Shiraz. And what else shits Creek episodes. I am so sad that the series is ending, that 100% is in my sober toolkit.
So make your list.
This episode is about 10 things you need in your sober toolkit. I’ve talked about a lot of options, but you literally shouldn’t write down the things in your kit. It will help you, it will remind you of what you can go to, what you already have in your back pocket, when you want to drink. You’ve got this.
So thank you for coming on here. I couldn’t appreciate it more.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more.