If this is your 4th Day sober then you may be feeling the pressure. The initial euphoria of ‘having done it!’ has passed and reality is kicking in with tomorrow bringing the return to work and school for much of the UK (myself included).
So instead of thinking it has passed and it’s time to knuckle down to the nitty gritty, stop and congratulate yourself that for the last 3 nights you have managed to say no. Did you believe that could happen a month ago? Probably not. Could you do the same for another three nights? Of course you could!
Instead of thinking it will be harder this week remember that back into your usual routine, time flies by. Plus the focus on socialising and drinking has gone and normal life resumes. This year you have a head start of four sober days, a clear head and a clear conscience to match.
If you are worrying about how you will cope without a glass of wine to collapse with at the end of each day, don’t. Don’t even think about it. There is no need to think about it as you have decided you no longer drink wine so you must now do something else. Anything else. Change your routine at your critical wine o’clock moment, when you would usually open the wine. Walk the dog, do the ironing, have a glass of sparkling water. Do anything except open the wine. Just do it for tonight.
Two years ago I was in this exact same circumstance. I lasted until 21st January. Those observant enough to notice my sober date as 28th March will be correct in assuming I tried again in February and again in March until finally having success. The theme there is to keep trying.
What changed at the end of March?
Two things really. Firstly I changed my mindset from counting up my days of not drinking to that of a non-drinker where instead I counted the days since I made that change. Subtle but effective I felt.
The second thing really took the pressure off and lowered the stakes. Feeling ‘allowed’ to drink if I really wanted reduced my anxiety about whether I could manage or not and took away (some) of my fear of failure.
I asked myself each night if I could ignore my craving for one more evening. If it was still awful the next night, I could reconsider my on-going sobriety and may choose to have a drink if I so wished. I literally did this each time I was tempted to drink. I used it at each social event, then at each challenging ‘first’ I encountered.
Each time when I would have reached for the wine, I asked myself to try that event, whatever it was, sober, just this once. If it was truly awful and I realised it a big mistake then at the next event or challenge, I could choose to drink if I still wanted to do so.
When every ‘next time’ came I felt so proud of my additional achievement and chose to continue it for just a bit longer. The thing with alcohol is, it is always there and it will always be there. It’s very reliable. If you change your mind and feel this sober business is too strict for you, alcohol will still be there, waiting for you. It will be just the same as it always was, in all respects, I assure you.
If you’ve tried sobriety for the last 3 days and have enjoyed it, try to keep going for three more, relaxing in the knowledge that sobriety comes with an infinite money back guarantee: at any time you can return to your ways of old safe in the knowledge that the booze will always be waiting for you and it will be just as if you’ve never been away.