How To Make Sobriety Stick
How many times have you told yourself that you were going to stop drinking?
I did it hundreds of times.
Sometimes I’d rationalize drinking again that very night, but often I’d go 4 days, a week or even 2 weeks alcohol-free before I’d decide that I deserved “just a glass” on a Friday night.
Stopping the drinking is hard, but making sobriety stick is also difficult.
In your first few weeks without alcohol, it’s common to go back to drinking because initially, you may feel physically and mentally worse before you feel better.
Alcohol withdrawal is real, regardless of if you drink two glasses of wine or a bottle a night.
In your first two weeks alcohol-free, it’s normal to feel irritated and anxious, to have trouble sleeping and crave alcohol. You might have night sweats or brain fog, feel very tired or even depressed.
And once you get through the first two weeks of sobriety, the second challenge appears: how to make sobriety stick.
You might have decided to stop drinking because of a particularly brutal hangover, an embarrassing night or a slow decline into feeling worse and worse due to your alcohol consumption.
Initially, the reason you want to remove alcohol in your life is clear and present, which keeps your willpower strong and motivation high.
But how do you stay on the alcohol-free path when you get bogged down in the day-to-day realities and responsibilities of life and alcohol is your go-to coping mechanism?
The easiest way to make sobriety stick is to create a vision board.
A vision board for sobriety does four things…
- It keeps your goals top of mind on a daily basis instead of having them be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of life
- It brings clarity to what you want to experience in life instead of the way you’ve been living
- It will keep sober treats, anchor activities and all the good things to do in life that aren’t in a bottle in front of you, as daily reminders of new ways to take care of yourself
- It will help you overcome your fears of alcohol-free life and stop you from backtracking into the familiar drinking cycle
I created my first vision board in early sobriety and it helped me stay centered on the reasons I wanted to be alcohol-free long after my initial motivation and willpower faded.
Today on the podcast, I’m sharing why vision boards are a powerful tool in sobriety and how to create one that will support you in staying on the alcohol-free path.
Tune in to find out:
- How to make sobriety stick once your initial motivation fades
- Why our desire to stay comfortable in the familiar can sabotage efforts to change
- The unconscious fears that lead you back to drinking
- The trick to finding the unique words and images that will motivate you to stay sober
- How to change your most repeated negative thoughts into positive affirmations
- Why vision boards work and how create one
- How to get my free step-by-step sober vision board creation kit with 100 motivational quotes to get started
Ready to drink less + live more?
If you’re ready to change your relationship with alcohol join The Sobriety Starter Kit.
It’s my signature sober coaching course for busy women to help you drink less + live more.
To enroll go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com.
Grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking, 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free
Resources mentioned in this episode
- Download The Ultimate Vision Board Starter Kit
- Blog: How Vision Boards Work & Why You Need One
- The Sobriety Starter Kit Online Course
- Brené Brown: The Midlife Unraveling
- Jen Sincero’s Book: You Are A Badass
- Listen to Atomic Habits Podcast Episodes
- Ep 34 – Quit Drinking With Identity Based Habits I Atomic Habits by James
- Ep 35 – Break The Habit Of Drinking With Cues, Cravings, Responses + Rewards
- Ep 36 – The Habits Tipping Point – When Choosing Not To Drink Becomes Easy and Simply Part Of Who You Are
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 30-Day 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.
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
How To Make Sobriety Stick
drinking, vision board, life, stop, fears, hangover, remind, decision, morning, alcohol, people, day, familiar, Jen Sincero, reality, sobriety, feel, quote, good, woke
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 buzz, 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.
I don’t know about you, but I probably told myself 1,000 times that I would or should or needed to some version of stop drinking, drink less take a break, quit forever, or just follow all the rules really closely this time to manage and moderate my drinking. And sometimes, just to be fancy, I would combine my not drinking resolutions with some extra ones. So, I could finally just be my best self. You know, not only would I stopped drinking, but I would also get into shape and start running, play guitar, grow my hair longer, stop biting my nails journal daily and meditate. Basically, my resolutions of self-improvement were sort of the seasonal version of my daily hangover morning routine of telling myself to get my shit together, but with extra bells and whistles.
