1. Tell someone
Admit you have a problem to yourself, and then tell someone else so it’s out there and your ears hear your mouth say it and it’s real and you are accountable for it.
2. Talk to an alcohol addiction counselor
There are steps you should take to minimize the awfulness that sets in for awhile, and if you have been drinking enough for long enough there may be some physical repercussions. It’s good to be fully prepared as to what is going to happen to you, like knowing you are going to sweat so bad when you sleep IF you can actually get to sleep.
Start meditating. If I had started meditating before I ever took my first sip of alcohol, I may not have ever have been in this situation. Much of my drinking was to calm social anxiety, anxiety in general, depression…. I was self medicating all the way. Meditation has helped all of that more than I could have ever imagined. If I knew how to stop intrusive thoughts long ago, maybe I wouldn’t have relied on beer to shut them up.
Just get up and walk around the block. It’s a meditation in itself, and when you pay attention to the cracks in the street or that dude walking his dog it’s much easier to be in the present. Or you can stare into deep space and really start thinking if you want to go the opposite route – I often come up with songs just by walking down the street long enough. You know those old people that walk at the mall? They are on to something. I join them.
Now that you are off the couch and walking, take it up a notch for the full meditation of mind and body. It’s okay to not be good at it, you get better noticeably quickly anyway which gives you more confidence to keep going. If you are too scared to go to a studio at first, watch Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. My yoga studio is in a community that is mostly retired people and the older the practitioner, the better they are.
6. Creative outlet
Once you stop drinking, you find yourself with a ton of time on your hands. Too much time! Time to pick back up childhood hobbies or that skill you have always talked about learning, because life can honestly be pretty boring while you are figuring out what to do for fun and for life that isn’t going to a bar. Plus, you are going to have some pretty major feelings that need to get out, so write in a journal. Use paint, or a guitar; whatever medium that feels most comfortable for you to express yourself.
7. Lifestyle change
While it does get easy to hang out with your friends at a bar after awhile, you know what sucks? Hanging out at a bar when you aren’t drinking. It can be fun for the first couple hours, but once everyone is yelling it’s time for me to skedaddle and I don’t feel a sliver of guilt. Start spending more time working on those creative outlets, volunteer at an event to meet like-minded people. I started a music blog and ended up becoming a writer and photographer for the local Village Voice publication which introduced me to all sorts of people who had struggles with alcohol and no longer drank. This one is the hardest step, believe me.
8. Help others
It can feel lonely sometimes not drinking in a world that heartily welcomes it in almost any social gathering. Shoot, it IS the gathering! There are others out there who feel like you, though- sick of it, sick of feeling bad, wanting to change but being overwhelmed with how; be open about your struggles. You can change their lives just by being a good example and listening. Invite them to do something that doesn’t involve drinking; you’d be amazed at the fun you can have.