Getting help

What does it mean to live without alcohol?

There came a point for many of us here at Living Sober when we accepted the brutal truth – that despite our best attempts to moderate our alcohol intake we were unable to do so. Many of us accept that, for whatever reason (or reasons), we cannot control the drug of alcohol.

In accepting this truth we are accepting that the only way to free ourselves from our terrible internal struggle is to remove alcohol from our lives completely.

However, it can take time to get to this point of complete acceptance; so don’t worry if you’re not here yet. Take your time and talk to others in the community to see if this is the right decision for you.

It is hard work though. It is a big, difficult transition to make from living boozily to living sober. Cravings must be dealt with, uncomfortable emotions must be encountered, social events must be navigated and a lot of wide-open brain time has to be managed. But it is do-able, thousands of people get sober, and we can help you get through it.

How do I know if I need to remove alcohol completely?

There are many ways you can tell if you’ve got a problem with alcohol.

  • How often do you have six or more standard drinks on one occasion? (check your pours, one standard glass of wine is 100mls)
  • As a result of your drinking, did anything happen in the last year that you wish didn’t happen?
  • Have you started lying to yourself or others about how many drinks you’ve been having?
  • Are you trying to set yourself limits but keep breaking them (e.g. “I’m only going to have one glass tonight… dammit I had four”)
  • Do you hanker for 5 o’clock to roll around so you can start drinking? Maybe 4 o’clock is ok on the weekends….?
  • Are you rationalizing with yourself, comparing yourself to others who appear worse off (e.g. “I’m not as bad as Joe – he can hardly walk straight most nights”)
  • Are you thinking about drinking a lot of the time? Beating yourself up, making excuses, feeling guilty, worrying…?

Experiencing life sober

Living sober is experiencing life in a healthier, happier and calmer manner than living boozily will ever allow you. Living Sober is living a life that is real and raw and gritty and fascinating. Sometimes it is joyous, delightful and exhilarating, other times it’s grim, tricky and uncomfortable, but always it is life at its raw best, with no smudged edges or blurred realities.

It is a big job though, transitioning from living boozily to living sober. Cravings must be dealt with, uncomfortable emotions must be encountered, social events must be navigated and a lot of wide-open brain time has to be managed. But it is do-able, thousands of people get sober, and we can help you get through it.

Other support

alcohol.org.nz

This is a brilliant site with lots of information, alcohol-related news, and tools to figure out what a standard drink is and the differing strengths of different types of alcohol.

Alcohol Drug Helpline

The Alcohol Drug Helpline website contains a lot of information including the link to a directory listing all publically funded addiction services.

Drug Help

This is a site rich with information and support for people who want to re-evaluate their relationship with drugs including alcohol. Very user friendly.

Drug Foundation

Lots of great information on here about every drug under the sun, including alcohol. Plenty to read about current issues, health effects, policy discussion, dependence and overdose risk and links on how to get help and what to do in a crisis.

©2018 The New Zealand Drug Foundation

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