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Early Sobriety: 10 Helpful Tips for Your Journey

Person looking out at mountains If you’re reading this, you may already be in the early stages of sobriety, or you may be considering changing your relationship with alcohol. Regardless of where you are on your journey, exploring how sobriety can give you more out of life is a courageous act of self-care. Alcohol impacts every dimension of our wellness, and cutting back creates space for healing and realization of the benefits of sobriety.

While sobriety is incredibly rewarding for your physical and mental health, it can also be challenging, especially in the early days. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. For judgment-free encouragement and support, you can join over 25,000 members in the free Monument Community. And to get guidance right here and now, here are 11 expert tips for early sobriety.

1. Make a plan to safely cut back

Before you change your drinking habits, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider to ensure that you have a plan to do so safely. Quitting alcohol cold turkey can be dangerous due to the risk of acute alcohol withdrawal, and in some cases, it can even be life-threatening. The first step is to connect with a physician to discuss your drinking habits and medical history. A physician can provide safe next steps, and if appropriate, recommend in-person detox options to address withdrawal symptoms. You can learn more about how you can cut back safely by virtually connecting with a physician at Monument. 

2. Get rid of alcohol reminders in your space

Once you’ve established a safe way to begin your sobriety journey, a productive step is to physically remove alcohol-related items from your space. Over an extended period of heavy alcohol use, the brain creates strong associations between alcohol and routines, items, and more. When navigating sobriety, both alcohol and the things that you associate with it can create triggers that cause cravings. Removing or reframing the things you associate with alcohol can make a huge difference. Here are a few examples:

Reframe routines in your space:

If you always used to have a drink at 5pm on your sofa, your brain may associate that hour and location with alcohol consumption. Instead, try to plan an alternate activity for that hour, like yoga or an alcohol support group. It may be helpful to physically reposition the sofa to help form new associations and routines. Feng shui can be an empowering and refreshing exercise.

Substitute alcohol bottles:

If creating entirely new routines is challenging at first, finding alcohol alternatives can be a helpful way to have an evening drink without the negative effects of alcohol. There are many great non-alcoholic options that can also feel like a reward after a long day.

Donate triggering items:

If there are certain items that remind you of drinking, like glassware or clothing with logos of alcohol brands, you can donate them to those in need. Not only does this remove potential triggers from your space, but it can also help someone else along the way. 

You might experience uncomfortable feelings as you change your routines, and that’s entirely valid. Managing discomfort without alcohol is an important skill to develop in early recovery, and a key driver of meaningful growth. 

people holding hands

3. Reassess your social calendar to be mindful of triggers

In addition to items and routines in the home, certain people and social spaces can also trigger alcohol cravings. It may be challenging to go to visit people and places that you strongly associate with drinking. You should feel empowered to turn down any and all invitations that you think would be too difficult to attend while also honoring your goals. Your sobriety can always come first, and it doesn’t mean it’s the end of your social life. Sobriety offers the opportunity to make new, authentic memories and connections. 

When you first stop drinking, you get the opportunity to explore your boundaries and experiment with socializing as a sober person. This may include:

Your social calendar may look different in the first few months of sobriety, and that’s completely okay.

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4. Familiarize yourself with the recovery timeline 

While everyone’s experience is unique and valid, there are common patterns in early sobriety that can help set expectations throughout your journey. Familiarizing yourself with the alcohol recovery timeline can inform conversations with your healthcare provider and reassure you that, more often than not, what you’re experiencing is a normal phase of the non-linear treatment journey. An example of a ‘normal’ experience that can feel jarring in early sobriety is ‘the honeymoon phase,’ characterized by a temporary rush of mental clarity and energy, followed by a tapering off of those feelings. Another example is post acute alcohol withdrawal (PAWS), characterized by psychological withdrawal symptoms such as anxiousness, irritability, and disrupted sleep that can continue for weeks or months after quitting alcohol.

When learning about these potential experiences, it’s important to remember that healing is complete with ups-and-downs, and these challenging moments will pass with time. Engaging in online alcohol treatment and community tools is a great way to connect with others throughout this journey, and get expert guidance to help navigate these challenges.

"Early sobriety is the ultimate form of delayed gratification"

5. Create reminders of your ‘why’

As you navigate early sobriety, defining your “why” and holding it close will be your single greatest motivator. Spend time reflecting on all that you hope to gain from changing your relationship with alcohol. Whatever your reason for abstaining or cutting back, make it a central focus of your journey. This could look like a daily mantra where you say to yourself every morning in the mirror: “I will not drink today because ….”  Additionally, visual reminders can provide accountability and encouragement. Put post-it notes up on your mirror or type out your “why” and set it as the background of your phone screen. Find a way to embrace this courageous decision however it feels best to you. Here are a few example mantras: 

  • I will not drink today because I want to show up fully for my kids. 
  • I will not drink today because I am already fun and magnetic without alcohol. 
  • I will not drink today because I treasure my body and will put my health first.

6. Connect with a community

Remember, you don’t have to go through the recovery process alone. Studies show that peer support and accountability can reduce heavy drinking and help sustain abstinence.¹ Forming connections with others who share similar experiences can help you feel heard, supported, and encouraged as you navigate ups and downs. Whether it be through online support groups, groups on Instagram or Facebook, or through a local organization, finding community is an incredibly enriching and rewarding part of the recovery journey. 

People hugging

7. Engage in a treatment plan

Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition, and evidence shows it can be effectively treated with tools like specialized alcohol therapy, medication to stop drinking, and peer support. Remember that there’s no shame in seeking additional support as you navigate early sobriety. Recovery experts recommend engaging with as many tools as possible, especially when beginning your journey. Whether you look to an online alcohol treatment provider or in-person treatment program, a treatment plan can support  you both in the early stages and throughout your journey.

Online alcohol therapy 

Early sobriety can introduce many unknowns. Working through challenges, questions, and setbacks with the guidance of a therapist in a personalized alcohol therapy program can make a huge difference. In specialized alcohol therapy, a therapist trained in treating substance use disorder works with you to:

  • Identify achievable goals
  • Develop healthy ways to cope 
  • Manage cravings and negative thoughts
  • Address co-occurring anxiety and depression

Ultimately, alcohol therapy can help you discover healthy ways to navigate the ups and downs of your sobriety journey.

Explore therapy with Monument –>

Medication to stop drinking

Another evidence-based tool is medication to stop drinking. At Monument, we connect you to a physician to determine if medication to stop drinking is safe and appropriate for you. Naltrexone, which is most commonly prescribed on the Monument platform, is an FDA-approved medication that can help reduce alcohol cravings. Naltrexone works by blocking certain receptors in the brain so you get less pleasure from alcohol, which reduces the association between alcohol and relief, and reduces cravings over time. Medications like naltrexone and acamprosate have been proven to reduce the risk of returning to any drinking as well as return to heavy drinking.² Your physician can answer questions like “What is drinking on naltrexone like?,” among others. You should feel empowered at any point in your journey to explore if medication is right for you. 

8. Set goals

Setting goals is a crucial step in cultivating motivation and measuring progress. Goals encourage us to reflect on the past and build a plan for becoming the best version of ourselves. Goals can be related to reducing your alcohol consumption and engaging in your treatment program. For example, you may aim to reduce your weekly drink count by 2 drinks every week, and attend 5 support groups per week.

 If you’re currently maintaining sobriety, you can create supporting goals like making a daily gratitude list or completing a self-care routine. When we set goals, we’re able to mark our progress and expand upon our growth. It’s also important to remember that setbacks are a common and expected part of the journey. Recovery is all about progress, not perfection. 

Be sure to celebrate the small milestones along the way.

Graph titled "The recovery journey", with x axis as time and y axis as progress. Straight line growing exponentialling labelled "expectation" and a curved line going up and down and ending high labelled "reality"

9. Let friends know (if you want!)

Whether or not you’re ready to share your sobriety journey is entirely up to you. Ultimately, sharing your goals with your loved ones can add accountability and encouragement, but it can happen on your own time. You might want to start with a few trusted friends or family members. These support people can help you navigate events, hold you accountable to your goals, and celebrate your progress. Your therapist can also provide advice about how to tell people you’re getting treatment to change your drinking and help you identify the healthy relationships in your life and who should be in your support system. With time, you may decide to share your sobriety with a wider network. 

In all likelihood, the people in your life will be supportive of your recovery process and offer themselves as a resource to you. Healthy relationships like this can be incredibly beneficial as you navigate early sobriety. If someone responds negatively, it’s important to remember that their reaction likely says more about their own relationship with alcohol than your decision. Your sobriety is something to be incredibly proud of. You’re putting your health and happiness first, and gifting those around you with your most authentic, present self. In the process of building your sober life, you might even inspire others to reflect on their own relationship with alcohol.

in tweet format: "If you missed a day of brushing your teeth, would you give up on brushing? No. If you have a setback on your sobriety journey, keep going. Tomorrow is a new day."

10. Keep going

Last but certainly not least on our list of early sobriety tips: take it one day at a time. The first 30 days of early sobriety are typically the most difficult. This is because your body and mind are healing from the effects of alcohol. There’s nothing wrong with taking small steps and engaging in as many support tools as possible. With time you will begin to feel more relief, and new healthy habits will become second nature. Sobriety is a marathon, not a sprint. If you experience a setback, enlist the power of self-forgiveness in recovery, and remember the most important thing you can do is keep going. 

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Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.


1. Kelly JF. Is Alcoholics Anonymous religious, spiritual, neither? Findings from 25 years of mechanisms of behavior change research. Addiction. 2017 Jun;112(6):929-936. doi: 10.1111/ add.13590. Epub 2016 Oct 8. PMID: 27718303; PMCID: PMC5385165. 


