5 Top Tips for Preparing to Quit Drinking Alcohol

Lady with hand over glass saying no to drinking alcohol

Nobody ever told me it is a good idea to PREPARE to give up alcohol. 

I tried for years to cut down, moderate or just white-knuckle it, but all that happened was I ended up being very unhappy, feeling deprived, and thinking that life wasn’t worth living without alcohol.  Then I just went back to drinking just as much, or even more, than before I started trying to give up.

It wasn’t until I discovered the work of Annie Grace that I realised giving up alcohol didn’t have to be that hard.  One of the first things I learnt was to ‘quit trying to quit’.

And when I did that, and applied everything that she taught, giving up was so much easier than any time I had ever tried previously.

Now, as I work with my own clients, I make sure they know straight up that there is preparation to be done before putting down the drink. 

These tips were game changers for me – so in no particular order:

 

Quit Trying to Quit

Setting a date to give up is a very common practice – think Dry January, or Feb Fast or your birthday – so in the weeks and days leading up to it, there is a feeling of sacrifice and deprivation that creeps in, which is hardly conducive to a successful start (or finish for that matter!). Be willing to see giving up alcohol as a positive step and a skill to be learned and the process will be so much easier than trying to do it all on willpower alone.

 

Prepare Your Environment

Setting up your home and changing your routine is a great way to trick your brain into forming new habits.

Get rid of all the booze in your house if you can (a bit hard if you have other drinkers living with you, but at least get rid of your favourite drink).

Stock your kitchen with lots of healthy foods, proteins and fruit and veges, and be prepared with easy, go-to meals, snacks and drinks that will fill you up and keep you from getting hungry.  (Often cravings will kick in if you are hungry or thirsty).

If you have a routine of going to the bottleshop on your way home, drive another way if you can, or if you usually buy alcohol when you do the weekly shopping – send someone else into town with the list if you can.  It's only for a short time until you feel strong enough to resist the temptation.

 

Build A Support Team Around You

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe it takes a village to help when it comes to giving up alcohol. 

Let your loved ones know that you are planning to give up alcohol, and ask for their support and their encouragement.  Tell them that you are learning, or in pre-season training if you like, so they know that you will be focussing on your own health for a bit, and they will need to pep you up and cheer you on.

There will be those around you that won’t be so supportive, so just give them a wide berth for a little while.  It’s not forever and once you are stronger and further down the track with learning about alcohol and how it affects every part of you and every thing you do, it won’t be so hard to stand solid in your decision.  That time will come, and it is so worth it when it does.

 

Get Ready to Learn

Give this preparation time the same focus and importance you would give to learning any new skill.  Set up your learning space – a quiet corner to read, a computer or laptop you can use in a private space, headphones or earbuds for listing to podcasts.  Make your learning easier by being comfortable and have everything to hand.  Let your kids and family know that you need ‘me time’ every day, even if it is just a few minutes of uninterrupted time.  Do whatever it takes to make this work for you.

If you need a new phone, or laptop to be able to watch videos and make zoom calls for example, this is the time to invest for your future.  Treat this time as a big investment in yourself, you are worth it, and everyone around you will be happier when you are happier and more pleasant to be around.  This was a big one for me, as I think it is for most women, as we are so used to putting everyone else first.

If you think you can’t afford it, calculate how much you are spending every day on alcohol – and include everything related – the cost of the alcohol, the fuel to get to the bottleshop, the tip runs to get rid of the bottles, the lost work time, the Panadol for headaches and don’t forget the late night on-line shopping. Multiple this out by how long you have been drinking and you will be surprised (or mortified) as to how expensive drinking alcohol is.  I suspect I could have bought a small tropical island.

 

Connect With A Like Minded Community

Find a coach that you resonate with, that talks your language, has had similar life experiences to your own, and definitely someone who has had their own journey with alcohol.  Starting out, follow them on social media, sign up to their email lists, follow their podcasts and their blogs.  Read the books that they recommend, and use the free resources they offer.  Then when you are ready, check out their programs.

Having a sobriety coach and a community who cheered me on and kept me accountable was a game changer for me.  I joined an online community of like-minded people who were all giving up at the same time as me.  And that made all the difference.  Just knowing that I wasn’t alone, and that I wasn’t the only one going through this.  Learning together as a group, with a sobriety coach at the helm, made the whole experience easier for me and you will find that too. 

 

So that’s my 5 top tips for preparing to give up alcohol.  In no time at all you will be ready to take the next steps of gaining knowledge, examining your thoughts and beliefs around alcohol, and then changing your behaviour becomes the easy part. 

You can find more resources on the Rural Sobriety website at www.ruralsobriety.com.au

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