6 Ways To Stay Sober For Recovering Alcoholics

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My name is Mackenzie, and I am an alcoholic. When I had my first drinks at nineteen, it was a way to numb myself and catch that feeling of escape.

It became routine and progressed quickly. I tried moderating – only drinking on the weekends, never drinking before 5, not drinking hard liquor. It all ended the same way: hangovers, blackouts, lies, and drama.

It got to the point where I attempted to take my own life. I also lost a year of my daughter’s life to my addiction to alcohol. I wasn’t able to take care of her on my own, and prioritized drinking on multiple occasions.

When I met my first sober person, it was enticing. I just knew I wanted what they had. It took multiple relapses, Alcoholics Anonymous, and a lot of support before it finally stuck.

Most importantly, it took me realizing I am deserving of recovery. I had to hit my personal rock bottom before I said “enough.” This article will address sobriety, common questions related to recovery, and the tools I use everyday to continue growing into myself, my recovery, and my journey as a sober mom.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor. Alcoholism is a unique disease in that it can present differently in everyone. Some people experience withdrawals, some don’t.

Some alcoholics can go weeks without a drink, but binge when they pick up that first drink. It truly varies with the individual. For me, I could never have just one.

Once I started drinking, I was hateful, made rash decisions, and put myself in dangerous situations. I neglected time with my child in order to stay at work late and drink.

I felt like the hardships of motherhood made me entitled to a little “me time.” I bought in to the “mommy needs wine” culture that seems so present in social media. If you are questioning your relationship with alcohol, mother or not, you are not alone.

Why Should I Become Sober?

Sobriety is not just for those of us with drinking problems. You do not have to label yourself an alcoholic to choose to live a sober life! Sobriety (specifically alcohol-free), in its simplest form, is abstaining from drinking. I like to think of sobriety as a chance to rediscover myself.

Alcohol numbs our emotions and makes us act in ways that might not align with our true values. With sobriety, I am able to be authentically myself. I get to feel my emotions. I’m able to show up for the people who matter.

Every day, I am able to be proud of who I see in the mirror. This is more than just not drinking – it’s hard work. Sobriety is the hardest, most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, and I choose it every day. Below are some simple ways I put in that work every day.

Please remember this is not a comprehensive list, and you should always seek professional help if you need to medically detox or are worried about withdrawals.

mom holding baby by couch
Courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio (via Pexels)

Strategies For Getting Sober

Gratitude Lists

I try to list 3-5 things that I am grateful for every day, even if it’s for something as simple as the diet coke I have in the mornings. Finding things to be grateful for keeps me out of the negative mindset that always preceded my drinking.

Let Yourself Feel Your Feelings

This one is a hard one for me. I have a habit of pushing down my feelings and ignoring them until they come back up as resentments and reasons to drink. I’ve found that if I actively allow myself to feel my feelings, I tend to feel better and more stable than if I ignore them completely. Feelings are just visitors, they are not permanent.

Ask For Help and Support

When you’re comfortable, ask for support. This comes at a different point for everyone. I know people who waited months before telling their loved ones they quit drinking.

I personally found it helpful for me to tell everyone right away. Whatever you decide, this is your journey, and the right people will support you.

Quit Lit

“Quit Lit” is the term for books about sobriety. These books have played a huge role in my recovery, and I still have a lot on my wish list! Some of my favorites: The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray; We Are The Luckiest by Laura McKowen; and Quit Like A Woman by Holly Whitaker.

Be Nice To Yourself

No, you aren’t a bad person for craving a drink. You are human, and you deserve to recover. This brings me to affirmations!

Positive Affirmations

Affirmations are words of encouragement that you tell yourself. Talk to yourself like you would a friend. Write them down if you have to!

I am worth it.

I am doing my best.

I am stronger than I think.

I am loved.

I am proud of you.

Getting sober is difficult. Thankfully, there are lots of resources and support out there for us. If you’re a mother looking to get sober, you are not alone.

Reach out to a local support network, join sober Instagram, surround yourself with a sober community ready to cheer you on and root for you every step of your journey. We are out there. You are worth it.

This article was submitted to Love What Matters by Mackenzie Chambers . You can follow her on Instagram. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

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