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When I first stopped drinking I only planned to do it for 90 days.
Non-drinkers are boring. Alcohol-free life is shit. Why would you do ANYTHING that doesn’t involve drinking?
I’d done various 30 day stints before - usually Sober October which would then kick off in to Knob Head November before rolling into Can’t Remember December.
30 days isn’t enough. Nowhere near. Yes, it’s a decent break from alcohol and, yes, your body will say thank you. But it’s nowhere near enough time for you to fully experience the unexpected joys that sobriety brings.
When I was about 8 months in I was approaching my first sober spring and summer. Friends were making plans. People were booking holidays and there were garden gatherings every other night. I cried. I actually cried. I thought there’s no way I can do this. I can’t survive a summer without booze. It’s literally impossible.
What a load of toss… remove booze and anything is possible. But it’s not easy. You need to put a shit load of effort in!
We are SO conditioned into believing that nothing can be fun unless we’re drinking, tipsy, drunk, half cut, falling over, vomiting to make way for more booze, blacking out and making giant dicks of ourselves in public. Sounds fun, yeah?
Sunshine has always been one of my biggest triggers. I can deal with the stress and shame of losing a family business without turning to booze but the minute the sun appears in the sky my mind would turn to a couple of chilled rosè wines. Bottles, not glasses.
So how DO you tackle a booze-free summer? Well, if you’ve signed up to our wonderful Over The Influence community you download our Premium Pod Mini Series called Survive The Summer and binge on all 10 episodes! Between the 3 of us we cover just about every aspect of summer drinking and how you can get through it - and, most importantly, ENJOY IT!
Mindset is key - it’s about playing it forward each time your brain tries to trick you into believing you’ll have a better time pissed. You won’t. You might have a different time than you're used to but so much will change. You won’t want to do the same things. You will never wake up in the morning feeling fresh wishing you’d got arseholed the night before. Ever.
My first sober summer was a real test - but the only way to get through it is to not drink. It’s that simple and that difficult at the same time. You don’t drink alcohol and you do something different. Anything.
I hate gardening. So I started gardening. Planting little areas that needed tidying up instead of cracking a bottle of wine.
I did more with my family and didn’t clock watch to see if it was ‘5 o clock somewhere in the world’.
I read all the quit-lit.
I slept. I walked. I stroked owls (see Premium Pod, not gone public with this one yet!).
I stocked up on AF options. When I was drinking I was all about the wine and vodka. Never touched beer or cider. Now, I can’t stomach the thought of AF wine (though I do love an AF fizz) and really enjoy an AF cider or AF beer in the garden. So if I wanted to enjoy a drink in my garden I could. With the added benefit of it not turning me in to a Grade 1 Drunken Dick.
I did something different every single time I wanted a drink - and within half an hour the feeling had passed.
This is my third sober summer - and I’ve never been more happy to be booze free. It truly is the gift that gives on giving!
Not a single minute will be wasted drinking, thinking about drinking or recovering from drinking.
There’s too much else to be doing in the sunshine.