So, let’s imagine you’re starting this whole I’m going to stop drinking day. One thing again, there are a couple of ways that this usually happens. Maybe when it happens, it’s a particularly bad morning, or an anxiety filled wake up at 3am. Or someone being disappointed in you or sharing some things you did the night before that you don’t really remember. Either way, you wake up with a hangover, or after letting yourself down again, and you beat yourself up. You tell yourself you’re a mess, you need to get your fucking shit together, this is bad. You need to stop drinking. And so, for extra reinforcement, maybe you take a selfie to remind yourself how bad you look or how bad you feel. Maybe you write yourself a note, maybe you go on a secret private Facebook group to declare that it’s day one again. And that, this time, you’re serious. You just need to constantly remind yourself how much you suck, and then you’ll stick with it. So that’s version one.
Or maybe you’re doing version two, where the not drinking day. One thing is because you’re inspired to live your best life. It’s the whole fresh start and new you you’re excited to set your goals and write in your journal and make a plan for how you’re going to do it. You know, all the reasons that drinking is bad, all the shit you want to stop happening. And now you know what you’re going to do instead why you really want this you’re motivated. You’re turning over a new leaf you declare day one. And you really mean at this time. Either way, you start off with great willpower and great motivation and determination. You make your list, and you tell your partner you’re doing this alcohol free thing. Sometimes again, you set your day counter, you shop for sober treats, you joined a new workout class, you make tea, instead of opening a bottle of wine, you open a Quit Lit book. You are on your way. And then four days go by, or two weeks or two months, and all your best intentions have gone out the window. It’s not that. You just need to stop drinking. It’s that you need to make sobriety stick. And it’s hard to stay on your new path when you get bogged down in the day to day realities and responsibilities. When work is overwhelming, or you get invited to happy hour or things are tense at home with your partner or you missed your more any workout three days in a row and the scales actually gone up two pounds. And you think this sucks. You’ve forgotten about how pumped up you were, when you were thinking about why this is the most important thing you need to do. And why not? Drinking is what you really want, and how it’s going to help you achieve all the other things you want in life.
And once life gets in the way, you convince yourself that not drinking doesn’t really matter anyway, or you didn’t really want it, or this isn’t a big deal. We tell ourselves, it’s not really practical, or it’s not a priority. Or you can try to not drink but it won’t happen anyway. Or what was actually the inspiration for my coaching business and my podcast, that you’ll stop drinking someday. But not today, you’ll stop drinking when you have time and energy to focus on it. Or when work is easier, or when your kids are older. Or when your boss isn’t such a nightmare. You’ll stop drinking when you don’t have to deal with your commute. Or when you’re not traveling for work. You’ll stop drinking when you don’t have a birthday, or a vacation, or a book club or a girls night, or happy hour coming up or whatever. And maybe you decide that not drinking isn’t worth it. Because you’re scared. We all have fears about change in a natural inclination to stay where things are familiar, or where we’re comfortable, even if it feels kind of crappy.
And the way you’re living is just okay. So, you made all these big promises and these big resolutions, and you slowly or quickly start to back away from them. And your life stays the same. And another month goes by, or a few months ago by or even a year. And it’s not always bad. Sometimes it’s actually really good. But you’re still stuck in the same drinking, wanting to stop drinking, hangover and recovery, rationalization and regret Groundhog Day slog and you kind of settle for not good enough.
You know that incredibly annoying quote that says, “a year from now you’ll wish you started today”.
Yeah, I hate that one too. Because it’s true.
Of course, it’s true. Because the motivation, rationalization, toleration, motivation cycle, it can go on forever. And here’s the worst part. During the motivation part of the cycle, you do all this fucking work to get through the absolute hardest days of early sobriety. You get through day one and day four, and day seven, and day 12, And maybe even day 16, only to have to do it over and over again. Because sobriety didn’t stick. It’s exhausting, and it’s disheartening and it’s depressing. And each time you quit on yourself and start over. It makes the next time harder.
So, let’s talk about how to actually make sobriety stick. And I’m going to share with you my stupid, simple way to do it. So, promise me, you will not turn off this episode and roll your eyes when I tell you what it is. Because even if you’re a cynic, or you’re too cool for this shit, I promise you listen, it makes a difference.