2. Jonas DE, Amick HR, Feltner C, Bobashev G, Thomas K, Wines R, Kim MM, Shanahan E, Gass CE, Rowe CJ, Garbutt JC. Pharmacotherapy for adults with alcohol use disorders in outpatient settings: a systematic review and meta- analysis. JAMA. 2014 May 14;311(18):1889- 900. doi: 10.1001/jama.2014.3628. PMID: 24825644.

Naltrexone has the capacity to cause hepatocellular injury (liver injury) when given in excessive doses. Naltrexone is contraindicated in acute hepatitis or liver failure, and its use for a patient with active liver disease must be carefully considered in light of its hepatotoxic effects. In the treatment of alcohol dependence, adverse reactions include difficulty sleeping, anxiety, nervousness, abdominal pain/cramps, nausea and/or vomiting, low energy, joint and muscle pain, headache, dizziness, and somnolence. This is not a complete list of potential adverse events associated with naltrexone hydrochloride. Please see Full Prescribing Information for a complete list

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AA Alternatives: Tools To Stop Drinking Without Alcoholics Anonymous

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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other groups based in Twelve Step Foundation (TSF) have helped millions of people over many decades. AA is among the most commonly known tools for people aiming to achieve sobriety and has chapters worldwide. While AA and TSF groups have connected many people through peer-to-peer support, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to changing your relationship with alcohol, and it’s important that people are aware of their options. If AA hasn’t worked for you or doesn’t meet your needs or preferences, you are not alone.  Alcohol use disorder (AUD) has become more broadly recognized as a medical condition, and many clinical trials show the effectiveness of clinical treatment in helping people reduce heavy drinking or achieve sobriety. 

For those seeking AA alternatives, we’re here to share more about other treatment options that can help you reach your sobriety or moderation goals. 

Medication to stop drinking

Many people are surprised to find out that there’s FDA-approved medication to stop drinking or cut back. Medications such as naltrexone and acamprosate are supported by randomized controlled trials, including an analysis published in JAMA, which revealed both medications reduce the risk of returning to any drinking. Another medication option you may have heard about is disulfiram, also known as Antabuse, which supports goals specifically for abstinence (not moderation). You can read our resources section and connect with a physician to answer questions such as what is the difference between naltrexone vs. Antabuse? Which is right for me? How does disulfiram work? What are naltrexone benefits? And any other questions you may have about medication. If medication isn’t right for you, that’s okay! Other evidence-based AA alternatives may be a better fit for you and your recovery process. 

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Specialized alcohol therapy 

Another common misconception is that therapy is only effective at treating mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. While therapy is a great tool for addressing those conditions which both commonly occur with AUD, research shows cognitive behavioral therapy can also help reduce alcohol consumption. Therapy can reveal the influences and triggers of unhealthy alcohol use and help you build new coping skills.  For example, some people might uncover a strong connection between social anxiety and alcohol use, which they can address through therapy. 

In addition to identifying and managing triggers, incorporating therapy in your recovery program can help you stay sober  by providing tools for managing negative thoughts and cravings, boundary setting, and fostering healthy relationships. People in AA may also be in therapy outside of their AA program. While starting any form of therapy is an act of self-care, working with a therapist trained and specialized in treating substance use disorders can be especially helpful. At Monument, we connect you to therapists with direct experience helping people cut back on drinking in a confidential and judgement-free virtual environment. 

Explore therapy with Monument –>

Online alcohol support groups

There is evidence from AA and other TSF groups that show peer encouragement and accountability can reduce heavy drinking. If Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t for you, AA alternatives that provide community support and accountability can still be very meaningful in your journey. There are many in-person and online communities, including the anonymous virtual community here at Monument. 

Upon joining, you can attend one of our free therapist-moderated alcohol support groups on a range of topics related to sobriety and moderation. Monument groups connect you to other group members navigating similar challenges. What sets Monument apart from AA and other groups is that an experienced clinical moderator guides the group meeting, and group members can join as anonymously as they’d like. In addition to peer support groups, there are many other ways to connect with others and gain wisdom from their stories without attending an AA meeting. You can turn to Instagram communities, explore some of the best sobriety podcasts, and check out recovery Facebook groups. 

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What to look out for in AA alternatives 

If you’re exploring AA alternatives or non 12 step programs to help you stop drinking or moderate drinking, it can be helpful to gain a deeper understanding of your needs and preferences as you decide what options might work best for you. Here are 7 considerations while exploring alternative treatment. 

Understand the spectrum of goals:

It’s important to assess if a given treatment option or support group aligns with your goals. For example, certain programs are abstinence-only, while others are inclusive of goals for both sobriety and moderation or harm reduction. If you’re still deciding if you can drink in moderation or if sobriety is right for you, that’s okay! You don’t need to have all the answers at the beginning of your journey. Finding a program that supports a wide range of goals, from harm reduction to abstinence, can help you explore your options on your own terms.

Explore the language:

Every treatment center, support group, and online alcohol treatment provider is unique and likely uses different language and terminology to describe themselves and the journey to change your relationship with alcohol. If you don’t identify with terms like ‘alcoholic’ or addict’ used in traditional recovery settings, that’s completely valid.Many programs, including Monument, have created glossaries with an updated set of language that use terms like alcohol use disorder and unhealthy alcohol use instead of alcohol addiction‘ or ‘alcohol abuse

Navigating the non-linear treatment journey

This group is for individuals who have engaged in multiple treatment pathways throughout their recovery journey to discuss persevering through challenges, and finding new tools to empower progress.
Check out the Schedule

See what resonates:

There are many options out there, and likely, there’s an AA alternative that aligns with your beliefs and values. Whether you’re looking for clinical, spiritual, religious, atheistic, or any other type of support, you deserve to find it. At Monument, we connect members to clinical care and non-spiritual community support.  

Discuss your medical history and needs:

If you’re exploring clinical treatment options such as medication, it’s important to honestly share your medical history and alcohol consumption history with your physician. If you’re considering quitting alcohol cold turkey or cutting back significantly, you should speak to a healthcare provider to ensure the safest course of action regardless of your treatment plan. It’s important to discuss if you’ve developed an alcohol dependence and your risk of acute alcohol withdrawal.

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Look out for costs:

AA alternatives can range from free to very expensive. Many community groups, including Monument’s alcohol support groups, are free to join. AA meetings are also free. You can access affordable medical care, including therapy and medication to stop drinking, via the Monument platform starting at $10/month plus an initial appointment fee. Both inpatient and outpatient rehab also offer clinical care, many at a much higher price point. 

Check out the treatment facility:

There are AA alternatives that conduct their program in a physical facility for those seeking in-patient care throughout their recovery process. If in-person care is for you, find out if the accommodations meet your treatment needs and align with your preferences for a recovery program. If you’re not interested in in-person care, online alcohol treatment has proven to be an effective tool and AA alternative that provides even greater confidentiality. 

Try it out (if you can) and see what feels good:

Many AA alternatives allow you to learn more about their treatment options or even experience them for free without a long-term commitment. Get started by joining a free support group, doing a free orientation call, or reading the resources on the program’s website. Getting a sense of what the treatment roadmap looks like in different programs can give you a better sense of if it aligns with your goals and preferences. 

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Whether or not you choose to pursue Alcoholics Anonymous, another 12 step program, or an AA alternative, seeking support to stop drinking or cut back is a tremendous step that can provide many benefits to you and those around you. You can also try multiple options, and discover what works best for you. Recovery is a non-linear process, and you deserve tools that meet your evolving needs, every step of the way. Regardless of your path forward, the team here at Monument is cheering you on. 

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Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.
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15 Sobriety Podcasts to Listen to in Recovery

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When you decide to change your relationship with alcohol, it can be incredibly beneficial to build a sobriety or moderation toolkit to help you honor your goals. Online alcohol treatment includes tools for accountability and behavioral change such as medication to stop drinking, online alcohol therapy, and alcohol support groups. In addition to your treatment plan, it can be empowering to seek other forms of motivation, including books, podcasts, Instagram accounts, and other resources about navigating the sobriety or moderation journey.  Fortunately, your options are plentiful.

Sobriety podcasts are a great way to seek encouragement and accountability on the go. You can listen on the way to a social event when experiencing a craving or anytime you’re looking to hear how others have built an alcohol-free life that they love. Not sure where to begin your listening experience? Here are 15 of the best sobriety podcasts, curated by the team here at Monument. Happy listening! 

"Soberful. The Podcast. With Veronica Valli and Chip Somers" Black and white image of Veronica Valli and Chip Somers smiling at each other.

1. Soberful:

If you’re looking to gain insight into sobriety and recovery from hosts with both lived and professional experience, this is a great podcast option for you. Hosted by recovery experts Veronica Valli (recovery coach) and Chip Somers (psychotherapist), this recovery podcast offers expert insights via interviews with people who have built a “soberful” life. The hosts cover a range of topics like emotional sobriety and trauma, and have been sober for a combined almost 50 years. Soberful is full of advice for those who are sober curious, navigating the early stages of sobriety, or in long-term recovery.

Check out this episode:Intergenerational Drinking”

"Recovery Happy Hour. Hosted by Tricia Lewis" Image of Tricia Lewis sipping from a teacup.

