The Sober Fish Top Tips for A Dry January

The Sober Fish Top Tips for A Dry January

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS and WELL DONE for deciding to give Dry January a whirl! It really is the best present you can give to yourself, especially after the chaos of Christmas.

In my opinion, any time of the sauce ain’t no bad thing but please, be realistic.

Bluntly, you are not going to lose 3 stone in 31 days. In fact, you may lose little or no weight unless you are on a calorie controlled diet and doing lots of exercise, but hey, one thing at a time eh? Concentrate on getting a good period of sobriety under your belt before you worry about everything else. Deprive yourself of food AND alcohol and I promise you won’t be a happy bunny.

You probably won’t have the skin of a baby after such a short time. It takes time for the nasty alcohol toxins to leave your body and whilst your eyes may look brighter or your skin be less puffy, significant changes often take longer than one month to notice.

You will not instantly sleep like you’re dead or have boundless energy by Day 2. Remember, you have been slowly poisoning your body for years and that damage takes time to reverse. Listen to your body. If you need to sleep, sleep. If you wake up early, use that time to do something you wouldn’t usually do like read or write or exercise.

It won’t be easy after the overindulgence of December and you WILL be in a mood and feel hard done by, but you have to remember why you are doing this. Dry January could possibly be one of the biggest foundation blocks to your sober future. Use it well.

The keys to success are –

PLAN, PLAN, PLAN – you MUST meticulously plan in the early days. Think about where you’re going, who’s going to be there, what you going to drink and what you will do if you feel triggered ..

Personally I avoided most situations where there was going to be copious amounts of alcohol for the first few months. I mean, if you were on a diet, you wouldn’t hang out in a bakery would you?

PODCASTS – I love podcasts! I particularly enjoyed the Recovery Elevator (I’m interviewed on episode 125) or The Alcohol & Addiction podcast. It really helped me to listen to other people’s stories especially at trigger times. More recently, I’ve been listening to Fearne Cotton’s ‘Happy Place’ and Desert Island Discs – there’s thousands of those to choose from.

TREATS – us humans just lurve rewarding ourselves! Giving up one thing will almost certainly mean replacing it with something else. That’s just the way it is. My vices swung between Elderflower cordial to Curly Wurlies to Magnums to Mince Pies. I used exercise to combat my over-treating and started to lose weight after 6 weeks of sobriety.

EXERCISE – it’s no secret that exercise is good for us, both physically and mentally. For me, walking has been my saviour. Start by doing short walks and gradually build up your pace and distance. I used

https://www.raceatyourpace.co.uk

for 3 months to build the habit of exercise into my routine and it worked a treat! Choose an activity you ENJOY and be very disciplined about how often you do it. You will have to fill your big alcohol-shaped hole with something!

ONLINE GROUPS – Join online groups such as Club Soda Together

www.joinclubsoda.co.uk

or search for ‘Alcohol Explained’ on Facebook. These groups have been my lifelines and provide essential support when you need it most. Imagine, lots of people just like YOU with a common goal in mind. Brilliant!

ALCOHOL FREE ALTERNATIVES – stock up with your favourite alcohol-free tipple. Drink it in a wine glass if it makes you feel better. If you choose to drink alcohol-free wine & beer, do that. If alcohol-free wine & beer triggers you, don’t do that! Do what is good for YOU! There are thousands of drinks to choose from these days; there really is no need for ethanol

QUIT LIT – with all that money you’re not spending on alcohol, get some books about sobriety or an Audible membership. There are hundreds of titles out there to help you (see bottom of blog for ideas). Literally flood your mind with sober thoughts.

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE AUDIBLE TRIAL (new customers only)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Audible-Free-Trial-Digital-Membership/dp/B00OPA2XFG?tag=soberfish22-21

TRIGGER TIMES – Recognise your trigger times and arrange to do something different to what you would usually do. If your trigger time is Friday night, go to the cinema & eat popcorn. If it’s Sunday evening, go out for a walk. You have to fill trigger time with something else or the nagging thought will win.

You cannot do the same things & expect different results. If you sit in front of the TV night after night & expect not crave a drink, you will be sorely disappointed. Soberdom is not just about not drinking alcohol. It is about changing your lifestyle, breaking a habit and doing something different. Try writing down how you feel, or calling a friend to talk or join online discussions.

YOU have to change YOU if you want to succeed.

Wishing you all the luck in the world!

YOU CAN DO THIS

Lots of Love SF X

PODCAST –

RE 125: Focus on the Action and Not the Results

WEBINAR – http://bit.ly/2VfEU2G

ONLINE SUPPORT –

Home

HELP AND ADVICE –

https://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/dry-january

QUIT LIT –

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE SOBER DIARIES’ BY CLAIRE POOLEY

https://amzn.to/2AmqnZW

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘ALCOHOL EXPLAINED’ BY WILLIAM PORTER

https://amzn.to/2CDDW8R

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘YOU LEFT EARLY’ BY LOUISA YOUNG

https://amzn.to/2Roee0n

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘RECOVERY’ BY RUSSELL BRAND

https://amzn.to/2QWCTtB

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE UNEXPECTED JOY OF BEING SOBER’ BY CATHERINE GRAY

https://amzn.to/2Rmf9OS

CLICK HERE TO BUY ‘THE BIG BOOK OF YES’ FEATURING MY OWN STORY

https://amzn.to/2Vg711z

TO BUY SOBRIETY CARDS –

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SoberFishStore

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How to Survive a Sober Christmas by Sober Fish

How to Survive a Sober Christmas by Sober Fish

So you’ve taken the plunge and decided that Christmas 2018 will be a hangover-free, guilt-free, joyous occasion, but you have no idea how you’re going to crack it?