Okay, the stupid simple way to make sobriety stick is to use vision boards. Are you still with me? Even if you think this is crazy dumb, hear me out.
A vision board does three things:
- It brings clarity to what you want to experience in your life.
- It keeps your goals half of mine versus tucked away and forgotten. And,
- It will help you overcome your fears and will stop you from backtracking into the familiar drinking cycle.
Vision boards keep you focused on who you want to be where you want to go and how you want to feel. Instead of being dragged down by daily life experiences that inevitably steer you off course. You’ll have a consistent reminder of your ideal life and your best self in front of you. You’ll put it somewhere where you’ll see it every day, a couple times a day. And the vision board you create will provide focus and clarity and inspiration as you move through your Days and weeks through opportunities and challenges, it will unconsciously reinforce choices that will bring you closer to what you want in your life. And further away from things that aren’t part of your vision. You have created an effortless visualization practice, which will reinforce positive beliefs and affirmations. These messages will support your mind your body and your spirit. As you move forward, and will help you manifest your desires, your vision board will make your ultimate dreams feel familiar. It’ll make them feel reasonable and achievable, both to you, and to the people around you who also see it. I know it may feel dumb to put a particular dream on a vision board, that you’re nowhere near achieving. But as time goes on, and you have that aspiration front and center in your life, it will begin to feel familiar and integrated into your existence and into your future. So, here’s the thing, if you create an actual physical vision board that you see daily, it will keep you focused on that motivation, you had that goal you want it to be, what you wanted to do, how you wanted to feel, it will keep you focused on that long after the actual moment of inspiration passes. So, instead of being dragged down by daily life experiences, that will steer you off course, you’ll have a consistent reminder of your ideal life with your best self.
Now, I love Jen Sincero, she wrote all of those, You’re A Badass books. And in them, she writes, whatever we’ve got on repeat becomes a reality, what we look at every day, our thoughts, what we read, what we listen to what we talk about. And most of all, what we tell ourselves, repetition becomes your reality. In this repetition is your reality concept. That’s the reason why creating vision boards and looking at them over and over again. That’s why it’s so powerful. It’s why repeating affirmations of beliefs you want to internalize. That’s why it’s so effective.
So, how do vision boards work? Well, when you create a vision board with images and words that represent and symbolize the experiences, feelings, and goals you have for your life, you have a powerful tool, which provides focus and clarity and inspiration. As you sort through and move through daily opportunities and challenges. Your vision board will unconsciously reinforce choices that will bring you closer to your ideal life. And further away from things not part of your vision, it will happen unconsciously, you will just naturally filter things through your mind and your priorities in a different way than you would have if it wasn’t in front of you.
In life, it’s easy to feel weighed down by responsibilities or by ingrained habits by societal expectations, established relationships. And let’s be real your own assumptions of what is achievable, appropriate, allowed, or even attractive. Changes awkward, and it’s uncomfortable and it’s hard. So, for most of us, it’s easier to get inspired, and then to dismiss your goals as impractical or impossible. And it’s easy to get distracted too. And to start focusing on what everyone else is doing. And think that you should want that too, rather than getting centered or staying centered on what brings you joy and energy. And here’s the biggest thing that is stopping you from making positive change. It’s your fears, your limiting beliefs, and your negative self-talk.
You may think, yeah, Casey, the reason I’m not stopping drinking is not because of my fears. But here’s what I often see with women, when they start down the path of going alcohol free. We have all these conscious or unconscious truly ridiculous beliefs that somehow stop us from making what rationally is an incredibly healthy and positive change. So, tell me if this sounds familiar. You wake up for the umpteenth time and you say that’s it enough. I can’t do it anymore. I mean, at this time, I am going to try harder, I am determined, this is it. And in that moment, you are inspired and determined to change your life to change your reality, to change the way you’ve been living. And then a little while later, you inevitably slide back down into debating that change, and deciding whether it’s worth it. Or deciding that you don’t really want it or the tradeoffs of what you think you’ll be giving up is too much, or that you won’t succeed anyway, because you’ve tried before. Basically, your motivation isn’t enough. At some point, in a day or a week or a month, you’ll look up and you’re back to your present reality, your physical reality. And you’re back to your present reality. So, I love how Jen Sincero talks about how this happens, let’s say something happens, you read something, or listen to something or have a really bad night or super motivated to stop drinking, you were all fired up to make this change, you are hell bent, to do the things to make your life better. And then as Jen says, all of your familiar excuses have shuffled back in and resumed their purchase, planting their heavy, defiant bodies squarely in the way of your hopes and dreams. Motivation fades and willpower isn’t enough. And you’re left facing a world where your desire to change is undermined by your own fears. You’re left with the EU that is uncomfortable with change. When you’re left with the EU that is uncomfortable with change your own resistance, your own self-doubt about leaving behind the familiar, however imperfect, it might be. Because even in the crappy mornings and the fuzzy nights, you’re comfortable. In your current reality, you’re used to it.
