Are you worried that your sobriety may be at risk once lockdown
restrictions lift? These 10 simple tips will help you stay sober and
enjoy yourself at the same time
Don’t ditch your routines
Throughout lockdown, we all had to adapt and form new routines. Whether it was working from home, home-schooling or learning how to create culinary restaurant-style delights from the comfort of your own kitchen, we all developed new habits. If staying sober was your new habit, you need to stick to the sober routines you’ve already established. Perhaps that means avoiding the pubs for a few weeks and continuing to eat at home rather than dashing out to a restaurant at the first opportunity. Let’s be honest. It’s going to be a little crazy out there for a month or so anyway. Do you really want to sacrifice your sobriety for a few weeks of ‘celebrating’? Why not invite a few friends over to yours, show off your new cooking skills and create an array of colourful mocktails instead. Stick to routines, and your sobriety will stand a better chance of survival.
Keep up your exercise regime
Exercise is excellent for your fitness, your mental health and your sobriety. It releases endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, all the feel-good factors you need to boost your sobriety. It also reduces stress, increases your confidence and improves your sleep. If you started an exercise routine during lockdown, make sure you stick to it. Post-lockdown is also an ideal time to take up a new form of exercise. Instead of heading to a beer garden, head out for a walk, run or cycle instead. Pack a picnic and enjoy the freedom of being outside with your friends without enduring a raging hangover the following day.
Remember your whys
If you find post-lockdown drinking invitations difficult to turn down, it’s time to go back to your whys. Why did you stop drinking in the first place? Look back through old drunken photographs (even if they make you cringe) and remember the painful hangovers. If you’ve written a journal, spend some time going through it and rediscover your reasons for going sober. Create some new sober affirmations. Remember, you’re doing this to create a better and more fulfilling life for yourself. Write your whys on a massive chalkboard in your kitchen if you need to. Whatever it takes to keep your sobriety on track.
Stay social but don’t expect everything to be the same
Isolation is challenging, and it’s human nature to want company and social interaction. Spending time with friends and family again is essential for your mental health. Being sober doesn’t mean you can’t be social. Or that you have to avoid pubs and restaurants. Just be aware of your triggers. If going straight from lockdown sobriety into a pub full of drinkers is like throwing temptation in your face, then suggest a different venue like a coffee shop. Once you’re a little stronger in your sobriety, it’s ok to try a pub. It’ll be tricky to start with but keep on keeping on, and it’ll get easier over time. Only go to places you feel comfortable visiting. Go if it makes you happy; avoid if it doesn’t. Pick and choose your social events to suit you. It’s your life, and you’re doing this for yourself. You don’t have to please everyone.
Tell your friends
Letting your friends know you’re off the drink can be a tough one if you’ve been part of a drinking crowd. But it’s essential to maintaining your sobriety. Be honest with your friends about your commitment to giving up booze. Your genuine reasons belong to you, and you should never have to explain yourself. But it might help to have some quick responses or a pre-prepared spiel in place. Your real friends will be supportive, and your decision may inspire some. However, be prepared for some negative reactions. You might find yourself at the end of some nagging, teasing or cajoling. It’s important to remember this isn’t a reflection on you. By stopping drinking, your friends sometimes have to face up to their own unhealthy drinking habits. Change is a good thing. Rise above any jibes and stand firm. It sounds harsh, but you may need to rethink some friendships. Allow those who challenge your sobriety to fall away and surround yourself with those authentic friends who positively support you.
Tip: discover how to stay sober whilst those around you carry on drinking by following this advice.
Discover alcohol-free alternatives
Even before Covid a 2015 study, carried out by University College London, found that 29% of 16-24 year-olds classed themselves as non-drinkers, compared to 18% in 2005. That trend is continuing upwards and had led to a surge in low-alcohol and no-alcohol alternatives flooding the drinks market. Great news for those of us who want to try a more adult-style drink without the hangovers and anxiety that go with it. Whatever your usual tipple, you can find an alcohol-free alternative to replace it.
