WHY YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT EASY IN EARLY SOBRIETY. No Really. EVEN EASIER THAN THAT.
In early sobriety you need to lower your bar. And then lower it again.
Stop going so hard – or you won’t get to the good part.
In this sober coaching audio message, I talk about why it is incredibly important that you take it easy and focus on self-care when you’re in the early days of quitting drinking.
And here’s why – when you finally decide that you’re ready to get out of the exhausting cycle of drinking, and trying to quit drinking, and then drinking again – you want to make sure that THIS TIME you are successful.
And to be successful – to get through day 3 and day 4 and your first weekend in months or years without a drink – you need to remove as many sources of stress and overwhelm, of aggravation and resentment, and as many triggers as possible.
You need to stop trying to take care of everything and everyone Else.
and start taking good care of yourself.
Quitting drinking, or trying to see what your life looks like without alcohol in it for an extended period of time, is a major undertaking that requires a singular focus for a while, and ALSO requires that you eliminate as many sources of stress and overwhelm as you possibly can.
Once you take alcohol out of your system your body will be quite literally recovering from having it in your system.
You will be tired. Really, really tired. And extreme self care is required.
So here’s what I want you to do.
I want you to pretend you have the flu.
- Stay on your couch as much as possible.
- Rest. Sleep. Watch bad TV.
- Go for a slow walk to get some fresh air.
- Don’t do much more.
Your homework right now is to take a look at your current ‘to-do list’ and take stuff off it.
Like a lot of stuff. For the entire first month.
Anything beyond what you absolutely must do to not lose your job and keep your family alive I want you to take off the table.
- Don’t volunteer for the field trip, the work project, the organization of the baby shower or surprise birthday party.
- Don’t decide that this is the day, week or month to organize your finances for the first time in ages.
- Find someone else to do carpool duty or the big presentation.
- Beg off of the weekend family reunion or 40th birthday party or company picnic.
I know you don’t think you can. You feel like you have to go. You think it’s important. You feel obligated and like it will look bad if you don’t go.
But if you had the flu – if you had a fever and were throwing up – you wouldn’t go.
So don’t go now.
You are quitting drinking.
If you do it right, you only have to do this once.
- Now is NOT the time to start a huge diet.
- It’s NOT the time to dump all of your wardrobe on your bed and Marie Kondo it up.
- It’s NOT the time to start a new endeavor.
No new projects and no new responsibilities.
Go ahead and lower the bar (and then lower it again).
If you go to hard, if you try to do too much, if you keep going at the pace you were going when you were drinking to dull your senses enough to make it all OK and fade away, you won’t get to the good part.
I promise you after this part is over you will have more energy, motivation and drive than you’ve felt in years.
You will sleep well. You’ll wake up with energy and feel good. And you can do anything you want to do.
But for today:
- You don’t have to cook dinner for your kids (cereal is fine).
- You can lay under a blanket and watch bad TV while they watch TV too.
- You can put them to bed and crawl into bed without doing the dishes.
- You can cancel the swim lessons this weekend.
Your goal is total and complete self-care (with bonus points for a little sloth).
Baths. Sleep. Books. Relax. Walk. Repeat.
Take care of yourself first. Then you’ll be able to take care of everyone else.
So now you need to think about what you’re NOT going to do.
- What are you going to take off your list?
- What responsibility or projects are you going to let go for a bit longer?
Quitting drinking is a big deal. And it just needs to be your #1 focus for a while.
You don’t want to do the hardest part over and over again.
You don’t want to be stuck in this cycle any longer than you need to be.
I know it feels counter intuitive, but you need to really slow down to spring forward.
You need to just get through the first days, without drinking. Day 2 and Day 4. Day 6 and Day 8.
Getting through each day is like putting a brick in a barrier wall you’re building between yourself and drinking. Just by getting through the entire day and the entire night without drinking – you get to put a new brick in that wall.
And as the wall gets higher, and as more bricks get added to the wall, the stronger it will be. And the stronger YOU will be.
Each day you add is a new brick.
It may feel like you’re doing absolutely nothing, you’re accomplishing absolutely nothing.
But that’s not true. You are doing incredibly hard and important work.
So eat the junk food. Binge watch that show. Go to bed early. Let the kids watch TV. Get a babysitter. Take a nap. Go for a slow swim. Go for a walk.
Listen to hours of The Bubble Hour podcast, or Armchair Expert. Listen to a sober audio book like The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, Blackout or Tired of Thinking About Drinking.
Do whatever you need to get through another day.
Take it easy. And be proud of yourself.
If you’re interested in one-on-one support, guidance, accountability and resources through private coaching, I’d love to talk to you.
Contact me for a free 30-Minute Discovery Call. No pressure. We can chat to see if coaching is a good fit for you.
About The Author
I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach who works with successful women who are ready to get out of overwhelm and create lives they love.
I also work with women who are reevaluating their relationship with alcohol and have decided that drinking isn’t working in their lives anymore.
You can find more about my work and private coaching, as well as additional support resources at hellosomedaycoaching.com.