Jul 17, 2020
This week in many of my conversations about being AF, there seemed to be a common theme - crossroads of many people reaching or nearly-reaching whatever alcohol-free goal they'd originally set out to do (whether it was 28, 90 or 365 days) and making decisions about life after this period of time alcohol free.Should they stay alcohol free? Should they go back to drinking? Will they be able to moderate their drinking when they start again?
It's important for me to clarify that I don't generally work with people who have serious addictions (requiring rehab or 12 step recovery) - I work with people who think their drinking is becoming problematic, or are drinking more often then they'd like, and need support with quitting or taking a break from booze. In this context, some people want to moderate and some people can successfully moderate after completing an alcohol free challenge. I think it's up for each individual to decide what's right for them. Of course I am an advocate of being alcohol-free forever, however I know that's not right for everyone. As a coach I can be a non-biased sounding board to help you sort through these issues and make decisions for yourself.
One thing that came up for many I know working towards 30 days alcohol free was - what's the significance in 90 days? Why do AA and other recovery methods constantly swear by "90 meetings in 90 days" etc?
I know when I quit alcohol, I originally set a goal of 28 days. I realized very early on for me that it would not be enough time for me to reevaluate my relationship with alcohol, so I quickly changed my mind and extended it to 90 days. I believe the three month time was enough for me to really experience the benefits of this lifestyle and realize that it was the right permanent choice for me.
I have never participated in AA so I don't have any personal experience on why they specifically encourage 90 days, so I did some research. It seems that the 90 day milestone has a lot to do with building a habit. According to 12step.com, it takes 90 days to build a habit. Once you reach that 90 day milestone, you have created a new healthy habit in your life - being alcohol free. Also, by committing to attending meetings every day for 90 days, you are ensuring that you are not socially isolated (a common reason for people to start drinking again). Instead of meetings, with my #sobergirlsyoga programs, we commit to attending a daily yoga class, often including a check-in. 90 days is also a smart goal - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and set within a Timeframe.
So what about when you reach these goals?
A lot of the people I work with have set out to change their relationship with alcohol. They don't necessarily want to quit alcohol forever. I think sometimes when they get involved in the alcohol-free community, they feel pressure to carry on with it forever.
I think it's important, first of all, to celebrate your achievement! You set out what you meant to do, whether it was 30, 90, or 365 days alcohol-free. Whether or not you stay alcohol-free forever, what you've achieved is a huge accomplishment. Just because you had a drink since then doesn't negate your successes.
Ultimately, if the goal is to change your relationship with alcohol, then whether you go back to drinking or not, you should be proud that you achieved that. You are not the same person you where when you started an alcohol-free challenge or began sober coaching. You have grown during this time whether or not you have a drink or not after it. It doesn't negate all your hard work.
Starting on an alcohol free path, holding you accountable to your goals, & making decisions around whether or not to stay alcohol free is something I can help with as your coach. I'll try my best to be unbiased about your decision (though I hope once you discover how awesome living Alcohol Free is, that you'll never go back!)