Avoiding triggers and just getting through the next 24 hours is difficult for all recovering alcoholics and more so for those who have only been clean for a few weeks. Learn how to make it through the day without drinking with the help of our tried and tested tips.

How to Make it Through the Day Without Drinking

When you first stop drinking, you’re only just starting out on the road to sobriety. It’s a long but rewarding journey but it’s not without its pitfalls. Just getting through each day without succumbing to temptation can be incredibly difficult, especially in the early stages of recovery. However, anyone can have a bad day. No matter how long you’ve been living an alcohol-free life, certain triggers and situations can make your thoughts turn to drink.

Although you are serious about your recovery, relapse can happen to anyone. Up to 90 per cent of alcoholics who have gone on to achieve long-lasting sobriety admit to at least one relapse along the way. Staying sober is a great adventure, with many challenges and difficult times along the way. With that in mind, we’ve come up with some useful tips to help you make it through the day without drinking.

If you are concerned about yourself or someone close to you, The Cabin Chiang Mai offers specialised alcohol addiction treatment lead by a professional and highly qualified team of medical experts, psychologists and skilled therapists.

Learn How to Make it Through the Day Without Drinking

Sometimes, getting through the day without drinking is not as easy as it sounds. Some days can be more difficult than others and you’re more likely to feel the urge to drink. Here, we offer a few useful ways to deal with those trying times.

1. Know Your Triggers

Alcoholism is a complex disease and it is often accompanied by stress, anxiety or depression, all of which can act as triggers. Remember what you learned about HALT and high-risk situations in treatment – are you hungry, angry, lonely or tired? Try to take note of specific things that make you feel like drinking and work out a plan of action. For example, if you feel like drinking after a stressful day at work, take a walk or go to a movie. Try to think of after work activities that are always available. If you find that loneliness exacerbates the problem, create a support network of people you can talk to at a moment’s notice.

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2. Replace Drinking with Something Better

Drinking probably took up a fair amount of your time and you may associate certain times of the day with going to the pub or pouring that first drink. If you always had the first drink as soon as you got home or if you went to the pub for two hours each evening, you now have an empty slot that needs to be filled if you want to stay sober. And, of course, your body is probably telling you that it craves alcohol at certain times. Fill trigger times with new activities and integrate them into your regular routine and you’ll find it easier to make it through the day without drinking.

3. Talk it Out

Make sure you have someone to talk to when you feel down; this could be your sponsor, a family member or a sober friend. Going to support groups or meetings is highly beneficial and many alcoholics find that sharing concerns with others in the same situation makes it easier to stay strong and focused. However, it’s essential that you have a support network. This could include friends or relatives who you can be reached quickly at any time, either by phone or in person. Talking to others, about anything, can suppress the urge to drink.

4. Stick to a Routine

Plan your days so that you’re eating, working or exercising at the right times. Stock up on simple, nutritious snacks and non-alcoholic drinks and try to get up and go to bed at certain times. Having a basic routine in place is a vital step on the road to recovery and you’re less likely to be caught unawares if your days are planned and productive.

5. Break the Chain

Humans are creatures of habit, and often, when things get a little difficult we resort to the same old solution—alcohol. Make a conscious effort to replace drinking with other activities that will help you make it through the day without drinking when times get tough. Understand that not all days are the same, some are good and some are more stressful. Knowing this, and realising that they occur at irregular intervals, can help you to come up with ways to deal with any type of day.

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6. Keep a Diary or Journal

Keeping a journal or diary provides you with an ongoing overview of the progress you’ve made since you stopped drinking. Writing things down is also a useful way to overcome feelings of anxiety and stress. If you’re worried that you might not make it through the day without drinking, write down what you feel and what you think caused these feelings. Then, make a list of what you can do instead. As well as providing some instant relief, keeping a journal enables you to look back on what worked on previous occasions.

Get Help Now

If you’re struggling to stay sober or worried about someone close to you, do contact us at the Cabin Chiang Mai. Our Addiction Treatment Method combines CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) with mindfulness meditation and a 12-step based programme in a tranquil, bucolic setting.

We also offer a comprehensive range of aftercare that includes Sober House Living, a chance for recovering alcoholics to live in a structured, routine-lead environment that reduces the chance of future relapse.

If you’ve happened to slip-up, this does not mean you are destined for total failure. Recovery is still possible, but the sooner you act after a relapse the better. Contact us today to get back on your road to recovery. We would be happy to provide you with further information.

About the Author

Lee Daniel Hawker-Lecesne

Lee Daniel Hawker-Lecesne

Clinical Director at The Cabin (MBPsS, British Psychological Society Number: 479469) Lee is a Registered Member of the British Psychological Society. He graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK with a degree in Behavioural Science and a postgraduate clinical focus on addictions from the University of Bath. Lee is a focused and ambitious individual who has in-depth training and experience in a broad range of clinical psychological interventions in the treatment of addiction, dual diagnosis, and complex trauma.

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