2. Recovery Happy Hour 

With over 130 episodes, Recovery Happy Hour podcast host Tricia Lewis has had dozens and dozens of meaningful conversations that remind us that sobriety is worth celebrating, and that life doesn’t stop when you stop drinking. Tricia stopped drinking in November of 2016 and features a wide range of stories and perspectives on her podcast. In fact, she interviewed Monument CEO & Co-founder Mike Russell about his own journey, focusing on how medication to stop drinking supports his sobriety. Recovery Happy Hour is also on Mike’s personal list of best sober podcasts! 

Check out this episode:M.A.T./ Mike

"Sisters who followed the yam" Cartoon of two hands holding a string together with yams above

3. Sisters Who Followed The Yam: Two Women in Self Recovery

This podcast is hosted by the founder of Sober Black Girls Club (SBGC), Khadi Olagoke, alongside SBGC Sunday meditation leader Taquiyyah. SGBC is a recovery community full of resources and inspiration for Black women navigating recovery, sobriety, or just looking to live a happier, healthier life. Sisters Who Followed The Yam is a podcast about healing, joy, and community, from the perspective of two women in self-recovery. You can find discussions related to personal development, racism, fear, self-esteem, and much more.

Check out this episode:Naomi Osaka and Self Actualization

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4. The Bubble Hour 

Jean McCarthy, recovery author and blogger, began hosting The Bubble Hour in 2016, and now holds an impressive listenership of more than 75,000 monthly downloads. Tune in as Jean cultivates community and compassion by sharing conversations and interviews with those who have been affected by unhealthy alcohol use. This candid and encouraging podcast gets its name from the idea of the “Bubble,” which is what we use to stay safe and happy in sobriety (especially early sobriety).

Check out this episode:Victoria Vanstone from Drunk Mummy Sober Mummy Blog” 

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5. In Recovery with Dr. Nzinga Harrison

Dr. Nzinga is physician board-certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine. She digs deep into the complex factors involved in substance use disorders (SUDs), and how they show up in a person’s life. In Recovery focuses on helping people see SUDs as medical conditions. Similar to a call-in radio show, Dr. Nzinga answers questions that come from listeners through email, voicemail, tweets, and more. You can find episodes related to mental health, recovery, trauma, and all of the complex subjects surrounding them.

Check out this episode:A look at ADHD’s link to addiction

Navigating long-term sobriety together

If cutting out alcohol entirely best supports your health and wellness goals, you are not alone. Join an encouraging conversation about how to achieve and maintain a sober lifestyle that you love.
Check out the Schedule

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6. The Sober Gay Podcast

This recovery podcast is hosted by two friends named Aubrey Lee and Dillan Gay (As Dillan says, “Yes, Gay is my real last name”). Their podcast, The Sober Gay Podcast, consists of sit-down chats where both hosts discuss their experiences as a sober person in the LGBTQIA+ community. The duo’s new-age approach to sobriety is fun, relatable, and helps listeners feel empowered and supported throughout their journey. No topic is off limits!

Check out this episode: Scared Sober

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7. The Only One In The Room 

This podcast is hosted by Laura Cathcart Robbins, who describes herself as a “recovery-thriver.” The Only One In The Room’s concept is based on an article Laura wrote about her experience being the only Black woman at a writing retreat. Laura was overwhelmed by the amount of “othered” folks who could relate to her story. So now, she interviews them. With topics related to sobriety, race, politics, and more, each guest featured on each week’s episodes shares their personal experience being “The Only One in The Room.”

Check out this episode: Sunday Edition: Nate Kelly is the only one who drank himself into a stroke and kept drinking”

"Brobriety" Cartoons of knife, skull, muscular arm, fire, beard, and bottle with a crossed out symbol

8. Brobriety Sobriety Podcast

The Brobriety Sobriety Podcast is all about the intersection between sobriety and masculinity. Hosted by VanSober, this podcast tackles conversations about substance use, mental health, and wellness in the 21st century. With new guests featured on every episode, this podcast features candid discussions and eye-opening perspectives on what it means to navigate both recovery and masculinity. 

Check out this episode:Building a purposeful life with Lou Redmond”

"A Sober Girls Guide Podcast" Cartoon of sunset over ocean

9. A Sober Girls Guide: 

With a casual, conversational, and witty approach, A Sober Girls Guide podcast host Jessica Jeboult invites various inspiring guests to join her in tackling topics such as dating, relationships, sex, fitness, mental health, and beyond. This podcast is accessible and fun, and even featured Monument’s own partnership manager, Daisy Gumin, in an episode about joy, sexuality, and self-discovery.

Check out this episode:Daisy: Find Your Joy”

"That Sober Guy Podcast with Shane Ramer. We Help People Stay Sober" Image of Shane Ramer fist bumping

10. That Sober Guy Podcast:

Shane Ramer is the inspiring host of That Sober Guy Podcast. After struggling with substance use disorders from a young age, Shane sought out professional care and began his journey to recovery. Shane’s podcast is dedicated to helping others discover the benefits of sobriety and a life without substances. Featuring a diverse group of guests, Shane shares all things recovery ranging from personal stories to professional advice. 

Check out this episode:Dating, Marriage and Sober sex | Tripp Kramer”

"Recovery Rocks" Playful image of Tawny Lara and Lisa Smith in sunglasses.

11. Recovery Rocks: 

Lisa Smith and Tawny Lara host this dynamic, fun, and authentic podcast about sobriety (with a touch of rock and roll). Lisa is a rock-and-roll-loving Gen X lawyer in recovery, and Tawny is a millennial writer who found sobriety through blogging. They cover a wide range of recovery-related topics such as forgiveness, relationships, and anxiety, which provides insightful tips on how to stay sober throughout a variety of circumstances. They also invite special guests to take a deeper dive on select themes. 

Check out this episode:Talking to Friends and Family About Your Drinking

"Getting Your Sh*t Together Podcast. WHET?" Cartoon of woman with red bandana and jean shirt.

12. Getting Your Sh*t Together

Cynthia is a queer writer, military brat, photographer, and the founder and host of the podcast: Getting Your Sh*t Together. Navigating a sober life in her 30s, Cynthia has dedicated herself to crushing stigmas and finding beauty in the chaotic side of life. In addition to her episodes on recovery and trauma, you can also find episodes that discuss “leveling up,” self-acceptance, guilt and shame, and toxic relationships. You can join Cynthia every Thursday for a new episode!

Check out this episode:What If I Can’t Stay Sober?”

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13. Sober Curious 

Many of us are familiar with the term sober curious or sober curiosity, and it’s thanks to Ruby Warrington. She’s the author of the Sober Curious book series, host of the Sober Curious podcast, and a well-known thought leader in the sobriety community. Additionally, Ruby is also the co-founder of the sober curious event series “Club Soda NYC”, and the online spiritual mentoring program Moon Club. On her podcast, she speaks to various people in the sobriety community to discuss their personal relationships with alcohol and how they navigate life, alcohol-free. 

Check out this episode: “Quitting for Kids with Clinton Schultz”

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14. The Sober Therapist: 

Host Lynn Matti, author, clinical counselor, and master recovery coach, offers her professional and personal wisdom for those looking to discover more about holistic mental wellness. Lynn’s mission is to help others choose moderation or sobriety, and recover from substance use disorders. With an original, quirky approach, Lynn shares her knowledge and tips for healing from stress, substance use disorders, codependency, overworking, relationship problems, perfectionism, and more. 

Check out this episode:Focus on your strengths to improve your sobriety, recovery, and mental health

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15. Sobersips – Your Weekly Fix: 

Hosted by Emily Syphas, founder of the Sober Social community, the Sobersips podcast talks to inspiring and influential people ranging from Vas J Morgan (TV personality) to Ellie Webb (founder of Caleno AF drinks), and many others to discuss their own journeys in changing their relationship with alcohol. With unique perspectives and honest discussions, these episodes are relatable and inspiring. 

Check out this episode:Vas J Morgan- Becoming the life and soul of sobriety”

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These podcasts can provide hours of diverse perspectives about sobriety and recovery. Hearing other people’s stories can provide hope, encouragement, and relief. In addition to these great resources, you can always post in the Monument Community chat, and check out our therapist-moderated support groups. There are plenty of recovery resources and communities to choose from, and finding what works best for you is an act of self-care.

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Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.
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What is Sober September?

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Sober September is Dry January’s lesser-known but equally meaningful counterpart. For people navigating long-term sobriety, Sober September is another month to recommit to their goals and honor their boundaries. For others, Sober September is a time to take a break from drinking, reflect on their relationship with alcohol, and set themselves up for more mindful alcohol consumption in the months to follow. No matter what Sober September means to you, the choice to participate is an act of self-care. 

Reasons behind Sober September

If the idea of Sober September is new to you, you may have questions like ‘What is sobriety?’ and ‘Why September?’ While there is no single known origin of Sober September, September does mark the end of the summer and can symbolize renewal and recommitment to work, school, and productivity after much-needed summer vacations. Similar to how Dry January is during a time of resolution setting, Sober September can build upon our collective motivation to turn over a new leaf with a new season. 

While seasonality and clearly defined ‘starting lines’ can be motivating for many, it’s also important to remember that it’s always a good idea to check in on your relationship with alcohol. You don’t have to wait until a specific day, week, or month to reevaluate your drinking habits. Hundreds of members join the Monument Community every week to connect with others, learn tips and tools, and build healthier habits as it relates to their drinking. You don’t need to check any boxes or identify with any labels to make a change. 

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The benefits of Sober September

Participating in Sober September is a tremendous act of self-care. The benefits of sobriety are plentiful, and a month without drinking presents its own set of unique rewards including: 

1. Community motivation

Sobriety ‘challenges’ like Sober September and Dry January are becoming increasingly popular with the rise of the sober curious movement and the broader recognition of the harmful effects of alcohol. Knowing you’re participating in this alcohol-free month with many other people can be motivating and reassuring. You can join the free Monument Community to connect with others throughout the month or at any time during the year. 