Here are some of my top tips to help you wake up in 2019 happy and poison free

– Stop romanticising. You’re choosing sobriety for a reason. Alcohol is NOT your friend.

– Drive everywhere

– Find some nice recipes and cook for yourself and your loved ones. Cooking takes time and effort .. you won’t have time to drink

– Avoid obvious boozefests if you’re newly sober .. if you were on a diet, you wouldn’t hang out in a bakery would ya?

– PLAN what drinks you’re going to drink. I remember clunking numerous bottles of alcohol free options round to friends houses and getting off my head on sugar. Do whatever it takes 🎄

– Listen to podcasts/webinars regarding alcohol and addiction .. it really helped me in the early days .. I’ve listed ones I feature on below

– Eat lots and stop feeling guilty. One thing at a time my friends 😘

– Do some kind of exercise every day; it’s good for your mind, body and soul. On Christmas Day last year, I inadvertently joined the fancy dress park run .. and I wasn’t running or in fancy dress 🤣

– Tell people you’re not drinking. If you’re shy, lie! Antibiotics is always a good one … unless you’re still using that excuse a year later …

– Request people don’t buy you alcohol either as a present or in a bar

– Try, where possible, not to go to an event for a prolonged period of time if you know you’re going to struggle, and always plan your exit strategy

– Don’t feel guilt for saying no. You need to look after you at this crucial time.

– A Sober Christmas is about connection; connect with your loved ones and enjoy their company rather than having a row and throwing the turkey at them …. errrr no I didn’t 🤣

– Above all, ENJOY YOURSELF! When you were 5, you weren’t pissed (I hope) and you had the best Christmas ever .. you can do it again .. promise! 🎅🏼

To watch my Club Soda Webinar recorded in April 2018, click here

To listen to my Recovery Elevator Podcast recorded in July 2017, click here

RE 125: Focus on the Action and Not the Results

To watch my Club Soda Webinar recorded on Sunday 9 December 2018, click here

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Clearing Up The Crap

Clearing Up The Crap

Imagine you are a computer. 

Then imagine all of the things you have in your life are open pages on your computer screen, for example work, family, relationships, thoughts, emotions, habits, etc. 

Then think of what happens to your computer when too many screens are open at the same time. It is slow, sluggish and doesn’t work to its full capacity. See where I’m going with this?

Is it any wonder that in the modern world we get overloaded and come unstuck, using drugs and alcohol to escape into a world where none of that matters anymore??

Behind the Soberfish scenes, I’ve been attending sessions with Becki Houlston, a life coach based in sunny Bournemouth. Becki uses a system which involves identifying what exactly is slowing us down, ‘clearing’ those open screens running in the background and uses how the nervous system responds to gauge when the screens are cleared. 

You could be forgiven for thinking ‘oh she’s definitely lost it now’ and ‘not more mumbo jumbo’ but I believe this shizzle really works. 

Our sessions began with a fairly informal chat about my life in general. I found Becki really easy to talk to and explained about the past year, about past relationships, about where my life is at right now and where I plan to be in the future. I had also completed some forms before the first session so Becki had an idea of what I was looking to achieve. 

Several things became obvious quite quickly. 

One, I tend to feel uncomfortable and get defensive if I don’t feel ‘safe’. We discussed my forthcoming trip to Thailand and I was explaining how I was getting freaked out about whether to take a rucksack or a suitcase or which hotel to stay in or where to go. Becki made me see that I need to find the middle ground that made me feel safe/comfortable about my decisions rather than obsessing about the minor details and that I should be getting excited about my trip rather than working myself into a frenzy!

Two, that despite being fairly goal orientated, I wasn’t working towards any particular life goals. I explained that I had worked towards my Soberversary during 2017 and not really focused on anything beyond that. Becki suggested it was now time to make some goals to encourage what I wanted to come into my life rather than focusing on what I didn’t want. 

And three, my speciality, overthinking. I’ve always been the same, analysing a situation beyond recognition and coming to my own, (often wrong) conclusions about what other people are going to think, say or do. Overthinking is an exhausting trait and clouds everything in its path. It was time to shut it down.

Becki asked me to stand in front of her, arms straight by my side but relaxed, and with my eyes shut, repeat ‘I am weakened by overthinking’. The ever cynical me expected to feel nothing but instead I felt my body gently sway backwards. The movement was very subtle but it was there. I then repeated the sentence, feeling the sway again. For me, the sway backwards indicated ‘weak’ and the idea is to keep repeating ‘I am weakened by overthinking’ until the sway switched direction to forward and therefore ‘cleared the screen’.

