Everyone’s sobriety journey has its peaks and valleys. Someone can go weeks without having an alcoholic beverage, but one mistake sends them back to square one. Here are five realistic tips for dealing with slip-ups in your sobriety journey.
1. Keep a Positive Mindset
The biggest key to dealing with a slip-up is keeping a positive mindset despite the temporary setback. Don’t let yourself get discouraged or intimidated. You’re only human, and humans make mistakes all the time. Instead, you should treat this brief mental lapse as a learning experience. Here are some mantras to help you maintain a positive mindset:
- I am in control.
- I am grateful for the ups and downs.
- I will not look back, only forward.
- I can find an excuse or find a way.
- I can let go of what I don’t need.
- I am not giving anything up when I’m sober.
- Another day, another opportunity.
- The sun will rise, and I will try again.
- The past has no power over me.
2. Figure out What Went Wrong
Next, you need to determine what caused you to slip up. Did something stressful happen in your personal or professional life that triggered your impulse to drink when you didn’t want to? Did you succumb to peer pressure? What was your thought process before taking the first sip? You need to figure out what went wrong to prevent the same event from happening in the future.
This step requires honest self-evaluation. Sometimes a slip-up is circumstantial, and other times you simply have a moment of weakness. In the latter case, you need to try to hold yourself accountable. Acknowledge your mistake and take actionable steps to correct it.
3. Re-evaluate Your Drinking Habits
Speaking of actionable steps, the first step you can take is to re-evaluate your drinking habits. This strategy applies to all beverages you drink throughout the day, including water, coffee and soda. Whenever you feel the itch for alcohol, reach for a non-alcoholic drink as a substitute. This psychological trick satisfies your urge to drink something, minus alcohol’s harmful effects.
Start by carrying water wherever you go so you stay hydrated and feel less inclined to drink alcohol. There are many other opportunities to say no to alcohol in favour of healthier alternatives. When you’re eating at a restaurant, order a mocktail. When you’re hanging out with friends, grab a soda instead of a beer.
4. Strengthen Your Support Group
It’s difficult to go on a sobriety journey without help from other people. If you feel like you need more support, don’t hesitate to reach out. It doesn’t matter if the person you contact is a relative, friend, colleague or therapist. Simply speaking about drinking can be therapeutic and lead to positive change.
5. Make a Change of Scenery
If all of the above tips fail, you might need a change of scenery. Something about your current living situation could be holding back your sobriety journey. It could be a toxic relationship with a roommate, increasing stress at work or a group of friends who enable bad habits. In any case, you may need to leave this environment for a while and reorganise your thoughts.
One Day, or Day One?
Everyone who wants to moderate their drinking habits has the occasional slip-up. You can’t let these moments of weakness define you. Keep a positive mindset, perform an honest self-evaluation, revisit your drinking habits and get more support if necessary. Stop saying “maybe one day,” and make today the first official day of your sobriety.
Written by Mia Barnes
Mia is a freelance writer and researcher with a passion for women’s health and wellness. Mia is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the healthy living online publication, Body+Mind Magazine.