Turning a sobriety challenge into a lifestyle

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2. Time to reflect

Alcohol can influence our decision-making, clear-headedness, and all dimensions of our wellness. Taking a break from alcohol can create the clarity and space to assess how alcohol currently shows up in our lives and how we’d like it to in the future. Additionally, if taking a month break from alcohol is especially challenging, it can be an indicator that you could benefit from support like online alcohol treatment.

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3. A taste of sobriety benefits

If you’re unsure how sobriety might feel, this is a great way to get a taste of life without alcohol. Benefits of sobriety include overall health benefits, better sleep, more energy, improved physical fitness, reduced anxiety, and so much more. If you’ve been sober curious or think drinking less can give you more, Sober September is a great time to explore that.

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4. Confronting challenges together

For some people, especially those who have been drinking heavily for an extended period of time, the first 30 days of sobriety can be really challenging. It can also be dangerous to quit alcohol cold turkey, so it’s important to consult a physician to identify the safest path forward. It might take longer for the sobriety benefits to materialize, but they are within reach. Navigating those more challenging early days with a community can be incredibly helpful. Read more about what you may expect throughout your alcohol recovery timeline

5. The start of a rewarding journey

Sobriety challenges are a time of reflection, learning, and growth. We’ve seen many Monument members begin their journey with a sobriety challenge, and continue to build upon that progress through long-term sobriety or moderation. Sober September is a great way to kick-start sustainable, enriching lifestyle changes. If Sober September feels good to you, you may want to continue into Sober October and beyond. 

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Tips for Sober September success (whatever that means to you) 

Changing your relationship with alcohol can be both rewarding and difficult. If Sober September isn’t easy for you, you are not alone. Regardless of your current drinking habits, you can make meaningful progress. Here are a few tips to empower you along the way.

1. Explore alcohol alternatives

Saying no to alcohol can be challenging if alcohol shows up strongly in your social life. Finding delicious alcohol alternatives can be a great tool for navigating social events where alcohol usually may be present. Having a non-alcoholic beverage in hand can make you feel more comfortable and can also build new celebratory rituals. (For example, toasting with non-alcoholic wine or beer can be equally as festive and delicious!)

2. Find an accountability buddy

Letting a friend know about your Sober September goal can help you navigate social situations, and also provides additional accountability. If you’re looking for a supportive community to encourage you, you can also join free, therapist-moderated alcohol support groups at Monument. 

elderly couple holding hands in the woods

3. Schedule rewarding activities

If you drink out of boredom, or because your social activities center around alcohol, you are not alone. Seeking out fun things to do besides drinking can open your eyes to new experiences and hobbies that fill your calendar and bring you authentic joy.

4. Build new routines

Looking to introduce new healthy habits to support your Sober September goals? That could look like a new meditation practice, fitness class, daily gratitude exercise, or anything that supports your overall wellness. Here are tangible tips for building new routines, whatever they may be. Spoiler alert: scheduling, repetition, and rewards are key.

5. Prioritize progress over perfection

One of the most important reminders for Sober September is that even if you’re not 100% abstaining from alcohol, you can still make incredible progress. If you have a drink, you can keep going.  That’s why therapists often recommend setting goals instead of resolutions and recognizing that growth is a non-linear process. 

Man leaving building

Sustaining your progress

If you’ve done any sort of sobriety challenge, whether that’s Sober September, Dry January, or any other sober month or a weekend without drinking, you may be wondering where to go from there. As a first step, you can join our free, therapist-moderated support group, Turning a sobriety challenge into a lifestyle, to continue to build upon your progress. If you’re not looking for a completely sober lifestyle at this time, you can also document what you’ve learned throughout your sober month and identify new boundaries that meet your goals and aspirations. There are many people in the Monument Community navigating moderation, and they are here to support you throughout your journey. 

If your sobriety challenge was really difficult, there’s absolutely no shame in that. You deserve support to change your relationship with alcohol. There are tools like medication to stop drinking and online alcohol therapy to empower long-lasting progress. Whatever path you choose, know that it’s always a good time to build healthier habits, and that you deserve support 365 days out of the year. 

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Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

6 Ways to Say No to Alcohol in Any Situation

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Your choice to drink less or not drink at all is something to be incredibly proud of. It’s a choice that represents self-care, mindfulness, boundary setting, and so much more. While many recognize that drinking less is a superpower, alcohol still shows up in our culture in a big way. It can be difficult to avoid drinking alcohol, whether that’s at family gatherings or within your social circle.  It can also be challenging to say ‘no’ to alcohol in a social setting. There is no shame in that. However, you can say no, and we’re here to guide you along the way.

Wherever you are on your journey, here are some practical tips on how to prepare for saying no to alcohol, and suggestions on what to actually say when it’s offered. 

How to prepare before an event 

Share your goals with the people you trust

A large social situation can be an intimidating time to share your sobriety or moderation goals. Instead, start small. See if you can identify one or two people you would feel comfortable talking to about your boundaries. An informed support system can help you stay accountable and steer conversations and activities away from alcohol. Honestly sharing with others in a safe environment can be incredibly empowering. Haven’t told a close friend yet? Here are a therapist’s tips for how to tell someone you’re getting treatment to change your drinking. 

women talking
Work with a therapist specialized in online alcohol treatment

Engaging in online alcohol therapy can be incredibly beneficial for many reasons. A specialized therapist can help you define your goals and build the confidence and coping mechanisms to achieve them. Your therapist will also help you identify your support network, make a plan for potentially triggering situations, and even role-play challenging conversations. Sharing your choice not to drink with your friends, family, and colleagues can be difficult to navigate alone. Your therapist will act as a consistent resource to guide you at every turn. 

Practice your answers ahead of time

If you feel nervous about how you’re going to say no to alcohol at an event, there’s nothing wrong with practicing beforehand! (In fact, it’s a great idea.) While it may feel strange at first, rehearsing your answer out loud can help you decrease anticipatory anxiety and feel more prepared to give a confident answer when the moment arises. That said, how much you want to share is completely up to you. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.

Now that we’ve identified a few ways to plan ahead, here are 6 strategies you can put into practice at events and gatherings.

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6 ways to say no to alcohol 

1. Give a simple, firm answer

Remember that you are in control of your choice to drink. You don’t need to apologize, provide a reason, or aim to make anyone more comfortable with your decision. If you receive any comments or questions, be firm in your refusal and remember that you don’t owe anyone more than a simple “No thank you, I’m all set”. Most people will accept your answer at face value. If they don’t respect your boundaries, it’s important to remember that it’s likely a reflection of their own relationship with drinking alcohol, not your personal choice. 

2. Have a non-alcoholic beverage in hand 

There are so many exciting alcohol alternatives available now, so you don’t have to miss out on having a festive and delicious drink at the event. Sipping on a non-alcoholic beverage can also make it easier to navigate an event where there’s alcohol consumption. If you’re offered a drink, you can politely respond, “I’m happy with what I’m already having, thank you” or “No thank you, I’ve already got one.” Check out Monument’s alcohol-free drink book, Delish AF, for some inspiration! If you’re not ready to build new rituals with non-alcoholic beverages, that’s totally understandable. There are many other strategies to put into play. 

Moderation in the time of Coronavirus

The global pandemic is affecting our behaviors in many ways, including our alcohol consumption. Join the discussion about assessing your own drinking behaviors and creating healthier habits through moderation.
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3. Change the subject 

There are so many better topics for discussion than whether or not you’re having a drink. When asked if you want a drink, give a quick answer and then bring attention back to a more compelling conversation topic. For example: “No thank you, but I do need to hear all about your recent trip!” Not only is this a great way to move on from the topic of alcohol, but it also facilitates more meaningful conversations and connections. And remember this: Everyone is the star of their own movie. No one is thinking about you as much as you are, so it’s likely someone will be thrilled to share more about themselves. 

people looking at a menu

4. Use physical cues  

Often we can turn down a drink offer without even needing to use words. If you’re in a dining setting, you can simply remove your wine glass from the table, shake your head at the waiter, or cover your glass with your hand. If you are at a bar, you can opt to sit at a table farther from where alcohol is being served. These cues are well-understood in the service industry and can make it easier to avoid being asked repeatedly if you want a drink. 

5. Make an excuse

If you feel panicked or out of options, you can simply make an excuse. While it might feel dishonest, your sobriety or moderation goals are more important. There are many reasons why people don’t drink, like being on medication, needing to drive home, or having to wake up early in the morning. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’m not drinking tonight, I have to drive later.” If making an excuse feels like the best way to say no in the moment, you should feel empowered to do so. Your wellness comes first, no matter what. 

6. Skip the event or leave early

If you believe a social situation will be especially difficult for you to be in without drinking, you do not have to go. Especially in early sobriety, it can be difficult to attend events and visit venues that you closely associate with drinking. It’s more than okay to not go or to leave whenever you feel ready. You can say, “I’m headed home for the night, thank you for having me”, and there’s no need for any other reason. You are making an amazing lifestyle change for yourself, and you deserve time and space to adjust. 

people by beach campfire

It can be difficult to say no to alcohol consumption in the heat of the moment, especially when experiencing peer pressure. Whenever these moments arise, ground yourself in your “why”: the reasons you are choosing not to drink. This will keep you connected to your goal and empower you to make choices that align with your ideal self. You also have a supportive community here at Monument and can check in for encouragement in a support group or in the 24/7 forum. Everyone is different and we each have our own communication styles. However you feel comfortable saying no, that is 100% valid. Just remember, this decision is yours, and it’s something to be incredibly proud of. 

