Coaching at 8 days sober

Several of my followers have asked, “What actually happens in recovery coaching?” While I talk about different issues with everyone, the questions and answers are shockingly the same:

  • What are your principles?
  • Are you willing to live within them?
  • How can you set it up so you can succeed?

When you leave I will see you in a week or two or twelve, depending where you are on your journey. I give you (or you give you) action steps to take to get your life moving in the direction you say you want it to go. Done! After the session I send all my clients notes on what we discussed, thoughts to be pondered, and a plan of action to be undertaken. At week one we aren’t trying to change the world. We’re trying to breathe and stay sober … that’s it!

Here are notes sent to a client with only eight days of sobriety. Day eight was harder for him then day one and two. At days one and two he had a reason to stay sober. At day eight he was hating life, himself, me, and sobriety. See if you relate to any of this. (This was definitely me with a week under my belt.)

Action/thoughts to ponder for the week:

  1. Stopping and staying stopping drinking sucks, is hard work, totally un-enjoyable AND we don’t drink anyway.
  2. Do not give yourself excuses to drink. Stop having a conversation about drinking or not. Check it off the “to do list” first thing in the morning and be done with it. You are your own enemy when you engage in dialogue that is destined for failure. The subconscious mind it too powerful to be reckoned with. You are no match for it. It will win every time. It will try and get you alone and get you to drink. That is its job. Our subconscious mind is built for survival. It is not interested in the right or wrong of what we are doing. It is simply trying to keep you alive. For an alcoholic like me and you that means, “DRINK today or die of the pain.” Do not, I repeat, do not try and manage this alone.
  3. The only thing you need to do today to stay sober is not drink. You are the only one that can do this. No one can accomplish this feat for you. It has to come 100% from within you.
  4. Don’t bark at yourself and don’t bark at others … walk away, count to ten, scream in a pillow, journal, exercise. Stop taking out your sober anger on people who love you. You’re destroying things you may not Abe able to fix.
  5. Be kinder to self. Beating self up over past mistakes is futile and it reinforces the subconscious position of “drinking to survive in this big, bad, difficult, unfair, unsafe, unloving world.”
  6. Identify one thing that brings you pure joy today and do it. No excuses! If you can’t find one then you are to journal about what you think might bring you joy. When you are finished journaling, ask yourself why you feel you do not do this for yourself.
  7. Write, write, write, this is the way of recovery! Until you dig in, feel it, see it, experience it … “IT” is not going away. It will be there to haunt you every time you quit drinking … for the rest of your ****ing life.
  8. I know this is not the life you want. You told me through tears as you sat in my office.
  9. Stop saying how much you miss drinking. You abhor drinking. It brings you only misery.
  10. See you on Saturday—still sober.
  11. You CAN do this, so get your ass in gear.
  12. I love you. Feel free to love yourself too. We are not our mistakes.

Anyhow, on the coat-tails of of the Sunday post I wish my readers to know I get it. I get early sobriety! Let me know if you want notes from someone with three years. We no longer talk about wanting to drink, cravings, raging behavior, irritability, confusion, black-outs, or our spouse’s limited perspective on sobriety. We are engaged in life. We are living fully.  We are contributing. We are evolving. We are so much more then we ever imagined.

Taking on Sobriety = Taking on Life

No Responses to “Coaching at 8 days sober

  • I want to simply copy and paste those 12 to my sponsee …. 🙂
    Well said and thanks for your writing!

  • Lisa, I’m on day 8 today. Thank you for this post! I’ve jumped in to this program more than I ever have. EVER! I have been going to meetings every day since I stumbled back to day one. Never has that happened. I’ve given up trying to control the situation & people. I must focus on helping myself. The other issues I am faced with will work themselves out in time. I just keep praying for G to come around & open up, and not leave. As each day passes, I see a tiny bit of hope that it will happen, that we will stay together & become even stronger as a couple. I just have to get out of the way & work on me. I’ve stopped beating myself up over what I did. Looking for positive in it instead.
    Thanks again so much for what you have said!

