‘I stopped drinking three days ago – why isn’t everything better?’ Chip and Veronica explain the process of sobriety when you can start to expect to feel better, sleep better and enjoy sobriety.
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If you stick around and if you’re patient, then you’ll start getting the good stuff. – Chip Somers
There’s a paradox that happens in the very early days of stopping drinking. You start off feeling extremely impatient like nothing’s better, and that it’s taking forever to feel different. Then one day you look back and realize how much better you feel in what was actually a short space of time.
How you feel at three days sober is not how you’ll feel at 6 months, 12 months, 2 years. It gets better but it’s a process. – Veronica Valli
Generally speaking, we are an impatient group of people. Whether we suffer from anxiety, insomnia, physical pain, or emotional pain, we had a problem and in alcohol, we found a quick fix.
We’ve become accustomed to instant gratification. – Chip Somers
When we train our brains to have instant gratification, we are very intolerant of things that require patience. Unfortunately, you’re not going to stop drinking and suddenly be renewed. It just doesn’t happen as quickly as people hope.
If you set yourself a different timetable with unreasonable expectations, you’re going to be disappointed. We want you to be enthusiastic about sobriety and in order to get there, it’s important to have a realistic start point.
When you start thinking, “Alcohol doesn’t really affect me, I can drink a lot” you’re going to be in for a bigger shock when you stop drinking, because it is a harmful substance.
Every day that you are free of alcohol, you’re going to feel a bit better, but it’s not going to be overnight. – Veronica Valli
Before getting sober I was hungover most of the time, with maybe one day a week where I felt okay. I remember about three weeks after stopping drinking I was rollerblading around as I used to and I got home and it hit me – I felt amazing.
I also remember thinking, “I wonder if this is how everyone else feels all of the time just normally.” I felt like a million bucks and it was such an eye-opener for me because I was so used to being tired all the time and not feeling well even though I was just in my 20s.
As a culture, we’re in complete denial about the fact that alcohol is far more dangerous than other drugs. When we drink a lot of alcohol, we damage ourselves. Once we’re on the other side, we have to be patient and let our bodies heal.
I always tell people it takes a year for your body to really recover from years of abusing it with chemicals. – Veronica Valli
It’s really important that you enter this life-changing experience with a realistic timetable. Don’t judge sobriety based on the first month.
Here are some specifics for the areas we’re most often asked about:
- Physical appearance – Alcohol is extremely dehydrating and aging. At any age, you will look so much better with six to 12 months of getting sober.
- Sleep – Lots of us have used alcohol as a sleeping pill for years. Around the 30-day mark you should be starting to get back into a regular sleep pattern.
- Confidence and social ability – This one really depends on how much you are prepared to work at it. It can be a slow process but the more you practice your social skills, the quicker you’ll gain your confidence. Thats one of the biggest benefits of doing sobriety with other people.
- Liver function – It’s always a good idea to have a Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT) test before you get into sobriety so find out where you are in terms of liver damange. Luckily for us, within 24 hours of stopping drinking, the liver starts to heal. After around a year into your sobriety those levels should be returning to within the normal range.
The key element in your recovery is patience and consistency. Keep doing the things that are supporting you and are working and you will to the good stuff.
Give it 30 days to notice feeling a bit better and do as much as you can to support yourself. After than, it’s really a year of working on everything. Some of that will be uncomfortable, but it will always be worth it.
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