Human beings are scared shitless of change. It dismantles your known experience. So opposed on your sense of security, it opens up a void of possibility where even though it could actually be unlikely is way more awesome than the way you’re living now. It’s unknown, it threatens your reality, it makes you uncomfortable. So unconsciously, you take a few tentative steps towards change. And then all your excuses come back in, and you back out of it. So, we’re scared of change. And human beings would also rather adapt to the lukewarm kind of crappy, fun, free familiar, instead of risking the unknown. And for most people, unless the familiar becomes so unbearable, that you can’t stand it. We’re unwilling to risk taking the leap to the unknown. And the change that that would require. We all have beliefs about ourselves that are really hard to change, because we’ve been clinging to them for years, will cling to our identities, and what we tell ourselves about ourselves and who we are and what we’re capable of, even if we’re miserable, and parts of our identities are kind of shitty, and something we’re not proud of generates, even if we’d love to make a change, we subconsciously fear that if we stop believing our own stories about who we are, and what’s available to us, the foundations of our realities will crumble.
So, if you’ve ever thought, if I stopped drinking, maybe I’ll lose all my friends, and never be able to go out to dinner again or won’t be invited to things or will be left alone and will never enjoy a vacation again. That is your own fear stopping you from making this change you so desperately want in those moments of inspiration. Or if you’ve ever thought if I stopped drinking all stop being able to network and connect with my colleagues. I won’t be able to do my job, and I won’t get promoted or hit my sales goals. And I might not be able to sustain my income and pay for things I need. That is your own fears. Dragging you back down to your kind of shitty just okay, sometimes good existence that brought you to the point of waking up at 3am and saying, I can’t fucking take this anymore. Or if you’ve ever thought if I stopped drinking, I don’t know who I’ll be. I won’t be fun anymore. I’ll be boring up for myself. I won’t be able to cope with stress, I’ll just live miserably in stress and boredom with no way to escape. People won’t like me. And I won’t even like myself. As I say that you’re probably listening to me and being like, that’s fucking ridiculous. Who would think that if I just remove this beverage, alcohol that’s crazy addictive and causes cancer and all the shit, that suddenly I will live miserably in stress and boredom, by myself with no one to escape that people won’t like me, I’ll somehow lose my job and before, right, that’s crazy. But it’s those thoughts. It’s that internal self-talk that fear of change. That’s what keeps us stuck living in a just okay life, where we could be living an awesome life. That’s what keeps you stuck in this monotonous Groundhog Day of coming back to the exact same place over and over again. And what’s crazy, is that willpower and motivation aren’t enough to sustain the change you want. Even if you know all the things about why you should change and if you honestly and truly believe that your life would be better without alcohol. So, keeping visions of what you want your new reality to be like, you hanging out with your kids, Sunday morning, bike rides, books, you want to read new hobbies, you want to try phrases and quotes that remind you that you won’t heal by going back to what broke you those things, those visual, that vision board will make the unknown, feel familiar. It’ll make the unknown field doable, feel less foreign, feel like something that you want, and that is accessible to you. When Jen describes all of those familiar fears and excuses, that shuffled back in and resume their purchase, planting their heavy, defiant bodies squarely in the way of your hopes and dreams. You’ll have the counter argument right in front of you every day with a vision board. You will see as you drink your morning coffee, as you stand there in the early morning light visuals, that there is something good out there. That is way better than you drinking.
