MAKING IT TO TOMORROW
Daniel Tinson

This is a ramble about identifying own behaviors, habits (good and bad) and recognising the patterns that turn you around and lead to another drink.
This may assist you in reducing your alcohol intake, getting/staying sober or self assessing how your own loved ones are trying to turn their own habits around.

I wish I could guarantee you positive results immediately, but that is up to you. You set your own goals, you set your own limits.  Hopefully you can use something from here to inch closer to reaching those, even if it is only half an inch, a glass a week or greeting tomorrow sober.
You must set your own goals though, so you are accountable to you and only you. Loved ones may have an opinion (and in my experience strongly share such) and you should be open to hearing this, no matter how cringe worthy (within reason of course).
But unless they are going to do it for you (which they can’t), no one else should have a say in your goals. They are yours, the only commitment is with yourself.
Just be honest and be kind with yourself.

"THOSE WHO TRAVEL A WALKED PATH RARELY FIND THEMSELVES ALONE"

It’s not going to be easy though, not now and not later. There will be easier days, days when you feel in control.  There are also going to be tough days, failures and days in which the world breaks your heart.
The first steps of your journey are always the hardest, but those who travel a walked path rarely find themselves alone, and that’s all I wish to do for you, accompany you on your journey.

Trying to get sober, stay sober or reduce your intake of alcohol presents us with many obstacles.
Everyone’s sober journey is different, I have had over 13 years experience being on and off again Sober Not Sober, recently failing in a slow motion Molotov explosion.  Since then staying sober for 1.5 months before crashing out again. I am trying again though and I have learnt even more about myself.
I have tried many different ways over the years to stay sober, a few of these were:

  • Tying my sobriety to a personal relationship
  • Replacing my alcohol intake with physical activity
  • Slowly reducing my alcohol intake
  • Creative output and redirection of my drinking energy elsewhere
  • Reducing my alcohol intake to one or two ‘event days’ a year
  • Mentoring with someone who has been sober longer
  • Removing myself socially until I felt I had myself under control
  • Increase of sexual activity equal to the reduction of alcohol intake
  • Changing my associated behaviors. IE: Don’t sit down and watch the cricket with a slab of beer, listen to it on the radio whist having a walk instead
  • Replacement of alcohol in my diet with Green Tea.

"ROUTINE IS BOTH YOUR FRIEND AND ENEMY"

I found that many if not all of the above noted were great stop gaps. Ways in which I could remove a craving, change a behaviour or overpower the urge to drink with routine.
I discovered that routine is both your friend and your enemy.
Meaning it was great to work out instead of drinking, use it as a motivation to not have the next drink. The problem I realise now is that when life got in the way.  I was too hard on myself, I did what many do on a diet and when I missed a few days I was back on the drink again.
The thought process being “well I might as well drink because I haven’t worked out for a few days”. Thus besides getting buff, the motivation to not have the next drink was not coming from within me because all I felt was constant failure.

Stop gaps are temporary solutions to permanent problems. You don’t want a stop gap, you want a long term outcome. The best source of this is self belief, motivation and ownership.

I do this (when needed) through daily planning and accomplishment acknowledgement.
Some days plan themselves, there is no need to work out how I’m going to get to tomorrow sober because that’s not a problem today. Other days it’s about making sure that tomorrow I am one day sober or hopefully, another day sober. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Don’t let others value your personal accomplishment, fell off the wagon? Spend the start of the day being disappointed in yourself, spend the second half of the day ensuring that tomorrow you are one day sober.

"YOUR GOALS MAY CHANGE DAILY"

You don’t ever quit drinking, you just learn how not to have the next drink.  The truth is that all of the above ways to try and get sober can help. All are fantastic ways to get through another day, just don’t rest on one tried and true method.
Your journey is your own, it will look different to mine and consist of many different parts.

You need to decide not to be judgmental of yourself.  Take ownership for your actions positive, negative or otherwise. Decide that tomorrow is going to be one day sober, if that is the second or third consecutive day then look back at your accomplishment and congratulate yourself.

With some days being harder than others, the hard days are the days that you need resolve to make it to tomorrow which can be accomplished through daily planning and looking back on what you have accomplished in the past.
This is why it is important to set own goals, because your goals may change daily, weekly hourly and so may mine. My goal to reduce drinking by one day a week, may look completely different to your goal of getting to tomorrow sober.
Have you not had a drink for 6 hours? Great work. Next stop 12 hours.
Sometimes getting through the next few hours is the toughest challenge of the week. Even if you already have a day, a week, a year or a decade of sobriety behind you.

"USE PRIDE, RESOLVE AND CONFIDENCE TO GET TO TOMORROW"

I personally believe that you can use single days or half days sober as inspiration. Yes the goal may be to have a run of one, two, seven or 365 days sober, but this does not discount your previous amazing efforts to go without alcohol.
Learn from your fall, pick yourself up and go again slightly different.
You can do it. You will do it.

If tomorrow is going to be your first day sober, then celebrate any other time you have been sober in the past. Whether it be for an hour, day, week or year. Don’t get hung up on why you stopped instead use resolve, pride and confidence to get to tomorrow. Take the wins where they are presented.

It’s as simple and also as complicated as that. A change of outlook.
One day sober is still sober, two days sober is awesome and any consecutive days are amazing.

Take care, love yourself and celebrate today yesterdays learning for tomorrows success.

Daniel Tinson is the host of the Sober Not Sober Podcast and co-presenter of the Geek Out of Water Podcast
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