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Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

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How to Stop Using Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism

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People use alcohol as a coping mechanism for a variety of complex reasons. Alcohol use disorder is a biopsychosocial condition, which means it’s influenced by biology, psychology, and socio-environmental factors While examining the drivers of excessive alcohol use can be an incredibly uncomfortable or even painful experience, it can also open the door to healing. 

Part of learning how to stop using alcohol as a crutch includes exploring deep-rooted emotions and traumas. It also involves understanding why using alcohol to cope isn’t healthy and knowing what type of healthy coping mechanism can be used in its place. These actions can lead you to achieve a healthy relationship with alcohol, no matter your habits today or your goals for tomorrow. And with online alcohol support groups and other evidence-based tools, like alcohol therapy, at your disposal, you will have the support you deserve to change your relationship with alcohol for good.

Why People Use Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism

Many people who use alcohol to cope are seeking a sense of escape and relief, or permission to relax and unwind. At face value, this activity seems benign. However, drinking alcohol as a coping strategy works… until it doesn’t. It numbs feelings, such as anxiety, depression, or shame, without addressing them. Alcohol can also intensify negative feelings and make co-occuring conditions like depression worse. Even if we recognize this, it’s easy to revert to what we know will temporarily heal the pain or soothe the negative emotion that may be overwhelming us. 

In addition to the individual trauma each of us carries, we are all experiencing the collective trauma of the time we live in, which can make it hard to find a healthy coping mechanism that works for us. We aren’t trained to inherently know what the best solution is. Finding a way to feel better as soon as possible is the road most often taken, and this usually involves alcohol. 

It’s important to give yourself the grace to realize that you’re learning as you go. The habit of winding down from a long week with a glass of wine or binge drinking on the weekend as a way to block out the stresses of the world may seem like common ways people escape. However, a better approach is tackling stressors head-on and finding a healthy way to cope that permanently adds value and fulfillment to our life. There is no shame in having used alcohol to cope. It’s important to remember that, and know that you have better options.

 

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Why Using Alcohol to Cope Isn’t Healthy

Although it’s not uncommon to use alcohol to cope, it isn’t a healthy coping strategy. Coping with alcohol can increase anxiety symptoms due to the constant pursuit of relaxation felt when buzzed. It causes a disconnection between your mind, body, and spirit, which may leave you feeling more in pain than before.  

When your daily stress level increases, the amount of alcohol consumption needed to relax or mask feelings often increases, too. Drinking alcohol may feel like an effective coping strategy, but it can eventually add another layer of stress to your life and make you always feel less than satisfied. It can also negatively affect your productivity, interpersonal relationships, sense of self-worth, physical health, and beyond. 

Changing your drinking habits is very much attainable, though. It starts with getting to the root of drinking and finding alternative coping mechanisms that don’t have alcohol at their core.

Addressing anxiety while managing your drinking

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Getting to the Root of Alcohol as a Coping Mechanism 

Coping with alcohol provides a masked layer between your present reality and the deep-rooted drivers causing you to drink. Getting to the root of your drinking motives will help you gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts and behaviors and help you live a healthier life. 

First, ask yourself:What are the main stressors in my life?’ ‘Are my feelings guided by past traumatic experiences, present stressors, or anxiety about future thoughts?’ It may be a combination of all three. 

Uncovering Past Trauma 

 Excessive alcohol use is a common response to trauma. While our trauma doesn’t define us, it can influence our relationship with alcohol. Seeking therapy can help you uncover and heal from past trauma that may be subconsciously guiding your habits today. With time and support, reflecting on harmful events and starting the healing process can give you the sense of peace you’re seeking when coping with alcohol.

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Identifying Present Stressors

Additionally, day-to-day stressors can start to pile up and feel so overwhelming that we seek immediate relief. In these moments, practicing mindfulness brings your attention to the present moment and prevents your thoughts from spinning out of control in a stressful situation. 

Mindfulness can be achieved by simply closing your eyes and taking a few grounding breaths to bring you back to the moment. It can also involve taking a break to walk around the block or listen to relaxing music. Our thoughts are temporary. The more we take control over them and bring the mind to the here and now is powerful.

Addressing Future Anxiety

Anxiety about the future is common for many due to the nature of uncertainty regarding our health, relationships, and work matters. These anxious thoughts can influence our drinking habits. When thoughts about the future take hold,  journaling can help identify  which feelings are causing stress and when they most frequently occur. 

woman journaling

Journaling is a productive way to practice self care in recovery and allows you to get to the root of these feelings to find a healthy path forward instead of using alcohol as an escape. When practicing self-reflection, consider these types of questions:

  • Are your current feelings emotional leftovers from unhealed trauma? 
  • Are there areas of your past that have gone undiscovered that are taking up space? 
  • What is it that’s guiding the voice in your head that tells you that you aren’t allowed to take a break?
  • Are your feelings derived from new experiences? 
  • Do you have doubts about your capabilities to learn as you go?

Some of these questions may resonate more than others at different stages of your journey. As you look inward, you’ll begin to uncover areas that you may not have consciously realized were causing you stress or turmoil, and in turn impacting your drinking. Diving into the unknown can feel uncomfortable at first but can lead you to clarity and a truer sense of self. 

Recognizing That You Are Already Enough, And Don’t Need Alcohol 

Part of discovering how to stop using alcohol as a coping mechanism involves filtering out the “shoulds” of life generated by society, our upbringing, and our current inner circle. For example, when we see curated social media timelines of people who seemingly have their whole life together, we feel we should approach life in the same way. Trying to reach this level of perceived fulfillment can be a catalyst of using alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism. 

Think about the messages that have led you to believe things can only be one specific way in order for you to feel happy and successful. Famed researcher Brené Brown addresses this type of reality check as practicing critical awareness. While you can’t avoid the barrage of media messages, she says you can cultivate resiliency by not comparing your everyday life with manufactured images. She recommends posing questions to yourself like: Does what I’m seeing convey real life or fantasy? Do these images reflect wholehearted living or turn the valuable people and things in my life into objects?

person in field

You can apply this same critical awareness to the role alcohol plays in your life. Ask yourself: Who benefits from alcohol intake? What other factors lead you to use alcohol as your main way to relax? These factors may stem from your family history or long-held insecurities that fuel finding the immediate relief alcohol consumption can bring. 

The more you are aware of and appreciate your feelings, the more you can learn to trust yourself to handle experiences with integrity and compassion. What works for you may not work for another. Everyone is free to walk their own path.

Finding Positive Coping Mechanisms

Learning how to stop using alcohol as a coping mechanism can be challenging, and you don’t have to do it alone. At Monument, we believe that support to build positive coping mechanisms should be accessible and personalized. Through evidence-based, online alcohol treatment, including personalized therapy, physician-prescribed medication, and group support, we provide you with the support you  need at the time you need it. 

Therapy is a valuable tool that gives you the space to talk through the emotions and stresses that may cause you to use alcohol to cope. You can work with a specialized therapist to discuss your past and current habits, and identify new tools and routines that support your unique set of goals. Additionally, support groups give you an avenue to engage with others who are confronting similar questions and challenges. You can choose to listen, share, and learn in any capacity you wish and on your own schedule.

As you begin implementing healthier coping skills, consider what your perfect day would look like. What would you do? How would you feel? Who would you be with? Find people, places, and experiences that honor these feelings and allow you to lead a life that aspires to that ideal. 

woman crossing the street

Creating Your Path to a More Fulfilling Life

Every step you take in the interest of your own self-care is one step closer to achieving your ideal self.  Whatever your path looks like, it’s valid. Some may decide to abstain from using alcohol altogether. Others may explore how to moderate drinking to find the balance they’re looking for in building a healthier relationship with alcohol. 

It’s a non-linear journey filled with ups and downs, and we’re in it together. We’re here to help you identify and adopt the healthy coping mechanisms that work best for you and allow you to see how you can get more out of life by drinking less. 

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Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Sources:

https://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/practices/practices/view/27643/practicing-critical-awareness

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Self-Care in Recovery: 5 Ways to Put Your Wellness First

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Practicing self-care in recovery is an incredibly meaningful part of the journey for many. As you change your relationship with alcohol, how will you ensure you are prioritizing your wellbeing? What behaviors, habits, and activities do you want to integrate into your life? How do you want to show up for yourself and others? These are some of the questions to explore as you create your own version of self-care in recovery.

Why is Self-Care Important in Recovery?

Why is self-care important in recovery? Self-care includes developing and nurturing the tools, resources, and power within to take care of your physical and emotional health,  which allows you to feel more enjoyment every day. Change and growth associated with self-care may not always feel good while it’s happening, but the benefits of sobriety that are around the corner are worth it. Embracing the ups and downs is part of the human experience, and it ultimately leads to more resilience, gratitude, and a more fulfilling life. 

As you embark on this next phase of your journey, show yourself grace and know that recovery is often a non-linear path. Some days will look and feel better than others. Every day presents an opportunity for growth. Building upon your progress and moving forward is something to be proud of, and self-care can be a meaningful part of that experience. 

girl running with dog

5 Ways to Practice Self-Care in Recovery

When it comes to self-care and recovery, focus on growth opportunities that will feel authentic and rewarding to you. Here are five ways to take care of yourself as you change your relationship with alcohol.  

1. Explore Wellness Activities That Add Value

The importance of self-care in recovery starts by looking at the parts of wellness that add value to your life. These could be physical, emotional, or a combination of both. Physical acts of self-care may include taking a break between Zoom calls to go for a walk or nourishing your body with healthy food. It can also include setting goals for yourself, such as seeking out an interesting hiking trail or participating in a daily yoga flow. The self-care activities you choose can be as simple or complex as you like. 

