It’ll be 10 years in September since I had my last drink.
I was miserable and numb and nobody could tell from the outside that alcohol was owning my mind every day.
I was certain it was impossible for me to stop drinking wine.
And yet I hardly ever think about it anymore. It’s incredible freedom.

**10 Things That Helped Me Start My Alcohol Sabbatical**

Here are 10 things that helped me not drink in the early days:
1. Sobriety Literature. Especially drinking memoirs. Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp and Lit by Mary Karr are two favs.
2. Non-alcoholic wine & beer. I loved wine way more than beer, but n/a beer is tastier. It gave me some of the “context” experiences I missed, like wine glasses and hoppy carbonation.
3. Journaling. I don't write in my journal much anymore because I ruminated in it so much back then, but it did give me something to do and that was good.
4. Baking. Sitting on the couch was too much like the “drinking days” so I avoided it at first, often by baking instead. I think the sugar in baking helped replace alcohol sugar, too.
5. Romance. My kids and extended family read these lists, so I'll just say that being fully present and not numbed out makes sex so much better.
6. Snacks. Crunchy snacks: popcorn, chips, those incredible Trader Joe's salted chocolate covered almonds.
7. Blogs. Aiden Donnelley Rowley's A Year Without Wine and Andrea Owen's shares were inspirations for me. I felt way less alone.
8. House Remodel. It was a good way to focus my energy and attention. Creative distraction was really helpful.
9. Talking with friends. Just being connected and distracted was super important. We didn't talk much about the not drinking part much since my friends were still drinking.
10. Active Gratitude. I felt SO freaking much better so quickly that I didn't want to forget the difference. I noticed out loud how clear I felt in the morning, the total lack of waking and sweats at night, all the good – so I'd be less tempted to go back there.
Whether it’s alcohol or something else you quit, what helped you in the early days?