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If you’re reading this it likely means you’ve just completed a month free of booze courtesy of the Sober October initiative. If that is the case, congratulations. I bet you’re feeling fresh (and a little smug) and maybe you’re pondering what to do next.

Before I start handing out advice, you might wonder what makes me qualified to talk about this subject. Well, I should say that I am not a medical professional, nor do I have a psychology degree, but I do have the lived experience of being five years sober and I consider it one of my greatest achievements to date. Disclaimer, I am not here to influence everyone to be sober. Everyone has their own journey and relationship with alcohol and if it works for you then you do you.

For those of you who are considering your options after completing a sober month, here is my open letter to all of you

Hello You!

Firstly, congratulations on completing your sober month and welcome aboard. You’re about to embark on an exciting journey and I for one couldn’t be more thrilled for you.

I’m going to assume you’re pondering a change in your relationship with alcohol. I’m also going to assume you are considering this because you enjoyed waking up clear-headed at weekends, noticed your skin’s natural glow, are spending less money and or you got more good quality sleep?

If you’re looking to extend your sober/sober-curious stint then here are my five recommendations to keep you feeling confident in this amazing life choice:

  • Find out your ‘why’ – Open the notes app on your phone or laptop and write “Why am I doing this” at the top of the page. Next, write why you’re embarking on this journey and click save. Whenever you feel doubtful, open the page and remind yourself why this is important to you.
  • Talk to people you trust. Tell your nearest and dearest what’s going on for you and if you feel comfortable, ask for their help. Would your friends mind meeting at a queer community space instead of a nightclub? Will your family (chosen or otherwise) have some alcohol-free drinks in the cupboard for the next time you stop by?
  • Choose a replacement hobby! It’s likely you’re going to discover you have a lot more free time than you did before, so why not use it to do something you’ve always wanted to do? Think of it as your reward for making this change for yourself.
  • Immerse yourself in sober culture; there are some excellent books, podcasts and social media accounts that’ll help keep you focused. As a starter, I’d recommend the books Straightjacket by Matthew Todd, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray and This Naked Mind by Annie Grace.
  • Make new sober/sober-curious friends. I don’t think it should be underestimated how important it is to have friends who understand what it is like to be sober in a culture that glamorizes alcohol. Over at Proud and Sober, we run three events monthly that will help connect you with other people on the same journey, come and say hi! (@proudandsober). I hope this helps!