Introducing exercise as a physical health activity simultaneously contributes to your emotional self-care as well. Other ways to incorporate emotional wellness into your daily routine include getting quality sleep, developing a mindfulness practice, and building a social network invested in your well-being. 

In addition to family and friends, you may also want to seek alcohol therapy and join an online alcohol support group and/or community forum. The idea is to maintain a reliable and accessible group of people you can turn to as you navigate sobriety or moderation.

 

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2. Be Intentional When Creating New Habits

Establishing new daily habits is another impactful part of the early recovery process that can help guide your self-care plan. In addition to dedicating time to new activities, being intentional about your smaller actions throughout the day, like eating and sleeping, can amount to meaningful growth.  

One avenue to think about is intuitive eating. There has been research linking intuitive eating with better psychological health and other physical health benefits. Being intentional about your eating habits without being restrictive can have a valuable impact on how you feel throughout the day. For more guidance about how to incorporate nourishing foods and vitamins and replace alcohol in your mealtime rituals, you can watch our expert interview on alcohol and nutrition.

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Another important routine to check in on is your nightly ritual. Especially in early recovery, many people experience challenges falling asleep. Being intentional about your pre-sleep habits can result in more restful sleep and more energy throughout the day. For example, reducing screen time before bed, exercising early in the day,  and creating a mindfulness practice can result in higher quality sleep. For more sleep hygiene best-practices, watch our expert interview with Dr. James Besante, MD

Checking in on these habits is in itself an act of self-care. It’s important to remember that an ‘ideal day’ for you may look different than someone else navigating recovery. That’s why it’s helpful to work with a therapist in an alcohol therapy program to discuss your current routines and habits, and how you can adjust them to better align with your goals. 

 What we think affects our sleep quality: how many hours of sleep we get. What really affects our sleep quality: Alcohol Napping Caffeine Nicotine Exercise Eating Habits Medication Light exposure Allergies Noise Discomfort Anxiety Pre-Sleep Activities

Be Sure to Find Balance

When building new behaviors, it’s important to maintain balance. It can be tempting to go ‘all in’ on a new healthy activity, but focusing too much on a single aspect, however positive it may be, can start to feel overwhelming and stressful. As with changing your relationship with alcohol, finding what works for you will help you embrace and maintain healthier behaviors. Previously, alcohol may have played a main role in your daily life. Rather than replacing drinking with another activity that requires your full attention, be intentional with how you spend your time. Try to identify multiple outlets for your time and energy in a way that feels sustainable and fulfilling. 

Keep in mind, it’s okay if what once brought you joy doesn’t anymore, and it’s also valid if what fulfills you now changes in the future. You and your needs and ever-evolving, and your self-care routine can evolve, too. 

Check in with yourself and gauge how well your habits provide a sense of stability and comfort. Also, consider how they make you feel. The more you tune in to what your body needs, the easier it will become to make smaller adjustments to sustain your sober lifestyle.

man journaling

3. Journal for Self-Reflection

Another way to tap into how you’re feeling during recovery is by journaling. It gives you time to practice mindfulness as you sit with your thoughts and pay attention to your cravings and moods as they arise. Then, you can determine what you want to do in a thoughtful way rather than being guided by impulse and feeling tempted to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. A few prompts are:

  • What feeling(s) led to your last craving? 
  • How does your mood affect the quality of your day?
  • What alternatives do you have in place instead of drinking?
  • Have you used the resources available to help you maintain your sobriety? 

Making time for self-reflection and meditation can help guide your self-care in recovery. These practices allow you to get to the root of where your positive and negative emotions are stemming from and how you can address them in a healthy manner. You can explore these areas further through personalized online therapy and in the anonymous community forum. Each tool can provide a better understanding of what determines your behaviors and actions and present opportunities for growth. 

4. Create Experiences to Replace Drinking Rituals

Self-care and recovery often involve replacing drinking rituals with new fulfilling experiences. Alcohol takes center stage at many social gatherings. Happy hours, celebrations, and holidays are all times when alcohol is typically involved. 

Tap into your creative side and find enriching things to do instead of drinking. These activities may include photography, drawing, or learning a foreign language. You may want to join a nature group, book club, or intramural sports league. These are all healthy ways you can practice self-care while leading a sober lifestyle.

Furthermore, you can still carry on the tradition of happy hours with colleagues or birthday celebrations with friends. They can feel equally festive with delicious alcohol alternatives. There are many brands of non-alcoholic spirits, beers, and wines to choose from that are complex, delicious, and celebratory. 

As you progress through your journey, create your own versions of what these events look and feel like for you. Consider what you enjoy most about these experiences. Is it the connection and camaraderie with others? Is it the sense of happiness and relaxation it produces? These desires and feelings are valid and can still be achieved without alcohol being part of the ritual. 

two people sititng and watching the sunset over the ocean

5. Prioritize Your Own Needs

The primary value of self-care in recovery is that it teaches you to prioritize your own needs. Being someone that always says ‘yes’ can leave you feeling unfulfilled and depleted emotionally and spiritually. When you don’t prioritize yourself, it can also lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, or anger. 

Learning to Set Boundaries

By setting healthy boundaries and making decisions aligned with your goals and values, you are automatically practicing self-care and strengthening your connections. It allows you to show up for yourself in the best possible way, which in turn allows you to show up for others, too. 

Think of times when saying ‘no’ may have felt immediately uncomfortable but would have provided you long-term relief. It can be difficult to change this behavior pattern if you’re used to always being guided by what others want. However, you’ll start to see and feel a difference in your mental health when you start taking your own needs and feelings into account first. The result can be both empowering and healing. 

Life Shouldn’t Have to Stop for Recovery

Prioritizing  your own wellness is a crucial part of the recovery process. It will help you let go of deeply-ingrained negative habits and behaviors and make room for healthier ones. This process looks different for everyone. 

Some may find that they develop new habits and routines on their own, while others may seek support from an online alcohol treatment program like Monument to provide guidance and accountability along the way.  However you choose to make a change, you should be proud of that decision. There is no shame in seeking support. In fact, it’s the ultimate act of self-care. 

man looking at mountains

As with any change, there are growing pains and learning curves. It’s a non-linear path, and setbacks are often part of the journey. However, with time, self-care in recovery will become more natural to you, and your new habits will become second nature. You also are never alone. 

At Monument, we have free online support groups you can join based on your schedule and needs. Whether you need verbal affirmations, in-person accountability, or simply an ongoing connection with others, there are resources in place to help you on your way. They are therapist-moderated, and you are welcome to join anonymously if you wish. Whatever way will help you best show up for yourself is more than enough.

It takes an intentional effort to keep moving forward in changing your relationship with alcohol. We’re here to provide you the resources you deserve.

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Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Sources:

https://community.joinmonument.com/post/therapist-insight-4-tips-to-manage-anxiety-you-can-start-using-right-now-

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/review-article-relationships-between-intuitive-eating-and-health-indicators-literature-review/CBC03E81A54FBAAC49B2A8B2EC49631C

How My Sobriety Led Me To Become A Therapist At Monument

As a therapist on the Monument platform, I believe it’s important to speak openly about my history struggling with alcohol use disorder. Looking back at my journey, I can understand that I formed a dependence on alcohol due to a lack of tools and information, and that finding new ways to cope is what ultimately transformed my life. Now, I spend every day empowering others to recognize that they too can change their relationship with alcohol. 

I had my first drink at the age of 14. It was the first time in my life I felt relief from my anxious feelings. Shortly after, my parents divorced, and my pattern of excessive drinking took hold. I found that alcohol was a way I could distract myself from the stress of my new reality, and find relief from my anxiety. Another way I learned to cope with anxiety and suppress my feelings was to excessively practice trumpet. By age 16, I was practicing 10 hours a day. After I was done practicing, I drank beer almost every night as a reward. By 28, my drinking had gradually progressed to 12-15 beers nightly. I drank excessively for 17 years. 

My unhealthy relationship with alcohol impacted every aspect of my life. I did not accept responsibility for my actions, or hold myself accountable for the way I was choosing to cope with my thoughts and experiences. I blamed others, and created an illusion in my head that the world was unfair, and that I had no other choices. 

My last drink was on November 18th, 1997. I was 32, but had the coping skills of a 16 year old. I was angry, hurt, and blamed others. Drinking had stopped me from processing my feelings and halted my emotional and social development. I got comfortable detaching from others, and from my true self. 

I had to find a new way to control my anxiety and move forward with my life. By starting to practice trumpet sober, I began to feel my emotions fully for the first time. While this felt like progress, there was still so much to reflect on and learn. I was not in therapy and found the process to be daunting, confusing, and difficult. Eventually I took the leap to try it out, and my recovery journey began in earnest.  

Therapy helped me process my cravings and learn alternative coping mechanisms. Because I drank beer, my brain was gradually conditioned to feel rewarded by drinking out of a cold can every few seconds. Right after I stopped drinking beer, I drank several diet A&W Root beers throughout the night. My brain accepted this behavior as a replacement, which lowered my cravings and allowed me to progress in my sobriety. Because all my past decision-making skills were based around drinking, I had to learn how to process the world as an adult. This included experiencing and processing anxiety about the future, without using alcohol as an escape. I learned how to identify the roots of my anxiety, and how to make better decisions when navigating challenging situations. I started to give myself time to process all of my emotions. I drank for 17 years, and unlearning old habits took time. It took regular therapy to develop these new ways of thinking. My journey was about progress, not perfection.