Before I move off this point, I wanted to share something else. I love what Jen Sincero wrote. She said, “there are plenty of people out there in the world, living the kind of life that you only dream about living, many of whom are far less fabulous and talented than you are. The key to their success is that they decided to go with it. They stopped listening to their tired old excuses. They changed their lousy habits, and they got the fuck on the fuck. Okay, I mostly love Jen because she says fuck a lot. And so, do I. Just to keep going 10 wrote, don’t stay in the place you are the place that Jen described when she said you’re waffling back and forth, paralyzed by self-doubt and terror, finally eking out a decision that you’ll proceed to change over and over again. Or worse, being so afraid to make a decision, like to not drink because you’re worried, you’ll miss out on another. So, you choose to either do nothing, or to try to do everything which doesn’t work when you’re trying to build a habit. So, you basically decided never to decide because you don’t want to make the wrong decision. Jen says deciding is freedom. Indecision is torture. And Indecision is one of the most popular tricks with staying safe in the boundaries of what’s familiar. Jen talks about when she was trying to stop smoking. And what she talked about smoking reminded me so much of my life when I was trying to stop drinking. Jen said if she ever toyed with thoughts like what harm Well, one itty bitty drag do she was screwed. Your decision must be watertight, because excuses will seep through any little cracks in your resolve before you know it, and you will be on your ass. The whole point in deciding is to stop wasting time and move forward. Not to spend figuring out how you can wiggle out of the decision. Jen says she thought about stopping smoking this way. She thought I’m not going to go home and negotiate about whether or not I’m going to smoke a cigarette, just in the same way that I don’t go home and go upstairs every night and negotiate whether or not I’m going to brush my teeth. I just brush my teeth. I don’t debate it, I don’t think about it, I just do it. You’re just a nondrinker. Don’t debate it. Don’t rationalize it. Just move forward in a new direction of your life.
Vision boards help you overcome that fear and that inertia. Once you make the decision to change, they help you make sobriety stick. They keep you focused on what you want. And because it’s right in front of you every day that feels familiar to rather than getting distracted by what everyone else is working towards. And it’ll remind you to take small and big steps towards your goal and your dreams. I love the quote, and I’m not sure who said it. That says it’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life. It’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power. Now, I’ve used vision boards over the years for many things. And I create a new one at least every new year, but sometimes in between as well when I’m making a big shift, or I want to. But the first time that I ever used a vision board to achieve a specific goal was seven years ago, when I made one as I was trying to stop drinking and make sobriety stick.
That’s why the very first quote, I put on my first quasi vision board, right when I was quitting drinking. It wasn’t some great vision of what I wanted to do with my life or achieve in my life or even bring into my life. It was actually this quote, “Create a life that feels good on the inside, not just one that looks good on the outside”. I put that quote up inside my cupboard, in my kitchen. And around it, I put pictures of my baby Lila looking all cute because she was two years old. And I put a picture of Paris because I traveled there, and I loved it. I put a picture of me when I was younger, on a scooter and then tuck it and a picture of a field in the sunshine. And I put a picture in of my family and a picture of Croatia. And it reminded me that these are the things that fill up a life that feels good on the inside. Because what my life was actually like, was I was drinking a bottle of wine a night, and waking up feeling like shit, and talking crap to myself every morning. And slogging my way through life on too little sleep and too much anxiety. And having my life on the outside look pretty good. With a smile on my face at work, and trying to pull myself together every morning, and dropping my daughter at daycare and texting my friends and going to school conferences, and business trips and all the rest. It looked good. As long as you didn’t look too closely at my eyes, which were watery, and were bloodshot. As long as you weren’t in my room at three in the morning, when I was waking up with just brutal anxiety and being scared about how I would fall asleep again to get through the day. On the outside, it looked okay. But I wasn’t really happy. I was gritting my teeth a lot and asking myself if this is how it’s all meant to feel. And if this is what adulting is like, and all the rest, but that quote, that first vision board, it actually helped me quit drinking, it did. Because I did put it on the inside of my pantry. And every morning, every night, I internalized the message that I needed to create a life that felt good on the inside, not just one that looks good on the outside. And that’s kind of the way I thought about wine as well. Right? Holding a glass of wine looked really sophisticated, even to me, it looked like something very beautiful. So, it looked good on the outside. But on the inside, it made me feel like complete and total garbage.
