10 Practical Tips for Staying AF (Alcohol Free)

DaybreakAlthough it can be a simple process to begin your alcohol-free journey, there are the inevitable temptations that will make this journey much more challenging. We’ve all been through these situations – so what better than for us at Hello Sunday Morning to give our best tips?

Here are our top 10 tips to staying alcohol free, which may help you curb the habit that much easier. These are practical tips that you can start implementing right now!

 

1. Don’t keep alcohol in the house.

Turns out, we all have downer days in life – those are the days when we won’t have as much self-control. You’ll end up eating and drinking whatever is left in the house, or you’ll convince yourself you deserve a ‘treat’ because this may provide a lift to your day.

Not keeping any alcohol will prevent this from being your treat – we’d recommend a good tub of ice cream instead! As an added benefit: your friends are going to absolutely love you if you give them free alcohol. Make the most out of their newfound adoration while it still lasts!

2. Attempt a physical challenge.

This can be anything from a basic weight-loss challenge (or more ambitious challenges for the not so faint hearted). 

Having a physical goal gives you a big reason to quit drinking – and also comes in handy as a reason why you’re not drinking. It’ll potentially rally your friends to your cause; they may even end up being your biggest supporters!

There are countless benefits here – including better long-term health, looks, self-esteem, new friends, new hobbies … and much more. This is the best time to try, and you may even find yourself in a great positive spiral.

3. Remind yourself of why you’re doing it (and the potential benefits).

Sometimes, it’s a matter of understanding and remembering what you felt when you first made the decision to cut drinking. 

Was it for your family? Was it for the health benefits? Or did you just want to feel more productive with your life? Reminding yourself every day of your goals in life will keep you focused on why you would want to stay alcohol free.

There are a number of different ways you can start implementing this tactic. You could paste the reason as a post-it around your house and workplace. You could implement this as a reminder on your phone; or include this in your morning routine and gratitude practices. Another way this could be implemented is for you to direct your focus on what you’re getting out of your social gatherings – which you may not need the help of alcohol to do.

It seems like a very simple tip, but it’s also very easy to forget as our lives can get very busy!

4. Surround yourself with people who are also alcohol free (or don’t drink as much).

Having trouble surrounding yourself with people similar to you in the AF crusade?

There’s a saying: ‘You are the average of the 5 people around you’. What this means is that you’ll eventually be similar to the people around you, based on proximity. If they’re always drinking, it makes it that much harder for you to stay alcohol free!

That’s not to say your friend groups should be exclusively those who don’t drink a lot. However, this is a great way to stay alcohol free and keep that behaviour top of mind – especially when you are first building the habit. Afterwards, it might be okay to let the people of old back into your life.

5. Join a support group.

There’s no shame in joining a support group for whatever your problem is – especially alcohol. The reason is very simple: it helps you internalise that whatever problem you’re facing, you’re not facing it alone. You’re on a journey together, and you can cheer and motivate each other along the way to being AF.

If you find that you can’t locate a physical support group around, check out our support app Daybreak. It’s a beautiful community of people, with anonymous online handles. Posting in the community feed whatever your thoughts are, is a great way to feel supported, as people are active in the app and will respond quickly and positively.

6. Focus on one step at a time. Set some realistically achievable targets, such as not drinking for a week.

Instead of having an ambitious target, it is much better to take this journey step by step so you can digest and be able to mentally prepare for it.

Common challenges to do would be to go alcohol-free for 1 or 3 months, but we’d recommend you do it for at least a week first. It’s a universally achievable goal which will give you the mental confidence to stay alcohol free and will act as the momentum for positive behaviour change.

7. Be the designated driver whenever you go out. 

If you do decide to go out, try to drive out instead of opting for public transport.

This is a great way of forbidding yourself to drink, especially if your friends want to get lifts home.

It’s also handy as a quick getaway in case you find the social event too difficult to handle – in terms of temptations to drink, or even if you decide to go home early.

8. Find a great substitute drink, and have this served in a nice glass.

Instead of restricting yourself to water whenever you enter a bar, it’ll be much better to order a drink you’d actually enjoy.

There are the obvious choices of soft drinks or fruit juices, but if you don’t like these, there are a couple of alcohol-free drinks that you can try instead. Here’s a couple that we like.

If you’d like to try to make some AF drinks yourself, here’s a list of recipes that we’ve created for you.

9. Forgive yourself.

Even if you drink one too many, forgive yourself. Feeling guilty will only give you more stress, making you more inclined to drink again!

Take control of your emotions, and understand that this is a journey that is different for everyone. Some people will be able to breeze through this, while for others it may be a bit harder. The most important thing is to continue to have the strength to keep going on this journey, rather than being so hard on yourself that you don’t want to.