I became fascinated with the opportunity to better understand myself, which then grew into an interest in helping others do the same. In 2001 I enrolled in Rollins College to become a therapist. 

Moderation in the time of Coronavirus

The global pandemic is affecting our behaviors in many ways, including our alcohol consumption. Join the discussion about assessing your own drinking behaviors and creating healthier habits through moderation.
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Fast forward to today, I’m a therapist on the Monument platform. Monument has created an affordable and effective online alcohol treatment program. One I wish I had access to when I first stopped drinking. Monument combines scientifically proven methods to create a personalized care plan so that each member has the right support for them. These options include attending individual alcohol therapy, joining free, therapist-moderated alcohol support groups (which I moderate a few of), and seeing an experienced physician to evaluate if medication to stop drinking is right for you. 

I am proud and honored to be a Monument therapist. The recovery process of each and every member is personal to me. Changing your relationship with alcohol is possible, and clinicians like myself are here to help you get there. We all hold the potential, and bravery, to seek a new beginning. Just like me, you are the author of your own success story. 

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

man walking down path

What Is Sobriety?

man walking down path

Each person follows their own path and utilizes their own methods when learning how to stay sober. While you may have heard definitions for terms like “emotional sobriety,” there’s not a set definition that fully encompasses the complexity of what sobriety entails.

Since creating a healthy relationship with alcohol is a personal experience, the better question is: what does sobriety mean to you? The truth is sobriety changes depending on the person and where they are in their journey. While the textbook definition of sobriety is to be in a condition where you are free of any measurable levels of drugs, alcohol, or intoxicants, you may find that sobriety means something different to you at various stages in life.

Ultimately, true sobriety is rooted in finding fulfillment and allowing yourself to live an authentic life.

Not Drinking

There are various ways sobriety can be interpreted, but what is sobriety at its core? The clinical definition of sobriety means not drinking.

As outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), questions about sobriety focus specifically on a year of consistent abstinence from alcohol. However, the DSM also implies sobriety is defined by ongoing behavioral patterns and changes.

For example, physicians and therapists using DSM criteria to assess means of support may ask questions, such as: 

  • In the past year, have you ended up drinking more or longer than originally intended? 
  • Have you wanted a drink so badly that it was difficult to think about anything else? 
  • Have you found drinking has interfered with taking care of your family or home? 

These kinds of questions get at the role alcohol plays in our life, not just the alcohol consumption itself. Because of this, overly simplified definitions like “complete abstinence from alcohol” cannot speak to the nuanced meaning of what sobriety is from a more personal perspective.

Because sobriety can mean different things at different times, and different things to different people, what proves to be an effective sobriety toolkit for one person may not be effective for another. It’s about receiving support tailored to your unique needs and goals. To fully explore what sobriety means to you, and how to get there, it takes self-reflection, self-compassion, and the desire to change your relationship with alcohol.

man in reflective glass

Allowing Time for Introspection 

Achieving sobriety involves allowing yourself time for introspection and learning how to feel and work through your emotions in a healthy manner. This may first take sitting with things you’d normally avoid or use alcohol to escape.

As you take a moment for self-reflection, keep in mind, sobriety is a journey, not a destination. You’ll want to consider: is quitting alcohol cold turkey safe and appropriate for you? Or is learning how to drink in moderation a more fitting first step toward  building a healthy relationship with alcohol? Some people begin with goals for moderation with the ultimate goal for long term sobriety, while others jump right into a life without alcohol. You can work with a physician and therapist at Monument to decide what approach is best for you. 

Regardless of your path, remember that this is often a non-linear journey, which means setbacks do not define our progress, and we can adjust our goals to re-align with our aspirations. 

Practicing Healthy Habits 

Sobriety is the ultimate act of self-care, and often entails building healthier habits and routines. At Monument, you can work with a therapist to guide you through that process. Therapy can help you build new coping mechanisms, establish supportive, enriching relationships, find your inner motivation to make a change, and so much more.

Building a sobriety toolkit complete with evidence-based therapy, a supportive community network, and physician-prescribed medication is a powerful way to replace old habits and build new routines. 

Building self-esteem while changing your relationship with alcohol

Starting your journey toward sobriety or moderation can bring on a wave of different emotions, including what could feel like an identity-crisis. This is normal. Join a discussion on how to not only navigate but how to cultivate confidence.
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Additionally, having access to moderated alcohol support groups and an online community forum can help you practice accountability and navigate challenges as they arise. Forming meaningful connections can provide encouragement and the relief that comes with knowing you are not alone. This combination of support looks different for everyone. At the end of the day, the purpose is to make sure online alcohol treatment is personalized to you.

Women putting her arms up with pride

Practicing Holistic Wellness

In addition to seeking treatment, it’s important to be aware of the amount of exercise, sleep, and balanced nutrition you receive every day. Making small changes in these areas can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health. A daily walk, restful sleep, and a balanced diet can help you feel better and put you in a clearer headspace to reduce the role alcohol plays in your life.

Interested in learning about how alcohol affects sleep, and how to build better sleep hygiene in sobriety? Watch our Monument Live about alcohol and sleep

Staying sober doesn’t always follow a linear path. As you build and practice new habits, allow yourself grace and space to grow.

Mindfulness of Past Coping Mechanisms

Another benefit of sobriety is that it allows you to uncover what may be holding you back, which you may have been ignoring or escaping from with alcohol. It’s common for people to turn to alcohol as a way to avoid emotions, especially stress and anxiety. However, the more these are bottled up without resolution, the greater possibility of them leading to setbacks in your treatment goals and overall fulfillment.

Learning to live without alcohol or drink in moderation may involve addressing some of the answers to the following questions:

  • What does alcohol do for me? Why do I drink?
  • What do I want out of life? 
  • How do I want to feel?

By answering these questions, you can better understand your drinking habits, and get a clearer picture of your ideal self. If these questions are intimidating, you are not alone. You can discuss them with a therapist or support group to get greater clarity and formulate a plan for reducing your alcohol dependence. 

woman on facetime

Connecting With a Therapist

Talking through emotions both in a group setting and with a therapist is incredibly valuable. You can begin to uncover why you’re feeling the way you do. This allows you to embrace your emotions fully and not let them fester, which can be harmful to your mental health. With Monument’s supportive community, you have people available to you anytime, anywhere. They can talk through struggles with you and provide support when you need it most.

Another benefit of online alcohol therapy is that you’re able to seek treatment in the comfort of your home (no in-person rehab or waiting room required). Wherever you are in your alcohol recovery timeline, a licensed therapist will help provide guidance and accountability – showing up for you as you show up for yourself, so that you’re able to reach your goals for long term sobriety or moderation.

Depending on your comfort level, you have the option of remaining anonymous and participating as much or as little as you wish. The idea is to make it as comfortable for you as possible and provide relief from the negative feelings you may have been avoiding.

Two women smiling together by a campfire

Recognizing What You Really Want in Life

When defining sobriety, ask yourself, what do you want to gain by changing your relationship with alcohol? For example, are you seeking deeper, more authentic connections with your  loved ones? Would you like to build a sustainable pathway for a healthier lifestyle? 

A collaborative study conducted by the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. and the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery assessed the effects of long-term recovery versus short-term treatment gains. It identified factors that helped participants find long-term success, which included personal support and participating in an alcohol treatment program.

One-third of study participants referenced the support of family, friends, and peers as a key motivation in sticking with their treatment journey. In addition to community support, the guidance of a professional therapist that specializes in treating substance use disorders (like alcohol use disorder) can provide insight and inspiration to build upon your personal relationships. 

Seeking Connection 

So, what does sobriety look like when it comes to connecting with others? It’s a way to share your experiences, feelings, and setbacks openly and honestly. Removing unhealthy alcohol consumption from social interactions creates space for more authentic connection, discovery, and intimacy. While many people fear relationships will change in sobriety, in reality, you will be able to more clearly identify which relationships serve you, get to know yourself and others on a deeper level, and have more present and fulfilling interactions. Whether you’re navigating sober dating, self-love, or your relationship with your partner, changing your relationship with alcohol often means changing your interpersonal relationships for the better.  And remember, love languages can change in sobriety, and that’s 100% okay. 

Holistic Support

Many traditional recovery programs set a sobriety date and put life on pause temporarily, which doesn’t work for a lot of people. Plus, treatment programs may be expensive and unaffordable for many. The more flexible and holistic approach to care at Monument empowers you to work towards sobriety on your own terms, and own time. It also gives you the power to define your relationship with alcohol without having to set a sobriety date or identify as a sober person if that’s not what you want. Plus, we don’t use the word ‘alcoholic,’ because drinking is something you do, not who you are. And it’s something you can change. No matter your goal, we’re here to support you.

At Monument, we make customized treatment available online on your own time. We use evidence-based methods, including alcohol therapy and physician-prescribed medication to help people change their drinking habits for good. Being able to connect with physicians, therapists, and a community of support at any time, from anywhere, gives people the support they need when they need it. 

Long-term sobriety is about finding what it takes to support a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Some may require more support than others at various stages of life when learning how to stay sober or change their relationship with alcohol. Finding the right online alcohol treatment and support to meet you where you are is important.

man sitting by water and sunset

Finding Your Own Meaning of Sobriety

Introspection, practicing healthy habits, and mindfulness are often key components of the sobriety journey. However, these practices look different for everyone. What do they mean to you? Choosing sobriety means being gracious with yourself and knowing that your journey is unique and valid. The path to sobriety is often non-linear, and complete with ups and downs. It’s important to prioritize progress over perfection, and know that growth happens in those uncomfortable moments.