The images I put on the very first quasi vision board weren’t wine glasses and bottles. There were things that would really make me happy. And when I looked at it, I remembered how it felt to be 27 years old, and to rent a scooter in Nantucket and drive around the island by myself and take photographs of lighthouses and buy a sandwich and sit on the beach. And I thought, God, I want more of that in my life. I want that feeling not hangovers, and shakiness and groundhog days. So, every morning, when I opened the pantry door, I thought, I want to create a life that feels good on the inside, not just one that looks good on the outside. And for me that quote was a code. It was shorthand that says, don’t drink. Another quote I put up right next to my mirror in the early days of sobriety was, make a list of things that make you happy. Make a list of things you do every day, compare the list, adjust accordingly. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to enjoy your everyday existence. And you actually have the power to change how you feel every day, you have the power to change things, you are not trapped, small changes, small improvements, they inevitably lead to big ones. My changes in the beginning were small. I stopped eating lunch at my desk every day, I started working out early in the morning with a group of women who turned into good friends. I stopped drinking wine at night, I started to go to bed early, I started blocking off my calendar and going for a walk every day at 3pm. Those things made me happy. They were the opposite of the things that I had been doing before. So small changes lead to big ones. But when you think about the message, I saw every day it was create a life that feels good on the inside. And make a list of things that make you happy and start adjusting. Both of those reminded me long after the morning came when I had a headache and a hangover. And I said I can’t fucking take this anymore. Long after that moment of motivation and desperation. It reminded me daily of new things that I needed to consider bringing into my life. And I definitely had other quotes on my early vision board, that helped remind me and motivate me to keep going on the not drinking path in the early days.
One was by Nelia, right? And it said, “I already know what giving up feels like, I want to see what happens if I don’t”. Now, everyone around me didn’t know what that quote meant sitting on a bulletin board in my kitchen. But I knew what it meant to me. And I knew every time I read, I already know what giving up feels like, I want to see what happens if I don’t was that I had been drinking and telling myself I was going to stop drinking and giving up on myself over and over and over again. So, I know what you’re unkeyed felt like I wanted to see what happened. When I stopped when I didn’t give up. When I kept going. Another one I had on my vision board said you will find that it’s necessary to let some things go simply for the reason that they are heavy. And for me that symbolized my drinking habit, I needed to let it go. Because it was heavy. Another one I had on there was I’m learning to love the sound of my feet walking away from things not meant for me. And it helped me refrain drinking as something that I had sort of lost my privilege to because I got grounded to, I’m ready to walk away from this thing that is no longer serving me. And when you pair that, quote, loving the sound of my feet walking away from things not meant for me with a picture of you at the age of whatever the equivalent of me at 27 on a scooter and Nantucket. I’m like wait, me passed out on my couch, or me feeling free and young and happy and exploring? Yeah, I’m going to walk away from that thing that’s dragging me down. It helped me reframe what I was doing in not drinking that instead of depriving myself or that I was damaged or that I was missing out on something. It simplified it into something that was just an evolution, a new season of life, where I was just walking away from something that was not meant for me. And I was learning to love doing just that. I needed a daily reminder of things I could do and embrace and enjoy in the day. time when I wasn’t drinking, joys and pleasures that were not in a bottle. So, I found a quote by Jamie Tworkowski. And it said, “you will need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips, airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs. But more than anything, you will need people. And you will need to be that other person to someone else. A living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things“. So, on my vision board in my kitchen, I had that quote. And then I had a picture of a coffee shop, I wanted to visit with a new book, and a picture of Croatia, where we were going and the sunset. And a reminder that I needed other people. And all of this, as I would stand there in the morning without my hangover, would solidify my resolve of all the good things that were out there. Without alcohol, it expanded in my mind, what was possible. Another quote I had up on a vision board said, Actually, I just woke up one day and decided I didn’t want to feel like that anymore, or ever again. So, I changed, just like that. And that just was a subtle way of saying, oh, yeah, I woke up and said, I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. versus going back to look at the selfie and remind myself that I was a piece of shit. Because I drank so much, which then would help me go back and rationalize why I wasn’t a piece of shit, or why everybody else drink that night or how I don’t drink more than anyone else, or how it was very stressful. It’s just like, oh, yeah, I woke up, and I don’t want to feel that way anymore. So, I decided to do something else. I also love the quote that says, Every time you’re faced with a decision, ask yourself, Does this support the life I’m trying to create? If the answer is no, don’t do it. Just having that in front of you to internalize it is so much more powerful than having that inspiration once on one day, whether it’s January 1, or the morning after a bad hangover. Because every day, you’re just going to be like, Oh, does this support the life I’m trying to create? And eventually you internalize that in your thought patterns. And it also just is a very subtle clue that says, what life am I trying to create a puts forward the assumption that you are trying to create a good life, and that you have choices in that matter. I also had one up that said, Stay patient and trust your journey. And when that said she woke up one day and threw away all her excuses. And I loved the idea of she woke up one day.
