12 Tips To Navigating Your Sobriety Journey

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12 Tips To Navigating Your Sobriety Journey

In January 2020, I hit a personal low. I showed up to a new job intoxicated and high. After, I went on a two-day bender, where I didn’t stop drinking. This had never happened to me before, and when I woke up the morning after my drinking spree, I knew I needed help.

Little did I know a few months later in March, the world was about to change forever. I got sober on February 3, 2020. So, all of my sobriety has been in the pandemic. I remember being very afraid in early sobriety because my experience was so unique. There was no one around me who had gotten sober during such crazy global circumstances. I felt very alone, but I knew I had to figure out how to stay sober.

I remember reading somewhere the opposite of addiction is connection. This was so true for me. When I was at the height of my struggle with alcohol, I was isolating myself. I cut people out of my life and kept my drinking hidden. I was so ashamed of the person I’d become. I didn’t want people to know what I was going through. Ironically, my shame and silence is what kept me sick. It wasn’t until I started sharing my story openly I truly started to heal. At first, I opened up to my immediate family and eventually I told my friends.

Woman on sobriety journey takes a photo at the beach in a black sweater, black pleather pants, and white combat boots
Courtesy of Christina Kimbrough

I’ve always loved writing, so about a month into sobriety I started a blog and shared my whole struggle with alcohol. I posted the blog on my personal Facebook page. Initially I was terrified, but I didn’t want to hide this side of myself any longer. The outpouring of support and kindness was beautiful. I found I was able to help others who were suffering from addiction by simply sharing my story and working to end the stigma surrounding addiction.

Now that we are almost two years into the pandemic, there are many things I do to stay sober. Here’s my list that may help others along their journey too:

1. Therapy

The first thing I do to stay sober is go to therapy regularly. I used therapy early on in sobriety and am still using it today. In the past, I used alcohol to numb my anxiety and depression. Now I’m learning how to handle these emotions without alcohol.

2. Exercise

Getting in movement for about 20-30 minutes a few times a week is crucial to my sobriety. I bike, run, or walk. This past September, I signed myself up for a half marathon. This helped me stay sober because I committed myself to a training plan. Exercise is also a huge way for me to express any feelings that have built up over the day.

3. Meditate

I try and get in at least a 10- or 20-minute meditation every day. This helps me check in with myself and be still. When I was in active addiction, I was living in a constant state of chaos and business. I never took the time to go inward and see what I needed. Meditation has helped me slow down and become more self aware.

4. Have An Accountability Buddy

I have a sober friend I can call or text at any time. Through time, I made friends who also got sober during the pandemic. My accountability buddy is crucial to my sobriety because she completely understands the challenge of staying sober in a world which glamorizes alcohol. I text or call her before a social gathering where I know there may be alcohol. She checks in on me throughout the evening to see how I’m doing.

5. Morning And Evening Routines

When I was drinking I had no routines; my life was a mess. I’d fall asleep drunk and wake up hungover. Now, I do my best to keep routines. In the morning I wake up, drink water, stretch, take a few deep breaths and make coffee. I read or journal. I try not to pick up my phone within the first half hour of waking. In the evening, I put my phone on ‘do not disturb’ and read. Right before I drift off to bed, I list one thing I’m grateful for, and thank my Higher Power for making it through another day sober.

6. Online Support

I use an online subscription service called ‘We Are the Luckiest.’ This platform has been life changing for me. There are daily sobriety support meetings for anyone on their recovery journey.

I attended a 6-week course on overcoming anxiety and staying sober through Tempest. Tempest is also an online sobriety support site. They offer tools and resources for people who may be sober curious or looking to quit drinking completely.

I also occasionally attend online Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. There’s pretty much a meeting in every city and state!

7. Social Media

Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook were very instrumental in my early sobriety and still are. I found if I followed other sober people, it helped me stay motivated to not pick up a drink. Many of the accounts I follow also offer practical advice and resources to maintain sobriety. Here are a few of the ones I follow:

Instagram: @1000hoursdry, @thisnakedmind, @jointempest, @asobergirlsguide, @sobermotivation

Facebook: I’m in a few Facebook groups. FB groups are amazing because they give you instant access to sober people. You can post questions or struggles you may be having related to sobriety. If you search these names, you can request to join: ‘We are The Luckiest,’ ‘Be Sober-Quit Drinking with Coach Simon Chapple,’ and ‘This Naked Mind.’

TikTok: @yoursoberpal, @sobertryouts

8. Books

I read so many books in early sobriety and still do! I read some life changing memoirs. I found books helped me work through my shame and feel less alone. I’d recommend reading, ‘Quit Like a Woman’ by Holly Whitaker, ‘We Are the Luckiest’ by Laura McKowen, and ‘This Naked Mind’ by Annie Grace.

Also, one of the main reasons I drank was from childhood trauma I hadn’t worked through, so I sought out books to help me unpack this. I was also curious about what caused addiction in the first place, so I read ‘The Body Keeps The Score’ by Bessel van der Kolk, ‘Dopamine Nation’ by Anna Lembke and ‘What Happened to You’ by Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey.

9. Podcasts

I love listening to people’s recovery stories. I find them so inspiring. I also listen to podcasts from other people who are sober. I listen to ‘Tell Me Something True,’ ‘We Can Do Hard Things,’ and ‘Unlocking Us.’ These podcasts don’t focus on sobriety in particular, but all of the hosts are sober and often talk about their journeys. The podcasts also have guests on that give resources and books which help me stay sober.

10.  Saying No

This has been huge for me. For the longest time I was concerned with pleasing everyone around me. Being in recovery has taught me to advocate for myself and my needs.

11.  Friends

All of my friends and family know about my sobriety and are so supportive. We go places and do activities that don’t involve alcohol. They encourage me daily.

12. Celebrate Your Success

Lastly, I celebrate myself. I celebrate all of the milestones I’ve hit in sobriety.

I hope this list was a help to you. Getting sober was hard, but the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

Woman on sobriety journey takes a photo sitting on a pink swing with pink roses behind her in a coffee shop
Courtesy of Christina Kimbrough

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Christina Kimbrough. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read Christina’s backstory here:

‘Heart pounding, hands sweating, I fell to the ground screaming. I truly thought I was dying.’: Woman details mental health, sobriety journey to ‘end the stigma’

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