I shared this photo on Instagram this morning, and have been pondering the nature of commitment today.

Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose - and commit myself to - what is best for me. - paulo coelho

Across the UK, thousands of people are taking the plunge and committing to ‘Go Sober’ for the month of October to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Some will be doing this by donating the money they would have spent on alcohol, some will be asking others to sponsor them, and I am sure that there are many coming up with some other highly creative ways to raise money.

There will be as many reasons for doing this challenge as there are people doing it. Some will be going sober in memory of a loved one, some to give themselves a health boost, some to support a charity they value. If you are taking part, please let me know your reasons below.

Whatever the reason, I wish you well, and hope that you are able to go the distance without too much feeling of deprivation.

I tried it once, at possibly the worst time I could have tried it, and failed miserably. The following October I quit alcohol for good! (there was a big reason why I couldn’t give up for charity….I was an alcoholic!)

I am joining you this month in a challenge that is going to stretch and test my resolve, and help me discover new things about myself, as yours is going to.  I am taking part in the 30 Day Blogging Challenge from Kevin and Sarah Arrow, two amazing blogging coaches who I have learned so much from!

I will be writing and sharing a post every day through October.  Many of my posts will be connected to Go Sober, but not all.  They will all be on the theme of recovery in some way.  Who knows, like my tenatative steps into sobriety, this could lead to a daily writing habit, it did for publisher Alison Jones, who ended up writing on her blog every day for over a year now!

The connection between blogging and not drinking!

There is a lot of similarity between my commitment, and the commitment of all those who are taking part in ‘Go Sober‘.  It might not be immediately obvious…. apart from the obvious ‘blogging about not drinking’, you might not see how the two are connected.   We will need to use similar traits to achieve success in our challenges

Where the similarity comes is in the inner (and outer) resources we will need to employ, and the journey of growth our October commitments will take us on.

We will need to use similar traits to achieve success in our challenges

  • persistence – this takes sustained effort for both of us
  • commitment – a month might feel like a very long time!
  • willpower – they will be times when we both want to stop this and go back to what we were doing before
  • vision – remember why you are doing this
  • self care – remember to look after yourself.  I need to remember this too!  This blog post lists many ways this month could become a wonderful month of self care
  • planning – be prepared – know how you are going to handle socialising etc, and I need to plan what I am going to write about
  • determination – you cannot let anything get in the way of success’
  • focus – don’t get distracted and ‘forget’ what you have committed to
  • living in the moment, not looking too far ahead
  • asking for support when needed.  You will want to have the support of your friends, and I am here to support you if you really struggle and would like a stranger’s input.  I am doing this as part of a large-ish group who is all blogging through October on our various subjects
  • discipline – you need to be accountable to yourself, and so do I – no one is going to ‘tell me off’ if I don’t succeed in this apart from me!
  • creativity (you need to plan alternative activities, I need to think of something to write about every day!)
  • clarity of vision – remember why you are doing this
  • coping strategies – you need to develop ways to manage stress when you can’t reach for a drink, I need to keep my inner critic under control or she will stop me writing!
  • celebrate the small wins – every day you get to the end of a day without a drink, even if it is a day when you wouldn’t normally expect to drink, feel pleased with yourself, reflect on what is good about it.  I will be hitting publish on my blog posts with great relish and a fanfare in my head!
  • celebrate the big win at the end!  Not necessarily by going out and drinking loads of booze (your liver will not be used to processing alcohol after 31 days of abstinence, so it is important to re-introduce it gradually if you choose to drink again).  I will be turning my 31 blog posts into a small ebook, and hopefully able to celebrate being a much improved writer.
  • be open minded.  This month will change a lot for us both.  We are going to feel differently about the thing we are commiting to at the end of the month than we do now.  You might find that you enjoy sobriety so much you want to stay sober, I might discover that writing every day is a must for me, or that I hate writing and never want to do it again!  You may uncover all sorts about yourself so stay open, take great care of yourself, and reach out for support if you need it/

I have created a free ebook for you to help you plan and get the most out of your Go Sober journey.  It is a planner and journal, which will guide you through things to think about as you Go Sober, and daily reflections to help you get the most personal growth benefit you can from the experience.  Get the book by filling in the form below.

enjoy your Go Sober month, it will be SO worth it!

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Esther Nagle
Teacher, writer, speaker at Balance and Breathe
Esther is a former alcoholic, smoker and all round stressed out mess. She found the path to health, happiness, freedom and joy through Yoga. She is a passionate advocate for the power of Yoga, and time in Nature, in bringing balance to life, and giving you control over your health, happiness and wellbeing.

Esther is a powerful public speaker, writer and author. Her first book, Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga, has gained many 5 star reviews and has helped many people along their recovery journey.