One word of warning, though. Even though these drinks are alcohol-free, they’re still a trigger for some people. It’s down to your personal preference. If you’d rather avoid anything alcohol-related, then try soft drinks instead. Bottle Green offer a fabulous range of grown-up soft drinks from sparking presses to classic cordials. Their Plump Summer Raspberry Presse is a little drop of sunshine in a glass.
Looking for AF ideas to tickle your sober tastebuds?
Dropbear Beers offer a range of AF lagers and ales that not only taste great but are also vegan and gluten-free.
If spirits are more your thing, Caleno has two fabulously tropical spirits to try. Their Light & Zesty spirit is a delicious blend of tropical, citrus and spice botanicals, whereas their Dark & Spicy has notes of kola nut, ginger, pineapple and vanilla. Both are taste sensations and completely alcohol-free.
Or if it’s cocktails you’re missing, check out Highball’s range. From Cosmopolitans to Italian Spritz, they have a mocktail to suit all tastes.
Have an escape plan
We have a lockdown exit strategy to ease us all back into an everyday existence again. So why not use a similar approach for your sobriety and create a ‘surrounded by too many drunken bums’ exit plan. The joy of being sober means you don’t have to worry about how to get home. Gone are the days of hanging around waiting for a taxi or for others to give you a lift. You can leave whenever you want to. Have an escape plan and go when you feel like it.
Plan for the morning ahead
One of the benefits of being sober is waking up fresh as a daisy the next day. Creating plans for the next day will stop you from feeling any FOMO vibes. You’ll have the smug feeling of knowing that whilst everyone else is clutching their heads and checking their phones to see who they upset with drunken texts, you’ll be hangover free and raring to go. Plan a walk, or enjoy a leisurely breakfast. You’ll feel great about your sobriety and can enjoy your day.
There are loads of positives to being sober—your bank balance, for one. By not spending money on booze, you’ll have more to spend on yourself. If you’ve spent lockdown knocking around in joggers and sweatshirts, treat yourself to a snazzy new outfit for post-lockdown get-togethers. Buy yourself some new skin or hair care products. If you feel and look good on the outside, you’ll feel fabulous on the inside. Being sober doesn’t mean being boring. Enter into each social event with a positive attitude and have fun. Try a range of different activities that don’t involve a pub. Brunch without the bottomless prosecco. Picnics in the park. Coffee dates. Afternoon Tea. The possibilities are endless.
Build a support network
You can feel rightly proud of being sober. You have more energy, better health, increased motivation and a stronger sense of self-worth. But it isn’t always easy. Unfortunately, our culture continues to place alcohol on a pedestal and refuses to see it as the soul-destroying drug it is.
When you’re finding life tricky, it helps to have sober buddies to lean on for support and advice. You may already have sober friends to reach out to when struggling. If not, there are a host of friendly and interactive online groups available. I belong to a members-only Facebook group called The Fish Followers Society, which is the creation of Sober Fish herself! The group’s a friendly bunch who embrace everything about getting sober and more importantly staying that way in order to live the best life possible. It’s a small group, so the interaction between members is genuine and 100% supportive. There are regular sober challenges, which I co-facilitate and these are ideal for anyone who is looking for long term sobriety. If this sounds like your kind of informal sober group, check out the details here.
Or, if you’d rather some 1:1 advice, why not book a free call with me. I offer a 12 week 1:1 coaching programme to help you overcome any obstacles holding you back and map a new way forward. After 12 weeks, you’ll have activated a new level of self-belief, using your new superpower to make empowered choices feeling alive, excited and free.
But if you would like to have a chat about bespoke 1:1 time this is also possible.
Dealing with the end of so many restrictions may be tricky, but you have to have the power to own your sobriety. It’s time to emerge from the cocoon of lockdown like a beautiful butterfly. Spread your sober wings and fly high.