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Maintaining Sobriety in the New Year

Christina Kimbrough

Guest Blogger

It’s hard to believe that it’s already 2022! I’m not sure where the last year has gone. In February I will celebrate two years of sobriety. I’m looking forward to hitting this milestone, but it took a lot of work to get there.

Staying sober is something I work on constantly. Over the last two years, I’ve learned many ways to maintain my sobriety. So, if thinking about quitting alcohol, or simply cutting back on the booze in 2022 this list is for you!

1. Review my why.

Something that helped me quit drinking initially was to create a list of reasons I wanted to live an alcohol-free life. I pulled this list out when I was tempted to drink. A few of my reasons to stay sober include a healthier body, and mind, and improved relationships. After reviewing my reasons, I’ve added my career. If I picked up a drink, I wouldn’t be able to pursue my dreams. Make a list of reasons you want to get and stay sober. Write it down and keep it close!

2. Play the tape forward.

I learned this very early on in sobriety and still use it today. Even though I’m almost two years sober I still have days where I’m tempted to pick up. When I play the tape forward, I think through all the other times I’ve drank and what happened as a result. I remember the hangovers, the fights with loved ones, and the shame I felt the next day. Reminding myself of what could happen if I drink helps me stay sober.

3. Curate my social media feeds.

I use social media to motivate me to stay sober. I love following sober accounts, it helps me feel less alone and reminds me how much better sober is. Some of my favorite to follow on IG are @noboozebabes, @sobergirlsociety, and @sobermotivation.

4. Connecting with sober peers.

I find that talking to other sober people is so beneficial to my own recovery journey. There’s nothing like finding a community that just gets you. That’s why I was so excited when I found the WhiteFlag App. WhiteFlag is a free, anonymous app that connects you with people who have similar experiences and who are ready to listen without judgement. You can download it here: www.whiteflagapp.com.

5. Journal and reflect.

When I was first getting sober, I filled up so many journals. The words seemed to flow out of me. Right now, I don’t journal as much as I used to, but I love to write about certain milestones in recovery so I can look back and be proud of myself. For example, I recently attended my first big social gathering sober, and I took a few minutes to write about it. Documenting my sobriety gives me something to lean on when the hard days come.

6. Celebrate milestones.

This February 3rd is my 2-year anniversary, and I already have a party planned, and I’m SO excited. I treat my sober date like a birthday. I’m getting dressed up, having cake, and inviting some close friends over. Getting sober was a huge accomplishment for me, and it’s worth celebrating. Also, you don’t have to celebrate time milestones. I’ve celebrated things such as the first event I went to sober or, my first sober wedding, etc.

7. Read.

I absolutely love Quit Lit. If you’re not familiar with that term it’s basically just books, and memoirs about people getting sober. I find them so inspiring. A few of my favorite are: Quit Like A Woman, by Holly Whitaker, We Are the Luckiest by Laura McKowen, and This Naked Mind by Annie Grace.

8. Avoid old places.

This is big for me. When I was in active addiction, I was a big bar drinker. I had my favorite places. Now that I’m sober, I no longer go to any of the places I used to drink. I even do my best to not drive past them. I find that this helps keep the temptation to drink at bay.

9. Be mindful of stress and triggers.

A big reason I drank was to deal with my anxiety. When I had a stressful day at work, I went straight to the bar. Now, I check in with myself often and know what may cause me to drink. This is something I work on every day.

10. Have an answer ready.

There will be times when you attend places or events with alcohol. When I first started going out I was so nervous people would ask me why I wasn’t drinking. I took the time to think through my responses and this really helped. I usually say, something like, I feel better when I don’t drink, or I’m in recovery. Everyone is different find what works for you.

I’ve learned that recovery and sobriety is a lifelong journey. Sobriety has changed my life in so many ways. Because of recovery, I’ve learned how to handle life in a healthy way. I’ve gained so much confidence over the past two years. If you’re looking to get or stay sober this year, just remember there’s always hope.

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