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I've compiled this resource from things that have helped me, and others, in preparing for and navigating sticky, emotionally-charged moments and situations WITHOUT turning to the booze, which of course was my go-to for many, many years.
If you think anyone you know might benefit from it, please give it a share.
Text version below.
See you on the other side, beauties. Look after yourselves and each other!
Tips to prepare for an emotionally-charged situation without alcohol.
Check in with yourself *very* regularly. Remember those alarms every 30 minutes to remind yourself to drink water as well as alcohol on a boozy night? Set a regular reminder to check in.
How are you feeling? What are you feeling? What is that telling you? What do you need? (Hint: the answer isn't alcohol!)
Prepare gentleness. Is that food? Phone off and a movie? Changing your bed and taking to it like a Victorian widow? Yoga? Cuddles? Reading a book? Building a castle on Minecraft? Tai Chi outside? Stroking something furry? Looking after your plants?
Bring in backup. Alcohol-free alternatives. They don't have to taste the same, this is not a fancy tasting party. And they're not exactly the same anyway. They only have to hit the spot just hard enough to get you through to the other side.
Come back to now. Listen to your thoughts, remember that *now* is the only time where we have any agency and power. You can't change what you said that summer night 14 years ago. You can't pre-fight tomorrow's battles. You can only be here, now. Be here, now.
Call (out to) community. There are some brilliant, powerful groups out there. Sober communities to be found at the click of a hashtag or a 'join' button. Even if you've never really reached out before. Won't it be nice to remember today as the day you reached out and changed your life, rather than the day you fell down the rabbit hole, soaked in booze, and broke your pride and your promise and your posterior?
Be kind. Kind is not the same as nice - it's not just empty words. It's powerful ones, loving ones, ones that see and address the human and the humanity. You're human. Be kind.
Remember that alcohol is an accelerant and a depressant. Do you need any help in stoking the embers of anxiety, fanning the flames of stress, misery, outrage, othering? Do you need any help in feeling out of control, overwhelmed, sad and scared? No? Then don't add to it.
Remove temptations and traps. If you've got booze lying around, get rid. If you won't 'waste' it, then give it to a friend either as a present or for safekeeping for when you really have changed your relationship to alcohol and can drink in moderation successfully like everyone else [endsnark]. If you don't trust your friend, lock it away, mail the key to yourself, and find some new friends. Same for your wallet or credit cards. Make it harder to cave. If you know a bar / group / person will tempt you? Make your excuses and remove yourself from the situation. Remember this is for times of exception - you don't have to do these things in normal times. You're getting battle ready.
Know that you are loved. You are strong and brave and worthy and seen and needed. This too shall pass, and YOU shall remain. What version of yourself do you want to find on the other side? Go save that one.