    • Congrats on day 8 … that was a pure coincidence on the post name. I am so happy for you. Yes, meetings and fellowship and support. Keep the focus on you. Find peace within and give the relationship time to heal. love from me to you

  • I like your blog! Although I am not living alcohol-free I recently began reading and listening (through blogs such as yours) to how others have done it and I’m preparing for the day when I have the courage to do so. My issue is most definably that I must believe in my self-worth enough to give myself the gift of sobriety. I applaud those who have made that commitment to themselves. Thank you for sharing how to navigate the road to sobriety. I am going to print this blog post of yours to put in my arsenal. –Daylily

  • Dearest Lisa, I am thankful for your coaching, I feel it’s taking me to places I’ve never been because of my paralysing fear. One question I have is this: You talk about abstinence and not drinking but for a compulsive eater what would be the equivalent? Should I stay abstinent from sugar and flour? I’m really confused on that part.

    • Erika, Forgive my slowness. Busy. To answer the question adequately I would sum it up like this: Do you binge on broccoli, carrots, and salad or do you binge on sugar, salt, pastry, and carbs? Whatever you binge on that would be a good start to eliminate/abstain. My suggestion, pick one item –THE BIGGEST OFFENDER — and start with abstaining from that. We need to see that we are succeeding or we will quit all together. Plan to succeed. The subconscious mind will not let you change it all at once.Hope that helps. Lisa

  • YES! YES! YES! This is awesome Lisa!

    “You CAN do this, so get your ass in gear.” (I was actually having some nerves and fear and doubt get to me about my upcoming race- this really made me feel better. Like a “There’s no crying in baseball!!!” haha).

    Anyway, I know we’ve both been busy lately, but wanted to drop by and say hi. I think about you often! Let’s plan to talk after my Nov 3 marathon 🙂


  • Great points and follow up notes. I remember I just sat in a lot of meetings everyday and by taking that action of getting up and going somewhere safe and talking and listening helped me so much! I seem to have forgotten that even at 10 years sober!

    • Thanks for coming by Steve. As a fellow coach, that means the world to me. I love to stay close to newly sober people. I too have forgotten so much of the early part of this journey. But, I definitely do not want to go back. People sometimes wonder why I hang around their blog. I tell them all the time I need them as much as they need me. I learn as much from them as they do from me. It’s really a beautiful approach. Please come by more. L.

  • HI LIsa
    I happy to read what you have written,Yes i will be strengthen by your words
    Im trying to be sober,this second day of mine
    thanks a lot

    • Good for you. Hang in there. Day two and three suck. You can do it. Hope … the key that unlocks anything new. Find a support group. Friends to talk with are imperative in recovery. All my best. Lisa

      • Terri creighton
        9 years ago

        Hi Lisa thank you for your articles I really enjoyed them and got a lot from them. I am 8 weeks sober now and I know it’s for me. But I am struggling with my subconscious mind I keep thinking about having a drink wen I go on holidays in July. I know it’s wrong and I know what it would cause to happen to me and my family and I tell my self over and over no!!! Y won’t this thought go away x

        • They don’t go away because they are already programmed on your internal hard drive. The more you wrestle with them the more power you give them. Your thoughts about drinking in July are not real. They are thoughts, not reality. My daughter was 1 when I got sober, I didn’t want to stop drinking because I wouldn’t be able to drink at her wedding when she got married. What????????? That’s what’s happening for you. Think about drinking tomorrow if the thought of drinking shows up. I never say “no” to the future, just “no” for today. If I can make any suggestion it would be to learn to A/B Dialogue with your self. It is a way to train the mind to think/process differently. I can send the PDF to you if you’re interested. Congratulations on 8 weeks of sobriety. This is some of the hardest time, the early days. Do not despair. You will find your way. Please keep me posted and use me as a trusted source, if needed. Lisa

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