10. Say hello to morning activities.

Now that you’re alcohol free, you’ll be waking up earlier and with fewer hangovers. Planning more fun morning activities will help take advantage of this clarity.

If you want to socialise, go out with your friends for either breakfast or brunch. There’s also a long list of physical activities that you could pursue now as well. Make the most of your day – and say Hello Sunday Morning! To see what people are doing, visit the hashtag #hellosundaymorning” on Instagram.

 


Overall, we hope all of these tips will help you stay alcohol free in the coming year. Remember, it’s a marathon and not a sprint – success always comes off the back of failure and isn’t always the clearest of paths. It’s how we pick ourselves up and keep on going that matters the most.

If you find you need extra support to help you change, check out Hello Sunday Mornings’ mobile behaviour change program, Daybreak.

“This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace was a life changer for this 66 year old alcoholic. A must read!

Celebrating 4 years alcohol free with the support of Sunday Morning and my 12 step program. Living sane and sober once again.

Hi there. I have followed you from a distance for the last few years. I really appreciate the support you give. I stopped drinking a year and a half ago. My analogy is that my circuit breaker switch for alcohol is broken. It doesn’t switch off when overloaded. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy and the only solution is nothing (with a caviot…i’ll get to that). Alcohol just became too much a part of my daily routine and with the broken switch a glass of wine at night was not enough. I am too proud to join AA, that would be admitting I have an addiction. Hello Sunday Morning is the reassuring halfway solution. Having a community say that it is OK NOT to drink in this booze obsessed country helps. I loath having to explain myself for not drinking in social situations. If you don’t have a drink in your hand in Australia people treat you like an outsider or you’re living with a contagious disease. We have to change this attitude. I also find it tiresome how friends, when drinking, repeat themselves so much. It does explain those blurry nights when you cant remember much but one thing a friend said stuck in your mind. Being sober you realise that you remembered that one thing because that friend repeated the story so many times. Anyway, I always find your site/emails/suggestions, like those here, a great support. Love waking up sober, love every morning, not just Sunday. So here’s my caviot, that I tell people when they question my decision not to drink…I’m an International drinker. I only drink overseas. This changes the subject and those asking just think your a wanker who still drink occasionally and therefore isn’t a weirdo. My attitude is you can’t take your wife to Paris and not have a glass of wine when in a beautiful restaurant. This has a 2 fold effect because it means you travel more, the wife stays happy and gets to go on more holidays (with the money saved from not drinking everyday perhaps)!!! Works for us. Thank you. Keep up the splendid work. You are doing very important work.

Hi I find using a daily journal to outline the important areas of my life and assessing what I want from them maintains my boot the beer focus thank you

I have recently been doing the 16/8 intermittent fasting for health and weight loss. This has given me the impetus to stop drinking and am loving the weight loss, fitness gain and sense of well being.

I gave up drinking about 20 months ago for good. I used your app for about 2 years beforehand and it became blindingly obvious that my happiness and my drinking were totally related, so finally I decided to pick happiness and give up drinking for good. Jonnyperoni was my username. Thank you!!

Thank you for this blog. I’m on my 3rd attempt of quoting now and have read similar things to this but it’s always good to re-read and remind myself. I’m finding that I’m doing most of these things now , apart from going out which I’m avoiding but my friends have been very supportive and understanding. I’ll be able to introduce evening socialising again soon once I’m into my new sober habit.

Great tips. Thank you.

Really like the tips on setting realistic goals and forgiving yourself. When I started it was all or nothing for me and I was hard on myself when I couldn’t maintain. This just led to feeling more like a failure. Now I set small goals for myself and have been able to cut back significantly and feel the benefits.

These are great tips! Speaking of morning activities I highly recommend ParkRun. I have been an avid member of the ParkRun community since changing my relationship with alcohol almost 3 years ago. It is a fabulous way to start your weekend!

Great tips thank you. Untoxicated is also a great social network for the sober tribe. I found both Daybreak and Untoxicated so valuable in my sober journey

The Naked Mind by Annie Grace is the only thing that finally ended my drinking with calmness and clarity . After decades of excessive drinking and failed attempts this book explains why and what Alcohol really is. Giving up the grog was as difficult as giving up celery or carrots rather than the constant battle of willpower, failure and guilt that came with every other failed attempt. Highly recommended reading.

I’m stuffed! I want to fix myself but am too anxious without the numbingness that alcohol gives me…I’ve just been through too much and shitty stuff n my luck is bad…I cant do it congrats to those who have! I’m just worn out

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