Psychological preparation

I learned when training to run a marathon that the psychological preparation was as important, if not more so, than all of the training runs, drink and snack choices, warm up and down stuff put together.  If you didn’t believe you could do it – it became so much more difficult on the final miles of the course or when you ‘hit the wall’.

These are some of the things that I did to psychologically prepare for stopping drinking:

Reading everything I could about it in books or on blogs.  Knowing about PAWS was particularly valuable.

Starting a daily gratitude practice.  Fear stopped me from even considering a life without alcohol for too many years and was the fastest at driving me back to it in the past.  Gratitude is the antidote to fear for me.

Developing other ways of relaxing that didn’t require picking up a drink, such as a long soak in the bath, a run or meditation

Finding other sources of positivity such as Notes from the Universe or The Daily Love

Now I don’t want to come across as some hippy-dippy Pollyanna type but believe me stopping drinking stirred up a sh*t ton of deeply buried negative and painful thoughts and emotions in me that I needed to learn to manage if I was every going to climb out of a bottle.  Drinking  had become my emotional anaesthetic and the only way to counter-balance the negativity that was triggered by stopping was to up the amount of positive stuff that I was exposing myself too, both in terms of what I read and how I thought.  All of these things together made the journey from drinker to non-drinker easier for me.

If you’re on the journey already what would you recommend to someone to fortify their psychological defences?

6 thoughts on “Psychological preparation

  1. I love this community of bloggers! There’s so much valuable information and experience being shared. I’ve been struggling lately with several of the items on your PAWS list and was immediately comforted to learn: a) these symptoms are normal and b) maybe I haven’t really blown my brain up with alcohol. I’m having no trouble staying away from alcohol. It’s the physical and mental symptoms that have bothered me.

    I didn’t do any preparation. I was completely unaware of how my body would react physically and mentally. I had no idea this community existed until I was on Day 20 something. I stumbled on to Mrs. D’s blog and from there the whole sober blogosphere opened up.

    I love the gratitude practice and the idea of sharing that with someone is a marvelous idea.

    Thank you for such a helpful post!

    1. Hello and welcome and thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad that you’re finding the information useful and congrats on your Day 20 something! 🙂

      1. Oh no! I’ve been following all of you for a bit longer. It’s Day 54 for me and I’m so grateful for everyone who shares in this community! 🙂

  2. for me getting sober involved an overall opening up and willingness to consider what I used to call ‘new agey’ stuff.. or ‘naval gazing’ stuff… I was very closed to anything deep or meaningful when I was boozing.. everything had to be breezy and fun all the time. Now on my twitter feed where I follow loads of recovery experts and rehabs etc there are a lot of life sayings etc and so many of them really genuinely help me along my days. Simple statements like ‘each day is a gift’ and ‘remember to look for beauty in everything’.. it just sort of slows me down and makes me remember that we are tiny specs on a huge planet of humanity. Oh – and of course TARA BRACH! Tara is simply wonderful and I love listening to her pod casts.. especially when I’ve had tough stuff happen (she has a great one on forgiveness). How could I forget Tara. xxxx

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