I had a post it note on my desk that said, “never question that decision”. And you could put that on your vision board to or something from Atomic Habits, that basically says that this is a long game of compounding benefits. Not drinking is a long game. And the benefits get better and better and better every single day you get away from alcohol. So, I’ve gone down this road for a little while because I know a lot of you listen to this and you’re like, the simple way to make sobriety stick is to create a fucking vision board with quotes on my kitchen counter. And yes, that’s what I’m saying. So, you can ignore me. But I’m hoping you can see the difference between seeing these messages every day, and how they can ground you and inspire you and put what you’re doing in a positive light as something you want for yourself versus telling yourself on a very hungover morning, or on January 1, that you’re not going to drink again. And then forgetting about that as life goes on, and constantly renegotiating and debating that decision. Instead, when I saw these messages, I said, Oh, I want to see what happens when I don’t give up. I want to create a life that feels good on the inside. I am loving the sound of my feet walking away from things not meant for me. I need coffee shops and sunsets and scooters on Nantucket and beaches and lighthouses and most of all other people. A living, breathing screaming invitation To believe in better things.
With a vision board, you have the ability to turn your most repeated negative inner critic thoughts inside out. And to find the opposite affirmation, you can actually retrain your brain, from pessimism to optimism, from feeling powerless to knowing that you have agency over your life, and over your experiences and opportunities. At one point, when I was very, very afraid of things changing in the job long before I quit drinking, my husband, who apparently knows me very well cut out a piece of paper with this written on it and put it on my bulletin board at my office. It said, not just spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to be okay. And unlike that one for quitting drinking, too, just to when you have all these fears, when you’re invited to a business trip, when you are stressed out beyond belief and desperately want to drink just to have in front of you not to spoil the ending for you, that everything is going to be okay. And beyond just making sobriety stick, aka not rationalizing that not drinking was a bad idea and forgetting what you wanted in the first place. vision boards can also remind you of what you want for your life instead. So that those things are also not out of sight, out of mind. And it’ll help the universe conspire to make that happen. Decide what it is what you want to explore what you might want to do with your time and your energy, when you’re not drinking, put those up on your vision board, front and center. And over time, you’ll start to see signs and opportunities around you. You’re no longer walking around with blinders on. And that can be anything. And in the meantime, it’s way more fun and energizing and then coming into your kitchen. And just looking at your dishes and your unopened mail and your to do list. And I swear to you this works.
This is something that happened just last week with one of my new clients. She started writing down what does my life look like? What’s the vision without alcohol. And we were talking about this just the other day, I did ask her if I could share this in the podcast. What she wrote down was okay, life without alcohol. Here’s the vision, work happiness, activity, first planning hikes, hobbies, putting herself out there creatively, whatever that means, like maybe having a show, making the art she wants, and hanging it and putting it out there. So, she made a vision board. Hers was on Pinterest. And it was interesting. She wrote me and she sent me screenshots of it. Because a lot of the images were artists in front of their work, just owning it. And she realized that she felt insecure about saying to people, she was an artist, she has a day job as well. She’s a weaver. And she has monetized her arts before on commission. But she realized it wasn’t really creative, and she wasn’t having fun with it. So, she told me the story about how she wrote what does her vision look like, without alcohol, which was putting herself out there creatively, maybe happiness showed making what she wanted. And she went into a shop in a neighborhood in Seattle shop, she had looked for a while and was just chatting with the owner. And the owner said to her, don’t you wait. And somehow as they were talking, it came up that the owner invited her to have a show of her weaving in the shop. And as the owner was talking about all the kinds of people she wanted to invite. And she realized she wanted to interact with the Seattle creative community with younger people. And the truth is that there is an energy that you put out there, when you’re not drinking, versus when you’re drinking. And the energy is good. You’re more engaged, you’re less hungover, you have more bandwidth to get things done.
