From Kate Baily and Mandy Manners, the authors of Love Yourself Sober: A Self Care Guide to Alcohol-Free Living for Busy Mothers.
We are posting this to send some love to anyone who may be anxious about a first sober new year. You can opt out, you can eat Chinese food, whatever … have a bath … you can start to reclaim these occasions as you own, and focus on the long game. Tomorrow you will wake up clear headed as you mean to go on, feeling proud of yourself as you deserve to. And sobriety, it has been said many times just keeps giving and getting better because essentially what you are doing is booting out something so damaging for you and your life and then slowly creating a life you love as you heal and get stronger and more confident.
This is the gold. And it starts with putting down the poison.
How you can avoid mental burnout and keep your sobriety on track
We love the new year. We love beginnings, the spark of ideas, the birth of projects. We get very excited and it feels like all our synapses are firing and if we were to have an MRI of our brains it would look like Blackpool Illuminations and Alexandra Palace Fireworks having a bun fight.
However, this fiery energy of ours is rather like fast-burning fuel, the bits of tinder you put on to get a fire going and soon it dies down and we can run out of steam. We need the heavy weight chunks of coal for a longer-lasting source of energy.
Yoga, Mindfulness, and Alcohol-Free Living
This year we are working with an idea that we have borrowed from yoga: It’s the idea of planting a seed wish or ‘Sankalpa’. Now, this is a strange one because as you work with this you simultaneously hold the concepts a new goal or wish, and at the same time being enough. Our mind finds this hard to hold at the same time being used to binary Western thought. How can we be enough and perfect as we are whilst wanting to change? There is a mantra we were learning in yoga this week ‘So ham ham so’, which means ‘I am that I am’ (Like Gloria Gaynors ‘I am what I am’ but you don’t have to wear sequins while you are chanting it – unless you want to) or the change I am is already within me. Like a seed, it’s not a flower yet but it’s a perfect seed just as it is.
Like the early days of sobriety, we need to take daily small steps and trust the process. Often with goals, there is a timeline we can take into consideration – we need to allow ourselves longer, the pace to be slower – so we can practice self-compassion and work with the idea that we are enough and yet take baby steps to make our wishes happen. We can practice mindfulness so we don’t get mental fatigue or burnout. The magic ingredients are time and care.
Sober Seedwishes (or Sankalpas)
What does my heart desire?
What would my wisest self say?
What if I knew I couldn’t fail?
What if I secretly knew the answer?
How planting seeds can help you love yourself sober
Another way to work with these intentions is to actually physically plant seeds. At this time of year, we can plant crocus bulbs and some daffs to comfort and ground ourselves. By getting out of our busy heads with cold wet earth under our fingernails and the winter sun on our faces can halt our overthinking tendencies and reminds us of the wisdom of our bodies and of nature, of something bigger than us. We are reminded of the need for patience, that things grow at their own time, even with attention, love and care. The serenity prayer comes to mind here. So, in our planting of seed wishes, of new goals, there are still some things we cannot control and so self-compassion is a must.
This time of year, can also often leave us prone to reflection, as many milestones and dates in the calendar tend to do. Reflection can often take a melancholy route dwelling on regrets or problems or even positive nostalgia then leads to a sense of loss and of good things passing. So, staying rooted in some physical practice and cultivating this compassionate unfolding is a wise and kind thing to do.
Lastly, you can say goodbye to the old year with a simple practice of reflecting on your efforts and achievements and what you are proud of with these journalling prompts.
What are you proud of from last year? What did you do? Where did you go? All sober…
Or did you finally call time on booze?
Or did you fall down and get back up showing that you have grit, courage, strength in spades to make the most of this next year?
About the authors
Kate Baily is a professional personal performance coach with the world’s leading coaching program, ‘The Coaching Academy’. She specialises in wellness, sobriety and self-leadership. She is a She Recovers® designated coach, holding certificates in counselling and positive psychology, and in The Science of Happiness from EDX at Harvard and Berkeley universities.
Mandy Manners is a certified professional life and recovery coach, a She Recovers® designated coach and a gray area drinking coach, trained by Jolene Park. Specializing in mindset and joyful recovery, Mandy works with clients to create strategies and resources enabling them to discover what makes them well and happy. She coaches women to feel empowered by their choice to stop drinking alcohol.
Read the book
Love Yourself Sober: A Self Care Guide to Alcohol-Free Living for Busy Mothers by Kate Baily and Mandy Manners (Trigger Publishing, 2020) is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook.