Experts reveal top tips to nail Dry January and stay sober

Experts reveal top tips to nail Dry January and stay sober

Giving up booze, even for a short while, can be hard.

And as we’re more than half way through January now, it’s probably a good time to check in and ask how your ‘giving up booze’ resolution is going.

Is it triumph in a piece of non-alcohol-soaked cake?

Or are you grinding down Wine Gums and slipping them into your tea?

Alex Walker and Lisa Elsworth are best friends and co-founders of Bee Sober — the award-winning organisation that works with people to ‘transform their mindset, health and wellbeing around alcohol’.

Alex, 43, from Stockport, gave up booze on Sunday June 2nd, 2019. ‘I called Lisa with the worst hangover ever and declared I was taking a 30-day break, she says.

‘I gave up because, honestly, it just wasn’t doing what it said on the bottle anymore. My mental health was at an all-time low, and after just a few drinks, I felt miserable. I hated the hangovers more than anything — and my weekends were wasted either drinking or recovering.’

But it wasn’t simple. ‘At the beginning, not drinking was all I thought about. Even on Monday I was thinking about not having any wine at the weekend and how I was missing out. I didn’t realise how big a part alcohol was in my life and in my thoughts.’

And Lisa, 42, from Lancashire, stopped drinking on Monday July 9th, 2018 — after waking up with yet another ‘hangover from hell’.

‘It’s a cliché but I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired,’ she says.

‘I wanted to be a better mum [Lisa and Alex are both mums of three]; I wanted to feel more creative, alive and happy; and alcohol was dumbing me down…The most difficult part was socialising.

‘I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb — and felt like I didn’t have much in common with those I used to go out drinking with.’

So Bee Sober was born. It offers everything from drop-in sober support lounges and weekly group coaching to The 30-day Sober Experiment to ‘help you change the way you think about alcohol so you can quit without feeling like you’re missing out.’

Along with their Bee Sober work, Alex and Lisa are both trained alcohol therapists, host The Sober Experiment podcast (recent guests include: American actor Brianne Davis, film producer and director Mark Adderley, and mental health advocate Josh Connolly) and have, yes, sobering life experience that informs their knowledge and teachings — Lisa grew up in pubs, thinking drinking was a ‘hobby’, and Alex’s dad died of alcoholism.

They know what they’re talking about — so here’s their ‘giving up drinking’ advice…

Alex’s tips

Check in with yourself if you crave a drink:

It can be really easy to think you want alcohol when, actually, you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

We use HALT – the mind-tool acronym that asks if instead of feeling x, are you actually simply Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? – with our members to check what they actually need and want.

That way you can give your body what it is truly asking for: food, exercise, connection or rest.

Take a reality check:

We make our podcast because there’s nothing more sure to crush a craving than hearing some home truths about alcohol. Listen – and don’t be afraid of sharing your experiences with others.

Play it forward:

Thinking about how you will feel the next day if you give in to drinking now can be enough to keep you away from picking a drink up.

If you are doing this for January, it’s only 31 days. You can definitely do 31 days — and you’ll be so proud of yourself when you have done it.

Lisa’s tips

Social media brings accountability:

There are loads of amazing groups on Facebook that you can join during January and beyond, including the Bee Sober Support Group, where you can rant about your cravings and get instant support.

Instagram also has an amazing sober community and the people are so supportive.

Having support through social media is what got me through the early days.

Surround yourself with like-minded people:

People who just get it. We have a whole community of sober and sober curious people who want to make friends, go out and socialise, and have fun. Without alcohol!

You don’t need booze to have a good time with friends. The private members Facebook group is a great place to share your journey – free from judgement – in an encouraging, confidential, friendly environment — surrounded by people all at various stages of their sober journey.

Get your friends on board:

Why not get a few of you together to do a Sober Experiment? Try out what life would be like without a drink.

Instead of thinking you can’t have a drink, look at this as a bit of an experiment and just see what it’s like. That’s what I did and it definitely took the pressure off.

I actually found it quite easy to give up alcohol. I saw it as an experiment and I made lots of effort to spend my time appreciating and being grateful for all that I was gaining — instead of what I thought I was missing out on.

Click here for more information on Bee Sober.

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