Dry January and beyond: 10 tips to begin your sober journey
Leading sobriety coach and founder of Love Life Sober, Christy Osborne, shares her top tips for how to start out sober…
Whether you are taking part in Dry January or the start of the new year has simply prompted you to start examining your relationship with alcohol, starting out sober can feel daunting.
Analysing what alcohol means to us – and to our relationships – can bring up many feelings, some of which are hard to process.
Which is why we’ve asked leading sobriety coach and founder of Love Life Sober, Christy Osborne, to share her top 10 pieces of advice to help when beginning your sober journey…
1. Start with Why
Get curious about yourself and understand why you are wanting to stop drinking. We all have our reasons, but identifying whether it’s the social element of drinking or stress and anxieties can help us futureproof any triggers by going alcohol-free.
If we believe that there is a benefit to alcohol, however small, however tiny, if we believe there is a benefit to drinking, we will continue to drink. That’s why we start with the “why”.
So, why do you drink? Why are you pouring that glass?
2. Ask yourself whether alcohol is helping you achieve your goals
This might take a bit of research. For example, if you’re drinking to ease anxiety, you may feel relief after the first drink. But after the initial dopamine spike wears off, adrenaline and cortisol take control, and you end up making yourself feel more anxious than when you started.
Go through your list of “whys” one by one and do an experiment to see if alcohol is actually helping you achieve those things or not.
3. Call it an experiment – take a 30-day break
You never have to say forever, but if you are sober curious and are considering stopping drinking, then use Dry January as a temporary challenge to see how you can feel better without the booze.
4. Deconstruct your beliefs around why you drink during Christmas
The key here is to deconstruct your beliefs surrounding why you like to drink. Is it peer pressure during the Christmas period? Work parties? Stress? Start to feel better about not drinking by breaking down these beliefs and becoming aligned with your “whys”.
You also don’t have to aim for perfection or count days. Instead, try to learn what life alcohol-free feels like. That way, you can compare the two – and you get to decide whether or not the alcohol is serving you.
5. Find the right support that can help you
Find support that helps you get to the root of your drinking. If you never figure out why you’re drinking in the first place, then you’re still going to believe that there’s a benefit to alcohol.
And if you still believe that there’s a benefit to alcohol, you’re going to have the desire to drink it.
6. Enjoy non-alcohol related activities instead.
If you’re worried about missing out on social interactions with people through not drinking, then take a look at some social activities that you can do without alcohol.
Suggest different activities to your friends, as they might also be interested in joining you on this and can be a way to reframe your time together.
7. Research alcohol-free alternatives to drinks
There is a plethora of alcohol-free or non-alcoholic options out there, which can be a great substitute for alcoholic drinks, with most bars and restaurants now offering a greater range of alcohol-free options.
Much like non-drinking being an experiment, why not view trialling alcohol-free options as an experiment, to find out which ones you enjoy the most?
8. Gently reframe any negative ideas you have that events without drinking won’t be fun.
There is a huge social element to drinking, especially during the winter months, and venturing into them without drinking can feel daunting.
Think about what your blocks are and why you feel events may not be as fun without alcohol. It can be as simple as reframing thoughts and realising you’ll feel much fresher in the morning and able to remember the evening than not.
It’s always helpful to remember the benefits of not drinking.
9. Boundaries. Boundaries.
If you’ve decided to explore an alcohol-free life, then it’s important to state your boundaries and stick to them.
It might feel difficult to set and keep boundaries with friends and loved ones, but the only way to have your boundaries respected is to continue to uphold them – people will come around.
If you feel your boundaries challenged, just remind yourself of your “whys” and politely affirm your boundary.
10. Sit with any discomfort and understand where your needs are wanting to be met.
This might feel difficult but sit with the uncomfortable feelings and explore what is truly behind them and where your needs are still wanting to be met. Is it that you’re worried about missing out? Is it that you don’t want to be viewed in a certain way?
Our minds can often gravitate towards the negative but sit and work through this with the support of a professional or a close friend.
ABOUT CHRISTY OSBOURNE
Christy Osbourne is a certified sobriety coach and founder of Love Life Sober, who helps empower women across the UK and US to get back in control of their relationship with alcohol.
Alongside this, Christy is co-host of the podcast “But Jesus drank wine & other stories that kept us stuck” and is currently writing her first book, Love Life Sober: Finding Freedom from Alcohol in 40 Days.
To find out more about Christy and how she can help you start your sober journey, visit her website