No matter what point of the recovery journey you’re on, you’re not alone. You deserve a healthy relationship with alcohol, whatever that looks like to you.

And at Monument, we’re here to meet you where you are and provide you with support from all angles. 

If you’re wondering how to stop drinking or want to change your relationship with alcohol, reach out to us today.

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852519/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553654/

Women with a light up umbrella under the stars

How to Stay Sober: 7 Tips for Living Without Alcohol

Women with a light up umbrella under the stars

Building a healthy relationship with alcohol is something to be celebrated. For many people, that looks like working towards long-term sobriety with online alcohol treatment.  

But what is sobriety? Per the dictionary, sobriety is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of alcohol altogether. While that definition might sound simple, sobriety can hold much more meaning. Achieving sobriety often involves building healthier habits, establishing new coping mechanisms, addressing triggers that lead to alcohol consumption, and beyond. If you’re wondering how to change your relationship with alcohol for good, we’ve put together helpful sobriety tips to guide you along the way. 

As you’re working on maintaining your sobriety, you can utilize these tools for how to stay sober even when it’s especially challenging. It’s also important to remember this: if you experience setbacks, your progress doesn’t go away overnight. You can always continue on the path toward sobriety, even if there are bends in the road.   

1. Evaluate and Address Your Triggers Healthily

One of the most helpful tips for someone navigating sobriety is evaluating triggers. This consists of identifying people, places, and social situations that tempt you to drink, and setting boundaries to limit or address these scenarios.

You may also take the opportunity to replace triggering factors with alternative activities. For example, if happy hours are a common way you engage with co-workers or friends, suggest other social situations like a sober event, coffee date, or outdoor activity as things to do instead of drinking

three people on a hike

Keep in mind, not all triggers are people or places. Stressful situations or circumstances can also lead to a desire to drink, such as: 

  • A job loss
  • Financial troubles
  • Relationship problems 

The frequency and severity of these circumstances can’t always be predicted. However, triggers can have seasonal influences. For example, holiday time and the darker days of winter can result in a unique set of relationship challenges and feelings of isolation. Being mindful of when challenges may arise can help you be proactive in making healthy choices. 

boundaries inventory: saying no without guilt or shame, asking for what I want/need, taking care of myself, saying yes because I want to, feeling safe to express difficult emotions & have disagreements, taking responsibility for my own happiness, not feeling responsible for someone else's happiness

2. Finding Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Additionally, a lot of growth can come from learning how to address triggers with new coping mechanisms. Consider how they make you feel, and actions you can take to process your emotions without alcohol. The good news is you don’t have to face these feelings alone. You can leverage a variety of available tools and resources when overwhelming stressors arise. 

This may include reaching out to a therapist or engaging with an online alcohol support group like those at Monument. When you’re in a vulnerable spot and have a craving to drink, reaching out to others is an incredibly valuable way to stay accountable to your goals and fill time until the craving passes. 

two men high fiving on a roof

3. Surround Yourself with Support

As mentioned, connecting with others can be incredibly helpful as you are working towards maintaining your sobriety. One of the most valuable ways to stay sober is developing strong relationships with loved ones who support your long-term sobriety. It often means reevaluating past connections that prove unhealthy. Just as certain social situations and environments can be triggering, people can be, too. Welcome the ones who appreciate your new path and want to support your growth. 

Connect in a sober community or schedule time to catch up with loved ones who are rooting for your health and well-being. Making meaningful connections will enable you to feel more fulfilled without the need for alcohol and have a network to lean on when you’re looking for some extra encouragement. 

Preventing relapse through self-care

Women face a unique set of challenges in navigating sobriety and moderation. Join the discussion about gender-specific topics such as stigma, trauma, and gender inequalities. All expressions of female identity are welcome.
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Furthermore, joining an anonymous, supportive community is a powerful tool for staying sober. There’s a sense of familiarity and camaraderie with people who share similar experiences. 

At Monument, the community is free of labels, judgment, and expectations. You can engage in the way that works best for you, whether that’s listening, sharing, or simply reflecting. Showing up is always enough.

“I love Tammy's groups and the people, now my friends, who show up for group with me. It is a time together that feels supportive, and where I can ask for feedback about questions or challenges I am having right now. I am always glad I have made time to come to group!” - Monument Member

4. Build Healthier Routines

Long-term sobriety often entails forming new habits to align with your goals for a healthier lifestyle and improved wellness. It can be tempting to revert to old habits, especially past drinking habits, when feeling uncomfortable or when confronted with a trigger. However, with healthier coping mechanisms in your toolkit, you’ll be able to navigate challenges with perspective and perseverance, and without any alcohol. 

You can decide what action you’ll take instead of turning to alcohol. Redirecting your time and attention to wellness practices can help you stay sober and move past old habits of alcohol consumption. 

When it comes to building sustainable wellness practices, start by asking yourself: What can I do for five minutes each day to address different aspects of my overall health? You can look for exercise videos or get up and stretch to improve your physical health. Your list may also include journaling to reflect on how you feel and focus on what changes have been the most impactful for you. Journaling is also a helpful way to improve your mental health and appreciate how much you’ve grown. Deciding what actually holds value in your day-to-day life can shed light on what you want to spend more time doing as well as the habits you’d like to let go.

women looking out window

5. Reflect on What Works for You

Identifying what you really want and value in life doesn’t have to happen all at once, and can happen at any time. It can be inspired by a significant life event, like becoming a parent, or smaller everyday desires, like seeking more authentic connections with the people in your life. It’s never too late to re-imagine your ideal self and create a plan to get there. 

Imagining where you want to be and how you’re going to get there is also a great way to set goals for how alcohol does or doesn’t show up in our life. Perhaps you realize drinking in moderation is going to allow you to accomplish all of your goals, or you might decide staying sober more closely aligns with your aspirations. 

While self-reflection and journaling can help you visualize your goals, you don’t have to do it alone. It can be incredibly helpful to discuss setting intentions and goals with a licensed therapist or in a peer support group. At Monument, we meet you where you are to help you get to where you want to be.

6. Find Balance and Create Boundaries 

Changing your relationship with alcohol means different things to different people. For some, it may be addressing and healing from past trauma. (In fact, PTSD and alcohol dependence can often co-occur.) For others, it may be building self-confidence and identifying new ways to socialize while living without alcohol. Focusing on what makes you feel whole is an important part of the recovery  journey. 

Another key component of feeling whole and in-balance is setting boundaries. It’s important to remember that your sobriety is a priority, and that you can create boundaries that put your health and wellness first. Here’s a helpful checklist of ways to set healthy boundaries: 

  • Saying no without guilt or shame
  • Asking for what you want/need
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Saying yes because you want to
  • Feeling safe to express difficult emotions and have disagreements
  • Taking responsibility for your own happiness
  • Not feeling solely responsible for someone else’s happiness

It’s not easy to do all of these things all the time, but implementing these boundaries as much as possible can help you feel more balanced and at peace while navigating living without alcohol. 

man meditating in a field

7. Embrace Mindfulness 

The distraction of social media on top of a busy daily routine can cause you to feel like you’re constantly trying to keep up. Practicing mindfulness can improve your mental health, and is a habit that promotes awareness of how you’re feeling in the moment. You can approach this in different ways based on your preferences and mood.

Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are a great place to start. Rest comfortably and inhale slowly for a few seconds, hold the breath for a few seconds, and then deeply exhale for a few seconds. Repeat this rhythm a few times and embrace the stillness of the moment. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but intentional practice will make it easier every time. Meanwhile, introducing yoga into your life is a healthy way to combine gentle exercise and mindfulness through a guided flow. 

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is another popular technique. It’s intended to bring your thoughts to a central focus and clear the mind. However, mindfulness doesn’t have to just be about meditating. Whatever you choose to do should be fulfilling and fun. It’s about creating moments where you are and remembering to be present. 

Being mindful leads to gratitude and allows you to feel things fully even if something feels painful. Letting those emotions pass through, rather than avoiding them or escaping from them by drinking alcohol, is a healthy habit to practice in your journey.

 

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8. Celebrate Progress 

Practicing long-term sobriety is a rewarding journey, and something to be proud of. Honor and celebrate your progress. Take notice of how far you’ve come. Cheers with a celebratory alcohol alternative (when you’re ready!). Even if you experience setbacks, you’ve still made incredible strides, and can continue on your path. Changing your relationship with alcohol, along with your physical and mental health, should be celebrated often.

Small steps amount to meaningful change, and can sometimes be difficult to recognize and appreciate at the moment. Talking to your support group about your accomplishments, big or small, is an important practice of self-appreciation. Sharing your experiences with others may also be inspirational for those who may be embarking on a similar path. 

woman smiling in a colorful glass room

Embarking on Your New Path

Living a sober life looks different for everyone and it can often take a few tries before establishing a sustainable sobriety practice. There is absolutely no shame in that. It takes self-reflection, navigating challenges and triggers, and developing a sobriety toolkit that works for you. And you don’t have to do it alone. Having immediate access to evidence-based tools and a supportive community can empower you to reach your goals. 

Implementing these tips for staying sober will help you persevere in the face of challenges, and experience the authentic joys and benefits that come with sobriety. If you want support from all angles, Monument is here to meet you where you are, and empower you to get more out of life by living without alcohol.

Disclaimer: Our articles and resources do not constitute clinical or licensed therapy or other health care services. If you need counseling or therapy services please contact a licensed provider. If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Sources:

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/understanding-alcohol-use-disorder

https://joinmonument.com/resources/faq-about-the-holidays-sober/