Early Sobriety Toolkit: The First 90 Days

Today is 90 days alcohol free! Holy shit, I never thought I’d see this happen in my life. But here I am clear headed, proud and happy. When I started this journey I scoured the internet looking for tidbits that might help me. And I decided I would document what has helped me along the way so I could share it with you.

Here is my toolkit:

  • Timelines – I started with a 30 day alcohol free experiment that I extended to 60 days before deciding to remain alcohol free going forward. It was easier for me to initially commit to one month at a time rather than forever. Once the benefits became clear, I was ready to commit to a long term course. It seemed quite obvious after 60 days.
  • Delight – From the first week, I started to look for ways to delight myself that didn’t involve alcohol. Fresh weekly flowers to enjoy all week long, a new journal with soft pages, fancy new teas to try, thrifting for treasures. I regularly ask myself, “What would delight you, right now?” It’s not always stuff, sometimes it is a walk, a nap, a bubble bath, time to be creative or to clean out a closet.
  • Alcohol Voice – Give it a name. When you are able to recognize it and name it, it’s much easier to shake your head at it and move on. After much thought, I decided to name mine “Old Crow”. When she rears her ugly head, I just shake mine and say to myself, “Oh, no. Old Crow.”
  • Reading – I usually have three books going on my Kindle at all times; a fiction, a self improvement/inspiration and a quit lit. The quit lit being the most important. Continuously reading about other people’s experiences and learning more about the negative impacts of alcohol keeps the Old Crow from creeping in and telling me, “Hey, you didn’t really have a problem. You can drink in moderation.” Yeah, right. That never worked for very long in the past.
  • Sober Community – I found mine online. The Instagram sober community is amazing! Reading everyone’s triumphs, challenges and everything in between has been my greatest tool. This community is positive and inspiring, they are cheerleaders in my pocket. I don’t have much in person support so this community is my lifeline. You can search for them with hashtags like: #sober #sobriety #soberliving #alcoholfree
  • Journaling – Every few days I write in my journal, sometimes more. Especially when I am upset or frustrated. Writing helps get the feelings out so they’re not bouncing around in my head getting stronger and worsening. Early on I used this journal prompt: Write down all your beliefs about the benefits of alcohol and then write down a rational debate to these beliefs. It was quite eye opening.
  • Gratitude Art Journal – I always wanted to be someone that kept a gratitude journal, but every attempt never lasted longer than a few days. Now, I am serious about it. I found great inspiration from Tammi Salas’ book, My Daily Gratitude Practice. I write out my daily gratitudes and then decorate the page with watercolors. This practice has me looking for the positive in my life and is reminding me of my creativity.
  • Talisman – In my first week, I happened to walk into a hippy store and went straight to a brecciated jasper worry stone. I put it down, but kept walking around the store and back to you. I bought it and keep it in my jacket pocket. I hold it and rub my thumb over it when I am out walking thinking about my intention to be alcohol free and it really reinforces it. Any small object that is special for you would work.
  • Podcasts – I’ve listened to four sobriety podcasts during this period. They’re all good, but Edited is my favorite. It resonates with me the most. Regularly hearing from others that are living in sobriety helps a lot. Again, this helps keep Old Crow from screaming. I listen to them when I am walking and frequently they keep me company when I am making dinner instead of my old companion, wine. Here is the list of the ones I have explored:
    • Edited
    • Euphoric
    • Home
    • The Unruffled
  • Beverages – This is a big one. I didn’t want to replace alcohol with sugary drinks, but I also didn’t just want to drink water and coffee. I’ve become a huge tea connoisseur, trying out all kinds. Some I like, some I don’t. I’m also a huge fan of flavored seltzer water with ice and bits of fruit. These feel fancy, are refreshing and only have the natural sugar of the small amount of fruit. My favorites are:
    • Lemon La Croix with slices of lemon
    • Grapefruit La Croix with slices of grapefruit
    • Raspberry La Croix with a few raspberries
  • Exercise – For me this has been hot yoga and walking. I’ve been a walker for many years. My Fitbit long ago created a great addiction to my step count so I’ve kept that up. Hot yoga is something I’ve done off and on over the years. It’s been “on” during the good stretches and “off” during the bad or so so stretches. From my first sober week, I knew I needed hot yoga back in my life. It fills my time with something that is amazing for my mind and body. I take a class 2-3 times a week. My yoga mantra is: Just me, alcohol free. Actually, this is my mantra in general. I think it often and it brings a smile to my face because I am happy just being me without needing alcohol.
  • Guided Meditations – I used to never be able to sleep without booze and/or over the counter sleeping pills. I started using the Insight Timer app from my first sober night to listen to bedtime meditations hoping they would help me fall asleep. Within two weeks of sobriety, I was able to wean myself of the sleeping pills. I’m proud of this amazing accomplishment, but really it just goes to show the power of guided meditations. There is a lot of free content on this app, but so far I’ve only consistently used two meditations. They help me sleep peacefully and wake up feeling refreshed. I still have some nights of poor sleep, but they happen so much less then they did during my alcohol days. My two favorite meditations are:
    • Relax and Sleep Well by Glenn Harrold
    • Sleep Meditation: Awaken to a Clean Slate by Bethany Auriel-Hagan

These tools have helped me come this far. I will continue to use them and build on them. Having a sobriety toolkit is imperative for success. I hope sharing my toolkit helps some of you. Please feel free to comment with items you’d like to share from your toolkit.

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4 thoughts on “Early Sobriety Toolkit: The First 90 Days

  1. Hooray for 90 days! We have the same date :). This list is so relatable–a great tool for anyone navigating those harder days. “Delight” is a tool that especially resonates with me. I used to think of AF days as joyless because I’d try to catch up on all my healthy habits to the point of misery. When I started prioritizing replacing the time I’d drink with something purely enjoyable, I think it helped my brain rewire itself a bit quicker to stop only associating fun with drinking. Great post and yippee hooray for 90!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks and congrats on your 90 days!!!! I’m so happy to find someone that shares my sober date! I agree that delight is key. Changing my frame of mind from abstaining and feeling like I’m missing out to choosing to be AF free and getting to experience life au natural really made a difference for me. Learning just how much fun I can have without alcohol is amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

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