I could give you all the tips on how to deal with triggers, so you don’t drink but realistically some of us will slip up in our sobriety and by slip ups I mean we will consciously drink. Depending if you had a good or bad night on the booze your slip up could be a one-time thing or sometimes it can take us a while to get back to our sobriety. You may even catch yourself thinking maybe sobriety isn’t for me anymore, maybe I am just a drinker now.
I want to tell you something, just because you had a drink doesn’t make you are a drinker. The problem when people slip up is they start to question their sober identity and start to seek confirmation that they are a drinker now. We are our worst critics so of course it’s easier for our egos to protect us and say well you better be honest with yourself maybe you aren’t cut out to be sober if you can’t do it 100%.
This is called a cognitive distortion which is when we seek out information that is consistent with old beliefs and ignore information which is inconsistent to this. For example, yes you had a slip up but what about all the days, months, or years that you have been sober. We all know how much work it takes to be sober, so are you just going to not appreciate everything you worked on prior to your slip up. A similar scenario you get all distinctions on your assignments at uni and then you fail an assignment, it doesn’t mean you fail the subject because the distinctions still make up a percentage of your whole mark and so does the fail. So my biggest advice to you is don’t get stuck in the labels and remember why you are on this journey, not because you can’t drink, it’s because you want to enjoy life!
So here are 5 tips to get your sobriety confidence back!
- Remember you are a non-drinker. If I was a vegan and ate Macca’s chicken nuggets as a one off, would you suddenly come at me for not being a vegan even though I am vegan for 90% of the time? No! So don’t define your sobriety by your slip up!
- Exercise and have a sauna. Often after a slip up we feel ashamed, vulnerable and stressed because alcohol increases our stress hormone cortisol. You need your clarity and good mental health back so do some high intensity training or any form of exercise because it will decrease your cortisol which will reduce your anxiety, depression and increase your resilience. If you are struggling to even move your body have a sauna because the excessive sweating will reduce your frustration and relax your body. Saunas also help the brain release euphoric hormones. You need all the happy hormones you can get right now!
- Embrace the sober journey offline. Whilst there are some amazing sober accounts, social media can trigger our stress hormones and remember you want to decrease your cortisol and an adrenaline entering your body. So instead listen to sober podcasts, read books or attend a sober workshop or meeting.
- Go for coffee with a sober friend. A friend who won’t judge you but understands the journey you are on. You want to feel empowered to get back on the sober journey and be able to discuss what triggered you to drink. There is power in feeling connected, validated, and respected. If you don’t have a friend, you feel comfortable with, book in a therapy session. I would recommend doing both! The more you talk about it, the more you will start changing your thought patterns.
- Have self-compassion. I know this is a classic tip but it’s true. You are human and humans aren’t perfect. We live in a world where alcohol is easily accessible and acceptable. It can get exhausting always trying to fight against something the whole world is doing. Remember that this journey is about progress not perfection, so consolidate a list of all your strengths and all the healing work you have done. Practise mindfulness and be present in knowing you are a beautiful powerful queen but sometimes even queens can’t control the challenges life throws at us.