DRY JANUARY 2020... SOBER DAVE HELPS YOU THROUGH THE LAST PUSH!
@soberdave burst (or maybe stumbled) into the sober world just over a year ago when he realised that his life had to change for the sake of his health and his marriage. In a short space of time he has become a real character and influential champion of the sober movement and good friend of ours! Sober doesn't care what sex you are but in a space dominated by empowered sober women speaking out about their sober journeys, Dave has brought a different perspective to the issues that effect us all.
Dave has had a crazy year, talking, motivating, pushing his sober journey and opening up channels for others to take that leap. How are you feeling now January is coming to a close? We hand it over to Dave to to tell you a little more about is journey and how to take your learnings from this month into 2020!
Another day, another hangover... When is this going to end? Trouble is, I’m the only one that can do something about it and I’m not sure how.
My drinking had taken me to an all time low. Hiding alcohol from my wife like it was part of a normal day. Downing a bottle of Sauvignon during the, ‘I’m having a quick shower’ routine. Hiding the empty bottle somewhere I would forget about later. My marriage, my health and my self esteem was at rock bottom. Christmas was a blur as usual. Standard arguments about the noise of the kids, the constant mess and the plate spinning around getting my daily fix as my daily habit was more on view during the holidays. “I know I’ve got to sort it out,’ was the regular statement that fell from my lips. After a while I think it was a bit like Peter and the wolf. It started to mean nothing. January came and I had no real plan.
Wouldn’t the Dry January campaign be an ideal start for me to think about my toxic relationship with the dreaded booze? Maybe, but the thought of it made me shudder. Driving to work on that first morning back after the New Year, I received a text message from a very good friend of mine. “How do you feel about giving up alcohol for three months, to see where you are with your marriage, life and your health?’ I laughed out loud, chucked the phone onto the passenger seat and continued on my journey to work. “Bloody hell, you look like shit!” my colleague said. I knew I did.
That night I went to see my friend who sent the message. Within ten minutes I shook his hand and the deal was done. It was perfect timing as I had only missed the first few days of dry January. I felt strangely elated! That very night, I changed my instagram handle to @soberdave as I felt the urge to document my journey. The first few days felt remarkably easy, I think it was the euphoria of finally making the decision. After doing some online research, I changed my diet in order to address the impending cravings. I read that food like broccoli, salmon and nuts increased dopamine levels* and I also had several early nights to avoid the temptation of drinking. Putting my headphones on and listening to sober podcasts also helped and made me feel like I wasn’t alone on this new journey. It wasn’t long before I realised that the benefits of giving up drinking were far out weighing the old binging of before but I also knew that after the three months had come to an end, it wouldn’t take long to go back to how they were before. I woke up one day and shouted to the world ( well to my wife and my instagram followers!) that this was it! No more drinking! Ever.
We had an early spring and a mini heatwave. I walked across the common with our little chihuahua and noticed the sea of picnic blankets covering the grass. The clinking of champagne glasses and the chorus of bottle lids popping was like torture. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the local pub, garden full and the smoke from the freshly lit barbecue swirling into the air. I felt suffocated. This was my first challenge. Ironically it was around the three month mark. I turned and walked briskly home. I barked at my wife, and went to bed. It was two o clock in the afternoon! I googled my symptoms and bang, there it was - the pink cloud, the honeymoon period was over. Time to knuckle down Daveyboy or this would all be in vein. I had a few of these difficult moments but the more I rode the storm, the easier they became. I organised a sober event in London in September and I also trained to ride my bike from London to Paris. Fitness regimes are a huge part of my sobriety. Weight loss and increased levels of fitness reduced my blood pressure* from critically high to almost perfect within a few months. Finally, I could put my socks on without feeling winded!
I am now nearing the end of my first year of sobriety. I hosted another event at the Redemption Bar in Covent Garden which was amazing and it hit me that night just how far I’d come. I have spoken about my journey on several panels and already my “Dry January” calendar is almost fully booked for other speaking events and podcast appearances. Sharing my journey has been such a crucial part of my recovery and hopefully, along the way, I have managed to help others too. If you have decided to do Dry January I would suggest you prepare for it like you would do for a 5K or any other physical and mental challenge. Diet is key, sleep is definitely a huge part especially for me as I didn’t have a solid nights sleep in years. Exercise well as this will help raise your dopamine levels. Read. There are so many Quick Lit books on the market, one of my favourites is written by my now lovely friend Clare Pooley, called “The Sober diaries.” Listen to podcasts. This will encourage you to feel part of this incredible community rather than feeling alone. Tell people. You will be surprised how many of your friends and family will support you. Be safe. This isn’t a competition. If you really can’t do it you can always start again another time, the fact you have tried. is amazing in itself. Finally, maybe it's time to reflect on your drinking routine. You don’t have to go on a massive blow out on the first of February. You will be surprised with just how good you will feel after a month of abstinence. Maybe it’s simply time to be more mindful. Sobriety is a journey and you will know inside what you want to do, but going a month without alcohol is a great achievement. I have just celebrated my first Soberversary and I honestly wouldn’t change a single thing!
Follow @Soberdave on insta and check out one of his podcasts from last year below...Cheers Dave!