Coping With Abstinence

  1. Drink plenty of fluid and also make sure you take a lot of sugar to make up what you are missing from alcoholic drinks.
  2. Avoid fruit drinks or soft drinks with an alcoholic connotation such as apple juice, ginger beer, grape juice or iron brew as they remind you of the real stuff.
  3. Eat regularly, try to ensure your diet is balanced and nourishing; include fresh fruit, salads and bran.
  4. Avoid drinking at the same time that you would normally be drinking in a pub or at home in the evening, lunchtimes or any time you are used to drinking. Plan what you will do instead.
  5. Don't drink anything alcoholic. Should you have to mix in company where alcohol is being taken, ask for a soft drink. This is something common-place now. Learn how to refuse a drink without offending others too much or upsetting yourself.
  6. When you are faced with a craving for a drink remember what happened that last time you took a drink such as memory loss, inability to eat, the constant haze, the irritable hangover and possible hospitalisation.
  7. Don't go back to your 'local' every night and hope to stay sober for long. You have already proved to yourself you can't.
  8. Don't go into a drinking environment it you feel like a drink. It's not worth the risk. The longer your sobriety lasts the easier it will become to cope with pubs, clubs and parties.
  9. Question the quality and sincerity of friendships built up during your drinking days. You may find that a lot of your 'friends' were merely drinking companions.
  10. Don't try to go it alone. It's a big temptation to try and cut yourself off but you will need understanding people and they will probably need you.
  11. Do develop new friends in sobriety, and look for ways of repaying the help of the true friends and family who helped you to gain that sobriety; they deserve it.
  12. Do make friends with one or two people who have similar interests to yourself. It can be much easier talking over problems with a truly understanding friend but remember to accept without jealousy those friends who are not alcoholics and are drinking sensibly.
  13. Try to gain financial independence (do not borrow from friends or arrange a bankloan). Once you have no serious worries over money, remember that drinking will soon involve you in money problems all over again.
  14. Learn to relax and keep aside part of every day for enjoying this refreshment, eg. take a bath, listen to soothing music or relaxation tapes or take up yoga. Ask for a leaflet about this.
  15. Get a fair balance of physical and mental exercise in your daily routine.
  16. Take up an interest in something old or new even, if to begin with you just read about it. Soon you may find yourself taking an active interest in a particular hobby.
  17. If over a period of time, you do not feel well see your doctor. Do not assume that she/he will think you have been drinking.
  18. Do not put off until tomorrow what can be done today however small the problems are. If left they build up.
  19. You are not an invalid! Without alcohol you are not incapacitated in any way. If you encounter difficulties at home or at work, ask for help from any reliable source. Asking for help is not a weakness, reluctance to do so is.
  20. Self confidence grows by your own successful efforts. Go out and talk to people, you have a lot to give and will in return receive.
  21. Don't be upset by still being snubbed by family and employers. Perhaps you are untrusted and untrusting. You have to prove yourself again to all of them. If you have a job and don't enjoy it try to work out why. Perhaps you are underpaid because of your drinking. Your sobriety could be a passport to getting some satisfaction from your job, but remember it takes a long time and the longer you have been drinking the longer it takes. Work at proving you can work, honestly, adapt to your fellow men or women and give them the enjoyment of being with you.
  22. Do say what you think and feel at the time. You will gain respect for this, if not agreement. Only say YES or NO when you mean it.
  23. "Coping with abstinence" means don't plan too much too soon. Unfulfilled plans are always a ready excuse for drinking. "Time to recover" means not only physical recovery. Although the body mends, the mind will take months to sort itself out. Do not make major decisions i.e. changing your house, job, partner, start a family etc. until a long enough time has elapsed.
  24. Don't take on too much - rigorous dieting, stopping smoking etc., don't ask too much of yourself - give yourself time.