My client said that, before, when she was drinking, the clouds would part sometimes and lift and she would have all these inspired thoughts of things she could do, but she would never act on them because the fear would interfere with her doing something or she would discount it it’s too much work or she would think it’s ridiculous all those fears coming in keep you small, then Jen Sincero talks about. So when you put a vision out there of what you want your life to look like without alcohol, and you keep it in front of you, and you keep it top of mind, little divine breadcrumbs are going to start showing up, you’re going to start having interesting conversations with interesting people, you’re going to start noticing little signs in windows that you previously would have walked right by, you’re going to be more open to new activities and new interactions and opportunities, or books, or music or anything than you were before, you’re going to think that more things are possible.
So, in this moment, I am going to encourage you to make a vision board right now as you’re listening to this. And so, before you get a chance to run away, to get you started, I have a free vision board starter kit that you can download with all of my favorite messages, you can pick from and put up to remind you of what you want in life and to reinforce in your mind, the fact that you are walking away from drinking because there is something better out there for you. It is a tool to help you get out of the start stop cycle. And to make sobriety stick.
It’s a Vision Board Starter Kit. It has over 100 inspirational images and quotes to get you started. So, you can get it on my website, you can just go to hellosomedaycoaching.com/vision-board-kit. Or you can just go to hellosomedaycoaching.com. And look under the free guide section and you’ll see it there as one you can sign up for. I will also put a link to the vision board kit in the show notes of this episode, which is hellosomedaycoaching.com/142. Because I want you, as you’re listening to this, to actually take action to think about what you want in the future to keep any motivation or resolve or hopes or dreams, front and center long after the moment that you’re listening to this podcast ends. So, you can focus on what you want to bring into your life and not have that inspiration last five minutes but be something that you see every day.
So, take some time to think about what you want in your life in the future. What is the best possible life you can imagine? Think about all the different areas of your life, your relationships, your work, your hobbies, your health, what would happen in all of those areas in your best possible future? Now under the heading of my ideal life, you can write a description of this imaginary scene with you in the brighter future with your best self. Imagine where are you? What are you doing? Who else is there? How do you spend your time? What do you see around you? What is your home look like? What motivates you? What inspires you, you can include all the little details you can think of like what you’re wearing, or if you have pets, and what sounds are in the background. Take some time to create a vision. And then you can look for images that remind you of that feeling of that moment, what you want in your life, with the choice to stop drinking linked in your mind. In order to get what you want in life. You need the time and energy that you’re going to gain from giving up headaches and hangovers.
When you create a Vision board with images and words that represent and symbolize the experiences and the feelings and what you want to attract in your life. This is a tool that will remind you daily with focus and clarity and inspiration to keep you grounded on where you want to go. It will stop you because it’s right in front of you, of dismissing the idea of what you want to do in your life, it will stop it from being out of sight, out of mind, because it’s in front of you. And it’ll help you start focusing on what you want, versus what everyone else is doing. A vision board will keep your eyes on the prize, it will help you make sobriety stick. So, right now, I want you to go to hellosomedaycoaching.com I want you to find the free guides and resources section and download the vision board kit. Just look through it. It’s got over 100 quotes, just pick out two or three that inspire you. It could be about walking away from things not meant for you. It could be about putting down things because they’re heavy. It could be about creating life that feels good on the inside or making a list of things that make you happy. Or it might be about coffee shops, and road trips, and sunsets and other people. Just pick out a couple of those. Print out that page of the guide and cut it out and put it up someplace where you’ll see it. It could be in your kitchen. It could be on the back of your vanity door. It could be on your mirror. Just begin. Just have that reminder in front of you. And it will help you make sobriety stick. Hugs.
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.