When I first quit drinking there were two main new habits (or tools) that I embraced early on to help with my recovery. These were habits I specificially adopted to help me deal with my new alcohol-free life. A life quite unlike the boozy one I'd been leading - a life that had me learning how to cope with being open to my raw emotions 100% of the time.
The first big and important habit had me connecting regularly with like-minded people who knew exactly what I was going through because they were going through it too. Being able to describe the ups and downs of my days and get understanding and empathy back was so helpful. The warmth and wisdom and feeling of belonging that I got from my tribe of fellow soberites was priceless.
The second big and important habit had me embracing the concept of 'Sober Treats'. This concept is one that gets bandied around a lot in the sobersphere. It involves you treating yourself to little gifts that make you feel special and good.
In the early phases of sobriety often my Sober Treats were simply alcohol replacements - i.e. special non-alcoholic drinks or foods that I could consume at a time when I'd normally be necking wine. I went through all manner of fancy-schmancy fizzy and fruity drinks not to mention cakes, slices, chips, dip, crackers, cheese, nuts etc, etc at 5pm most days.
But I've always been into other non-consumable Sober Treats such as fresh flowers, glossy magazines, fancy bath bombs, books, cosmetics, herbal teas, tea cups, new slippers or pyjamas or even pillows! These are the things that appeal to me and my personality. You will know what suits you best.. maybe it's new equipment for your bike or running shoes or plants for the garden or materials for crafting.
Really there is no limit to the Sober Treat concept. You could buy yourself a new bed and call it a sober treat! Or a lush winter coat! Or even a puppy! Or maybe even just your favourite chewing gum or beautiful ripe piece of fruit from the local farmers market.
Because the thing about Sober Treats is that it's not only about the material object you are obtaining and the pleasure you're going to derive from that object. It's the power and meaning behind the act of selecting and obtaining the object. That movement towards getting something for yourself is as important as the consumption or use of the object itself.
With every Sober Treat you're sending yourself a very important message - that is that you are worth treating.
With every Sober Treat You are recognising and rewarding yourself for all the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that you are pouring into turning your life around. You are acknowledging that it takes a big effort not just in giving up the booze but in facing life every single day without numbing or avoiding.
You are telling yourself; "I deserve this. I have earned this. I care about myself. I'm proud of myself." That's the message you are sending to yourself. That's what Sober Treats say. And it's a very important message to hear.
You. Are. Worth. Treating.
Sober Treats are as important for me now - 7 1/2 years after my last ever drink - as they were 6 days after. With every bunch of fresh flowers I buy for myself I am sending myself a little love and respect message. Just today I bought myself two new types of tea (even though I have many already at home!). One is a blueberry tea to enjoy chilled and the other a spicy chai to have in the late afternoon when I need a pick-me-up. Delicious. I was very clear in my mind when I bought these. I thought to myself; "I deserve these treats."
Don't underestimate the power of a good Sober Treat and don't short change yourself by not getting them. You ARE worthy of treating. You ARE brave and amazing for quitting booze. You ARE a bloody legend for digging deep and swimming against the boozy tide to live sober.
Treat yourself. Do it today. Do it next week and do it the week after. Because you are worthy.
And there's a bonus positive flow-on from embracing Sober Treats too. That is, if we treat ourselves kindly and with respect we're more likely to treat those around us with kindness and respect too. So everyone benefits.
Love, Mrs D xxx