One of the things that really helped me get through the early days was building my sobriety toolbox. What is this you ask? Well, its a metaphorical box full of useful tools to help you manage the wobbles and build confidence in your sobriety.
As soon as I decided to quit boozing, I just instinctively knew I needed to swamp myself in education. From the very first day, I downloaded 'I am Sober' app on my phone and opened up the unused purple podcasts box on my phone. I had to get information and I was so thirsty for it. I wanted to help myself avoid the previous failed attempts at giving up drinking by doing something different. I was definitely much more determined this time, but I had a deep inner push to learn about other people in my situation. I couldn't be alone in this desperation to stop drinking and I just had to find a way to reach my people.
Little did I know, this was the beginnings of building my sobriety tool box.
In the first few days of being sober, those hard, tiring and weird days of swinging moods and intense cravings, I stumbled on the 'Soberful' podcast by Chip Somers and Veronica Valli. I scrolled back to the beginning episodes and started to listen to them. I was hooked pretty quickly and sometimes listened to 2 or 3 hour long episodes each day. You may be thinking 'how the heck did she listen for that long', but I just plugged myself in and off I went. If I was doing the school run, it would be on in the car or walking back home. If I went shopping, I'd have my headphones plugged in all the way round the supermarket, pausing briefly to pay. If I was hanging the washing out, my phone came with me on loud speaker. Making dinner was a crucial time for listening as I tried to distract myself from the half bottle of wine I'd usually drink whilst cooking. These small, but fierce distractions of listening to the amazing and rich content in this podcast, got me through the first 2-3 weeks successfully. I felt like my knowledge was already growing.
In addition to this, I purchased 'How to Stop Drinking Alcohol for Women' by Alan Carr. I read a chapter every day and juggled the reading with the intense amount of podcasts I was listening to. I could almost feel the growth, it was tangible and I LOVED it.
I tracked my sober days and I did my daily work of reading and listening. I branched out to other podcasts like 'One Year No Beer' and 'The Bubble Hour' and ordered a batch of new quit lit books eagerly. I was journalling too, and at around 40 days sober I created my instagram page @sassysobermum. Connecting with other humans in the same place as me was a complete game changer. Seeing their posts and getting their well wishes on mine was so uplifting and it really helped to strengthen my motivation. It made me more accountable. There was always someone who understood each milestone or wobble I was going through and that really helped in those early days. Plus, its all free! I also joined sober Facebook groups and checked in with those every day.
Before I knew it, I was 100 days into sobriety and I had a pretty good list of tools to get me through any ups and downs. I'd read books about how alcohol affects the brain, how we need to sit with our feelings and I chatted furiously with like minded others about the highs and lows of early sobriety. I felt strong.
If I got anxious or had a craving, I had learned to have a nice, long bath and read a book or play a podcast to help me re-focus. I started walking and playing tennis, I learned how to crochet and I got into gardening. After all, I had sooo much more time now!
If I had a problem or an upcoming event I was nervous about, I chatted it through with people on social media and got their help. I learned to regularly reflect on all the things I was learning about and shared them with others, to help inspire people entering the journey themselves. I wrote lists about how much better I felt and kept referring to them in moments of weakness.
All these things just became second nature. The moving parts became easier to manage, assess, predict and soothe. I was better at taking care of myself and I became aware of how important this toolbox of resources was to me. It kept me grounded and kept me motivated. It had become a vital part of my sobriety story.
Even to this day, nearly 3 years into sobriety I still listen to sobriety podcasts most days. I reach out to my sober community daily on insta and I try to spread the message of how to keep going and stay focused.
Tools are so vital. You cannot enter early sobriety without some of these things. The more you plough yourself into it, the better. Podcasts are FREE and there are literally 1,000's of hours of content available.
If you need a steer on how to start building your toolbox, visit my Resources page here.
Thanks for reading and good luck.