As the procedure is being completed, Becki is watching how the nervous system responds to the commands as the movements can be very slight. They can also be very exaggerated depending on the size of the issue and some people have been known to fall over! The larger the issue, the harder it is to clear. Overthinking dominated most of my first session and probably needs shutting down on a fairly regular basis! 

So how do I feel now? Well, I must say I do feel more focused on what is important and I do feel lighter after a session. As an impatient person, I expect immediate results but understand this isn’t always possible. Perhaps impatience needs to be my next ‘screen’ to be cleared?!

I will be returning to Becki for more ‘clearing’ in the New Year and highly recommend her services. Becki can offer one to one sessions either in person, on the phone or via Skype, so distance is not a problem. This technique can be used on many different issues .. if other techniques haven’t worked for you, why not give this a go? 

https://www.facebook.com/Becki-Houlston-Stress-and-Anxiety-Help-115751903206

www.beckihoulston.com

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The Sober Fish Top Tips for A Dry January

The absolute key to success is meticulous planning. Personally, I avoided situations where there was going to be copious amounts of alcohol. If you were on a diet, you wouldn’t hang out in McDonald’s would you?

Download podcasts .. I particularly enjoyed the Recovery Elevator (I’m interviewed on episode 125) or The Alcohol & Addiction podcast. It really helped me to listen to other people’s stories.

Buy treats. We just lurve rewarding ourselves! Giving up one thing will mean replacing it with something else. That’s the way we are made. My vices have swung between Elderflower cordial to Curly Wurlies to Magnums. Yes, I know they’re full of sugar but I gave up drinking & smoking at the same time & I’m still losing weight so WHATEVS.

Join online groups such as Club Soda Together or Alcohol Explained. These groups have been my lifelines. Lots of people just like YOU with a common goal in mind. Brilliant!

Buy your favourite alcohol free tipple. Drink it in a wine glass if it makes you feel better. If you have to drink alcohol free wine & beer, do that. If that triggers you, don’t do that. Do what is good for YOU! Get some books. There’s hundreds out there to help you. Flood your mind with sober thoughts.

Recognise your trigger times and arrange to do something. If your trigger time is Friday night, go to the cinema & eat popcorn. If it’s Sunday evening, go out for a walk. You have to fill trigger time with something else or the nagging thought will win.

You cannot do the same things & expect different results. If you expect sit in front of the tv night after night & not crave a drink, you will be disappointed. Soberdom is not just about not drinking. It is about changing your lifestyle, breaking a habit, doing something different. Try writing down how you feel, or calling a friend and talking about it or join online discussions. You have to change YOU if you want to succeed.

Wishing you all the luck in the world!

YOU CAN DO THIS XX

RE 125: Focus on the Action and Not the Results

One of the most powerful episodes I listened to http://www.needyhelper.com/the-alcohol-addiction-podcast-episode-52-kim-sandhu-on-his-addiction-mental-illness-and-recovery

Home

https://m.facebook.com/groups/133108560878880

https://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/dry-january

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Why change a habit of a lifetime?

Why change a habit of a lifetime?

Sometimes, I feel like Sobriety is a bit of a cult, a bit like a religion, a bit like a secret club that until you truly embrace it, you can’t quite understand it. 

Sobriety has literally given me my life back. Recently, several people have asked me whether now that I’ve reached a year off the sauce, I could just ‘have the one’ or whether I’ve considered moderation? The categoric answer is no.

If I had been in an abusive relationship and escaped, would you ask me if I was ready to return? 

If I was a smoker and had given up, would you ask me if I felt ready to have ‘just the one’?

If I was a heroin addict, would you ask me if it was time to shoot up?

I have never claimed to be addicted to alcohol however I see my relationship with it as very unhealthy & with symptoms not dissimilar to bulimia. I rarely had ‘just the one’ unless it was a bottle. I was often sick the following day. All day. Alcohol made me emotional, self loathing, anxious, do stupid things, make stupid decisions, sleep less, eat more. You know the score. I have no desire whatsoever to go back to that. 

Last Christmas was tough because Christmas is mostly about repetition. Most years, Christmas follows the same blueprint as does the alcohol consumed. At no other time of the year would I drink Bucks Fizz or Port or Baileys but for one day of the year, in it all went. 

This year, because I already had a sober Christmas in the bag, it was much easier because my Christmas blueprint has already started to change from years gone by. With a years sobriety behind me, I can honestly say I didn’t think about alcohol at all. I don’t miss Bucks Fizz or wine or after dinner drinks .. or the hangover.

It is hard changing a habit of a lifetime. But it’s not impossible. When you were 5, you weren’t getting hammered on Christmas Day so you need to go back to that! Children are the ones who get the most joy out of Christmas and they’re sober .. we all need to go back to our roots. 

If you are questioning your drinking habits or saying the immortal words ‘I’m never drinking again’, why not try and make that true? I can honestly say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Take control. Get your life back. Be brave. Get sober.

#day395

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