I am an expert in quitting drinking. I’ve done it a million times. That is why I am the perfect person to tell you about the mistakes I’ve made in trying to get sober.
Not only that, I am also a Certified Professional Life and Recovery Coach, in addition to having an education in Social Work, a Certificate of Well Being from Yale University, and a Professional Certificate in Human Resources. I’ve got the professional training, credentials, and qualifications to share the sharpest insights on how to quit drinking and also what NOT to do.
I’ve been sober for over 5 years. I was unsuccessfully “quitting drinking” for 3 years prior to my last Day 1. I now see this as part of my success, even if it didn’t look like it at the time. I want to help expedite your quitting drinking process to save a lot of suffering and heartache.
Being 5 years sober means, I am in “stable remission” from alcohol use disorder. A diagnosis given by no one but myself. As a drinker, the world may have called me a gray area drinker, a middle lane drinker, or even a normal drinker. Others might call me an alcoholic. After all, I did quit drinking. Alcohol is the only drug to give you a label when you quit. I don't consider myself an alcoholic. I never did. And also, I know that alcohol would have eventually been the cause of my death if I continued drinking.
I coach hundreds of people, and influence thousands of people to ditch the drink each year. I am here to tell you the Top 5 Mistakes I see when working with someone on ditching the drink. These are the same Top 5 Mistakes I made in my alcohol free journey too.
You can learn from my top 5 mistakes and not make the same ones yourself.
1.Keeping it a Secret
I quit drinking a million times in secret and maybe you have too. I get it. We’re afraid to commit because what if we change our minds? What if we say we’re going to quit drinking and we actually don’t. I hear you. I really do. I was there too. But let me ask you this…are you more likely to drink more or less if you tell someone you’re working on drinking less? I can answer that for you. You would set yourself up for more success if you told someone, right? Then tell someone. You don’t have to tell everyone, but tell someone. Say it outloud. Let yourself be accountable. Track your success. Discuss your challenges. Find a person to support you. That could be a family member, friend, or a sober coach. Don’t keep it a secret. Share your struggle out loud with a trusted person. This could include paying for someone to tell. A therapist, a sober coach, an online alcohol free community. It will be worth it to have a safe space to share out loud and not worry about judgement.
We love before and after stories. We love to skip to the good part. We forget that failing is a part of learning. You don’t learn without it. Not failing means not trying to do anything different, not growing, not learning. Making mistakes and readjusting our sails is exactly how we learn. When you work towards drinking less sometimes you will. Other times you might not. You might fall back into old patterns and habits. Whether you do or don’t, you have an opportunity to learn. Make your alcohol free journey a practice and not a final exam. You are allowed to make mistakes and healing is not a linear journey. See your slips as part of the process instead of the final result. Celebrate your slips with lessons learned and keep going. We would never have learned to walk if we let ourselves stay down after our first fall. Get up and keep going. Stop looking in the rearview mirror. Keep moving forward.
You might not want to invest in an expensive gym membership, spa days, alcohol free beverages, or any other form of sober treats because you haven’t earned it yet. You haven’t been sober for any number of days to deserve it. Oh heck no, I say! You are not going to get sober and stay sober by setting yourself up for a miserable life of deprivation, now are you? No, no, no. You invest in yourself first. You buy a sober coaching package from the best coach you can find. You book that massage. You block your calendar for Friday evening manicures immediately right now when you have nothing to show for it. You start to treat yourself like someone who deserves everything because you are worthy of it right now, in this moment. This is the way to quit drinking. To start prioritizing yourself and your needs. To listen to yourself. To practice compassion. This is how to make a change. This is how you stop pouring alcohol on yourself. The biggest investment I made in myself was a bougie gym membership. It was a leap and a stretch to do it. I had never spent that much money on myself before. Thank Goodness I did because it gave me someplace to go every time I had to get out of my house. Which was often. At times I felt like I would jump out of my skin, because to be honest, early sobriety is hard. Escaping to the gym gave me a safe space to process. It gave me a way to physically release my emotions. It gave me the heat of an empty sauna to sweat it out, cry it out, breathe it out. It gave me release. At first, it seemed like the most expensive thing ever. So self indulgent. Now, I see it as the key to getting and staying sober that has saved me tens of thousands of dollars not to mention my health, improved career status, smarter financial decisions and more. Do not deprive yourself in early sobriety. Do not think you have to earn a reward. You rewarded yourself with a drink at the end of the day, you have to rewire your brain with new healthy rewards now, not later. Start with creating the life you want, the quitting drinking will follow. Not the other way around. Trust me on this.
It’s not sad you guys. It’s just not. Yes there is grief in letting go of people, places, behaviors, and substances. I get that. It is change and there is loss in any change. It’s ok to feel however you feel, including sadness. But the truth is, ditching the drink, getting healthy, embarking on a journey of self discovery, and healing is not sad. At all. It is glorious. GLORIOUS. It is clumsy and messy yes. But it is beautiful. It is something to look forward to. Staying in the same place, and repeating the same cycle, has not brought you what you are seeking. Addressing your relationship with alcohol will. That is not something to cry about. That is something to celebrate. Let yourself smile about it. Let yourself be excited. Let yourself dream your biggest dreams. Alcohol was the number one biggest obstacle to everything I wanted. Getting rid of it was the absolute portal to making all my dreams come true. Let that little excited part of you who has dreamed of living a healthy life of alignment, shout praises for the actions you are taking to remember who you were before you started drinking and become the person you were meant to be.
This is most important. In order to ask for help you have to admit you might need it. That is so freaking hard. I needed to do that but couldn’t do that. For decades. Seriously. I know how very hard this is. What if you just admitted right now that you don’t got this, Babe. You are not in control of your relationship with alcohol anymore. You are breaking your own promises and in turn breaking your own heart over and over again. The only thing this means is that you could use some help. It doesn’t make you an alcoholic. A failure. A loser. Getting help is the smartest, bravest, strongest thing you can possibly do. So waste not one more second before you raise your hand and say “I am confused and I never wanted to be in this position but I am scared and I could use some help.” Then you find yourself people, activities, resources, and tools that can help you. You do not try to use the least amount. You try to use the most amount. You pile on every single thing you think that could help you and then you pile on a little bit more. That could be journaling and walking. It could be reading quit lit and listening to podcasts. It could be more naps and more take out for dinner. It could be any number of things and all the things. Try them all. Add them all. Do them all. This is how to ditch the drink.
I’ve got a monthly membership community, a digital class, and 1x1 coaching support to offer. Do not wait any longer. It is not going to get better on it’s own. Give yourself the gift of support. XO!
Drinking got you thinking? Evaluate your relationship with alcohol with my free download, 12 Sober Secrets and bonus Get Free, Stay Free mantra.