By Simon Chapple, sobriety coach and author of How To Quit Alcohol in 50 Days
As a former heavy drinker, regularly consuming two bottles of wine a night and more, I know first hand the effect that alcohol can have on relationships with friends and family and with physical and mental health.
I got the point where I could no longer function without alcohol and that is a scary place to be. It was only once I decided to quit and cut alcohol out of my life that I realised what a tight hold it had over me. Within weeks of quitting, my crippling anxiety had gone and I felt physically better than I had for years. I am now two and half years on from that point and I would never dream of drinking again.
When I gave up alcohol I trained as a professional sobriety coach and now run one of the largest communities in the UK for those trying to quit alcohol – www.besober.co.uk. While stopping drinking was challenging at first, it became one of the best decisions I have ever made. Being sober is a calm, peaceful and fulfilled lifestyle choice that everyone should give themselves the gift of experiencing.
Here are my top ten powerful tips for anyone who is planning to take part in Dry January:
1 – Take a selfie at the start of the month – then take another at the end and notice how much has changed. This will likely make you consider how you want alcohol to feature in your life in the future.
2 – Use a journal to write down your feelings, thoughts and daily intentions each day. Try and treat the month as an experiment and an opportunity to evaluate your relationship with alcohol. Pay close attention to everything that comes up during January and approach it all with a sense of curiosity.
3 – Identify under what circumstances you would be likely to drink – be really honest with yourself and write down any people, places or behaviours that could pose a threat to your break from drinking. Once you have identified the risks, take steps to put boundaries in place – this might mean avoiding the pub for a few weeks.
4 – Get really clear on your ‘Why?’ Write down the reasons why you think you like to drink and ask yourself what you believe you get from alcohol? Maybe you believe it helps you relax, de-stress or have fun.
5 – Once you are clear on your reasons why, ask yourself how true your beliefs are? You might think alcohol helps you relax, but is that the reality? Hangovers, regretful behaviour, anxiety and a lack of motivation are anything but relaxing. Try and form new belief statements that reflect the truth.
6 – Keep a log of your sleep. If you have been drinking heavily you will likely find that it is disrupted in the first week. After this you should begin to experience some of the best sleep you have ever had – note it down each day in your journal.
7 – Ensure you have a good reason for taking a month long break from drinking – this should keep you motivated. Perhaps you are raising money for a good cause or you want to prove to yourself that you have control over alcohol, instead of it having control over you. No matter what your reason, ensure you are really clear on what it is.
8 – Notice how much money you save. If you aren’t buying booze multiple times a week you will save yourself plenty of money. Keep a note of how much it is and then work out how much you would save over a year if you decided not to drink long term.
9 – Arm yourself with some ‘Quit Lit’ – this is the term for books about living an alcohol-free life and they can provide you with tactics, tools and advice for living happily without drinking. My new book How to Quit Alcohol in 50 Days is perfect for anyone taking part in Dry January.
10 – Get involved in the community – there are many fantastic sober communities on Facebook, engaging in these private groups can help you become accountable and find support while allowing you to connect with other people who are doing the same as you. You can find my free support group by searching for Be Sober.
My new self help guide, How to Quit Alcohol in 50 Days, is out on 24th December and is the ideal companion to help anyone taking a month break from drinking. You can download a free sample of the book from www.besober.co.uk.
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